Decorating for Little Ones
Image Courtesy of CB2
Decorating for Little Ones
Our expert tips and tricks make it as easy as child’s play.
Kids love their bedrooms. These hard-working spaces are places for play, reading, homework and, hopefully, sleep! That’s all the more reason to create a fun and functional room that will grow with your wee one.
Make a Plan
Image Courtesy of CB2
Before shopping or choosing colours, meticulously plan the space. Define areas based on activities, advises Montreal designer Lucie Pitt. “Make a list of their activities and the type of storage they will need for putting away clothes, toys, games, books and sports gear,” she says. Design accessible storage that – depending on their age – enables the child to tidy up their own toys and clothes. Consider an elevated bed: underneath can be a fort-like play zone that evolves into a homework station as the child grows into a tween and teen. Is your house sleepover central? Try a trundle bed or a chair that folds out into a single bed. Plan exactly where to install shelves for books and collectibles, bins for toys, and hooks for hoodies and housecoats. Don’t forget under-bed storage bins on wheels or buying a bed with built-ins; otherwise, this space may become a clutter zone where toys and clothes mysteriously disappear.
Photography: Janis Nicolay | Design: Erin Novak | striped RUG, DRAWER and LAMP, IKEA; ROCKING CHAIR, Herman Miller via Gabriel Ross; yellow CAR, Playforever via Kol Kid; GLOBE, Mjölk; Apple Papple POSTER, Fine Little Day; small bunny PRINT, HAM; large rabbit POSTER, Miniwilla; cloud PRINT, Eef Lillemor.
Dream Up a Theme
Photography: Janis Nicolay | Design: Ami McKay, Pure Design | WALL DECAL, Fat Head; BEAN BAG CHAIR, RH Teen.
Invite your child to participate in decorating. Kids might have some wild ideas, like “make it look like the moon,” but combining their creativity with your practicality is the best way to achieve a space everyone will love. Lucie Pitt suggests letting the child choose a central decorative element that brings their personality to the room. “Let them choose a poster, bedspread, doll or hockey player figurine collection around which to build the room’s theme,” she says, then use it as inspiration for colours and fabrics. Keep in mind that if your child is currently obsessed with Batman, that fascination will likely fade by the time they’re a tween; so, instead of themed wallpaper, compromise with decals and accessories. And remember that toys add visual busyness to a room – they are part of the decor in a child’s space. Where collectibles, artwork and other visually compelling features are important to creating the theme, let walls, window treatments and bedding take a backseat.
Photography: Janis Nicolay | Design: Ami McKay, Pure Design | WALL SHELF, CB2; PILLOWS with Batman logo, Etsy; BED, Wayfair; NIGHTSTAND, IKEA; POUF, EQ3; CEILING LIGHT, RH.
Children’s furniture can be a considerable expense, so choose durable pieces in materials that can be repainted or refinished, like wood or metal. The bed, storage and light fixtures should be sturdy and high- quality. It’s important – especially with second-hand furniture – that everything comply with Canadian safety standards, says Lisa Cohen of Montreal’s Boutique PinkieBlue. Draw a scaled plan incorporating your choices, advises Lucie, to avoid crowding these often-small rooms with too much or oversized pieces.
Photography: Janis Nicolay | Design: Ami McKay, Pure Design | CEILING LIGHT, RH; BLIND, Pure Design; BED, Eq3; DUVET COVER, TABLE LAMP, Urban Outfitters.
Let your inner child have some decorating fun with your kids. Why not add one outstanding feature that makes the room magical? It might be a jungle mural for your little world explorer; a colour-blocked geometric pattern on the wall for a fashionable teen; an oversize blackboard for a creative soul – something big, bold and fun. And then accessorize: hang string lights, build a tent, display a figurine collection or Lego masterpieces in wall-mounted wooden boxes. Don’t get too serious: your child will love it!
Photography: Janis Nicolay | Design: Maria Nordlund | PAINT for bed, Bright Yellow 2022, Benjamin Moore; BEDDING, Pottery Barn Kids; built-in CABINET HARDWARE, Schaub & Co.
Have you ever seen beige art by a kindergartner? Doesn’t happen! Kids are bold and brave when it comes to colour, so it’s fun to incorporate vibrant hues and patterns in their rooms. “Kids are more attracted to colour,” says Lisa Cohen. “If we can’t have a bit of whimsy in a baby’s or child’s room, then where can we have it?” Even if you lean toward more grown-up hues, try to pair them with joyful colours that reflect your child’s preferences and the theme of the room. Do a feature wall in orange, pink or turquoise, or choose a fun, colourful, patterned rug (kids love to play on the floor, so a rug is a smart choice!). Bedding is the easiest way to colour the room, and can be switched out inexpensively as tastes evolve.
Photography: Tracey Ayton | Design: Emma Comesotti, Philosophy Design | LAMP, The Cross.
The Baby's Room
Feathering the nest is a ritual new parents embrace. Here's how to fashion a modern nursery that soothes parent and baby, reflects decorating trends and can adapt as baby grows to toddler and beyond.
Photography: Lauren Miller | Design: Jessica Leigh McGouran, Jessica Leigh Interiors | GLIDER, West Coast Kids; CRIB, Amazon; WALLPAPER, Memo Showroom; RUG, Y&Co; DRAPES, Custom; LIGHT FIXTURE, CB2; MOBILE, Etsy; PILLOW, Tonic Living; SIDE TABLE, CB2; QUILT, Leanne Small.
It’s hard to believe when you’re expecting for the first time, but babies aren’t babies for long! It’s a smart strategy to invest in furniture that can grow with them. According to Lisa Cohen of Montreal’s Boutique PinkieBlue, essential furniture includes: a three-drawer dresser, a crib that adapts to a toddler bed, and a rocking chair for nursing. “What’s in now is to have very contemporary furniture in light colours, made with varnished or white wood, and then to add a bit of eclecticism,” says Lisa. The classic changing table has been replaced by changing mats or pads set up on the dresser (use rails for safety). Montreal designer Lucie Pitt suggests installing sufficient wall storage and organizing the inside of the closet, as babies these days seem to acquire a lot of stuff in their first year!
Photography: Tracey Ayton | Design: Amanda Evans, AE Interiors | DESIGN, Amanda Evans, AE interiors; WALLPAPER, Philip Jeffries; JUJU HATS, OTTOMAN, SHEEPSKIN, The Cross; SHEETS, Pottery Barn kids.
- Place the bed away from lamps, curtains, windows, electrical plugs and cords, including those on lamps or baby monitors.
- Ensure furniture that can topple over (especially shelves and dressers) is fastened securely to the wall.
- Protect sharp angles with edge and corner guards.
- Install socket covers and baby locks on drawers.
- Fasten lamp and blind cords far beyond baby’s reach.
- Keep up to date on government recalls and safety alerts on furnishings, especially cribs and bassinets.
- Graduate to a toddler bed with rails as soon as the child can climb or reaches 35 inches tall.
Image Courtesy of CB2 | FURNITURE, ACCESSORIES, CB2.
The trick with decorating a nursery is balancing a fun, childlike decor with one that encourages sleep. One approach is to combine tranquil neutral colours with accents in trendy hues. Non-gender-specific colours are also popular now – think yellow, green or any colour in a muted tone. Designing a healthy, hypoallergenic environment is a huge trend. Opt for environmentally friendly paints, natural materials in furniture, organic textiles and gentle, biodegradable personal care products. We’ve also seen these trendy features incorporated into nursery decor: bohemian-inspired textiles like Indian carpets, darkly painted accent walls, Scandinavian style, underwater themes, botanical wallpaper, homemade mobiles (ensure mobiles are out of reach, taking them away when baby can sit up by themselves), artisan-made stuffed toys, and plants (keep those out of reach, too).