An Interview with Elisha Utley Interiors lover Elisha Utley, Cover Girl for Homestyle Magazine, shares her daughters Number 1 Rainbow Room. As research was taking place for Rooomy's colourful Issue 13, this rainbow room appeared and I needed to know more about...
June Q&A – Nursery & Kid’s Rooms
Readers have their interiors questions answered by the professionals.
For this months Q&A we turn to two child interior experts who have contributed to Rooomy since it began and their advice and work is consistently perfect. London based designer Lisa Mettis of Born & Bred Studio. We love her decisiveness and we think you will too. And Edinburgh based designer Patricia Hoyna of Studio Hoyna who always encompasses exactly what her little clients are looking for and more.
I’m trying to decide on a neutral grey for my nursery, any suggestions?
Lisa says: Ahh yes, the colour of choice not only in nurseries but all over the house. Take into consideration the feel you would like in the room. If you like light and fresh, I would go for a versatile white grey such as Blackened by Farrow & Ball. If you prefer something a little more traditional and cosy, Chic Shadow from Dulux and if you’re considering going to the dark side, Farrow & Balls Downpipe Grey is a great option as it will showcase all the child’s bright belongings.
What are the best wardrobes, if built in is not an option?
Patricia says: It does depend on the style of your home and room, so here are two opposites to consider;
For contemporary rooms I’d use Ikea PAX wardrobes, they are great in terms of budget and variety of configurations. Top tip: go as tall as possible.
For eclectic rooms, a beautiful vintage wardrobe or a tallboy would make a great addition, you can get them from eBay or second-hand shop at a fraction of a price, and if it is not in mint condition it can be easily painted, plus the door knobs can be replaced. There are so many fantastic designs to choose from these days, so get creative!
Patricia’s Top Tip – when choosing paint for your child room go eco. Many conventional paints include heavy metals, formaldehyde and nasties known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs for short. Those VOCs are transmitted while painting – and for up to five years after your paint has dried, so even paints with ‘low’ VOCs can have a negative impact.
Rooomy recommends Edward Bullmer, all paints are non-toxic and they now have a children’s swatch too, check them out here
Patricia says: When you think about layering, it’s probably easier to explain in relation to fashion. The addition of a scarf, a hat or a necklace makes an outfit more dynamic, personalises the look and turns basic into unique. It’s the same with interiors, the furnished room is your base layer, then it’s all about creating interest, comfort and depth by adding decorative objects. Layering is an act of shaping the room from the ground up, taking all individual design elements and pulling together a cohesive look.
To do it right, you need to take into consideration the following key elements:
Flooring: wood, carpet, vinyl
Wall coverings: Paint, wallpaper
Furniture: sofa, table, bed, bookshelf, side tables
Lighting: ceiling light, table lamps, floor lamps, ambient lights, candles
Soft furnishings: rugs, cushions, blankets, throws
Decorative objects: flowers, vases, books, sculptures
Now focus on building the room by adding the layers, the most effective way to do it is through juxtaposition, for example, a rich velvet will look even richer when placed against a coarse linen.
Think colours, patterns, textures and scale. Pair shiny with matt, rough with smooth, bold with calm. Chose contrasting materials and group large and small items together. Keep an open mind, play around with many samples, fabrics, flooring, paint and so on. Look at them at different times of day, see what works for you.
Layering up a room is not just about choosing an interesting combination of textures, colours and objects but the effect they all have on each other.
That is why successful design does not begin with choosing one paint colour or one upholstery fabric, in fact, falling in love with a particular design and being determined to use it in a room without considering it as a whole, is often the biggest cause of people not achieving the look they want.
The art of design is about finding a family of textures and colours that will live happily together.
My children share a room, they love this which is great for all is us. However, as they are getting older they (8 & 5) are into very different things and have quite different tastes, one is into all things red and ballet, the other is all about her life being pink and being as grungy as possible. How do I create a personal space for each of them within the same 4 walls?
Lisa says: I’m working more and more on shared kids room. Its lovely combining their characters and watching them embrace sharing their non-adult space.
Storage is so much more important in a shared room there’s double the belongings and no doubt every corner will be taken up with, toys, books and clothes. I particularly love having a wardrobe or locker each for clothes and an additional shared locker or wardrobe for toys, books, arts and crafts. Its also the perfect place for a shelf each to house well ‘whatever they want’. Lockers are great as you can use magnets to display artworks and hooks to hang dress up off.
Chalk board or magnetic paint can also be a great option for allowing your children to express their different personalities not just through mark making an art but as a backdrop for their love of different things. (e.g. painting a wall with chalk board paint solid or mutual style and placing hooks for dress up, ledges for books for each child. Chalk boards paint comes in such a wide array of colour’s now. Benjamin Moore is my preferred brand with over 1500 colours available.
You could also allow the children a storage ottoman each at the end of their bed where they can display (and hide) there special items. A personal treasure chest that clearly defines their territory in their shared space.
Lisa top picks are; Lockers, Ikeas wardrobes and end of bed storage.
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