Coming up with new ideas for your child’s room, let alone putting

them into action, can seem overwhelming. But Errol Hendrickse, an interior

designer on GMTV’s popular Hand Over Your House series and one of TV’s

hottest new interior designers, believes it needn’t be a nightmare task.

“I find designing children’s rooms great fun, as you can be really

creative,” he says. “You can have fun, play with color, come up with

themes and create unique rooms.” Although famed for his exuberant use

of color, when it comes to children’s rooms, he recommends a base colour

of a neutral shade, using color in the furniture, accessories and one

wall, rather than on all the walls.

“When you’re designing a child’s bedroom it’s always good to remember

to try and keep it as neutral as possible,” he advises. “Kids are obviously

going to grow up and start to develop their own personalities and likes

and dislikes, so by keeping things relatively neutral you can easily

add and take away elements as the child gets older.”

A colorful setting for a children’s room is perfect

For example, “Football colors are great, but consider adding them

in on a pillow rather than on the walls,” he suggests. “You can easily

change a pillow at a later date rather than having to change wallpaper,

which will cost you a lot more money. Or, if you have a child of two

or three years old who loves Winnie the Pooh, add little themed bits

and bobs in the room that will keep the child’s interest. Then as she

gets older, remove the things she grows out of and replace with new

items.”

Having neutral walls needn’t mean having no color in the room at

all – far from it. In fact it just gives more opportunities for using

it in other inventive and imaginative ways. “For a little boy of six

you could have the walls a lovely cream color, then have a really funky

blue bunk bed with tons of storage underneath. For more storage you

can do funky primary color boxes, which double up not just as storage

by also as seats, adding a novelty factor to the room.”

In one of the rooms he designed for a child in Epsom, he created

a wonderful cloud theme with a sky scene on the ceiling. Rather than

just having plain, ordinary mirrors, he created cloud shapes made out

of MDF and padded into shape. This is another example of an element

that can be changed easily at a later date, when the child wants a different

sort of mirror.

Starting points

Before launching straight into a project, as a starting point, Errol

recommends making a list of all the things the child is going to need,

such as bed, bookcase, desk, storage, wardrobe, mirror and a unit for

a stereo, then designing the room around them. “Then you’ll have a tick

list to follow and you can work out how you can make the space and work

with the area you’ve got.”

Even a small room can be effective, he adds, especially as there

are some great bunk beds in existence and you can go up in order to

give them more space. When it comes to safety issues, “One of the key

things to remember is to not use glass mirrors, because they’re incredibly

dangerous for children,” he says. Instead, you can opt for plastic mirrors

which, although a bit more expensive than glass, are much safer.

The price of paint, soft-furnishings and accessories can put some

people off, but Errol believes you can still create top-notch, designer-looking

kids rooms without spending a fortune. “A lot of people shy away from

high street products, but there are some fantastic and really child-friendly

things out there. They’re cheap and cheerful, but if it only lasts three

years, that’s okay as the child will outgrow it anyway.”

Likewise, “Don’t be over-elaborate with fabrics either,” he advises,

“as, again, it’s only going to get messed up. There are some fantastic

cottons out there from the high street that you can chuck away after

a few years, yet still have the designer effect.”

As far as actually doing the work goes, Errol optimistically believes

most people could attempt a lot of it themselves. However, if DIY really

isn’t your forte, or you’re stuck as to how to go about creating specialized

beds or doing fiddly building, then getting an expert in to help you

certainly could be worthwhile.

So, if you’re inspired to transform your kid’s room from dull and

dreary to a creative fantasy, why not get your thinking cap on, grab

your paintbrush and get going!

By Rachel Newcombe

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