Interior design is no longer just about the adults as parents lean on design professionals to create beautiful spaces for their little ones.
The children’s interiors market continues to grow in the form of safe, functional furniture, natural textiles and designers with services wholly dedicated to youngsters.
Nicole Rosenberg, founder of Little Liberty, an interior decorating business specialising in designing children’s spaces, says the trend is growing in Australia thanks to an array of style-savvy mums who are seeking to create fun and functional areas for their children.
However, it’s not all bold colours and whimsical features; Rosenberg is regularly hired to design considered spaces based on children’s personalities, choosing colours and looks that complement the rest of the home.
Many parents make their children’s bedrooms and play areas an extension of their own decor. Two-income households with plenty of disposable income is driving this trend.
When designing for children, a boundless imagination is required but industry trends also play a part. In recent years, fashion trends have begun inspiring adult interiors and now they’re being implemented in children’s design.
“A massive monochrome trend has hit Australian kids’ bedrooms at the moment,” said Rosenberg. “(There is) lots of bold black and white bed linen and art prints.”
“Another trend for furniture is a Scandinavian look with lots of light wood and clean lines”
With the likes of superheroes and Disney princesses saturating the children’s product market, Rosenberg keeps away from themed rooms.
“I don’t use kids themed characters in my room at all – I think it’s a real no no!” she said. “Children have enough of that in books, computer games and television. I would rather use colour and pattern – it’s a far more on trend look and I think kids get sick of cartoon characters pretty quickly.”
A themed room can also over-stimulate a child and the design itself offers minimal longevity. Rosenberg instead considers a child’s favourite colours, his or her personality and how he or she will use the space. She also works to complement the existing decor in the home.
From allergy-free carpet to non-toxic furniture, health and the environment are key.
“A lot of environmentally friendly furniture businesses are popping up and I really love them,” said Rosenberg. “I think many parents should be concerned about the toxins and chemicals that go into their kids bed linen – a lot of companies are coming out with price competitive bed linen but I would be very wary about what chemicals they are using.”
As its name suggests, The Natural Bedding Company in Sydney has natural latex mattresses that are toxin-free, ergonomic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, to name a few benefits.
Rosenberg also noted Plyroom, which has furniture that is non-toxic and free of VOCs, while cardboard furniture supplier the Karton Group has fully recyclable products that can be easily assembled and disassembled without tools.
There is also Tiny Kiosk, an Australian organisation that creates children’s furniture from cork and other natural materials.
Cork is a favourite material for children’s spaces thanks to its lightweight and soft attributes. In flooring and walls, it also offers thermal and acoustic benefits. Cork is sustainably harvested and has natural anti-bacterial properties.
As children grow, so too must their spaces.
A report titled Growth Design Analysis of Children’s Furniture states that “Children’s furniture should take full account of physical and physiological needs of children at different ages, and want improving in its shape and function.”
“…Furniture can meet the changes in the children’s aesthetic needs of a variety of colour schemes. Design should also consider the use of the safety and durability of materials, in order to extend the life cycle of children’s furniture,” it reads confirming Rosenberg’s design strategies above.”
Many parents will opt for full size furniture, dressers, wardrobes and so on, which will serve the child at all ages. Some furniture offers multiple uses; beds feature desks or cubby houses beneath them and rooms can be zoned so that one corner is for sleeping, one is for studying and one is for playing, with furniture that can seamlessly cater for each activity.
Quality is also the key to creating long-lasting design.
“I think investing in good quality pieces that are not going to change regularly such as a great bedside, desk and bed is a good idea,” said Rosenberg. “Other soft furnishings and art prints that don’t cost a fortune can be changed easy as the child grows and tastes change.”