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How to make the most of colour in kids' bedrooms

From the Resene decorating blog

Don't be afraid to embrace colour, says interior designer Anna Cuthbert from Cuthbert Interiors, because every time you look at it you'll feel good.

As fads come and go and little kids become big kids, decorating your child's room can be tricky. Your child's tastes are constantly changing, and their room needs to change as much as they do. That might simply mean a change in paint colour, a more sophisticated duvet cover or a desk that's suitable for homework as opposed to toddler artwork. Or it might mean a complete overhaul. Either way, a child's bedroom design should be fun and functional, and colour is a great place to start.

A cheerful kids bedroom

"Don't be afraid to embrace colour," says interior designer Anna Cuthbert from Cuthbert Interiors, "because every time you look at it you'll feel good."

Juicy hues of lemon, orange and berry create a fun, energising atmosphere, while nature's garden-fresh greens and summer sea blues provide a fresh, relaxing feel. A soothing wall colour like lavender or pale blue creates a calming, ready-to-sleep environment.

"For infants and young children I use soft colours 'colours that aren't too bright 'that induce good sleep patterns," says Anna. "So you could do very pale yellow for boys or very pale duck egg blues for boys or girls. I've used Resene Robin Egg Blue and Resene Smalt Blue, both from the Resene Karen Walker range. Or you could use colours like Resene Escape (a pale cerulean blue) and Resene Flourish (a soft lime)."

A feature wall can add spice to a room without overwhelming it and it's easy to update as your child grows.

"Try a soft pink room (Resene Slipper) with a bright pink feature wall (Resene Ballerina)," says Resene colour consultant Becca Long. "Alternatively, use a metallic paint (Resene Enchanted) as a feature for a 'pretty pink' girl's room, from the Resene KidzColour chart."

Another colourful bedroom idea: See "Minecraft magic"

Another colourful bedroom idea: See "A sparkly night light"

Or create a fun, playful vibe by pairing stripes and bright colours.

"Mask out stripes or some funky chevrons with masking tape and have fun with a variety of colours," says Becca. "Red, blue and white stripes are classic for a young boy's room. Try Resene Get Reddy, Resene Super Duper and Resene Alabaster.

"Or try a bold, yellow racing stripe around your child's room, using Resene Fizz. Then, to make the stripe even cooler, coat the stripe in Resene Write-on Wall Paint, a clear paint that allows you to write on your wall with whiteboard markers."

Resene Blackboard Paint makes a fun, interactive backdrop for a bedroom, too, and walls and storage closets can be painted with Resene Magnetic Magic to allow your kids to tack up artwork, lists, notes and word magnets.

For the perfect finishing touch, add cheerful accents like rugs, throws, cushions and bed linens, which can be changed as easily as your child's interests.

"I often custom-make rugs for kids bedrooms," says Anna. "In the past I've done great big multicoloured dots that have been scattered across bedroom floors, to surf boards, to standard colour neutral shaggy pile purple rugs that coordinate. I like putting rugs in bedrooms because they define a play space and they keep an area warm, especially if you've got a timber floor. Even with stone floors and underfloor heating, the floor is warm but it's not tactile, so it's nice to put down a rug."

Mixing styles (stripes, florals and geometric shapes, for example) can work well if you stick to a consistent colour palette. A flurry of patterns can also be broken up by using plenty of neutrals in between.

But if you're stumped on where to begin, take a leaf out of Anna's decorating book.

"I usually start with the fabric, whether it be a feature curtain, a bedhead, a particular cushion to throw on the bed, or a crochet blanket their grandmother has made," she says. "I use those colours as a starting point and work from there."

A complementary paint colour can then be used on the walls, along with wallpaper, if desired, but Anna suggests limiting your surface finishes.

"In my son's room we had wallpaper on two walls, a very white paper with racing cars on it, and then paint on two walls, which balanced it out. But I wouldn't use more than two different surface finishes. So it would be wallpaper on one and paint on three, or wallpaper on two and paint on two. Or paint on all four, but one or two being a strong feature wall."

As your child will be spending a great deal of time in their bedroom, it's critical that they feel at home in it. It's a good idea to involve them in the decorating process, although that might mean compromising.

"The last room I gave my son a fandeck of colours and the fabric that I'd already chosen for him and he chose a blue. It didn't quite match the fabric, but it worked," says Anna.

If your children share a room but don't share the same favourite colour, picking a colour for the walls can be difficult.

"Try masking out a fun pattern like polka dots and incorporate all their favourite colours in a funky pattern," says Becca.

When a boy and girl are bunking together, it gets even trickier.

"To suit both genders, try mixing limes and pinks. This combo will add both a feminine and a masculine feel to the room," Becca advises.

Or go for completely gender-neutral colours to make both kids feel at home.

Think beyond pale blues and pinks though if you want your chosen paint colour to grow with your child. Becca suggests looking at 'transitional colours', colours that will take your child through their ages and stages from toddler to teen.

"Resene Sports Star is a great soft blue that a young boy can easily carry through to his teenage years," she says. Resene Eighth Stonehenge, a changeable muted grey, is another colour that will easily adapt with your children as they grow.

In any case, do embrace colour.

"I think the more you expose kids to colour at an early age the more they will appreciate it and enjoy it as they grow up," says Anna. "Enjoy yourself. Be happy. Embrace it."

December 15, 2016

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