Aka managing the plastic mountain!
Before I had kids I was given lots of helpful advice but no-one mentioned the risk of being engulfed in a mountain of plastic. At least these days with our focus on the environment there are more things made in beautiful materials but it still doesn’t lower the mountain. And so when friends have babies and I feel the urge to pass on my experiences I forget about sleep patterns, feeding methods and nappy brands and talk storage, storage, storage!
If you would like to create a lovely room for your child a great place to start is to think about the layout and function. Assess your space and work out how you can use every nook and cranny to squirrel away as much stuff as possible – ideally so that it is easily accessible.
The best investment you can make is in the purchase of clear plastic boxes with lids. They are wonderful because you can see exactly what’s inside when you lob everything in at the end of the day (resolutions of keeping things nicely divided up tend to vanish by bath-time) and can be stacked in wardrobes or cupboards. They are more expensive than cardboard but they last forever.
And they can be housed attractively - hidden away, so that no-one even knows that they are there. I have a beautiful antique, painted armoire that I added shelves to for all my plastic boxes. No-one would ever know that they are there – when the doors are closed it looks really quite elegant!
Another tip, is when you are buying your boxes (Ikea, B&Q, Tesco etc) don’t make them too big as they can get very heavy, unless you have a lot of larger toys.
Simple cubed furniture (Ikea Expedit shelving is an inexpensive option) is great for you and your kids to be able to see where everything is and can double as a room divider if you want to create a distinction between “adult” and “child” zones in your family living area.
Then once you have the function sorted you can have a lot of fun with aesthetics. The wonderful thing about children’s rooms is that you have a chance to unleash your creativity and to have some fun making a room that you and your children can really enjoy.
1. Choose a theme for your room – so that it looks great and all works together. If you don’t know where to start, pick a favourite fabric or colour and work from there. (www.quickbrownfox.co.uk has some lovely bedding)
2. Liven up the walls with a favourite colour – but if you want your child to sleep avoid very bright colours (like vibrant red and strong yellows) in the bedroom. Choose sooth and calming pastels and neutrals.
3. Consider black-out blinds or well-lined curtains – still with sleep in mind!
4. Paint a mural. Have a go yourself if you like to be creative. If not get someone in (David at Fresh and Co 07710 587 437 is local)
5. Add extra interest and warmth to the room with an area rug. They protect your carpet and can change the look of a room relatively easily (www.cool-rugs.co.uk has a range of good value, bold but fun, washable options)
6. Paint furniture. You can pick up small chairs, old desks, bookcases very inexpensively second-hand (try the Trinity Hospice shop on Putney Bridge Road) and then paint them with Annie Sloan Chalk paint really easily and add a design that suits you, your child and the space you have in mind (we run courses www.thedecorcafe.com)
7. Add a chalk board to the wall. Again, you can paint this on very easily with a small tin of chalk-board paint and you can use it in so many different ways – notes to self, they can create pictures, practice letters and play with others.
8. Put a collection of picture frames in a group on one of the walls for pictures of family and friends – or show off their own art-work as they grow and develop.
9. If you have space you might like to include a desk area, even when they are little. You may be blessed with a child who like to sit and colour and, even if not, sadly it won’t be long until there is homework – so a great habit to start early.
10. And finally, you can have some fun with lighting. Night-lights and lamps make a big difference to the feel of the room, creating atmosphere. (www.bobokids.co.uk have some really sweet lighting)
Enjoy! - We are running a fun and friendly event for busy Mums at Eddie Catz, Putney on Thursday 23rd (this week!) at 10.00am. If you would like more ideas please come and join us. Katie Hanna will be giving a talk. It is just £15 and if you would like to bring your little one Eddie Catz are providing a special child-care service for £7 for two hours.
Please contact Debbie for more information. Booking essential.
March 1, 2012