‘I’ve always loved interior styling. As a teenager, when not experimenting with electric blue mascara, I decoupaged an entire wall of my bedroom with beautiful images cut from Vogue magazine. I clearly should have got out more! And by the age of 22 I’d completely gutted and renovated my first home. The early years of motherhood though were interior design wilderness years. The all white sitting room I had declared a child free zone (I know, I know!) quickly became a shrine to neon plastic and my precious white carpet became stained with every fluid known to man. I soon gave up trying and anyway, it didn’t matter to me at the time, and I gave into the inevitable chaos and mess that comes with having three children. Looking back though, it would have been nice to have had at least one room as a sanctuary – after all, your home should make you happy. So, with looks, cost and practicalities in mind, here’s three tips that might help to keep your home this side of stylish, despite it being occupied with young children.
1. Paint. Everyone knows that Farrow and Ball paints are a no no with young children in the house. The colours might be dreamy but the paintwork can chip easily and it can’t be wiped clean. However, B & Q do a range of paints called Valspar which can be colour matched to anything. The Premium version of the paint (after a week or so of ‘curing’) can be scrubbed with a washing up scourer. So you can get your Farrow and Ball look but in a childproof finish. And what’s more, it’s half the price of real Farrow and Ball. Ok it won’t have the depth of pigmentation that Farrow and Ball is famous for, but it’s a good compromise.
2. Chalkboard walls. The current trend for white Scandinavian and monochrome interiors lend themselves very well to having a stylish but child friendly home. Washable white walls and moppable wooden floors mean easy cleaning. Where you haven’t got the Valspar paint, roll on the blackboard paint. It creates a stylish monochrome backdrop which can also be drawn all over by the kids. Brilliant for writing practice. Dark walks are also excellent for displaying art – it makes the colours in the artwork really stand out. Not only that, blackboard walls look even better when they’ve been chalked and rubbed off a few times.
3. Shelfies. The only areas of your home that you can have control over are the ones out of your child’s reach. Styling your shelves has become an art in itself with entire hashtags on Instagram dedicated to shelf styling. Check out #shelfie for inspiration. The basic rules are: a) only display things such as pictures, ornaments and books that you love and that make you happy. If it doesn’t make you happy, get rid of it by selling or recycling. b) Mix things of differing heights. A range of heights adds interest and you can use piled up books or magazines, for instance, to give items extra height. c) Juxtapose eras. A modern typographic print looks amazing, for instance, next to an antique item. d) Use a variety of textures. Think about the textures on your ornaments and vases and think about contrasting them. Houseplants on a shelf add amazing texture, colour and life and you can indulge your green fingers safe in that knowledge that little ones can’t reach to touch.
A Guest Blog from Dee Campling
Dee Campling is an interiors obsessive, a stylist and blogger who also runs ‘Styling Your Home: Four Steps to No Rules Interior Cool’ workshops in Cheltenham, York and London. Next one: 11th March Cheltenham. Click on website for further information and to register. You can also follow Dee on Instagram.
She lives in Cheltenham with husband Rob, their three children and a cockapoo named Ted.