Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Thing About Children...

...is that they just keep on growing. Growing and changing. Just when I think I have it sussed they move on to the next new thing, leaving me to catch up. Their needs, their wants, their hobbies and favourite things, they just keep on moving. Also, my children seem to have a lot of stuff.

We've been tinkering with Bella's bedroom these last few weeks, trying to create a bedroom which reflects her personality, gives her space to play and meets her rather, err...demanding storage needs. We refreshed the paint on the walls in a most disorganised and sloppy fashion. We went through cupboards and drawers, sorting as we went, filling five bags for the charity shop and as many for the recycling bin. We had a thorough spring clean and changed arrangements and moved toys and books around. But it's still not right and it's very much a work in progress.

Take this wall with the chest of drawers and wardrobe - she can't reach what's on top without standing on a chair.

These before and after photos look depressingly similar! I did tidy, honest.

 Even after a big tidy up it needs something to break up all that white.                                  


The pink wall has gone, along with the grubby fingerprints and peeling wall sticker that had been there since she moved into this room when she was two...


...and it's now clean and fresh with a picture ledge like the one we have in our room. We'd bought two and found we didn't need both so we used the second shelf here.


 Bella absolutely loves this shelf. She made the little arrangement you see below and has changed it six times since, putting her favourite books on display. It's deliberately high on the wall so that everyone who sits on her bed doesn't bang their head on it.


This little bedside table (just an old Ikea bedside cabinet with the door removed) which has served us so well for so long looks tired. It holds picture books perfectly but the trouble is, Bella doesn't really read those picture books so much anymore. For a bedtime story, she prefers us to read a chapter of an "older" book with her, something like Roald Dahl or Pippi Longstocking, or she reads her school reading book. The routines are changing. 


She likes somewhere to sit and write and draw, but she will soon have outgrown this little table and chairs, and need a proper desk.


Bella's main wish is lots of space to play which she has as it's a good size double room. She needs a proper bookcase I think; I would like to find an old one and paint it but the reality may well include a trip to Ikea for a small white Billy bookcase. Then she can reach all her books easily whenever she wants. I'd like to make her some new cushions in some brightly coloured fabric I've been dying to use. And crochet her a blanket (that's a long term project, definitely!). And do something to break up that big white wall. 

I found one box of picture frames in the under-stairs cupboard, and another under our bed. The black frames once held photos in the hall, and most of the white ones were on the wall above our bed before we decorated our bedroom. A collection from various places over the last ten years, none of them expensive of precious, but when I laid them out on the floor I had an idea. I think I will paint them in bright colours and hang them in a square arrangement similar to the one below.


Then Bella and I can fill the frames with pictures, embroideries, postcards, all sorts of pretty things. Again, another long term project.

How do other parents manage the storage issue? How do you create a room that will grow with your child? Any thoughts gratefully received! Although Bella annouced last night that she wants to share her room with Angus and have bunk beds. I think she actually wants the bunk beds a lot more than she wants Angus there, but she knows she can't have one without the other!

Last of all, thanks for your macaron suggestions. A couple of you recommended Nigella's How To Be A Domestic Goddess, which I have, so I will try that recipe. I will not be defeated by some egg white and ground almonds! 




42 comments:

  1. Such a pretty room. I'm going to be tackling my daughters room this weekend. Firstly sorting through clothes and hopefully finishing with some fresh paint. It is long overdue! xo

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  2. Hi Gillian, you have done a great job with Bella's room. I think the hardest thing I find is keeping on top of the mess, and the clutter. My boy also has his own ideas about what he wants and its hard to get something he likes that works with all the storage needs - that made me chuckle!I look at some people's kids rooms that are all monochrome say - and just wonder how they do it - I'm not being critical but I think you need to assert your own taste so much to keep you child's room like a wee designer haven. I guess I want to find a way to work with my kiddos so they feel its 'their' room. That is just what you did with Bella and that beautiful shelf. I guess this ramble is to say I don't have any answers but you look you are doing pretty well, that is a lovely room your wee girl has, Jo x

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  3. The best thing I bought for my daughter's room is a high sleeper bed. It was a Stompa one but second hand so not too expensive. My daughter sleeps up top and underneath is a bookcase, a large desk, a reading area which turns into a sleepover bed and masses of storage for dressing up clothes and board games. I need to get rid of her pink walls though!

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  4. I echo the above. I have seen many beautiful children's rooms. But they do not reflect the personality r growing and changing needs of the child who plays and sleeps in there. What's the point of that?

    You obviously know your little girl inside and out in the way you talk about her likes and changing needs. I think a child's room has to be practical - storage is always an issue when they are younger - and adaptable for when they get older and their interests and needs change.

    When we first moved into our house, Marc made a fabulous boat themed bedroom for Sam. It was brilliant. But he grew out of it within a couple of years, and so it all had to be ripped out.

    I didn't make the same mistake with Alfie. His walls are white. I touch them up with my trusty pot of paint under the sink. He has bunk beds, because he has lots of sleepovers. He has an alcove in which we have built shelves for lego, books, games and various paraphenalia. He has a few poster son his wall in plastic clip frames. These have been updated as he has got older.

    It's really a long-winded way of saying you are bang on with what you have already done with Bella's room. And can I just add that the picture frame idea is great. It's a lovely way to get some girly in there!!

    Happy decorating

    Leanne xx

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  5. What a pretty room Gillian ... I love your gallery wall idea and would love to something similar in my little girls room ... you have put me to shame ... we are still faffing about and her room is anything but finished ... I have lots going on in my head but little is actually happening ... and as for stuff ... we have so much as well ... it is a constant battle trying to keep it tidy ... Bee xx

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  6. I love what you have done to Bella's room. We got the boys a desk each from Ikea and they are fab, they were 14 each. We are still working on the storage issue and really need to get both of them some decent furniture (we bought argos' cheapest) as we had built in everything in our old house. I think I see a reorganisation coming along. You inspired me with the picture rail and we put two above our bed at easter and I will be getting more for the boys rooms

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  7. My daughter and I were only talking about the same sort of things the other day about children of today.She is 40 and has a boy 7 and girl 5 and the same sort of changing needs. I think back to when I was small or even my children, and we just didn't have as much "stuff". I can't talk as we certainly have accumulated some "stuff" as well over the years, especially as we are crafty types. Maybe not such a good thing at times. It all makes for an interesting life otherwise we may be bored.

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  8. Loving the picture frame arrangement - I have a very similar stash dotted about our house that I haven't used since we moved 18 months ago. I too feel a project coming on although it might have to be one for my space rather than the boys' rooms. They'd knock them off the wall in seconds!

    For storage in their rooms, we have a mix of things. A trusty 2x2 Ikea Expedit shelf unit holds books and deep square seagrass baskets with cars in them (I like the look of baskets much more than all their toys and baskets are great for tidying up quickly). I also got hold of some old wine boxes and nailed a couple on top of each other for a makeshift bookshelf - narrow and wide enough for lots of Louis' paperbacks. Luckily we have a built in narrow cupboard in Louis' room too where we stash bulky toys and big games. It's a never-ending battle to keep them in there though! And finally, under bed storage boxes are a godsend. If they're light enough (Ikea do small fabric ones and sturdier wooden ones on wheels), children can pull them in and out themselves so they're good to store every day toys as well as those they might not use as much - I just put those at the back!

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  9. It looks lovely! Lucky Bella. I've been clearing out too. I bought a set of drawers for 10euros which I repainted. Always struggling for space. Love the shelf. Something I want. You wouldn't think I lived with a carpenter :)

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  10. I love your idea of a wall of brightly coloured frames - you have worked wonders x

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  11. Lovely, very inspirational. I need to do something with a boys' bedroom, and I think it will also involve a trip to Ikea. I do always try and think ahead to when they will be older, so that things last and can be re-used in different ways.

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  12. I think Bella's room looks very nice and I love the projects you have planned for it. We are just now starting to think about getting our son a desk for his room; he's about a year older than Bella, I think, and it feels like it's time. I wish I had suggestions for storage; I tend to not keep many toys in the kids' rooms, we store them in the family room instead. Our family room is an all-purpose play/entertainment room. I know not everyone has a space like that, though. Each of mine has a bookcase for board games and bigger items and then they have a bookcase for books in the family room. I have a nine-cubicle storage unit with fabric bins which is working well; right now it holds a lot of stuffed toys but as they grow we can switch things out. Good luck, it's never easy to see them grow or to keep up with their changing needs! :)

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  13. It looks lovely especially the picture ledge. :) Both my children had built in beds with storage underneath. One is high with a desk and shelves the other just shelves. All their clothes and toys are stored in wicker baskets, that way as they get older and want to store different things the stuff that they have outgrown is taken out and passed on. I tend to go through their toys/stuff after birthdays and Christmas so we are not trying to store more than we have room for. They also have built in shelves for books.

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  14. I think the challenge of trying to keep up with children never really goes away! And the amount of stuff that seems to accumulate can be scary. H is a real magpie and hates anything being thrown out even if he doesn't use it any more which doesn't help! Baskets, plastic boxes, under-bed drawers, homemade bookcases ( made simply from planks of wood, little plastic brackety things from B & Q to screw the shelves at the right 90 degree angle to the upright bits and painted in bright colours to suit ) have all worked well over the years for us. I think Bella's room looks delightful and all your ideas are lovely! E x

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  15. That white wall looks so much better than the original pink wall, I think. I love the little garland and that shelf. I think storage is always going to be quite tricky, but looks like you done a great job tidying up the room.

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  16. What a lovely room, so pretty. We have plenty of storage in our bedrooms as we have fitted wardrobes and storage divans. Not the most modern things but at least we have plenty of storage space.

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  17. The room looks girly but stylish too. I guess you need to buy a bookcase and probably a bed which can store something inside it itself, because as soon as you don't have other room option, you will have to still keep more space in the present room of course, without jamming it.

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  18. I've been trying to do the same thing in Little Beas room.....she sleeps in the cupboard don't you know, we'll its a box room. When she was little she asked me why I made her sleep in the cupboard, I've felt guilt ever since, it is a very small room! And she has so much stuff! Those frames are going to look great together :) x

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  19. Looks great Gill, my house is full of lego and with most of it not having a home and more arriving all the time, I am in desperate need of a sort out....help!! x

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  20. Love it so true what you say I have 2 girls 4 and 7 very messy but the eldest Is improving ! We too have pink walls and need a change I am liking the white with added colour like your room .
    For storage we have under bed boxes full off junk ( precious items) for a desk a got a lovely bureau for £10 and painted it pink so lovely I wanted it myself but its great for storage and looks tidy.

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  21. Me again still waffling love shelf and another idea I made an easy patchwork bedspread and bunting for my eldest got a lovely matching fabric from an ebay shop and they sold coordinating bundles.it replaced the peppy pig duvet.also made bunting .I know what you mean about long term projects, love the blog so little time to much craft! Jenny ( in the very wet Lake District.

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  22. Morning, in my experience, the clutter does subside (mine are 13, 11 and 5)but, if you're like me, you feel compelled to keep some of the toys like train set and playmobil there is a long term storage issue too. I have also always found that if there is less out they enjoy what is out more. So saying my house is a total mess right now with the works. My ideal is to put minimal 'stuff' into the kids' new rooms but I suspect that there will be boxes in each one for some time. Sorry for waffling. I love Bella's room, the little shelf will be copied in Hannah's new room she loves arranging things too. The boys' rooms should be easy since they have less plastic tatt but more musical instruments and books. Thanks for listening to my waffle. katie x

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  23. Ikea expedit are brill - can hold books, boxes for storage and can add drawers too. I have seen some cute ones accessoried with nice paper or fabric behind the cubbies too but never got round to do this myself!

    P needs a wardrobe/ drawer combo thing and I still haven't painted her desk and upholstered her stool bought 2 years ago!

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  24. Bella's room looks very pretty! It is hard keeping on top of all the clutter, my girl is a real hoarder and keeps everything, I even found random pieces of kitchen foil in there today, who know what she as been keeping it for?! We got some Ikea Trofast storage units for Miss M's stuff and they seem to be working well...
    M x

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  25. What a pretty room. KP's room is rife for a makeover too - she keeps complaining that the room looks too childish! She wants to puts posters up of popstars etc. I think I'll just have to let her change it about this Summer - she's changing and I need to adapt too.
    June

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  26. gillian! such a lovely room! i've been on a big kick to de-clutter our house. of course, i don't really have the time to do it, so i just think about it a lot. your post is inspiring me though. maybe i'll start with gigi's room and go from there. it's ok if it takes a month or longer, right? gigi wants bunk beds too, although she will have to wait until her baby brother is no longer a baby.

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  27. Oh I just love this room! Very child-appropriate but stylish and 'real'. I think the key to changing tastes is definitely loads of storage. And neutral backgrounds where the items in the room are the focal point - like that lovely pink dolls' house.
    I am very jealous of your lovely picture ledge/shelf. Off to follow the link and hoping your previous post will tell me where it's from...

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  28. Ps also covering your rainbow garland! Please spill the beans on where that's from...!

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  29. I can definitely see a difference between before and after! I don't have any children so can't help with that side I'm afraid :) I love the frame idea though, I think that will be really effective as you can change the insides when it suits x

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  30. The bedroom looks so beautiful now after you've worked your magic in there.
    I'm sure your little girl is so happy and proud of her own space.

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  31. I love the room. Very cozy perfect to play in. The frame arrangemtn for the wall sounds like a great project. My granddaughter who is seven loves to make things to hang on the walls. She has bunk beds in her bedroom and she just loves them.

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  32. How cosy is does Bella's bed look with the cushions and the blanket.
    We have been decorating S's room for ages now. She has a couple of those fabric covered wooden framed pieces of furniture you can get from Argos. We dyed the white canvas pink. She has a wardrobe one for clothes and a shelved one for her games ad toys.
    I love the idea of lots of different frames so she can change things around as her tastes change as she grows.
    Lisa x

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  33. It's so cute and cosy! I love the new fresh, white wall and the shelf is adorable! Bella did a great job decorating the new shelf and I love the garland draped across it! The lamp is really sweet too! The picture frames are really great...such a nice collection you have there. I love your idea to paint them in fun, bright colors! I need to do a gallery wall in our living room, but first I need to get busy buying some new frames!

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  34. How fabulous!! I admire you for getting on with it! I tend to 'think' about things for too long rather than 'getting it done'
    For storage space in our spare room/craft room I'm seriously thinking about using an old wardrobe - take the doors off and use some pretty curtain for cover up.
    I'd be interested to know what sort of paint you use for photo frames - will you be priming first or just 'slapping it on'!! Would love to see them finished. xxx

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  35. Well done!!! I really need to do this!! In the same predicament with the books. My nearly 6 year old is exactly the same, just likes a chapter of his 'big' books now or his school book. We have gradually been shifting a few into his little brother's room...but some of them, he just doesn't want to give up!!

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  36. Ahhhhh.. children grow up in a flash! You have done a great job. Hugs

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  37. Love that she is styling her own shelf! I agree with some prior suggestions for a loft bed, if you don't like the high sort with a desk under there is a lower version with just a space underneath that you can fill with cushions and turn into a bit of a reading cave space. Also I am looking at getting my boy a desk with a hutch above it with shelves for his books and lego creations. It is a constant juggle isn't it, we are doing a big rearrange after we move. mel x

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  38. Bella's room looks lovely with the wall painted white, very peaceful and lots of room to play. The shelf is very sweet and ideal height as you said! I think I have the same amount of frames as you to fill (have/love the deep box ones!).
    Ivan

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  39. The room looks lovely and the idea of painting the frames in bright colour is perfect (I may have to "borrow" that idea)

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  40. Bella's room looks lovely, and I have to say I don't think she seems to have too much stuff at all. I've just been sorting out A's room - installing more bookcases and moving things around a bit. I actually took the "tidy" photos this morning so will be posting the before & after very soon!

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  41. colorful interior designing and interior decoration!

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