Children’s rooms are so much fun to design and decorate – you can really be creative with colours, patterns and artwork, whilst channelling your inner kid (I’m sure we all have one lurking within us just waiting for an opportunity to break free.) There are so many wonderfully whimsical murals, pretty wall stickers, cushions, prints, bunting and banners out there to choose from. I have really enjoyed creating rooms for my girls which they can be proud of and enjoy spending time in.
But they also throw up their fair share of challenges – the main one being storage solutions for ALL. THEIR. STUFF. I mean mountains and mountains of tacky plastic has no place on ones Instagram feed, does it? And, quite frankly, it just hurts my eyes. I am the kind of mean mum who quietly siphons off anything I deem pointless to a box in the shed, which, when full goes to charity. The following day one of my children will ask me where her tea set is. She REALLY needs it all of a sudden, even though I haven’t seen her play with it for 2 and a half years. I then explain that it’s gone to the charity shop, feel terrible about it, promise her a new LOL doll to replace it, and so the cycle continues….
This is Molly. She is five and a half, and the youngest of my two daughters.
Her compact room used to be a guest bedroom for when my parents came to stay with us from their home in Wales. It had a loose kind of nautical theme, with Scion fish patterned wallpaper, a king-size bed, and distressed wooden furniture from Loaf. It was always pristine. Molly used to share a bunk bed with her sister Ruby in the more roomy bedroom at the front of the house. Fast forward a couple of years, and my husband and I were sporting the world’s largest eye bags from being disturbed night after night, so we decided to forego the luxury of a spare room to give Molly her own space, and us and her sister some sleep.
We painted two walls in Farrow and Ball ‘Oval Room Blue’, gave her a desk, added lots of lovely accessories from fabulous small businesses, and thought the room was finished. But slowly we realised (when her room was never tidy) that she needed more storage. Her toys and books were in a series of different boxes and baskets, and it all looked very messy. I decided a cupboard to hide everything in would definitely be the answer!
I didn’t want anything large or overbearing in such a small space, so decided to look for a child’s wardrobe. These are generally not as tall or wide as full-sized ones. After not being able to find anything that I liked online for my budget, I saw a post from one of my favourite Instagram accounts @tutuettata. This stunning feed displays the most beautifully painted kids furniture, and inspired me to search for something pre-loved which I could paint to co-ordinate with her room.
I found a plain John Lewis wardrobe with a shelf, hanging space and drawer listed on eBay for £100. I quickly snapped it up, and sent hubby off in our estate car to pick it up. Once we had manoeuvred it up the stairs and across the narrow landing into her room, I was happy that it was the perfect size and would solve our storage problem. The only issue was that it was rather ugly.
I collaborated with amazing paint company Frenchic, whose paints I have used before on my outdoor furniture, with much success. I opted for their aptly named ‘Ballerina’ (pale pink) furniture paint, with a clear wax to finish it off. They have a lovely range of paints and colours for indoor or outdoor jobs, and also stock high quality brushes.
The creamy paint went on nicely, but I did need three coats as the wardrobe finish was very grainy and I wanted to cover it completely. I lightly sanded between coats to ensure I had smoothed any drips or rough patches. I left each coat to dry for around 12 hours, but you only need wait a few hours. The wax was great too. I painted it on, left it to dry for an hour and then buffed with a old, soft cloth.
I am so thrilled with how pretty the wardrobe now looks. It has new cork handles from Etsy shop Room One Design which look great against the pale pink. I love how small details like fancy drawer pulls or knobs can really finish off a piece and make it even more original.
Molly now has one place to put all her books, toys and hang her dresses. I have put two boxes of all her small odds and ends inside, and she has filled the drawer with games, her beloved LOL dolls and jewellery. I put two woven pom pom baskets from Sunshine and Shade that I already had around the house on top of the wardrobe, which house the soft toys she doesn’t play with regularly.
What do you think? Feel free to comment below.
If you have a bit of a larger budget than I did, here are my top five favourite kids wardrobes available on the highstreet now:
Clockwise from top left:
Or of course, you could choose to buy second hand and up-cycle to give your child something totally unique. I hope after reading this, you feel challenged and inspired to give it a go!
Until next time.