Leo & Grace Edits: Colourful Lighting

One of the things I find most satisfying about my job is introducing my interior design clients to new products and brands, and I’d love to start to share some of this with you all too. The idea is that over time, I will build up a really useful resource where you can access my edit of some of the very best products around. I want to provide lots of inspiration, a selection of items across all budgets and hopefully introduce you to new brands you may not yet have discovered.

In this first edit, I’m sharing my favourite choices for colourful pendant lighting for children’s rooms.

When choosing overhead lighting, try not to limit your search to children’s interiors shops, look for interesting colours and textures that complement the rest of your decor, and also (a tip unique to kids’ room design!) remember to consider any shadows that your light might produce to avoid any unnecessary sleepless nights.

Here are my favourites:

I’d love to know if you found this feature useful, and if so what else you’d like to see in any future Leo & Grace Edits.

Displaying Children's Artwork in your Home

As we near the end of my son’s year in Reception, we have already accumulated masses of artwork and I’m far too sentimental to just throw it all out with the recycling. Instead, I am planning on editing it and finding creative ways to display some of my favourite pieces around our home. I wanted to share with you some of my inspiration as well as some handy tips on keeping a record of those sweet scribbles that don’t quite make the cut.

First up, the gallery wall. The very best gallery walls are made up of a mixture of photographs, prints, artwork and artefacts, grouped together in a contrasting frames, or even just pinned or taped on to the wall. They should evoke feelings and memories, and there’s no reason at all why children’s artwork shouldn’t be included. Below are some of my favourites to give you the inspiration to create your own:

Photo Credits: Zoe Young Interiors and Finlay Fox

If you want to rotate artwork as and when new masterpieces are brought home, there are some very clever frames available that allow you to easily switch out pictures. I also like to use clips, washi tape or command strips to pin up smaller pictures on to the wall which can be swapped out easily enough over time.

Alternatively, you may wish to create a display dedicated solely to your kids’ masterpieces. Perhaps you have a bare wall in the kitchen or playroom that’s crying out for some colour and personality. If you’re aiming to create a display solely from artwork, in my opinion this works best when there is some order to your display.

In these rooms, inexpensive cork board has been used simply and effectively to provide a structured display:

Photo Credits: Pinterest, Young House Love, The Lily Pad Cottage

Whilst different frames painted in the same colour, magnetic wall displays or artwork displayed in neat rows provide a sense of order.

Photo Credits: The Caterpillar Years, via BHG, via Brit + Co

There are also some fabulous makers out there specialising in creating keepsakes from your kids’ artwork, check out Barney & Wilf for these amazing collages, or Periwinkle and Clay who can transfer your kids’ artwork on to clay tiles, both would make incredibly personal gifts.

What I love about kids’ art displays is that they’re ever changing, encourage creativity, and are unique to your family. I’d absolutely love to see your own displays, tag me in your posts with #leoandgrace

Guest Blog: A Bedroom Built for Sleep

Decorating a nursery for the first time feels like a rite of passage for any new parent. It’s a really exciting time when you’re expecting your first baby and you want to make everything as perfect as possible. And toddler rooms, oh my, is it possible for bedroom designs to get even cuter than a nursery…apparently so! 

But let’s not forget that the primary function of our child’s bedroom is as a sleeping space, and so we should keep this at front of mind when choosing a design. Here are five key principles to consider when making your design choice:

Use of a muted colour palette will help to keep stimulation levels down. Image Credit: Touijer Designs

1.    Keep stimulation levels low

For a newborn, everything is exciting and they very easily get over-stimulated which makes it hard for them to calm down and fall asleep. So keep colours muted, especially near the cot. Brightly coloured murals or wall decorations are a lovely addition to a baby’s room, but keep them away from the cot, they don’t need to be staring a giraffe in the face at close range when they’re trying to fall asleep. Likewise, brightly coloured cot mobiles are fab for when you need to park your baby somewhere safe and interesting while you fold laundry, but it won’t help your baby unwind and go to sleep. So if you want one, get one that can be easily removed for naps and bedtime. 

An older child can handle a more brightly coloured room and interesting wall decorations near to their bed. What they can’t handle though is seeing all their favourite toys just sitting there asking to be played with when they’re trying to be good and go to sleep. Toys should be stored so that they’re not on display, and bedrooms should be neat and tidy at bedtime. It’ll be hard for a little boy to fall asleep with a dinosaur battle going on in the middle of the bedroom floor and clothes strewn where they were thrown off. Tidy up before bed then start fresh again the next day. 

Storing toys away in concealed units will help to create a restful sleep environment. Photo Credit: Leo & Grace

2.     Light levels

Little people need darkness to sleep well. Your child’s body (and yours for that matter) produces melatonin when it’s time to go to sleep, and this hormone helps them to fall asleep and stay asleep. The production of this hormone is impaired by light, especially blue spectrum light, so it’s important to keep light levels low in the hour before bed and then as dark as possible through until morning. To make matters worse kids are hardwired to wake early, so in order to try and get them to sleep past dawn we need to keep the morning sunlight out of their room and prevent it from effectively dissolving all of that lovely melatonin which has been keeping them (hopefully) nicely asleep all night. 

So, what does this mean in terms of bedroom design for your child? Blackout and more blackout is what it means! I always advise parents of early risers or troublesome nappers that they should go for a double layer of blackout on their child’s bedroom window. I’m talking blackout roller blinds set within the window recess and then the blackout lined curtains of their choice over the top. 

For a young baby who is still taking night feeds you need to consider how you’re going to light the room enough to feed them but not enough to wake them up fully and impact their melatonin production. The answer to this one is thankfully quite simple, just replace the bulb of a small lamp with a red bulb. Red light is the opposite to blue light and will have the least impact on the production of melatonin. 

For older children you should avoid using night-lights if possible so as to keep melatonin production as high as possible. If they absolutely won’t sleep in the dark, then use a dim red night-light as above but keep it away from their bedside. 

Layering up window dressings will help with early risers or troublesome nappers. Image Credit: Price Landing

3.    Noise

Young babies can sleep through lots of background noise but as they get older they’re more easily disturbed by household noises. This can have a big impact in the early morning when a parent gets up early for work, traffic noises begin to build outside, or the birds start singing their dawn chorus. In order to encourage longer sleep you need to drown out these noises, and a great way of doing that is by using white noise. You can buy white noise machines or if you have a spare device you can simply download an app. The nice thing about white noise is that it’s portable and when you travel it can instantly make a new environment seem more familiar. If you use white noise it should be quite loud, up to 50 decibels (you can download an app to check the sound level), and it should be used all night long so that there is complete consistency in their environment from start to finish. 

Use of white noise will drown out any household or external noise. Photo Credit: Liberty Interiors

4.    Temperature

The Safer Sleep Charity, The Lullaby Trust, states that to conform to safer sleep guidelines a baby’s bedroom should be between 16 and 20C at night. Whilst this is relatively easy to adhere to in the winter with the use of a thermostat, in summer it’s significantly more difficult but the use of fans and iced water bowls can help. And when it comes to bedroom design you should also take temperature into account. Don’t plan to have your baby’s cot next to a radiator or in direct sunlight as this can lead to overheating. Likewise sleeping next to a window can get rather chilly in the winter. 

Wherever possible, try to position your cot or child’s bed away from the window and radiators. Photo Credit: Bre Purposed

5.    The bed

And finally, what should the bed itself look like? For a newborn, the answer is BORING! For the first year there should be nothing in the cot with your baby, not a thing. No bumpers, no pillow, no duvet, no entire zoo of cuddly toys…. just your baby and the blankets or sleeping bag that they need to keep warm at night (and dummy if you choose to use one). If you choose blankets they need to be tucked in under the mattress and come up as high as their armpits in order to prevent them pulling them over their head and overheating. The same goes for a canopy over the cot, for a newborn this is a no-no. 

Once your baby gets a little older then you can introduce any of these things, but I always advise parents to continue with a sleeping bag and cot rather than duvet and bed for as long as possible in order to aid a full night’s sleep for everyone. 

Keep the cot entirely free of bumpers, pillows, duvets and toys for the first year. Image Credit:  Almost Makes Perfect

Keep the cot entirely free of bumpers, pillows, duvets and toys for the first year. Image Credit: Almost Makes Perfect

Bedroom design is an important part of encouraging great sleep for little people and their families, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like some help getting into good sleeping habits with your baby from the start, or you need to fix an existing sleep problem with a toddler then get in touch to find out what working together might look like for you and your family. You can find out more about me and my work by visiting my website www.sleeprocks.co.uk.  Follow me on Facebook and Instagram @sleeprocks

Natalie is a certified child sleep consultant and a mother to three young boys. She is passionate about sleep and the benefits to the whole family that a great night sleep brings. As well as running regular sleep workshops in London and the South East, Natalie works one-on-one with families to help them achieve their sleep goals with her supportive and calm approach.


Room Tour: Rufus & Scarlett's Tropical Shared Room

A kid’s bedroom is a great place to experiment with bolder shades that you might be hesitant to use elsewhere in the house and it’s very rewarding when you do!
— Anna, Rufus & Scarlett's Mum

I first met Anna at a social media workshop and most recently worked with her on a stunning pre-teen girl’s room mural which I hope to share with you all very soon. Anna has such a talent for transforming quite ordinary spaces with the use of colour and pattern, you can see much more of her work over on her website: Anna Proctor but just to give you a taster here are a few of her projects:

Please can you tell me a bit about yourself and the kids? 

I’m Anna, a muralist and colour consultant and I have two kids, Rufus who's 6 and Scarlett who’s 4. We live in Battersea in a renovated mid century house.

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How would you describe your style when it comes to interiors? 

My style is quite eclectic really. I love to play with pattern and colour and to use a mix of both old and new furniture and accessories, but I don’t like anything that’s too fussy.

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What was your inspiration for your kids’ room?

We used to live in the Bahamas, where Rufus was born and where I became pregnant with Scarlett. The rough exposed beams are quite typical of beach bars there, so we decided to embrace that feeling with a palette of coral, white  and aqua and motifs- palm trees, leaves and a scalloped half walls which are reminiscent of some of the Loyalist cottages you can find in the islands.

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What do Rufus and Scarlett love most about their room? 

All the space! It used to be the master bedroom and bathroom but we knocked through to make one big playroom and shared bedroom. They’re very lucky to have the biggest bedroom and it’s fantastic to have all their toys in there too.

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Could you share any advice for designing a shared kids room?

I would try to allocate the same amount of storage space for each child so they feel equal and it’s ‘fair’. It’s also a good idea to have some display space high up that younger siblings can’t reach and ‘sabotage’. My son is really into Lego so we have a display of it on top of his wardrobe which his sister can’t get to! She has some of her toys that she doesn’t really want him to play with above her wardrobe too.

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What would you say to someone who’s hesitant about using bolder colours?

I would say that adding colour with bedding, cushions and blankets is a great place to start. However, to really change the feel of a room you need to add colour to the walls. A kid’s bedroom is a great place to experiment with bolder shades that you might be hesitant to use elsewhere in the house and it’s very rewarding when you do!


Where are your fave places for great kids’ decor?

I love HoneyRocks London for their gorgeous homewares- rugs, baskets, peacock chairs and cushions, Ferm Living has great lighting and textiles. I have to say that I also love Zara and H+M - they have on trend sweet accessories that are very affordable. 

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Thank you so much Anna for allowing me to share Rufus and Scarlett’s room.

Finally, I also wanted to add that Anna’s gorgeous little nephew Teddy is currently undergoing treatment for neuroblastoma and I wanted to share a link to his fundraising page. Anna and I would both be ever so grateful for any contributions towards his treatment:


You can also follow Teddy’s journey on his mum Emma’s Instagram page: Mamaandtbear

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Leo & Grace Edits: Toddlekind - Prettier Playmats

As parents we make a lot of compromises, but I believe we shouldn´t compromise on the stylish interiors of our homes. After being disappointed with the choice available on the market, I sought to create a range of playmats that would exceed in safety and quality for baby, but also appeal to stylish parents. Our playmats deliver on practicality, beauty and safety.
— Samantha Brueckner, Toddlekind
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I could not agree more with the words of Toddlekind founder and mum of two Samantha Brueckner. I have always loved interiors, and when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I was so excited at the prospect of decorating his nursery, only to be brought back down to the ground with a bump when I saw the appalling choice of decor available on the high street. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that my own home is decorated in shades of grey and inky blues, with pale natural woods and scandi-boho details. The last thing I wanted was to fill it with clashing primary colours and plastic toys.

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After many months of research, I discovered lots of small independent brands, who were filling this gap in the market. Many of these were mums and dads looking to carve out a more flexible way of working for their families. This inspired me to start my own children’s interior design business, and one of the areas of my business I am most passionate about is introducing my clients to small independent brands they wouldn’t necessarily find themselves.

I was therefore thrilled to discover Samantha Brueckner’s new baby interiors brand Toddlekind. Samantha is a British mum of two living in Germany who decided to address a gap in the market for stylish playmats and developed their Prettier Playmats - a range of playmats that fit into the beautiful design of your home.

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Samantha has poured so much of herself into her brand, from the name itself which reflects her family’s dual nationality (‘kind’ is German for child) to the style of her playmats which are inspired by both her Persian heritage and the Nordic interiors that are so popular in her home in Northern Europe.

Toddlekind playmats are made up of 60x60cm foam puzzle pieces which can be interlinked seamlessly to create exactly the right sized mat for your space. They are available in three sizes- standard 120x180cm (6 piece mat), large 180x240cm(12 piece mat) and playroom size 240x360cm (24 piece mat).

The brand launched in November 2018 with two collections: the contemporary Nordic Collection is inspired by the clean geometric lines so often seen in Scandinavian interiors, and is available in four colours: pebble, petroleum, vintage nude and neo matcha.

In contrast the Persian Collection is reminiscent of a faded shabby chic Persian rug, also available in four colours: smoke, sand, blossom and sea-spray.

Aesthetically, Toddlekind playmats will work beautifully in any family space in lieu of a rug and the beauty is that you won’t want to hide it away once your child goes to bed.

But it’s not just about style, the mats are also incredibly practical. Toddlekind have sourced non-toxic, odourless foam which has been rigorously tested by an independent laboratory in Germany to exceed EU and US safety standards. The mats provide a safe, soft and padded surface for babies learning to explore, are easy to wipe down and keep clean, and equally suitable as a softer surface for older ones to play on.


My 2 year old daughter has balance and coordination difficulties and it gives me great peace of mind knowing that if she falls we have a soft surface to protect her. By contrast my 4 year old loves to use the mat for gymnastics practice and again it gives me comfort knowing he is doing this safely. Even I can use it for my pilates, on the rare occasion I get some precious time to myself!

I hope you all love Samantha’s designs as much as I do. You can read lots more over at www.toddlekind.com

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This blog post is a paid partnership with Toddlekind, but all words and opinions shared are very much my own.

Gift Guide - Pretend Play

In the first of my Christmas Gift Guides, I wanted to showcase some of my favourite children’s role play toys.

Having a girl and a boy, one of my biggest frustrations is the gender stereotyping with toy shops full of pink kitchen and dolls’ accessories and blue tool sets, and don’t even get me started on the cheap brightly coloured plastic.

Instead, I’ve selected some beautifully designed toys, suitable for both boys and girls alike, that will engage your children’s imagination and look great in your homes.

I hope this is helpful, I’d love to know what you think.

  1. Kiko+ & GG* Sushi £49

  2. Kids Concept Coffee Maker Set Natural £42

  3. Polly Empty metallic basket £9

  4. Plan Toys Doctor Set £25

  5. OYOY Doll’s Bed £75

  6. Sebra Tool Kit £27

  7. Kids Concept Wooden Play Register £32.50

  8. Cam Cam Copenhagen Oven Gloves £11.95

  9. Petit Jour Doll’s Stroller £39

Room Tour: Neve's Pretty Scandinavian Nursery

Take your time and invest in a good nursing chair! We bought the basic furniture and a few accessories, but the majority of accessories and artwork has come over time as I started to learn about Neve’s personality.
— Ruth, Neve's Mummy

Continuing my series of blog posts showcasing rooms designed by talented mums and dads, I’m delighted to share baby Neve’s nursery with you. This precious Scandi-inspired room was designed by her clever mummy Ruth.

What I love most is that Ruth has expertly designed a room for Neve that complements the rest of their home, without compromising on her own style and tastes. She has cleverly picked up on colours used throughout their home so that this beautiful room fits seamlessly, and she has designed a room that takes into account her own needs as well as Neve’s, something that parents often naively overlook, for example a comfortable chair to nurse in, a day bed for sleepless nights, and finer details like hanging a mobile over the changing table to keep Neve entertained.

If you love Ruth’s style as much as I do, you can see more of their beautiful home over on Instagram.


Please introduce yourself and tell me a bit more about your family?

I'm Ruth and I live in Twickenham with my husband Alex and our 8-month-old baby girl, Neve. I'm currently on mat leave from Disney, where I've worked in various marketing roles for pretty much my whole career.  Working for Disney is a dream job, but nothing beats being a mum! This year has also given me some extra time to focus on the house, and decorating Neve's room in particular has been the highlight!


How would you describe your home interiors style?

I'm obsessed with Scandinavian design! I love the simplicity and practicality of Scandi interiors. I have a busy mind but have found over the years that bright, simple surroundings make me feel more relaxed and calm. I also seem to be on a mission to use every shade of Farrow & Ball grey paint in our home! For Neve's nursery, I chose Dimpse as it's a delicate cool grey that made the room feel really light and happy. It wasn't my first choice though! I'd originally gone for warmer greys as I thought they'd be quite cosy, but once they were on the wall they just didn't feel right for a baby girl's nursery. It's so important to invest in tester pots!!


What was your starting point when planning Neve’s room?

The furniture - I found the Oliver Furniture cot bed when I was scouring Pinterest and completely fell in love with it! It was quite expensive so I spent hours looking for something similar but nothing compared! Plus, the room is located in the eves and an awkward shape so I needed quite a low wardrobe and Oliver Furniture had a gorgeous matching cupboard that was a perfect fit for the space. The furniture was definitely an investment, but it's incredibly solid and well-made and will last a very long time (until she's around 9!). I then pulled together a mood board with some key accessories I found, along with my preferred colour scheme and it went from there!


What do you love most about Neve’s room?

We also invested in a quality nursing chair and footstool from Olli Ella. It's probably my favourite thing in Neve's room. It really supports my back and makes feeding so comfortable, which has helped us have some really important bonding time over the last few months.


What does Neve love most about her room?

Her rainbow and swan mobiles! From the day she was born, we've had her musical rainbow mobile above her changing mat and she literally smiles and giggles every time we pull the cord! It's made changing time a joy as opposed to a chore. She also loves watching the swans dance above her in her cot.


One of the things I love most about Neve’s room is that you’ve planned a room that will last and chosen furniture that will grow with her.  Do you anticipate making any changes as she gets older?

We currently have a day bed in the room so when Neve's cot needs to extend we will remove that and replace with her longer cotbed. At that point I'd love to create a cosy reading corner with a canopy or teepee and loads of cushions.


What advice would you give to other new mums when planning their baby’s first nursery?

Take your time and invest in a good nursing chair! We bought the basic furniture and a few accessories, but the majority of accessories and artwork has come over time as I started to learn about Neve's personality. I'm still constantly adding bits now and I love it! Pinterest's great for inspiration but Instagram is also amazing!


Could you please share some of your favourite brands for decorating a baby’s room?

My go-to websites are The Modern Nursery, Scandiborn and Kidly. I also love Oliver Furniture for furniture; Olli Ella for nursing chairs and other cute accessories; Cam Cam Copenhagen for beautiful and really good quality accessories - from mobiles and cushions to muslins and changing mats; and Mrs Mighetto for stunning limited-edition prints.


Storage Solutions - IKEA Kallax-Friendly Baskets

With options that can go on the floor, the wall or even on castors, the KALLAX storage furniture series has a lot to offer you. The clean, simple design, and the big variety of shelving units and more, make it flexible enough for almost any need.

The IKEA Kallax (Expedit) shelving range makes its way into many children's bedrooms and playrooms, and for very good reasons. It's extremely affordable, flexible storage, and given that most parents are looking to conceal brightly coloured toys, the endless options for boxes, baskets and doors do just that.  

I thought I’d share my round-up of alternative Kallax-friendly storage boxes and baskets if you’re looking for something a little different to the standard IKEA offering:

Room Tour: Edith and Maggie's Contemporary Heritage Rooms

Our home isn’t minimal, but it’s important to me that everything has its place.
— Helen, Edith & Maggie's Mum

Continuing my series of blog posts celebrating rooms designed by creative mums and dads, I'm delighted to share two really unique girls' rooms on the blog both designed by their talented mum Helen, wonderfully showcasing how heritage pieces such as old school desks and chairs and other unique pieces can work beautifully alongside more contemporary design. 


Tell me more about your family and the business?

We are Helen and John Shaw and we live in a small village called Ewhurst in the Surrey Hills with our two daughters Edith (7) and Maggie (5).  Just over four years ago, we started our business Blue Ticking which is an interiors brand specialising in restoring and celebrating heritage pieces.


We sell unique, individual, heritage pieces such as desks, chairs and storage, but also have a range of more contemporary products including peg boards and prints by brands including Wonder & Rah, Ingrid Petrie and Gayle Mansfield.


What prompted the redecoration of your girls' rooms? 

We recently converted our loft to gain a new en-suite master bedroom, which also required us to update all of the ceilings on the floor below to bring them up to required fire safety standards.  This meant that those bedrooms also needed redecorating, so we took the opportunity to move Maggie into our old bedroom and redecorate both of the girls' rooms.


Where did you get your ideas and inspiration for the girls' rooms?

Whilst planning our loft conversion I spent a lot of time on Pinterest and I also use Instagram a lot for our business.  I became drawn to the dark side and knew I wanted to do something quite dramatic with one of the girls' rooms.  I found an image on Pinterest that had dark blue walls with pops of neon pink and this gave me the idea for Edith's room to go for Farrow & Ball Stiffkey Blue on the walls, with the pink wall stickers around her bed.  

Edith has recently developed a passion for reading but she didn't really have anywhere to sit and read, so I created a book corner in her room with shelves made by husband John (the other half of Blue Ticking) to display all her books, and a Love Frankie beanbag.  Both the girls love spending time there flicking through their favourite books.


With Maggie's room, I knew I wanted to use a half-wall painted effect but wasn't too sure on colours.  I didn't want it to be too young for her and in the end I chose Farrow and Ball Green-Blue which is a lovely soft warm colour and perfect in her south-facing room.  I knew I wanted to use the Ham Rabbit wall sticker in her room and the half-painted wall is a perfect backdrop for it.


We already had most of their furniture so didn't change too much, but added lots of storage and places for them both to display their trinkets and treasures in a fun and stylish way.

Do you have any tips for toy storage throughout the home?

Storage is so important, our home isn't minimal but everything has its place and it's important to me to tidy everything away at the end of the day.  

We use concealed storage such as our Blue Ticking "Maggie" stools, vintage enamel pots with bespoke ticking seating pads, to hide away toys we don't particularly want to be looking at.  Edith has one in her room for her Barbie dolls and we also use one in the kitchen for their hats, scarves and gloves.  

We use fun, colourful wire baskets, pegs and wall shelves to maximise storage.  Toy storage needs to be practical and it's got to work so they can access the things they want to play with, but also know where to tidy them at the end of the day.  Both Edith and Maggie also have little boxes for all their special things.


We absolutely love our Maggie stool, we use ours to store all the kids' shoes and it also doubles up as our naughty step!  How does Edith feel about the fact her little sister has a product named after her?

She's really not very happy about it!  She reminds me nearly every day that I still need to name something after her and I do feel guilty but it has to be the right product, it's definitely on my to-do list! 

How did your collaboration with Gayle Mansfield come about?

I'm a big fan of Gayle's work, and I wanted to add some individual prints to our shop that reflected things our girls say all the time, and that would also resonate with our customers and fit with Gayle's brand too.  We went with "Treats" and "It wasn't me" as they're favourite phrases in our house.  


How do you achieve the right balance of modern and vintage in a kids' bedroom?

My advice would be to not overthink it.  If I love something, I go for it.  I would suggest choosing 2-3 statement heritage pieces, for example a school desk and chair and maybe a chest of drawers and then adding more modern bed linen and prints on the walls and build it up from there until you're happy with it.  

I am forever changing things around in the girls' rooms, adding new prints and moving things.  We need new carpets, and Maggie's room still hasn't got any curtains.  She also needs a bigger desk now but that's the beauty of kids' rooms you can change them up as they grow older.


Which are your favourite brands for kids decor?

One of my favourites is Love Frankie for bedding, cushions and Edith has a bean bag from there too.  I also love This Modern Life and both of the girls have a shelf in their rooms from Molly Meg.

Thank you so much to Helen for allowing me to share Edith and Maggie's rooms.  

If you want to see more of Helen's gorgeous home including her stunning studio space, head over to her page @blueticking and if you're after any heritage pieces to give a really unique and personal touch to your child's room her website is www.blueticking.co.uk


Storage Solutions - Cuddly Toys

Often, when I visit a client for the first time, one of the most common things I see is a long furry line-up of brightly coloured friends along the entire length of the child's bed.  It's one of parents' pet hates and near the top of their list for solving.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not completely heartless and I realise how attached kids get to their cuddly toys and comforters, but I do think one or two is sufficient for the bed and there are plenty of alternative and fun ways to store the rest.

In Thomas' room, I opted for a bed with a built-in bench at the end which is the perfect spot for a select few of his friends to hang out.  The rest are tucked away in storage bags and are allowed out on rotation!

In Georgia's room, I've used a dolls' crib to store her cuddly toys.  It's getting a little cosy now, but keeps them all in one place where she can easily access them and it encourages her to tidy them up at the end of the day as "we put them to bed" before she gets into her own cot.

Small Stuff Dolls Crib


Whilst shelving is of course an option, I feel like we're just shifting the problem from the bed to the shelves, so unless it's a couple of well chosen toys mixed in with other decor, I'm not convinced it's the answer.  


However, if you really don't mind them all being on display and just want a place for them to be put away at the end of the day there are plenty of options, ranging from toy hammocks, to swings and even dedicated soft toy zoos.  Personally, I'm just not convinced that they all need to be on display, all of the time, but if that doesn't bother you or you have a very tasteful collection then they're definitely worth considering.


Floor space is often incredibly tight in children's rooms, and it's wise to make the most of any unused wall space.  These wall bars by Kaos are a great idea for storage, take up very little space and the bars are perfect for favourite cuddly toys to be tucked behind with the others hidden in fabric bags.  I wouldn't suggest these for a younger child's room as there's always a temptation they'll try to climb them, but use your own judgement here.

Photo Credit:   Kaos

Photo Credit:  Kaos


A similar idea to make use of unused wall space would be to use hanging wall pockets to display a few favourites.  Numero 74, Ferm Living and 3 Sprouts are all good options.

Photo Credit:   @mreiness

Photo Credit:  @mreiness

As for the rest, into bags, boxes and baskets they go:


One of my go-to brands for storage bags is Tell Kiddo.  They have a range of natural coloured paper and fabric bags.  Not only are they brilliant quality, the bold typography and bear faces add an adorable touch to kids rooms.

Another excellent choice for fabric storage bags is Wildfire Teepees, whose bags are also very sturdy, and again come in various monochrome patterns.  Incidentally, I also use one of these for my children's laundry.


You will already know by now that I'm a huge fan of baskets for toy storage and it's no different when it comes to cuddly toys.   I absolutely love this idea of hanging them from wall hooks so the toys are all still accessible, but not cluttering the floor or surfaces.

Photo Credit:   Crazy Wonderful

Photo Credit:  Crazy Wonderful

Photo Credit  @jasminabylund

Photo Credit @jasminabylund

Belly baskets are the obvious choice as they're roomy and flexible.  Don't be afraid to use colour, pattern or embellishments like tassels and pom poms.  They're a great way of tying your design scheme together.  These are all available at This Modern Life:

The Ferm Living wire baskets are another great option for cuddly toys, I recently used one in a little client's room for her extensive cuddly toy collection, together with the lid which she can use as an extra play surface for drawing and puzzles.

Photo Credit:   @ovellie

Photo Credit:  @ovellie


Storage crates on wheels are brilliant for kids rooms, and can also be used to encourage tidying-up by making it a little more fun.  We have the Ooh Noo storage crate in Thomas' room for all his books but it would be equally great for soft toys, and IKEA do a very similar version. 


Last but not least, consider using a large metal or woven lidded storage trunk which have lots of space but can fully conceal even the brightest of cuddly toys.  These examples are all from Habitat and would also make stylish dressing-up boxes.

Hopefully this has given you lots of new storage ideas, and a little extra wriggle space in the bed for your little ones.  Let me know if you have any other great ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Room Tour: Delilah and Orla's Vintage Scandinavian Room

I love so many different styles but I try not to jump on trends and remind myself what interior style makes me feel happy, and what suits our family home.
— Kelly, Delilah and Orla's Mum

I'm often asked where my inspiration for kids' room design comes from, and increasingly it's from social media, particularly Pinterest and Instagram.  I spend many hours looking at rooms from all around the world many of which are designed and decorated by talented mums and dads who want to create a magical space for their kids to enjoy and to create lasting memories of their childhood.  

This sparked an idea for a series of blogs in which I want to showcase some of these rooms and hopefully give you all some ideas, inspiration and the confidence to create something special for your own little ones.

The first room I'm delighted to be sharing with you is a stunning shared girls' room belonging to 5 and a half year old twins Delilah and Orla, designed by their mum Kelly who runs her own business Lala Loves Decor selling children's wall decor as well as managing @thisismyhomestyle on Instagram:


Tell me a bit about yourself and the girls? 

I'm Kelly and I run my business Lala Loves Decor from my home in Brighton.  I have twin girls who are 5 and a half, Delilah and Orla, aka the lala girls as both of their names end in a 'la' sound. 
They are the constant source of inspiration for my brand, they have to try out everything in their room first, saying 'one each please Mama'!


How would you describe your style when it comes to interiors? 

I love so many different styles but I try not to jump on trends and remind myself what interior style makes me feel happy, and what suits our family home.  I'm definitely influenced by Scandinavian design, but with a bit of a boho vibe and some vintage finds thrown in!  I always come back to light rooms and muted pastels. 


What was your starting point and inspiration for the girls’ room? 

The bunk bed from made.com was the starting point, that was the first purchase, I love the mix of white with natural wood and the simple Scandi influenced design.  I became obsessed with Pinterest and created a mood board to really hone down the look of the room.  I wanted to include lots of Instagram small business finds in their room because there are so many amazing brands out there: Wonder and Rah, Never Perfect Studio, Ella and the Roo, Velveteen Babies, and Marjorie Minnie are some of my favourites.  Instagram and Pinterest were the biggest source of inspiration for the look of the room.  The more I looked at other kids' rooms the more I realised I loved Scandinavian design and vintage finds, and decided to merge the two looks.


What was on the girls’ wish lists for their new room and do they have similar taste?

They really wanted a canopy which I managed to squeeze into the corner and they were very excited about the bunk beds!  They also requested a gold flower mirror from my shop.  They have very similar tastes but they also try and be different from each other, they'll often like the same things but will choose a different colour.

What do they love most about their room?

The canopy area.  I've added fairy lights and cushions, it's an enchanting space for them to play fairies and read stories. 


How did you decide who has the top and bottom bunks?

They argued at first so we did a trial, they had a week each on the top and then swapped.  Delilah always wanted the top but after the first swap Orla wasn't bothered and wanted the bottom, we call it the cosy cave to sound more appealing! 


Do you have any advice for anyone about to decorate a shared bedroom? 

Work out what kind of bed will suit the space and the children first.  If the girls bedroom had been big enough, I probably would have bought two single beds instead of bunk beds as I was concerned about them fighting over the top bunk.  Luckily for me, they have been fine and they love the bunk bed and climb in each others bed in the morning!

After the bed(s) have been chosen, work out what furniture you would like and where you think it will go.  I measured areas in their room and used masking tape on the floor to get a sense of space.  I also recommend creating some kind of mood board because it really helps to see how the room will come together.

Thank you so much to Kelly for allowing me to share Delilah and Orla's room. If you want to see more of Kelly's gorgeous home please head over to her page @thisismyhomestyle and if you're looking for gorgeous wall decor her website is www.lalalovesdecor.com 

Planning a Space for your Newborn

I'm often asked where to start when it comes to planning a space for a new baby and this got me reminiscing about our firstborn Thomas' nursery.  If only I could go back in time and do things a little differently... 

Looking back, one of the biggest and most costly mistakes we made when planning his nursery was to head straight to one of the large baby superstores where we bought a co-ordinating set of cot bed, changing unit and wardrobe.  We felt like we were getting such a great deal as the furniture was heavily discounted if we bought all 3 pieces, and it ticked off 3 of the big ticket items on our list of things to buy before baby arrived.

Image credit:   Mothercare

Image credit:  Mothercare

This wasn't one of our best interiors decisions and we could definitely have spent our money a lot more wisely.  The nursery furniture sets are typically large, ugly, boxy items of furniture and there are some much nicer alternatives out there.  So with the benefit of hindsight, and now with many rooms designs under my belt here are my thoughts on how to go about planning baby's first space.

Sleeping arrangements:

When planning a nursery, of course your baby will need somewhere to sleep.  However, for their first 4-6 months they will most likely be in a smaller Moses basket or bedside crib in your own bedroom so the cot bed isn't a time critical purchase and you can take your time working out your style before you commit to purchasing it.  A newborn would feel rather lost in a large cot bed after being tucked inside your tummy for 9 months so to begin with, I would suggest investing in a beautiful Moses basket and stand, which won't take up too much space in your master bedroom, and will provide a cosy space for baby to spend their first few months.  It also has the advantage of being easily carried around the house so if baby will only sleep with you in close proximity you can move it around and still get on with things whilst baby snoozes.  Add some striking wall art, black and white photographs of the family (babies love faces!) or a mobile for baby to look at and you're all sorted for your first few months. 

Image credit:  @hel_bow  with stunning print by  @ellaandtheroo

Image credit: @hel_bow with stunning print by @ellaandtheroo

Once your baby is ready to move into a cot bed, there are plenty of affordable and stylish choices.  Personally I don't think you can go too far wrong with the IKEA Sniglar which is now available in two sizes, cot 60x120cm for smaller spaces or cot bed size 70x140cm.

Image credit:  The Frugality

Image credit: The Frugality

Space for mum:

The next most important purchase by far is somewhere for mum to sit comfortably for long periods of time.  Whether you are planning to breast or bottle feed you will be up feeding baby every 2-3 hours to begin with (not to mention the cluster feeds) and a comfortable high-backed chair is a must.  Again, I'm going to steer you away from the traditional nursing chair/glider as not only are they typically ugly and bulky, I also find them impossible to get in and out of whilst holding your baby.  That being said it's important that you choose a chair that's ergonomically designed to support both you and your baby whilst feeding.  I'd recommend looking for a high back with arms at the right level to give you that support.  Another consideration is the fabric as if you want a chair to last you will need it to be stain resistant!  If you can find one in a design you're going to love and use for many years then it's definitly worth spending a bit more and if you need help justifying the cost then think about the expensive physio sessions you might save yourself (speaking from painful personal experience!)  

Image credit:  Baby Grey 

Changing area:

Unless you're blessed with an enormous master bedroom suite, squeezing in a Moses basket or small bedside crib and a chair is usually difficult enough without then having to find space for all the other baby essentials.  We actually moved our own chest of drawers with all our clothes in it into the spare room to make space for a changing unit but this was totally unnecessary.  We could just as easily have managed with a changing mat and a couple of pretty baskets for nappies, wipes, spare onesies and muslins. 

Image credit:   Olli Ella

Image credit:  Olli Ella

Clothes Storage:

Before having children, I massively underestimated the amount of space I would need for clothes storage.  They may be tiny but they grow ridiculously quickly and we found we were (very kindly) inundated with new clothes and hand-me-downs in bigger sizes by friends and family which I also needed to find space for.  If you're tight on space in baby's room, I would always recommend a chest of drawers over a wardrobe and if you have enough space a nice wide one is perfect.  Not only does it provide lots of storage space, it also means that their clothes are easily accessible once your child is ready to dress themselves.  The majority of children's clothes can be stored in drawers, and if you have some items that need hanging they can either go into your wardrobe or displayed on a hanging rail or on wall hooks.

Image credit:  @  johannasdagar

Image credit: @johannasdagar

Last but not least don't forget to consider your lighting.  I'll be doing a blog post on lighting very soon, but my tip would be to always look for something that's dimmable so you can adjust the level of light as required.  You'll want slightly brighter light for reading stories and changing baby, and something a lot darker for nighttime feeds and cuddles.

Hopefully this has given you some inspiration to think a little differently in your approach to your new baby's room.  We have now lived with our superstore 3-piece for almost 4 years as I'm too stubborn to admit it was a bad purchase but I really can't wait to swap it out for something a lot prettier once Georgia's ready to transition out of her cot.  Watch this space to see what I go for... 

I'd love to hear if you have any other must-haves for your baby's first room or if you have any questions that I can help with.

Room Reveal: Thomas' Room

I'm a little nervous about this one as Georgia's Room Reveal had such an amazing response, but still I'm excited to finally show you around Thomas' room in our new house.  If you've read my previous blog posts, you'll already know that we recently moved to Reigate, Surrey and bought our forever home, a 5-bedroom semi-detached Victorian property.  Whilst it had recently been refurbished before we moved in it wasn't done to a particularly high standard, so we have been busy making improvements and adding our own personal style throughout.

Here's the all important BEFORE photo:

The room itself is large and South facing with views of the garden and it's next door to Georgia's room.  First things first, we replaced the original draughty sash window with new double glazed sashes, removed those ghastly curtains and pole and also took out 2 very cheaply made fitted wardrobes.  We also intend to replace the carpet at some point but we're going to do that throughout the house so that will need to wait for now.


Thomas is our eldest and a very typical cheeky 3 year old, he loves animals, cars, trains, fire engines, motorbikes, dinosaurs, superheroes, but like most 3 year olds his tastes change from week to week and it's impossible to keep up.  He was adamant on one thing though, he really wanted a blue bedroom.

He's very lucky to have such a large room but as he's still only 3, I wanted the room to feel cosier and more inviting.  To do this, I used a half wall paint effect in one of my all time favourite colours Little Greene Hicks Blue to bring the room in at his height level and make it feel much more snug.  This has allowed me to use the white walls to display lots of colourful artwork and wall decor, the idea being that we can switch these out as and when his tastes change.  We've currently gone for lots of animals and a little touch of the circus, but I've kept these to a limited colour palette of pale blues, browns and mustard yellows.   I've also used lots of birch ply around the room to tie it all together.  


The bed is the Oeuf NYC River bed and incorporates a little bench at the end where Thomas keeps his cuddly toys.  It's also really handy place for me to perch whilst I wait for him to go to sleep before I creep downstairs each night


At the foot of the bed, I've created a small play area.  We're lucky enough to have a separate playroom, but I still wanted to incorporate some toy storage.  The drawers conceal his train sets, cars and ever growing Paw Patrol collection and he can use the top of the drawers as a play surface.


As for clothes storage, I often find wardrobes to be wasted on boys so I chose this Flexa system which has 2 deep drawers where we currently keep most of his clothes so he can access his own clothes and dress himself.  One half of the wardrobe is shelving where we can keep bedding, blankets and out of season clothes, and the other half is a hanging rail.  The height chart fills an otherwise unused space and the beanbag is another space for lounging but currently both kids prefer climbing on it and jumping off.  


The Made.com love seat came with us from the last house and there's plenty of space for snuggling up and reading bedtime stories.  We use the Ooh Noo toy chest for book storage, and I use baskets to hide away even more toys (one has all the lego, the other has dinosaurs!)  The Rafa Kids shelf is perfect for displaying his favourite toys and trinkets and I'll let you into a secret but it's usually covered in those awful plastic toys that come free with magazines so doesn't always look quite like this but you get the idea! 


Thomas is over the moon with his new room, he loves showing it off to all his friends and I hope you've all enjoyed seeing it too.


Room Design:  Leo & Grace

Photography:  Siobhan H Photography

Source List:

Paint - Little Greene Hicks Blue

Bed - Oeuf NYC River Bed

Bedding - Habitat Skye Blue Duvet Cover & Pillowcase 

Bedside Table - Plyconic Plyve Stool

Rug - Love Frankie

Lamp - IKEA Fubbla Wall Lamp  

Chair - Made.com Leon Loveseat

Shelf - Rafa Kids

Wardrobe - Flexa Cabby

Chest of Drawers - IKEA Nordli

Height Chart - Liewood

Beanbag - Pom Pom Pouf

Lion Cushion - OYOY

Zorro Cat Cushion - OYOY

Cool Kids Cushion - This Modern Life

Toy Chest - Ooh Noo Toy Chest

Seagrass Baskets - Also Home

Read and Play Wall Signs - Lala Loves Decor

Circus Prints - Michelle Carlslund

Dancing Leopards Print - Eleanor Bowmer

Original Dog Illustration - Ronnie Taylor

Heart & Alphabet Prints - Wonder & Rah

Frames - IKEA Hovsta

Jumping Jack Monkey Wall Decor - OYOY

Tiger Trophy Head - Teddykompaniet

Dolls House - Olli Ella Holdie House

Wooden Toy Cars - Sarah and Bendrix

Wooden Animals - Bloomingville

Wooden Bear - OYOY


Leo & Grace Edits: Junior Beds

Whilst I realise I've only just revealed Georgia's new nursery, my thoughts are already turning to transitioning her into a big girl bed.  The main reason for this is that when decorating her room, I wanted to ensure that I can easily just switch out her cot for a bed without having to make any major changes to decor and other furniture in the room.  Also, I found with my eldest he completely took me by surprise one night by climbing out so I'd like to be better prepared this time around.


There are a few considerations when choosing a toddler bed, but the main one has to be the space available in the room.  As you can see Georgia's room is quite small, and whilst we could probably squeeze a full size single in at a push, I have been looking at slightly smaller beds around 165cm long that will still last her a good few years, but leaves enough space for her wardrobe, dresser and chair without the bed dominating the space.  I have also looked for beds that still retain a feeling of a cosy cot with a raised ends so that she doesn't feel too exposed, and low to the ground so she can climb in and out easily. 

Here are a few of my favourites that would all work beautifully in Georgia's room:


This bed is right up my street, with it's Scandi style and clean lines it would fit beautifully into Georgia's room.  It's available in plain white and also in white with Nordic oak legs and I love that it still retains some of the cosiness of a cot so she would still feel safe and secure.  It is also available with a bed guard to prevent her falling out.  Who knows if I'm lucky she might not even realise the sides are off and she can get out and wake us up in the middle of the night!  Another advantage is that along with all the other Wood beds by Oliver Furniture, it can be converted as she grows older from 160cm into a full size European single (200cm), or a loft/bunk bed.  It's definitely a contender. 

Price from £662.

I've managed to resist splurging on a stunning Sebra cot bed on the basis that my two wouldn't get much use out of it, so I have to admit I got a little bit excited when I discovered that they have just released an extendable toddler bed.  Along the same lines as the Oliver Furniture bed, the Sebra Junior & Grow bed starts at 165cm long which is the perfect proportions for smaller rooms but can be extended to 205cm over time as required.  I am finding this one particularly hard to resist because it would also go perfectly with Georgia's toy crib, is that reason enough to splash out?

Price £825.

I also really love the Kukuu Bird & Berry design for it's minimal design and rounded edges.  It comes with a good looking bed guard with a pretty branch design and is available in plain ivory, natural and ivory or natural and cocoa. (167 x 74cm)

Price £355.  


Finally, I absolutely love the curves of this gorgeous day bed and whilst it would work beautifully with the colours in Georgia's room, it's totally off-brief as it's a full size UK single (90 x 190cm) so I'd have to change the layout around which I want to avoid doing ideally.   It might be a good option for their playroom though... watch this space.

Price £344.

If you're also gearing up for the transition, here are a few other gorgeous beds that aren't quite right for Georgia's room but would work fabulously as a first big girl/boy bed.

Room Reveal: Georgia's Room

Those of you who have been following me for a little while will know that we bought our forever home last August, and have been busy making changes over the last 6 months.  It's a 5-bedroom semi-detached Victorian property and whilst the previous owners had refurbished it throughout it was a buy-to-let property so the house was crying out for some personal touches.  

We have two young children, Thomas Leo (3) and Georgia Grace (2), and since our house move was all about building a better life for them (schools, location etc.) it seemed only right that the first rooms to be completed should be their bedrooms.  I am excited to finally be able to reveal their new rooms, starting with Georgia's.

Here's the all important BEFORE photo:


Georgia might be the smallest member of our family, and have the smallest room but she is by no means small in character.  She's incredibly strong-willed and at two she already knows what she likes and doesn't like.  She loves pandas and penguins so I should probably have gone for a monochrome room, but instead my inspiration for her room came from her beloved Maileg mouse, a present from her Granny and her room is decorated in blush pink with ivory and gold touches.


Georgia's room is south-facing and has the most stunning light.  I searched high and low for the perfect blush pink colour for the walls, and finally found it in Edward Bulmer's Natural Paint range which is made entirely from natural ingredients, and with no nasty chemicals or plastics it was the perfect choice for a nursery.  The colour is Cuisse de Nymphe Emue and I love that it's not too pink and girly.  I then chose a wallpaper by Kate Spade called Confetti in ivory covered with gold dots which bounce the light around the room.


Georgia will soon transition into a big girl bed but for now we've decided to keep her cot bed set, with the matching wardrobe and changing unit.  I'm not usually a fan of matchy nursery furniture but wanted to show you that it's still possible to create a gorgeous and unique nursery using high-street furniture paired with more individual accessories.  I've used soft furnishings to disguise the hard lines of the furniture.  The canopy is by Liewood and the cot bumper and cushions are by CamCam Copenhagen, both from Scandiborn.   


The Swoon Editions chair is the perfect spot for bedtime milk and stories, the pocket String shelves house all her treasured possessions, and pride of place on the wall is her stunning Bora Miri bunny which I had customised especially for Georgia's room with gold details and gold dots on the fabric ruffle to match the wallpaper.


Georgia is totally in love with her new room and I hope you all love it too.

Room Design:  Leo & Grace

Photography:  Siobhan H Photography 

Source List:

Paint - Edward Bulmer Natural Paint

Wallpaper - Kate Spade Confetti by Kravet

Bayswater Cotbed, Changing Unit & Wardrobe - Mothercare

Chair - Swoon Editions

Canopy - Liewood at Scandiborn

Cot Bumper & Cushions - Cam Cam Copenhagen at Scandiborn

Shelves - String at Scandiborn

Joseph Bunny Lamp - Rose in April at Bobby Rabbit

Sheepskin - IKEA

Rabbit Trophy Head - Bora Miri

Basket - Rose in April at Smallable

Quilt - Dilly Grey

Toy Cot - Small Stuff at This Modern Life

Wall Hook - Mimi'Lou at Ginger and May

Shelf Decor:

Penguin Print - Ingrid Petrie Design

Ice-Cream Garland and Cloud Hanging - Velveteen Babies

Maileg Guardian Angel Mouse in Suitcase - Maileg at Liberty London

Tea Set - Moulin Roty at Bobby Rabbit

Gold Wand and Crown - Fable Heart

Georgia Wire Name Sign - Little Cloud

Wooden Pram Decorations - Pinch Toys at Scandiborn

Wooden Cat and Bear Toys - Ella and Frederik at Sarah Bendrix Kids

Fairy Soft Toy - Alimrose at Lily and Fred

Unicorn Soft Toy - Konges Slojd at Scandiborn