When it comes to setting up your house ready to welcome a newborn home or redecorating a space to become child-friendly, there are several considerations to make to ensure the interiors are practical yet still in keeping with your personal style. Today we thought we would turn to the experts for some insider knowledge on creating an idyllic haven for little ones and have some fantastic tips from Ursula Wessenlingh, founder of children’s interior design company Room to Bloom. With years of experience in interior design, Ursula recognised a passion for creating children’s spaces and launched the company last year. Not only is Ursula clearly talented in room design but she also has one of the prettiest websites we’ve seen – make sure you check it out!
So here’s what Ursula had to say…
When did you set up your business and what was your background prior to Room to Bloom?
Prior to setting up my interior design business in 2009, I was head of interiors at a high-end residential architectural practice in London. I continued in the same line of work, but after having completed a number of children’s rooms, I discovered that I had a real passion for designing children’s rooms and I decided to specialise in them. So, in 2011 I set up Room to Bloom, an interior design consultancy offering bespoke interior design services for little ones aged 0-12.
What services do you offer to your clients?
I offer bespoke interior design services for children’s spaces – nurseries, kids rooms, and playrooms. In the future, I would love to design day care nurseries too. My services include all the usual in-person design services, from one-off consultations to fully managed room refurbishments – ideal for time-strapped parents who would like to provide their child with the best and appreciate that good design is an investment worth making in the future of their child. For DIY clients I offer distance design services (also known as e-decoration or online design). This is a concept that has come over from the United States, and currently I am one of the few providers here in the UK. By communicating through email and telephone and implementing the plan yourself, the process allows you to be actively involved in the design without incurring full design & installation fees.
What are the key considerations for parents when designing a nursery or children’s bedroom?
- Adaptability – a room that grows with their child
- Practicality – a room that’s easy to use
- Imagination – a room that supports their child’s development
- Affordability – needs and tastes change rapidly as a child grows up, and, except for the lucky few, the reality is that resources are not unlimited
What’s involved in the interior design process? Where should parents begin?
I believe that your baby’s nursery or child’s bedroom shouldn’t be treated any different from how you’d approach the design of a grown-up space. Needs and tastes will change rapidly as your child grows up, so a little thought about how the room will be used now and in the future before choosing colours and furniture will pay off in the long term.
As with grown-up interior design, the first thing to do is to consider the practicalities. Consider the location of the room in the house and what needs the room will need to fulfil (who will use it, and what will they need to be able to do and experience in the room?).
Secondly, when it comes to the room’s decor I advise parents to stay true to their style. It will be easier to select things to make the room feel coherent, you’ll tire of it less quickly and it will be easier to adapt. With baby rooms, in the first year it’s you, more than the baby, who will take pleasure from the room’s decor, so make sure it’s a place you love to be in.
Thirdly, keep it simple. Decide on a single focus early, at it’s easy to over-decorate – especially with so many gorgeous things for baby rooms out there. This could be a piece of furniture, an architectural feature, even a piece of art. Think child-friendly, not childish. Choose a neutral background and mix in age-appropriate accessories and you’ll reduce the need to redecorate every few years.
What are the best resources of inspiration for interior design?
I always ask my clients to collect images to communicate their taste, and recommend online sources such as Pinterest as well as kids design & lifestyle blogs. On my own blog I feature inspirational children’s interiors from all over the world and regularly provide tips and ideas to decorate nurseries and kids’ rooms. Other blogs I highly recommend are Babyccinokids, Bambino Goodies and Zoe & Drew in the UK, as well as international sites like Apartment Therapy, Sissy & Marley, Bloesemkids and Paul et Paula.
Who are your top three favourite suppliers for nursery furniture and interiors?
Ah – this is hard – just three?! I source from far and wide and particularly like smaller, independent designers. The Babyccino Kids Boutique shopping portal brings together a great selection of shops where you can find inspirational design from all over the world. However, for nurseries it’s hard not to like pretty much everything at Naturalmat in London and online – fantastic organic mattresses and contemporary, responsibly sourced furniture. Online the widest choice of modern baby decor and furniture in the UK is available from Nubie and Little Baby Company, I often refer my distance design clients there.