Children are innately curious and imaginative and they’ll really appreciate an eclectic, creative and more daring space to call their own… especially one that’s handmade with love!

To get your creative juices flowing, consider the following tips.

  • There’s something about patchwork which just works so well in a child’s room. Try sourcing vintage hankies and sewing them together to create a small sheer curtain; buy wallpaper samples and hang them patchwork-style above the bed; or make a patchwork throw out of your child’s outgrown clothes.
  • Stripes also work beautifully; they never date and it’ll take many years for your child to outgrow them. Use masking tape (and a steady hand) to paint stripes onto a dresser; hang thickly striped wallpaper; invest in a striped wool rug; or make up striped canvas slipcovers for chairs and ottomans.
  • Adding a vintage piece or two will instantly give a room more soul and personality. Consider a soft industrial bedside, a shabby little stool or iron bedhead. And of course, any second hand timber pieces can be updated with a lick of paint or a decal.
  • Don’t get trapped into the ‘pink for girls and blue for boys’ thing. Seek more interesting colour palettes such as gelato shades on a white base, or bold pops of colour on a charcoal base. Unisex colours can have more of an edge.
  • Plain fabric curtains and blinds can be terribly boring; luckily they can also be easily and beautifully embellished with embroidery, appliqué or a trim.  Alternatively, retain the plain window treatment for practicality, but layer with a pretty sheer.
  • Most importantly, add pieces that mean something to your child, whether it’s a vintage doll’s pram which has been passed down through the generations, or a favourite tutu from a ballet concert – show your child that you love who they are.
  • Super Simple How-to Projects

    Child’s Stool – Dipped and Decaled

    Update children’s timber furniture by adding ‘dipped’ legs or a vintage decal. Both of these projects will only take an afternoon to complete.

    Dipped

    To create little ‘dipped’ legs on tables, stools or chairs…

    • Sand and paint the piece in your chosen main colour.
    • Carefully apply masking tape, wrapping it firmly around each leg at where you want the legs to be ‘dipped’ to.
    • Apply 2 to 3 coats of paint (allowing paint to dry between coats).
    • Remove masking tape.

    Decaled

    To add a little vintage picture to a piece of furniture…

    • Source an image by hunting through old children’s books at your local charity store.
    • Cut out your picture and use craft glue to attach it to your piece of furniture.
    • Seal with a clear sealer (we used Porter’s Paints low VOC All Purpose Clear Sealer).

    Vintage Frame Chalkboard

    You’ll often find paintings you don’t love in beautiful old frames. A really simple way to update these, without having to pull them apart, is to simply turn them into pretty chalkboards for the kids (or for yourself). Just ensure the existing art is unwanted and/or not valuable!

    • Protect the frame by covering it in masking tape.
    • Apply a good quality primer to the picture and leave to dry.
    • Follow with two coats of specialty chalkboard paint.

    Note: chalkboard paint doesn’t need to be black or classroom green; it now comes in a whole range of colours, including hot pink and orange!

    Find more how-to projects in Tahn’s latest book, The Thoughtful Home: Creating a Home with Heart on any Budget (New Holland Publishers).