So, this is exciting! I’m Laura Hamilton and welcome to the first instalment of the brand new ‘Living with Laura’ series. Visit me here – exclusively with Hello! - for my quick tips and clever tricks to transform your home. As a TV presenter my usual stomping ground is on Channel 4’s A Place in the Sun, I’m passionate about property and love the process of transforming a run-down wreck into a wonderful home. I'll share all my renovation advice, tips on how to style particular rooms in your home and styling for seasonal events, as well as how to involve the children and even how to add an extra room - with no planning permission needed.
With 16 successful renovations under my belt I have learned a lot... And made a fair few mistakes along the way too. I can’t wait to share my expertise with you throughout this new series - and even give you a sneak peek around my current South London home. If you love anything to do with property and interiors, you will love ‘Living with Laura’. Now, first up, let's discuss the children's rooms...
If it’s a boy, it must be blue… Well, this certainly wasn’t how I felt when it came to clothes, toys or interiors with my son's room. Rocco is 5-years-old now, but when I decorated his room it was important to me that it would work with the rest of the interior styling in our house. I wanted to create a room that would be calming for sleep yet also have areas for play and reading.
One other major consideration for me was trying to style the room so that it would last a few years and grow with him. I didn’t want to have to continually change things – apart from the obvious moving them from a cot to a bed! I took an enormous amount of inspiration from a website called RHbabyandchild.com. I loved so many of their items however they didn’t (and still don’t) ship to the UK. Instead, I used their site for style inspiration. Another website I came across and particularly liked for style inspiration was Houzz.
In Rocco's room I used a child-safe chalk paint. Although Frenchic has a beautiful range of colours I chose Parchment. This colour complimented the colour in the rest of the house and as it was neutral I thought it would be a great palette to then build around.
My advice for a little boy's bedroom
VIDEO: Laura talking you through Rocco's bedroom
Instead of a traditional blue room, I went for a navy, grey and deep red colour theme. Before Rocco was born I had been filming a TV show in Malvern and I had found a really lovely plaque for his wall that said ‘Route 66’ in a deep red colour and that had influenced colour choices. I really like the website Wayfair and I managed to find a Bed for Rocco’s room online that they stocked which looked like a bed that I had seen on the RH Baby and Child website.
At the same time, I purchased his chest of drawers, and a circular work/play table and chair. While browsing the site I also found an easel that had a chalkboard on one side and a disposable paper board on the other and a red wall clock that I knew would complement the ‘Route 66’ wall plaque I already had. I also found some interesting wire display shelves that I thought would give the room a bit of an industrial feel.
I ordered a bookshelf from GLTC online for Rocco’s room as well some storage shelves with wipe clean, fabric containers. My friend Effie owns a cute company called ‘Just for Little People’ who make gorgeous little teepees. I knew I wanted Rocco to have a little ‘den’ space and one of her canvas fabric teepees would be perfect. I provided her with a dark grey blanket throw that I had purchased a long time ago from John Lewis and really liked.
I was happy for her to use it to personalise a Teepee which would complement the colour scheme. The tepee was completed with an ‘R’ in a star above the door which was held open with grey ribbon. For inside, Effie made a beautiful, flat and deep floor cushion using a grey star fabric and with the remaining part of the fabric, Effie made a runner which I could use at the bottom of Rocco’s bed. It was all starting to come together.
Next stop was to look for a rug. Rugs are not only a great way of adding a different texture to a room, but they are also a great way of protecting the carpet! Under the ‘Little Home’ section in John Lewis, I found a beautiful grey rug with a dark blue star for Rocco’s room. It was perfect.
I am a big fan of visiting TK Maxx when it comes to looking for home furnishings. I like the fact you can find one off, unique items and it’s usually competitively priced. I managed to find some bookshelves for Rocco’s room that were a lovely shape but they were a nasty brown colour. I decided to paint them Black Blue using Farrow and Ball paint. I love being able to customise items when it comes to interior design. It can be a simple yet really effective thing to do and means you can get exactly what you want.
With just a couple of final accessories needed to complete my little boy's room, I visited the online store ‘My First Years’. I came across this company when my Godmother bought a lovely gift for Rocco from them after he was born. Most of their items can be personalised and their ride on car in a cream and grey colour was exactly what I was looking for.
Rocco still loves this car and plays with it most days. He enjoys spending time in his own space, whether he is reading, playing with his Lego, or sleeping and I’m pretty sure we will get a few more years out of it yet before we need to redecorate and redesign it.
If you are about to embark on designing a bedroom for your baby, toddler or a small child, take your time. Don’t just go for the obvious. Create a pinboard, get a scrapbook and think about creating a space that will last for a good few years. I hope you have found some of my ‘living with Laura’ tips useful.