Inspiration 29 December 2015

Bringing the Sky inside

Any room, however small, has something you can make the most of

When we moved into the house two years ago our youngest agreed to have the box room so long as she could move into a bigger bedroom once we'd had the loft and/or cellar converted.

Fair enough. In the meantime, I wanted her small space at the back of the house (away from the busy main road and overlooking the garden) to be somewhere she'd enjoy spending time.

Any child's room needs to be a mix of practical - somewhere to hang clothes, a desk for homework etc - and playful: the key is getting the balance right. In our house, it's also important for both children to have their own space as they squabble quite a bit, so we need to be able to separate them!

The first hurdle was an old water tank in the corner of the room. The previous owners had built an enormous set of fitted wardrobes around it. Great for storage but not so great for floor space. There was hardly enough room for a small bed and chest of drawers, so the wardrobes had to go. A new boiler put paid to the tank, and allowed us to rip out the wardrobe carcass. Immediately we gained a good meter in width.

Any room, however small, has something you can make the most of. It might be an original fireplace, sunlight if it's south facing or in this case, a nice view.

The house is two storeys at the front and three storeys at the back, so Carrie's room sits high over the gardens - we can enjoy the neighbour's from here too. On a sunny day it can feel like you're the same height as the clouds.

Which brings me to the wallpaper. There are so many beautiful designs around at the moment, from pastel coloured polka dots to silver and gold ticking strips, multi coloured world maps to forests of silver birch trees. Take it back five years and we were all feature walls in bold paint colours (these haven't gone away) but as digital printing techniques have improved, and costs have come down, wallpaper has become a simple and easy way to introduce colour and fun into a room. And you can paste the wall to hang it too!

Using the view as our inspiration, we chose a cloud design to bring the sky inside.

Painting the rest of the room white allows the light to bounce off the walls, and gives a greater sense of space. The room is north facing, so anything that helps to boost the light is a bonus. Carrie is quite the tomboy and would have gladly painted the whole room Man City blue, but the clouds were a very happy compromise.

We've also introduced accents of blue in the furniture and accessories, which bring the whole scheme together.

NEW EDITION: We've added a bookcase above the bed, using the 'dead' space for more handy storage. In a small room, raising things up off the ground lets you see as much of the floor as possible, giving the illusion of more space. A fold away desk sits neatly on the opposite wall.