Want to create an enchanting space for your child? Check out these cool, stylish and creative brands.

The children’s novelist Jerry Spinelli wrote that ‘every child’s bedroom is as important as a telescope orbiting the planet earth, or a philosopher’s study.’ It is, after all, the very first canvas we have upon which to express and reflect ourselves. And since children typically have just one room to stamp their little – or, indeed, large – characters on, creating their space transcends simple decorating: the bedroom becomes an expression of their whole world, and a retreat from the shared spaces in the rest of the house.

Ever since the Pevensie children discovered a magical land through their wardrobe in CS Lewis’ classic Narnia stories, the bedroom of the youngest members of the family is a place redolent of magic and adventure, the safe cocoon in which they might listen to an imagination-firing bedtime story, or play with treasured toys. As such, it’s the space in the house that allows both parents and small ones to capture the joy of being young, whether for the first or the second time. What looks like a simple bed, cupboard and table can become an enchanted kingdom, full of fantasy and fun. Here are eighteen of our favourite purveyors of fittingly imaginative furniture and decorative pieces to help create your child’s perfect room.


Noa & Nani




Noa & Nani describes itself as a website for ‘family furniture.’ To that end, it has every room covered in suitably pared-back breezy Scandi style. But we find it especially pleasing for its children’s beds, which tend towards the stuff of small people’s fantasies. Sure, some are a little too princess pink or skull-and-crossbone black for our tastes, but there exist options, such as the bunk bed that comes with a slide, that we’d have traded pretty much any of our possessions for in our youth. Our very favourite must be the Christopher Midsleeper Treehouse Bed (from £209) for little explorers.

Room To Grow




Room To Grow specialises in kids’ rooms, and stocks everything from wigwams and teepees to an assortment of cool beds. We like the Dwell House Bed With Under Bed Drawers (NOW £575), which feels more den than anything else, but remains suitably understated not to outrage grown up tastes either.


Jojo Maman Bebe




Every child’s room needs some sort of hide-out in which to retreat from the world of imaginatively challenged grown-ups. This one, by French brand Djeco (£59.50), is absolute perfection, with its plant pots, greenery and flap-opening doors and windows. The ideal sanctum to take refuge with a book.


Smallable




Our sole beef with Smallable is its sheer proliferation of things we want to buy turning us into ravening acquisitive beasts. The family concept shop is never short on inspiration – however adversely this affects our bank balances. There is so much to choose from, but right now we’re particularly taken with this Mini Rattan Table by Oyoy (£130), which is both stylish and will give small ones just the spot to entertain their friends.


Scandiborn




Scandiborn is full of wonderful ideas for children’s rooms. Based in Sheffield, it was founded by couple, Grace and James, shortly after their son Harry was born in 2015 and they struggled to find the things they wanted to make a lovely, child-focused but still stylish world for him. For us, one of the cleverest products is this Loullou Clothes Shelf, which combines wall-mounted hanging space with much needed shelf space.


Rowen & Wren




Rowen & Wren does not specialise in children’s interiors per se. However, can anyone resist this softly textured Nell Hand Felted Rug (£398)? If you can, you’re made of stronger stuff than us. It’s handmade in Nepal from hundreds of felted balls, scrupulously ethically sourced, and easy to keep clean. A clear winner.


Skandium




What good to a child of imagination is your run-of-the-mill chair? If it doesn’t resemble an animal in some way or other, we’re frankly not interested. Enter, then, the Elephant Chair (£190) by EO. Designed by Marc Venot, it’s comfy, it’s cool and it’s super friendly.


Animalesque




It’s not quite furniture, we grant you, but these spectacular headdresses – made by the exceptionally talented artist and ex-costume designer, Sara Lowes – are crying out to be hung up decoratively on the wall for all to see when they’re not in use. We love every single one, but if pressed to choose, would plump for the Leopard Headdress (£45). And if you love them as much as we do, you may be interested to know that they’re also available to buy for adults. The stuff of pure Venetian masked ball theatrical fantasy.


The Conran Shop




You can rely on The Conran Shop – eponymous expression of the brilliant and recently late Sir Terence – for a serious injection of style in every room in the house. It stands to reason then that it should stock the ideal spot for formative and exploratory forays into drawing, writing or more prosaic homework in the form of The Little Architect Desk (£229). If it spawns mini Conrans in the making, we’re sold.


Ferm Living




Another Danish interiors company, another repository for seriously cool kids design. Ferm Living is not specifically aimed at children, but has an excellent section for little ones. We absolutely love The Round Dorm (€135), a simple yet striking set of shelves that is perfect for displaying tiny treasures.


Oyoy Living Design




Danish company OYOY Living Design was founded in 2012 by designer Lotte Fynboe. We love its onus on functional-meets-whimsical products, which draw on memories of childhood – a combination that is truly winning when it comes to children’s rooms, balancing the hard-wearing with the imaginative. We couldn’t adore its collection of rugs more. The cheekily winking Zorro Cat Rug (£75.99) is sheer joy.


The Stealthy Rabbit




Wall-mounted stuffed toy heads – cuter and less gruesome than they sound – have been gaining popularity for a while now. These ones by illustrator and papier mâché artist Emily Elizabeth Warren, aka The Stealthy Rabbit, may not be soft or strokeable, but they are truly magical. Follow Emily on Instagram to snap up beauties such as this sweet pair of mice.


Papermint




Wallpaper is a wonderful way to liven up a bedroom and fill little minds with images to fire their dreams before bed. And yet wallpaper is expensive and children’s tastes are fickle. For that very reason, we’re sold on wall stickers such as this Large Swallow (€49) which, as their preferences change through the years, are much easier to switch up than wallpaper.


Murals Wallpaper




If, however, you are going to go for wallpaper in your child’s room, what could be better than a mural of a map of the world? Murals Wallpaper has a great selection of maps, from the standard world Atlas to the more cartoonishly illustrated. We like this ‘Safari’ style (£37 per square metre), which features animals native to each continent and country.

Central Living




Oxford’s mecca for contemporary style – the university city’s riposte to The Conran Shop – is not generally a place geared towards children. However, along with its wonderful array of Hoptimists, there are some nods to the smaller members of the family. In particular, we love this Seletti Mouse Lamp Standing (£66), which provides an ideal light to read by at bedtime, as well as a helpful and friendly face as you switch it off to go to sleep.

Les Gambettes




This French brand does retro chic to perfection. Founded in 2011 by two old university friends, both of whom had worked in fashion, the mission was to bring fun and colour back to the home, all via the 1950s. We like the Romy Desk in Blue Duck (€360). If anything can take the tedium out of homework, it’s this.


The Little White Company




As well as creating a magical sanctum, it’s important to keep little ones warm and cosy in the bedrooms. No one does it better than The Little White Company, whose Chambray and Stripe Cross Stitch Quilt (£165 for a single) pulls off the job with aplomb.


Cox & Cox




The beanbag is a childhood lounging classic. But there are, of course, beanbags and beanbags. This – technically a bean chair – in blush velvet (£195) is ideal for lolling, but neither would it look out of place in the design pages of glossy bibles. Win-win.

By Nancy Alsop
September 2020

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Nancy Alsop

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