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Nursery Designing for the future: trends we need to consider now

As if having children wasn’t enough of a gigantic leap into uncertainty, for many homeowners the thought of potentially ‘devaluing’ a room by converting it into a nursery can be as horrific a concept as pushing out a placenta.

But a beautiful nursery can be a style statement, and arguably the design trends here move just as quickly as those for kitchens and bathrooms. We take a moment to consider the developments current making waves and which we think will remain buoyant in the future.

Think big in a small space: aside from the proverbial ‘powder room’, it is fair to say that a nursery is normally the designation of the smallest space. But yet, there can be a lot of ‘boxy’ items to cram into that space (cot, changing table, chest of drawers etc). Whilst iconic nursery brands such as Silver Cross have recently introduced more compact versions of their furniture, we love the idea of making a big style statement and then custom building the essentials of the room around it. How wonderful would Cots of Distinctions’ Seven Seas rocking baby cot (above) look with some subtle nautical touches such as aden+anais ‘high seas’ dream blanket  or a minimalist paper boat shelf from JojoMamanBebe?

Grey is the new neutral: gone are the days when magnolia or yellow were the wall-hue staples of indecisive parents. Grey has become the perfectly pitched neutral and partners beautifully with pastels so that ‘pink for girls and blue for boys’ no longer needs to be represented by gaudy hues of Barbie of Chelsea FC. We adore Earthborn’s subtle pink ‘Maybe Maggie’ paint, or Frenchic’s ‘Moody Blue’ – both of which pair delightfully with grey.  Accessorise with a grey ball pit – like MadeByNori’s one or maybe Mokee’s ‘rainy day’ mobile?  (incidentally, if you are still sitting on the yellow fence, a touch of Daffodil brightness looks the bees-knees when paired with grey…)

Tech is your friend: Philips Avent recently launched their ‘UGrow’ Smart baby monitor, which creates a constant audio and visual connection with your baby. The monitor is unobtrusive and chic so why not integrate it with your nursery design? You might be currently baulking at the idea of a flat screen TV in the nursery, but roll on three years and having them watch Peppa Pig in their own space will be a godsend to the rest of the house. Install one early and play Baby Einstein or Mozart in HD quality.

Push Scandi further: Oh those Ikea-fiends and their clean lines. Simplicity and lack of corners in nursery design not only is the current height of vogue but has the added practical bonus that when bubba begins to toddle there are fewer sharp corners to impale themselves upon. Forget plywood curvature though; how about a real forest, complete with wild beasts? We love this hairy rocker from Scandiborn (above) or this chic wooden wall art from Etsy. 

Upcycle: why bring more unnecessary plastic tat into your home when other people’s junk can be the basis of beautiful eco-friendly furniture? Maggie and Rose’s new homeware collection includes a doll’s house made from reclaimed wood and shabby chic chairs – but why not try your hand at DIY as, let’s face it, if it goes wrong it was somebody’s trash anyhow…

Go organic: if the mention of bamboo has you thinking about Dick Van Dyke (and how he never has a bother with it) then check out brands like MORI and Piglet who are creating marvellously snuggly children’s bedding from bamboo and organic cotton.

image: The Sun

Letters play: we love the word art trend (as exemplified when Jools and Jamie Oliver announced their latest arrival, River) – but creating inspirational bon mots on a lightbox is a lovely way to bring subtle lighting into the space occupied by the new light of your life. A Little Lovely Company’s lightboxes can be customised with your own message and are available from MeandBuddy.

Who knows, your future nursery might become the stylish focal point of your home, regardless of the sleep-sapping squawker who resides in it.

This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organised by CGTrader

Help! My Child Wants A Bedroom Makeover

Guest post from Ollie & Leila: Just hearing that small phrase – can I have a new room please, is enough to send a chill through any DIY-fearing parent. Images of endless weekends taken up with sanding, painting and hammering rush past your eyes, not to mention the tears and tantrums that are sure to follow, when you don’t paint the walls the right type of blue! But don’t worry, a bedroom makeover can actually be much easier than you think… 

Keep It Simple

image: ollie & leila

Whilst it may be tempting to rush out immediately and start buying every single gorgeous item your child requires, don’t – put the credit card away. Less really is more, especially when it comes to your child’s bedroom. You see, children are fickle things, and whilst currently Peppa Pig may be flavour of the month, this could quickly be replaced by Paw Patrol. So, resist the urge to paint the walls pink in homage to Peppa, and keep the walls a neutral colour, soft greys and pale pastel colours look great. This allows you to add colour, personalisation, and even themes to the bedroom in the form of accessories such as rugs, duvet covers and lampshades. Accessories are easier to replace when a new ‘favourite’ appears, so rather than having to redesign the whole bedroom again, you simply need to replace them.

image: ollie & leila

Forget ‘location, location, location’, the mantra you should be repeating when it comes to making over your child’s bedroom is ‘storage, storage, storage’. But don’t worry, storage doesn’t need to come in the form of clunky, white, plastic boxes littering your child’s bedroom floor. There are some brilliantly clever, beautifully designed storage solutions out there. Like the gorgeous, bespoke storage beds from Ollie & Leila.  Each one has been designed with storage below the actual bed, you could have a desk, chest of drawers or storage cubes built underneath, giving your child absolutely no excuses for a messy room.



Instead of spending hours trying to find new furniture to fill your child’s ‘new’ room, save yourself time and energy and try some upcycling. By spending a little time giving your child’s furniture a makeover of its own, you can create a whole new look in their bedroom. There are many upcycling ideas on Pinterest so you can really take your pick, but perhaps start simple. Just sand down the furniture and paint it a colour that fits in with the palette of the room. Or, for a bit more of the ‘wow-factor’, try a bit of wallpaper on the furniture. Do not cover the whole piece of furniture, that will be too much and give you a migraine every time you look at it! Instead, choose a section to cover. So, for a tall bookcase, you could cover the back panel in your chosen wallpaper, or to upcycle a chest of drawers, cover just the drawer fronts.

Find out more and shop online at Ollie & Leila

In Praise of… Wallpaper

Wallpaper. It used to be naff, then it was trendy. Then it was on the out again… Then – well – we stopped following design trends and fell in love with this lovely selection…

Murals Wallpaper have a wonderful nursery range, how chic is this blue forest?



Or make a feature wall with this silver roll from Utopia at Inspired wallpaper (it also comes in gold, for a super luxe look).



Graham and Brown have created the cheeky Loo Loo Blue design to give that downstairs powder room a little makeover.




Or give a little stargazer a treat with this midnight blue and gold design from Cole and Sons (which also comes in pink, grey and pastel blue).

Make keepsakes from babygrows with LoveKeepCreate

The problem with those adorably dinky first babygrows is that they only last a few weeks until baby has grown out of them. And even though you know you should be passing them on, part of you just can’t bear to.

Or maybe – like one of our writers – your toddler still carries ’round an old muslin or sleeping bag as a comforter, despite having grown out of it years ago.

The solution – in either of the above cases – might come in the form of online boutique LoveKeepCreate, who upcycle your baby bits and bobs into quilts, cushions and even stuffed animals – all ready to be loved for all eternity. You can add personalisation such as name, dates or messages too. Or turn one of Grandad’s shirts into a cuddly keepsake

More info and order online from LoveKeepCreate.

SM reviews… The Vax Dual Power Pro Advance Carpet Cleaner

If you’ve got kids, a carpet washer has probably made it onto your list of lusty desires (maybe just below Patrick Dempsey…) so we were delighted to get the chance to put the Vax Dual Power Pro Advance through its paces.

Described as: a powerful, deep-cleaning and quick drying carpet washer, it features a DualTECHTM  cleaning system to agitate and help lift deep down, embedded dirt. The SpinScrubTM hand tool and stretch hose also make washing upholstery and stairs easy.

But could it handle Ribena and fox poo? We found out…

SM tester writes: OK, I’ll confess, in our house it’s not normally me that does the hoovering. My other half says it is ‘therapeutic’ (ie makes a noise and involves a power tool, of sorts…) but he’s quick to get frustrated when the net effect of him raking the Miele back and forth and showering the floor with Shake’n’Vac is a grey carpet that neither looks nor smells cleaner than it was before; there are just fewer visible bits of Lego. 

Back in the old, carefree, childless days we had an urban flat with wooden floors and never a thought for carpets – which seemed like the sort of things one’s grandparents had – but after child #1 had mastered walking (cue multiple falling over incidents, much use of arnica cream etc) when we moved – and had subsequent children 2&3 wall-to-wall soft coverings seemed like a brilliant idea. As did neutral greige colour (‘it won’t show the dirt,’ quipped other half. Oh, but we didn’t really know ‘dirt’ back in those days…)

Drum4So 18 months in to life with carpets, we’ve had many a spillage: from Ribena (child 2) to red wine (Daddy) to projectile vomit (child 3) to a whole jar of passata (sheepishly, moi). Our play room has French doors which open onto the garden and child 2 insists on riding his scooter in from outdoors – regardless of how much mud he has picked up. Recently we had an incident where the ‘mud’ wasn’t actually earth based at all, but (judging by the horrific smell) from a vulpine pest who is resident on our street and pillages the dustbins after dark. Just gross… 

So we were keen to see just what the Vax washer could tackle. The actual machine isn’t light (it doesn’t claim to be, but you definitely need to push it places rather than carry it – unless you’re one of those superfit superwomen who bench presses and does chin ups) and it does need a screw driver to assemble. Apart from that tho, the rest is pretty self-explanatory. You pour in the wash solution (no need to measure really as it does this in the mix) add some clean water (the tank holds loads), turn on the power and the machine gets to work. It has a trigger which releases the soap and a system of brushes underneath – so you get into the swing of giving it a blast and then sweeping the machine forwards and backwards – just like a normal hoover. 

The process is described as ‘quick drying’. TBH unless you were cleaning the floor in some sort of designer marabou slippers, whether it takes 2, 5 or ten minutes to be dry doesn’t really matter – and I was using this on a hot summer day – but it does seem to be quick enough. The tank holds enough water to thoroughly clean one room  (or two little ones) and you can just unclip the dirty water bit to decant; it is simple enough that it doesn’t slow down the cleaning process but also safe enough that little ones won’t actually figure out how to release the lock. 

And the result? Nothing short of amazing. Like ‘OMG, is that really my house?’ amazing. Other half said ‘it’s like having a whole new room…’ Wine – check, tomato sauce – check. You name the stain, we got it out. We didn’t even have to use the brushes that the machine comes with (for scrubbing stubborn marks/stairs etc) or the pre-wash solution that is also an option. It was like having a professional cleaner (the likes of whom had previously quoted me £120 per room for their services) and doing the whole house took me less than two hours. The cleaning solution smells much fresher than Shake’n’Vac (ie not like melted marzipan) and you can order more on Amazon as well as the Vax site. 

I wouldn’t say the carpets are clean enough to eat my dinner off (cos that would be weird) but I definitely don’t shudder when house guests put their babies on the floor, or when my own kids absent-mindedly put lollies on the carpet, only to pick them up and suck them at a later date. 

The Vax Dual Power Pro Advance carpet washer costs £199.99 from

Clever Clogs Products: Nimble Babies Milk Buster

Whether you formula feed or express, if you’re using bottles, one thing is for sure; they get cloudy.

Some might think cloudiness isn’t the worst thing in the world – it’s when milk fat mixes with plastic – but sterilizing alone won’t shift it and the milk residues can hold bacteria. Plus, the bottles just look… let’s politely say unappealing. (‘Boggin!’ said our tester)

You’d have thought a product like this would have come along aeons ago, but it took a chemist called Von and the arrival of his baby niece back in 2012 – plus a few experiments – for this magic potion to be invented.

Simply spray a few squirts into a cloudy bottle (a little more if you’ve left the offending receptacle under the buggy or in the back of the car for a couple of days – hey, we don’t judge!) and then give it a wash to reveal a squeaky clean, cloud free bottle.

For an even lazier approach, add a couple of squirts before you put bottles in the dishwasher…

And the best bit – the product is made from sugar, amino acids and coconuts, so no fear of nasties getting transferred or the bottle ‘taste’ being altered.

Find out more and order yours from Nimble Babies.

The Lust List: Wallpaper and paint

We had to share these, they’re just too delicious. (Not that we’re planning to spend the weekend decorating, but if we were, it would be with these…)

Come over all ‘off with their heads’ and grin like a Cheshire Cat – this Alice wallpaper is so chic it would even make great downstairs loo decor as well as boudoir adornment for a little lady…

Get yours from Mura Innovations (check out their Wizard of Oz range too…)

Maybe accent the grey with a dusky pink, like ‘cluster fig’ from the eco emulsion range at Bert and May…?

Cif’s brilliant home makeover story…

Love this video, courtesy of Cif(not just for the super cheesy Estate Agents!) which shows them raising the value of a property on the market just by giving it a good scrub. It’s an interesting point to make, as first thoughts when putting a house on the market (as a result of too much Sarah Beeny whilst on Mat leave) is to paint the walls that Farrow & Ball colour my other half calls ‘Middle Class Grey’…

As we know, Cif is bloody good for getting dirt shifted (when you factor in a bit of elbow grease, that is) and there are some good tips on the Cif website (such as how to banish pesky fingerprints…)

Ten Minutes with…Designer Celia Sawyer

Celia Sawyer, mother of two and founder of the exclusive Knightsbridge interior design company ‘Celia Sawyer Luxury Interiors’, has a client list that reads like the back pages of Tatler.

She shares her tips with us on how to create a chic and impressive outdoor space for Summer entertaining…

“First and foremost, selecting the right furniture is essential. What type of look are you trying to create? Modern, boho, white-washed beach haven, country, trendy, eco, the list goes on…

Half Moon sofa from Moda

I personally like using dark or grey rattan juxtaposed against contemporary, crisp, white cushions to create impact. Seating is incredibly important as your outdoor space is to enjoy so you want your friends, family and guests to indulge and be comfortable.  I LOVE glamorous day beds (think St Tropez beach party) and if you have the room I recommend you invest. Sky Line are masters of such furniture; beautiful yet natural shapes and gorgeous colours, you can’t go wrong with a day bed.

Skyline Day Bed

Outdoor fireplaces are having their moment. You can revamp your garden or terrace into a cool hub by making the fireplace your central feature. I know people who have used old bricks to build the fireplace meaning its recycled and put sand on the floor to create a truly unique space. If building a fireplace is too much invest in a fire pit. Nothing beats sitting round the warmth of a fire after dinner.

Maisons du Mode outdoor cushions

Alfresco dining is something we all love to do. Those long summer evenings that glow and seem to go on forever. Purchase a dining table and chairs, again in rattan or metal, over anything plastic and cheap looking – you may as well get this right first time. I have opted for a simple black rattan set with glass table top but dress the area up with an interesting centerpiece and cushions to add some interest and depth. Give it a go.

Inspiring outdoor kitchens are extremely du jour, especially in the Caribbean and United States. Clay or brick kitchens that blend into the surrounding natural environment can be simply stunning. The advantage of creating an outdoor kitchen means the hosting (and mess that goes with it) is kept out of your main residence; something I know my clients find attractive! In this space add a large mirror as it reflects the light and is more inviting. There are some fantastic outdoor mirrors around with thick, rustic frames. Alternatively, over-sized French clocks are extremely popular and add a little character, creating the feeling of being outside with the comfort of being indoors.

Clock by BellaHome

As you begin to revamp your outdoor space you will seriously think about colours. Earthy colours and décor is a must; ochres and greens, taupe’s and greys, to keep things natural, then add stainless steel appliances for that raw, industrial touch and inject colour through one item alone. Within your seating area add a great coffee table; something natural looking, maybe a bit of driftwood or an oak table to add some charm; a nod to Mother Nature herself. Invest in some lanterns that are suitable for outdoors as these can act as the perfect accessories. I put flameless candles inside mine which are ideal as they are battery operated so not only are they safe but they don’t go out should there be a breeze. Being outside in the candlelight is really special.

On the subject of lighting, I love using illuminous pots to really dress up outdoor spaces.  There’s a great company called 8 seasons-design who are a fine example of these; their Shining Pot Collection includes numerous different shapes and sizes which glow and look fantastic on terraces or by a pool. The pots look smart with greenery and the shining globe, cube and even drinks-cooler are super stylish too.

Lastly, outdoor bars are the ultimate cool. I have one at my home and it gets so much use throughout summer. They’re actually fairly simple to build, source wood to keep costs down and as long as you have a flat surface, fridge and some bar stools you are ready to entertain. One of the best additions to my garden.”

Follow Celia @CeliaSawyerTV