Theme for a dream

Theme for a dream
Decorating a house is like drawing on a blank slate — it doesn’t matter whether it’s a new slate or one that was recently erased.

What does, however, is the freedom to draw without constraints and worry about ruining another design. But when there’s a child involved, the equation gets a bit more complicated; a little more thought needs to go into the plan.

These days, instead of white-washed walls and roughly cut wooden furniture, people are putting more thought into how the interiors of a house look. And baby rooms are taking on a new avatar with themed walls and matching furniture. Talking about the same, interior designers in the City say that making a house safe for babies and children is the first and most important step for parents.

 Anuradha Agarwal Sharma, who specialises in baby room decoration, remembers how her room was when growing up and compares it with that of her daughter’s. “As a kid, my room had white walls and if I drew on them, I’d get it nicely from my parents. But I’ve let my daughter personalise her room — it’s pink, with fairies, princesses and, of late glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling. I think, this allows for the development of a child as they learn things when decorating a room,” she says.

A dentist by education, Anuradha took up designing professionally after she had her daughter. “I helped make a friend’s house child-friendly, and since then I’ve been getting calls from people to redo their houses. It’s something I’m passionate about as there is so much scope.”

Vinithra Amarnathan, who runs ‘Weespaces’, says that a house needs to be inclusive of a child. “Just because you have a child, doesn’t mean your house has to look dull. You can make a house child safe while keeping it beautiful,” she says. If parents differentiate between their space and a child’s, it won’t work out. Instead, they have to accommodate the child within their space. “Take for example a living room — instead of making separate spaces, parents could have a play area or play rug for the children.”

Colours, themes, textures and kinds of furniture you buy all make a difference. As Vinithra explains, cottons and velvets aren’t suitable fabrics when there are young kids around. Instead, micro-fabrics and wipe-down fabrics are better options as they don’t hold on to stains. And when picking a colour or theme, parents should take into consideration that children outgrow things fast. “In the Indian market, character based themes are very popular. But that’s problematic as a child is likely to outgrow a superhero or cartoon character.

Redecorating a room every few years become a bit tedious.” So, unless parents are up for the challenge, they should pick relatively neutral themes that aren’t likely to go out of trend. Instead, they can pick theme specific blankets, toys and easily-moveable products. “You can’t use many glass products but that doesn’t mean a house has to look bland,” says Vinithra.

‘Pinfliers’, started by Smiti Ranasaria, understands this and sells child appropriate and safe decoratives. “I make decor for nurseries — paper and MDF products like 3D letters, hot air balloons, banners, frames and more.” As these are easy to place and remove, children can keep changing the style of their room.

While keeping a house child-friendly is important, Anuradha mentions that it’s impossible to make everything safe for a child unless it’s a new house. “Children understand boundaries so everything need not be child-safe, but personalisation helps children associate with their surrounding better,” she says.   

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