Royal wedding fever has put real princesses back in fashion. Jamie Hempsall looks at furnishing the perfect pink palace.
THE Royal wedding has put romance firmly back in fashion. It is terrific that the younger generation have a real role model in the elegant HRH Duchess of Cambridge to take back the crown from the Disney Princesses.
The big question now has to be how can you create the perfect room for your “princess in waiting”?Many parents groan at the thought of a pink bedroom, but it is often the tint of choice for young girls. However, the shade you choose can go a long way to easing the visual effect of the room for the older eye (and ensuring longevity rather than a quick re-decoration as your young lady matures).
If possible, it is a good idea to steer clear of anything too bright or Barbie-esque as these shades tend to be popular for only a very short period.
Keep your walls a warm, but relatively neutral colour that will act as an enhancing background for your scheme. In this example, we opted for Chateau Flat Emulsion from Zoffany. This paint has a strong pigment but can appear more grey with a hint of pink – a great base on which to build your design and much warmer than any “hint of” white paints.
Introduce the brighter pinks in soft furnishings and accessories to avoid anything too overpowering. I always advise against pink furniture of any shade as this is very tying and opt instead for cream or ivory which will soften the overall effect and will not have to be replaced should you change colour scheme in the future.
In this room, which we designed for a relatively sophisticated nine-year-old, we used an array of cream furniture, including a bank of custom-built wardrobes to match the main pieces.
Storage is vital in any children’s room as it allows the often limited space to be kept devoid of obvious clutter and can hide a magnitude of sins – not to mention provide space for the copious wardrobes.
The oversize, deep- buttoned headboard is a regal statement piece upholstered in Designer Guild Ruggiero Peony – a shade that hits just the right tonal note to work in a scheme suitable for pre- school protégés all the way to mid-teen tearaways.
Patterned bedding avoids an overdose of plain pink and allows you to introduce complementary colours you can then pick up in other features (such as cushions or lampshades) to add interest. Do not be afraid to mix your pinks by using different shades for the lampshades, headboard and bedspread, but always try them out together before investing to ensure that they work tonally Your pinks will need the same base pigments to ensure that they actually match.
Keep the window dressings simple and unfussy – perfect for operating by younger occupants as they grow up – and, if at all possible, avoid character-based fabrics which like certain shades of pink have a very quick sell-by-date.
We installed alpine colour wood venetians as the room we were designing was incredibly sunny, and these gave privacy and shade in equal measure.
To soften the look, we added roman blinds in Designer Guild Chinon – Pale Rose, a wonderful
linen-look fabric with a subtle silver sheen, and dressed it with Osborne & Little Folies Fringe; a romantic product that looks as though you have plucked delicate jewels and sewn them on.
The blinds use a chain-lift mechanism which is much easier to operate than a string-based product and avoids the need for wall hooks.
When it comes to flooring, opt for neutral colouring with a hint of grey and introduce any heavy pink tints with small rugs for islands of colour.
Follow these tips and your little princess will be in the pink happily ever after.
BACK TO THE PRESENT
If you are looking to kit out a room on a budget, but want to keep some quality, then take a trip to your local auction or second- hand shop and look for Edwardian brown wooden furniture.
The shapes are beautifully elegant, but the colour has fallen out of favour so these pieces are now a really good buy.
Strip back the varnish to the natural wood and then paint with a good emulsion in the colour of your choice and top with varnish; you will be amazed at the finish (and at what you can get for your money – even compared to flat-pack).
Jamie Hempsall, BIID, is a multi-award winning interior designer.