Remember that children grow up sooner than you think when planning spaces for them. A Winnie-the-Pooh mural or a treehouse in one corner is fine when they’re five but isn’t cool when they’re teenagers and want to bring friends home to hang out. The fact that we’re even talking about dedicated children’s spaces is a departure in home planning. For a long time, playrooms have been the unused room next to the kitchen, or even the kitchen itself. Tripping over abandoned toys has been an everyday hazard in most living areas. You may find that you have a study that can be repurposed, or dead space in the loft or, joy of joys, that you can build a teenage pad at the end of the garden if the budget stretches.
Create a space that’s flexible. “Don’t build something very bespoke and beautiful,” advises Claire Burrage at Clara Bee. She recently completed the design of a duallevel loft space for a three-year-old in Abbeville Road. The budget was £10,000- £15,000 and she brought the project in at £12,500, which included all furniture, fabric and decorations. The lower level became the play area, fitted with a blackboard to replace a fireplace, with magnetic paint on the walls, alcove shelves filled with books “at just the right height” and hard-wearing Kardean laminate flooring which looks like wood. “It means the little girl can go crazy with paints and felt tips and it doesn’t matter as the floor can be wiped clean each time,” explains Claire.