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Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt November 2, 2014
By Ann Moore-Spencer
Designers find that introducing colour into children's rooms
is often a balancing act. As children get older, so does their
opinion on what their bedroom should look like. The par-
ents' vision and that of the child often do not intersect. I
encourage parents to include their children, regardless of
age, in the discussion about the colour of their room. You
should respect the preferences of the child. The decision
should not be made by any single party: the child, the par-
ent, or the decorator.
Nurseries. Many still favour pastels in the traditional blue
for boys and pink for girls. But pastel colours can actually
be boring or non-stimulating for the infants themselves.
The under-developed eyesight of babies prefers high con-
trast colours and shapes. How about introducing the con-
trast of black and white or some bright colours? Bright
colours are said to aid brain development and learning. Add
layers of colour with the furnishings and accessories. As
your child gets older, the objects in the room can be learn-
ing aids to reinforce colour recognition. Yellow is said to be
the first colour that a baby can recognise and favour. So
you can consider using yellow in the combination for your
Many parents are opting for sophisticated colour
palettes, influenced by the colour and patterns in the
baby bedding available today. These colour combinations
serve as inspiration for stylish and trendy colour
schemes. Greens, purples and lavenders, buttery yellow
and even more 'adult' combinations are being used. The
key, though, is to recognise that you are not painting the
walls for eternity. You will paint again as your child gets
older and can voice their preference.
Boys' rooms. When decorating for boys, blue, green or
blue-green in their many faces, are still all-time favourites.
While these colours may be used on the walls, again bed-
ding and other accessories offer suggestions for myriads
of options for young men. In fact, I am actually seeing a
sort of soft 'denimish' grey-blue being favoured by some:
a more sophisticated palette. Brown in all its flavours, from
beige, through mocha to chocolate, proves to be a good
companion for blues and greens. Grey is another masculine
secondary or accent colour being used. Actually, every
major paint manufacturer has a version of greyish beige or
'beigey' grey that is excellent for a neutral wall colour that
can be the backdrop for more vibrant or warmer colour in
the room accessories. Consider 'metal' coloured accents.
Various versions of reds and oranges can also be consid-
ered for accessories and fabric.
Girls' rooms. Many girls still favour some version of laven-
der, purple or lilac. I am also seeing versions of pink, teal,
orange and lime green being favoured. Older girls, more
than boys, are influenced by colour trends in fashion. Again,
bedding collections typically drive the colour schemes. If
your child has chosen a colour that is so bright or dark that
it makes you cringe, balance it out with a more moderate
and cooler colour in the room. Many love the glitz of 'crys-
tals' and sequins and the glam of the feather boa bed scarf.
I actually just completed a purple upholstered cornice stud-
ded out in 'crystal' nail heads for a teenager's bedroom.
This was an absolute must-have for the young lady.
Black and dark colours. Without fail, I would have some
young client say they want black walls -- or some other
very dark colour. Almost all the parents are absolutely hor-
rified by the prospect. Black is a great accent colour and
every room should have some black. Very dark versions of
grey, brown, purple (any colour for that matter) function
like black in a room. Dark colours can be depressing, and
small rooms are overwhelmed by dark colours.
So when your teenager insists on black, incorporate it in
the bedding or the upholstery of the side chair, headboard
or cornice, for instance. You can use a solid black or pat-
terned black bed skirt or a patterned rug. Black pillows,
black lamp bases, black stripe on the wall, banding or colour
blocking on the window treatments, black picture or mirror
frames. Get the picture? Black does not have to be the only
colour. Use grey and beige with black, for instance. That's
essentially a black room, but not overpoweringly so. Try for
three-colour schemes with black being the accent colour.
A successful ratio is 60:30:10, with 10% being reserved for
the extra dark colour.
Balance. If your goal is to choose a colour scheme that
your child will not soon outgrow, use a neutral colour in
60% of the room. Make your bold statement with 10% of
the colour, typically as an accent or in your accessories, and
the other 30% in your secondary colour. That can be con-
sidered the colour or the room. Combine colours of similar
intensity or brightness. A blend is created with no one
colour dominating the other. You will be able to live with
this harmonious combination for a lot longer.
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