Bright and breezy best for kids

By Terry Lobb

Last weekend a group of friends and I spent a long weekend at Sawtell, just south of Coffs Harbour, NSW. We woke to the stunning landscape of coastal Australia and the incredible sounds of the loud colourful birdlife. We were at a summer camp dancing to the sounds of the Afro Cuban beats. What a combination! Twelve hours of dance classes led by seven incredibly talented Cuban dance instructors, five men and two women. One of the women we are lucky enough to have living in New Zealand.

It is rare that you would get seven dance instructors trained to such a high standard, taking the same class, feeding and bouncing off each other for up to 12 hours over a weekend. The teamwork and what each instructor had to contribute was amazing. Each had their own teaching style and the combination of the seven in one class made for dynamic and entertaining workshops. We danced to the rhythms of the drums and learnt the history of different cultures that came together to create the different dance styles within the Cuban culture. And we dressed in the colour of whirling bright fabrics in skirts, petticoats and scarves teamed with crisp white - an exciting, energising, creative weekend.

The colours were stimulating and whereever I go I'm thinking of how colour and texture can be used in different aspects of our lives to enhance our lifestyles.

My work is about creating spaces for people to help make them feel fantastic about who they are and where they are at in life. It may be a haven to retreat to after a hard day at work or somewhere to take time out from the rest of the family. What better place to start than the babies' or children's rooms.

Babies and young children are sponges. They soak up everything that is going on around them, positive and negative. We see their first smiles, steps, interaction with siblings and hear their first words, and so on. They need positive stimulation and colour and texture is a great way to achieve this. Children's rooms should be bright, happy spaces and not necessarily blue for boys and pink for girls. Children's personalities will shine through and if you create a girly, girly room for a tomboy she may not like it. A boy who leans towards being more academic may not appreciate or even like a totally full-on boy's room.

In babies' rooms I tend to think that a soft warm hue wrapped around is a better option, but don't use greyed off colours. The colours need to be clear with the best colours for stimulation being the primary colours. Why do you think that so many kids' toys come in bright colours? If you are looking at something a little brighter then perhaps a striking feature wall if the room lends itself to feature walls and team it with a neutral or white.

I tend to think bedrooms should be carpeted so that kids can play on the floor if they wish, but it also helps to absorb noise and gives an added sense of warmth.

I tend to use bright curtaining suitable for both boys or girls unless you specifically want to decorate for a boy or a girl. That way you have more scope if you are a young couple just starting a family or grandparents with a horde of grandchildren who come to stay.

Splashes of colour can be achieved by adding a decorative frieze around the walls or fun stick-on images that can be removed as the child grows.

Beds, bedding and storage boxes and window seats can help create fun spaces with splashes of colour. Storage trunks are great for storing toys, and if you have a slat bed even better with storage underneath or at the end of the bed if there is room. Trunks lend themselves to be painted great colours and can be changed and embellished over time. If each child has their own trunk then they can do as they please with it if parents allow them to be creative. There is an array of bedding on the market from bedspreads to duvet covers depending on what your preference is. Bedding can be changed with the seasons using warm, more textured fabrics for the winter and cooler, more crisp cottons in the summer. Covers can be traditional or brightly coloured and throws added for extra texture and warmth. The choice is limitless and fun depending on how imaginative you want to be.

If you have any questions about issues discussed or product supply give me a call on 0276023298 or drop me a line on (website under construction)

- Wanganui Chronicle

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