Interior designer Gabby Garvey on restyling a cosy children’s bedroom

Interior designer and decorator Gabby Garvey reveals her top tips when it comes to restyling a children’s bedroom that is both cosy and true to character

Interior Designer Gabby Garvey in a childs bedroom
Interior designer Gabby Garvey offers her design tips for your little one’s bedroom

When it comes to re-styling your child’s bedroom, it can be a battle. What’s fun but also practical? Stylish but kid-friendly? Gabby Garvey – the interior designer and decorator who helps families in Dubai create their own perfect homes – reveals how to get it right.

Partner your passions

Start with what your kids are passionate about – this will inspire the theme for their bedrooms. Your interests, as parents, will also influence the design direction. This home, for example, belongs to a well travelled, multi-national family – the husband is Swedish-Russian; the mother is English-Russian; and their kids are growing up in Dubai – so, in the son’s bedroom, the mural (Atlas from muralswallpaper.co.uk) was a no-brainer. 

Restrict your colour palette

When I put the moodboard together, the wallpaper provided the starting point for the colour scheme: petrol blue goes perfectly with camel and tan. I keep to a restrained palette by using four or five shades of one colour. In this home, the son’s bedroom features blues, while the daughter gravitated towards pinks but there are girls who love a combination of blues and greys as well as boys, like my youngest son, who like a bit of pink thrown in the mix. 

Trade tradition for practicality

It’s not about sticking to a traditional look, creating a super stylish room or an Instagram-perfect space, but about what the kids like. The boy who has this bedroom loves reading, so we chose a leather recliner (from West Elm) that fits the globetrotter theme.

Layer the lighting

Task lights encourage reading, while fairy lights or a friendly animal lamp create a cosy ambience and offer comfort to kids who are afraid of the dark.

Interior Designer Gabby Garven shows off child's bedroom design with bird wallpaper and tulle drape over the bed
Gabby Garvey talks through how she adapts her designs depending on both the parents’ taste and children’s hobbies

Work around your foundations

Work with what you have. In this case, the villa is a rental so we couldn’t change the colour of the wooden doorframes. We incorporated lots of calming neutrals to complement the doors. I like to include hard-wearing, easy-to-clean materials in kids’ bedrooms, such as wood and leather, while the highly durable in/outside Morum rug from IKEA is not as hard against soft skin as a sisal rug. Ensure you maximise the natural light as well – using sheers for window treatments ensures curtains/blinds can be kept open as often as possible.

Think safety first

Avoid sharp edges in children’s bedrooms and include plenty of texture, such as wool. A soft, fluffy sheepskin rug works every bedroom, while layered rugs also soften a space. 

Rethink layout

Often the focal point of the room, the bed is a crucial consideration. Here, a house bed creates a sense of cosiness. For another project, the mother wanted to incorporate a tulle drape that had hung over her bed when she was a child – it softened her daughter’s house bed beautifully. I always include furniture and/or accessories belonging to the family into the design – you have to feel ownership of your space and often all it takes is moving pieces around so they work in a different way.

Like Gabby Garvey’s style? See more from her via her Instagram page, @stylemeinteriorsdubai and see more home transformation and decoration ideas here.

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