PARENTS know best
Today, growing numbers of lifestyle and furniture companies are catering to parents who want to extend their design ideas from 'adult areas' into children's bedrooms. The days when cartoon characters dominated children's furniture are long gone, and concern for the environment is increasingly a priority.
'People are spending more time at home and want an extension of their environment and taste in the children's bedroom,' says Kate Babington, managing director of Tree furniture boutique. Late last year, Tree launched its TREEkids collection, which is divided into Pure and Ferum lines.
For the Ferum line of single beds, storage units, cabinets and worktables, each piece is made from reclaimed traditional Indonesian fishing boats. 'We were excited about this range because we are not depleting natural resources, but reusing waste products in a modern arena,' Babington says.
'Our whole collection is something the child will not grow out of, and it blends into the rest of the house's decor.'
In the Pure line, the unisex pieces are made from unpainted Forest Stewardship Council-certified reclaimed teak that is 'completely natural and pure' and free of chemical paints or oils.
Deirdre Gleeson, brand director at Indigo Living and Indigo Kids, agrees parents are looking to decorate their children's bedroom to suit their lifestyle. 'There is a lot of cheap children's furniture in the market, but more parents are looking for clean and classic furniture that will last for years,' Gleeson explains. 'In terms of stylishness, parents want their kids' rooms to be on trend and reflect their parents' style.'
As retro pieces are back in vogue for parents, Indigo Kids has rolled out items including a retro-style rocking chair and enveloping white-and-red fibreglass ball chair.
The brand's core collection, Noah, is what Gleeson describes as 'bright, classic and painted ivory white with a cute star motif'. The entire Noah collection has been designed to be 'flexible', in that the parents start with a single bed, but when another child arrives, they can turn the single into a bunk bed or add a trundle bed or storage drawers underneath. And for the storage modules, they can also stack and build on each other to fill out a small space or entire wall.
Apart from looking clean and classic, Gleeson says safety is a top priority when designing children's furniture. 'Safety is the most important part. The furniture has got to be toxic-free, and smooth with no gaps so fingers can't get trapped or slammed,' she says. 'Durability is also key. When you touch a piece of well-made furniture, you can just feel how solid and sturdy it is.'