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on theme

From Habitat plus - kids' spaces

If you’re going to go all-out in imagining a fun space that your kids will truly embrace as their own, deciding on a theme is a great place to start.

Brainstorm with your child to help focus on one or two of their favourite things that could be combined together, or even get them to draw what their dream bedroom looks like. While you might not be able to recreate it exactly, it can help your child to feel like they’re really the one wearing the designer’s shoes.

Start by anchoring the theme with a feature piece. This might be a favourite picture or poster, a striking duvet or a cool bedhead, then build everything else off of that. To carry the theme further, think beyond the walls when it comes to painting and decorating. Consider how you can include the floor, ceiling, furniture and accessories, such as frames, in your paint colour palette, and how soft furnishings, ornaments and other decorations can all add to the finished effect.

You should also think about how long you want to go before having to redecorate. Try and choose a design based on a theme that will be age appropriate for several years, and one that they’ve been interested in for a while, rather than just the passing flavour of the month. Remember, paint is one of the easiest things to change out when your child’s design choices change!

Mermaid magic

The Resene Riptide walls in this dreamy mermaid room have been given a rippled effect using Resene Paint Effects Medium and Resene Perfume, and the floor has been coated in Resene Half Fog. The bright pink stools create a bold anchor for the room in Resene Hopbush, while Resene Riptide has been repeated on the bedside table and drawing table to match the walls. The Resene Hopbush toybox has been given a cute wave detail in Resene Half Fog and the shimmery streamers hanging above the bed complete the effect of a magical underwater kingdom.

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Resene Riptide walls have been given a rippled effect in Resene Perfume using Resene Paint Effects Medium. The bedside table is in Resene Riptide with drawers in Resene Perfume and the floor is in Resene Half Fog

Top tip: Let your children create their own themed artwork for their room using some Resene testpots and paper or canvas.

Nero hero

Go for bold black and create your very own bat cave. These lower walls have been painted in Resene Nero, which has also been carried to the upper walls in a grid pattern over pale grey Resene Mystic. The grid is most easily achieved by painting the whole wall in Resene Nero, masking the grid, then painting over it with Resene Mystic. The lightshade has also been painted with Resene Nero over removable bat stickers. When the paint is nearly dry, you can peel the bats off so that when the light shines through the shade, the winged shapes will be projected around the room. You can easily create your own bat stickers by drawing your bat shapes onto self-adhesive paper then sticking them onto the shade ready for painting. The rest of the bat and comic book-themed furnishings and decorations are easily changeable so that when it’s time for a new theme, it is simple to remove them. And what teenager wouldn’t want a black bedroom?

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A succulent scheme

Choosing an unexpected but simple motif – such as a cactus - can be the basis for a fun room theme, and another that could also be easily adapted to a different theme if succulents begin to feel less than enticing. These walls have been finished in Resene Fringy Flower with the blue triangle trim painted in Resene Sea World. The same two colours are repeated throughout the room including the striped floor, bedside table and shelf, so the colour scheme does most of the heavy lifting. The large cactus pot was first painted in Resene Alabaster then covered in triangle stickers. It was then painted in Resene Black and, when touch dry, the stickers were removed to let the white show through. You can create your own triangle stickers using self-adhesive paper and drawing and cutting out your shapes to suit.

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Left: Nero hero theme - bold black.  Right: A Succulent theme - an unexpected, but simple motif.

Colours for "Nero hero" and "A succulent scheme" ...

Purrfect in pink

For the cat lovers out there, you can get a little wild with a leopard print floor by first painting two coats of Resene Paper Doll then drawing or stencilling the pattern on top using Resene Walk-on in Resene Foundry. While it may take a bit of time to finish, the result is dramatic! For extra protection and durability, finish it with Resene Concrete Wax. Since the floor takes centre stage in this room, the toned down Resene Geyser walls with Resene Paper Doll features - including the shelf and brackets - leave the leopard print with plenty of visual space to shine. Finish things off with a stool and bedside table painted in Resene Foundry and a bedside lamp in Resene Geyser to complete the look.

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Painting a rectangular section of Resene Paper Doll behind an on-theme feature mirror makes for a cute dressing table area without taking up much space. The stool colour is Resene Foundry and the drawer box has been block painted in Resene Geyser, Resene Paper Doll and Resene Foundry.

Rainbow connection

This bedroom is a great example of how a lovely warm colour palette can make a space feel welcoming and relaxing. Using tones of a pastel colour such as peach offers a way to keep the overall effect soft and muted while leaving room to add bolder accents. Take your theme to the next level by using this same Resene colour palette to revive secondhand cane furniture. Clean furniture well before applying a coat of Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer, then two coats of Resene Beethoven

Wall painted in Resene Cashmere. Floor painted in Resene Walk-on in Resene Cashmere. Rainbow painted in Resene testpots in Resene Crail (outer), Resene Beethoven (middle), and Resene Wafer (centre). Secondhand bedside table and bookshelf painted in Resene Lustacryl in Resene Beethoven. Raffia lidded baskets (on shelves) painted with a Resene testpot in Resene Crail.

Top tip: Always try out your colour scheme first with Resene testpots. Any leftovers can be used for fun art projects

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Other cool theme ideas:

  • Bring outside in - paint the room to look like an outdoor area with a garden, mountain scape or desert island

  • Go sporty and tailor the space around a favourite sport or team

  • Take things under the sea with graduated blue walls and a ceiling covered in sea creatures

  • Pick a favourite toy or cartoon character and build a world around them

  • Take a trip and bring a space scene or favourite place they’ve always dreamed of visiting into their bedroom

  • What about a circus, a pirate ship or a fairy tale castle?

  • You can keep things simple by sticking to a single main colour and paint in a variety of shades of that colour

  • You could also consider painting the room a neutral colour and layering it with replaceable features, such as pictures, cushions and bedding. Or, allocate a feature wall and focus on keeping that refreshed every few years and the rest of the room more neutral.

Top tip: Create a magnetic wall using Resene Magnetic Magic under your topcoat. Then stick magnets onto small pictures and characters so your child can adjust their room scene.


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