It's Child's Play
Gabrielle Fagan reveals how to create the perfect nursery, fit for any little prince or princess...
Prince George will soon have to abdicate his nursery to make way for a brother or sister. The new prince or princess will most likely take up residence in the young prince's Beatrix Potter-themed room at Kensington Palace, and will also enjoy a brand new nursery, currently being completed at the Cambridge's country home, Anmer Hall in Norfolk.
No expense will have been spared to make it royally spectacular, and Kate and William may soon also be thinking of creating a "big boy's" bedroom for toddler George.
Of course, all parents, whatever their budget, lavish care on nurseries and children's rooms. Here's how to give your own little one's space the regal touch...
"It's a room on which parents lavish a lot of thought and care, and second time around, if they want a decor change - perhaps because of a different sex sibling - they are often more confident about opting for a specific style and are bolder in their colour choices," says Lucinda Croft, owner of Dragons of Walton Street, who created nurseries for Princes William and Harry and their cousins, Beatrice and Eugenie.
"A space which is functional but stylish is always the most successful, and after a first baby, people are aware of the must-haves and the pieces which took up space needlessly.
"Warm cream, antique white and dove grey are still classic choices for walls, but there's a growing enthusiasm for brighter colours. We're seeing deeper blues, bright pinks, sharp, citrus yellows and vivid greens coming through this year. Wall murals, which are enjoying a huge revival, are becoming more dramatic in vivid, rich colours too."
Decor Tip: Two By Two, a parade of Noah's ark animals, is one of the delightful designs in Little Sanderson's Abracazoo fabric and wallpaper collection, fabric £69 a metre, wallpaper £40 a roll. It's reportedly being considered by the Duchess of Cambridge, who chose furniture and furnishings decorated with Beatrix Potter illustrations for George's nursery.
Regal Style: British company Ercol began in the 1920s, and its nursery pieces at Marks & Spencer retain their timeless appeal. An Ercol Cot Bed, £749, and Ercol Rocker Chair with Seat Pad, £499.
Unless you live in a royal residence, space is often at a premium in a nursery. A Laura Cot Bed, incorporating a storage unit with drawers, £599, Cuckooland, is a clever solution. Simultaneous nursing and rocking soothes both baby and parent, and a Mo-Ma Glider nursing chair, £975, Olli Ella, could be a perfect gift from doting grandparents. A night nursery needs a soft light, and a rabbit Miffy Light, £114, Maiden, is sweet as well as practical.
Baby Bargains: Silver Cross, a byword for prams, nowadays impresses with its furniture. A Notting Hill three-piece set in white-painted wood, £1,200, includes a cot bed, wardrobe, and changing unit and dresser. Grey Star Wallpaper, £25 a roll, Great Little Trading Company.
When a little one moves out of the nursery to make way for a new baby, he needs to be given his own little kingdom, reflecting his personality. "Be inspired by your toddler's favourite books or TV programmes to help you decide on a scheme, which will also help your child feel involved in the choice," says Toks Aruoture, designer and founder of online nursery specialists, The Baby Cot Shop.
"A simple rule to follow is 'less is more'. Children love colour, but an excessive amount of bright colours can over-stimulate, so reserve those for a playroom. Grey is ultra-fashionable and can be paired with reds, yellows or oranges for an adventurous scheme, or consider on-trend geometric prints, which would work well picked out on rugs, bed fabrics and pictures."
Decor Tip: Make an engaging focal point in a room by repainting a key piece of furniture, such as a chest, and stencilling it with a pattern featuring nature, animals or flowers. There's a wealth of designs to choose from at The Stencil Library (stencil-library.com).
Regal Style: Although you might need a king's ransom to pay for it, you could give a prince or princess their own bespoke Castle Bed, with a play area and bed in its base and another bed upstairs in the turrets. Starting from £13,630, The Baby Cot Shop.
Provide a bedroom 'camp' with a Kids Tepee Cabin Bed in white solid pine, £399, and matching Teepee Bookcase, £165, Cuckooland. Follow that outdoor theme with tree-shaped Nursery Bookshelves, £560, White Rabbit England.
A royally decorated Crown and Orb Trunk, £170, Milly Green, could be perfect for their treasures.
Toddler Treat: An Egmont Toys Mushroom Lamp, £56.70, Smallable, would add a fantasy woodland touch.
After your toddler's grown out of the nursery, you may find it needs a right royal makeover to get it ready for a newcomer.
"Simply turning one wall into a feature, by painting it in a deeper, more striking version of a shade which complements your existing furnishings, may be all that's needed," says Marianne Shillingford, creative director of Dulux.
"Beauty Cream and Honest Touch (available from the Dulux MixLab Him + Her range, £24.99 for 2.5L) are super emulsion shades which are warm and gentle."
Decor Tip: Accents of colour in accessories and pictures put zing into a room. Bring in further colour with a decorative blind. G-Raff Jungle Fever Blackout Blind, from £31.50, has a parade of different coloured giraffes, Direct Blinds.
Regal Style: Give a crib or cot a touch of royal grandeur by adding a hand-made crown or coronet and a canopy, starting from £400 from The Baby Cot Shop. Children's wall stickers have evolved into works of art. There's a fabulous collection of 75 in the new Millie Marotta's Home Sticker Book, £20 (Batsford; published in May).
Baby Chic: Andy Hau's irresistible cushion collection, entitled Tales From The War & Other Short Stories, comprises four foxy designs with a charming fairy tale quality. They're £30 each, and available from Not On The High Street.