Accessorising a room: where to begin?

My friend asked me recently to help her out with her young sons’ new bedroom. The newly redecorated guest room – pristine plastered white walls, pale carpet, original Victorian fireplace – will now become the boys’ room and therefore needs an injection of colour and life.

My friend wasn’t sure where to start and she certainly doesn’t want to change or ruin any of the existing decor. She has a very clear sense of style and loves mid-century and Scandinavian decor and really doesn’t want the room to become a cartoon-themed style-less space. However, she obviously wants the boys to be happy.

So, the first thing I suggested was to sit down with the boys and ask them what they loved most in the world. I always start the redecorating process by thinking about a particular piece of furniture, artwork or colour that I feel really passionate about and I often base a scheme around just one particular item. For example, when I began my office makeover I based the colour palette for the room around my favourite Double Merrick print.

The boys’ response boiled down to two things, after a few leading questions. Firstly, they both “love all the animals in the zoo” and when we probed them about colours (they’re obsessed with Lego so we made them identify those colours), they decided they loved “all the colours of the rainbow”. So cute! I pulled together a mood board based on those two themes and tried to include accessories so that the existing decor won’t need to be changed at all. I also didn’t want to include anything that is too gender-specific – personally, I’m not a fan of  ‘blue’ boys’ rooms and ‘pink’ girls’ rooms.

Designing a children's room | Apartment Apothecary

1. Ingela Lion print, Hunkydory Homes 2. Zig Zebra cushion, Argos 3. Animal Nesting Dolls, Pippa and Ike Show 4. Rainbow blanket, John Lewis 5. Topsy elephant cushion, Argos 6. Peeta table lamp, Argos

I found some gorgeous accessories in Argos that combine both the boys’ passions, such as the cushions. Other additions like colourful lighting, blankets, prints and toys (I love the super cute animal nesting dolls) can be added to the room relatively cheaply and still fit with the style of the rest of the house as they are all so well designed.

When looking in furniture stores, my friend became adamant that she didn’t want any ‘children’s furniture’ because she wants more longevity and flexibility than that. Therefore, I picked out a few pieces with the help of Argos’s home buying guide that I think are stylish and fit well with her passion for mid-century and Scandinavian furniture (I totally want that wardrobe and set of drawers myself!), yet won’t look out of place in a children’s bedroom. I also added a couple of untreated wooden pieces – the bedside drawers and bench – that could be a really fun project for the kids to decorate with their animal and rainbow colour theme and give them some ownership over the room. The pieces can easily revert to plain, tasteful pieces of storage in the future when the boys are older.

Designing a children's room | Apartment Apothecary

1. Tatsuma chest, Argos 2. Tatsuma wardrobe, Argos 3. Scandinavia bedside chest, Argos 4. Bundzbendix Tower changing table, Skandivis 5. Scandinavia toy box, Argos.

What are you passionate about that you would use as a starting point for redecorating a room? It’s so much easier if you hone in on one particular item or something you really love rather than picking completely random colours and accessories.

Katy x

Disclosure: This post was written in collaboration with Argos but all the views and opinions are my own.


  1. Caroline
    18th November 2014 / 9:27 am

    Bit worried that if I asked my children they’d say Spider-Man and Batman! But this has got me thinking about my own bedroom, which we are about to redecorate from scratch. I’m a bit obsessed with Orla Kiely bags so might get some inspiration from those – the colours and patterns. Never thought about choosing colours for a room based on an object you like. Thanks, that’s really helpful 🙂

    • katy
      19th November 2014 / 9:58 am

      I know, we were so pleased that they didn’t say some awful cartoon but we did use quite leading questions. Lego was their first answer but we turned that round to the colours they liked and then we asked them about their favourite day, which led to a recent trip to the zoo. I suppose, after being a teacher for so long, I’m quite good at getting kids to give me the answer I want whilst they still feel they have come up with the answer by themselves 😉 Anyhoo, picking colours from your favourite bag sounds like a great plan x

  2. Maria
    18th November 2014 / 10:10 am

    Nice picks! Never have thoght that stuff would be from Argos. Congrats on your award btw!

    • katy
      19th November 2014 / 9:59 am

      Thank you! There will be a proper thank you post later this week x

  3. 18th November 2014 / 11:53 am

    Wow that Argos stuff is really nice! What a surprise. I only remember their super cheap stuff I had from them when I was a student!

    • katy
      19th November 2014 / 9:59 am

      I know, right! They’ve really upped their game 🙂

  4. Farah
    18th November 2014 / 11:35 pm

    Brilliant! Would never have thought of looking in Argos until you wrote this piece!Love the chest of drawers. Also enjoying the lamp and toy box!

    • katy
      19th November 2014 / 10:01 am

      I love the Tatsuma range, too. The detailing, like the handles, is really good design x

  5. 21st November 2014 / 9:27 pm

    nice suggestions! And thanks for mentioning our Ingela nesting dolls XXX

    • katy
      24th November 2014 / 8:25 pm

      Love them (in fact, love everything in your shop) x

  6. 21st November 2014 / 9:30 pm

    What fun items you’ve chosen! Bet your friend loves them! x

    • katy
      24th November 2014 / 8:25 pm

      She does and so do the boys thankfully!

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