Once upon a time, in the fir trees of a Swedish forest, there lived a bear, a badger and a stag. A young explorer had come to join them, and after a day of adventures had set up camp in a den made of twigs under the twinkling stars of the dark night sky...
And so begins the inspiration behind our magical 'woodland explorer' themed boys room, which we created especially for little Jayan to mark his very special first birthday. Although we'd love to say that it was a trip through the beautiful Scandinavian forests that inspired us in this room design, the idea was actually born one summer's evening whilst researching content for the blog, when we stumbled across the stunning 'Into the Wild' wallpaper, a brand new design by Hibou Home - and one of our favourite children's wallpapers of all time.
It is one of those wallpapers that tells a story no matter what your age: A Scandinavian-inspired forest of pine trees with a scattering of little stars and beautifully hand-illustrated bears, wolves and elk roaming amongst them.
Chatting through theme ideas initially, our clients had mentioned bears, stags and the great outdoors as some of their favourite ideas for Jayan, a bundle of energy and a little explorer himself. Not only did the wallpaper encompass all of these, but it allowed us so much scope to accessorise the room around it. In short, they loved it as much as we did. Source:
1. 'Into the Wild' wallpaper by Hibou Home (storm green and taupe on soft grey - also available in arctic white and taupe on stone), £70 per roll
With the theme established, we set to work on colour. Picking out the taupe, which is a really smart mid-tone of grey, we found a close matching paint colour for the walls that would help to highlight the animals in the wallpaper print whilst toning with our client's existing furniture. And choosing plain curtains (a darker shade of grey - see antlers, noses and eyes!) would also keep the focus on the wallpaper, whilst helping to create a simple yet stylish backdrop to accessorise as we wished.
Next came the layout, and with it the consideration of how our little adventurer would use the room. It's a beautiful big space, with plenty of room for sleeping but just as importantly, playing... And isn't that just what little explorers do all day? So, we went about creating two areas within the room - one for sleeping and the rest for playing, each with its own special features but both in keeping with the overall theme.
The cosy sleeping area is tucked away behind the door on the right hand side of the room. The cot bed sits snugly against the wall, with the bookshelf and chest of drawers close by for easy access. Over in the corner and above the bed, we created a miniature wall art gallery featuring prints by one of our favourite British designers, Kerry Layton of Seventy Tree. Not only do her illustrations fit the room theme perfectly, but having the same style of art and the same type of frame across the different sizes helps to unify the gallery display and bring it together as whole. Using several prints together rather than one or two singles creates an eye-catching feature on a larger wall space, with plenty for little ones to enjoy looking at: Source: Selection of wall art by Seventy Tree, purchased from This Modern Life, including:
1. 'B is for Bear' A4 print by Seventy Tree, £15
2. 'Moonlight Bear' A3 print by Seventy Tree, £25
3. 'Bear of Few Words' A4 print by Seventy Tree, £15
4. 'Hello Dala' A6 mini print by Seventy Tree, £1.50
5. 'Bear & Cat' A6 mini print by Seventy Tree, £1.50
In keeping with the room theme, we fell in love with this amazing bedding set from Scandinavian brand By Nord, featuring a black and white photographic print of a giant grizzly bear and a pillowcase to match (which even teaches you and your little one a bit of Danish along the way...): The cushions, including this stylish grey and white fir tree cushion all the way from Sweden, and the adorable brown bear toy cushion which is designed and hand-stitched in the USA, make lovely decorative accessories but are equally good for sitting and lying on, reading on, jumping on - and dare we say it - throwing around! The bear cushion in particular makes an adorable soft toy for cuddling or imaginative play: And he looks equally at home on the armchair, too: Sources:
1. Bear toddler bedding set by By Nord (100% cotton, duvet cover 100 x 140cm/pillowcase 40 x 45cm - also available as single size), £54, This Modern Life
2. 'Gran' cushion cover - grey/white trees by Fine Little Day (100% cotton, 47 x 47cm), £30, This Modern Life
3. 'Big Bear' soft toy cushion by Gingiber (cotton/linen blend front with 100% cotton plaid fabric back, 25 x 28cm), £22, This Modern Life
The play corner - or should we say, 'explorer camp' - features an amazing hideaway den built from woven hazel branches. Aptly named 'twigwam', there's a doorway and two windows, perfect for peeking out of and spying on grizzly bears and badgers. Above it, the twinkling fairy lights help to create a cosy, under-the-stars feel (especially at night time, with the glowing silver toadstool light at the entrance to the den). And accessories such as the pine tree wall sticker and the gorgeous felt badger rug help to make the setting even more magical: Sources:
1. 'Twigwam' children's den (160 x 85cm), £165, Cox and Cox
2. Silver toadstool lamp by Heico (35 x 30cm height), £60, Deco Baby
3. 'Build a Pine Tree' wall sticker by Love Mae (122cm high), £69, This Modern Life
4. 3-D laser cut stag head (38 x 56cm), £25, Cox and Cox
5. Felt badger rug by Sew Heart Felt (110 x 65cm), £55.95, Molly-Meg
6. Wooden animal toys by Holztiger (shown on mantlepiece and below), £6.99-£8.99 each, Five Little Ducks Last but certainly not least, this beautiful natural wooden storage chest (sourced in a local antiques shop) is not only a stunning feature in itself, but it is just the job for stashing away all those toys at the end of a hard day's play.
Developing an inspiration board is an essential initial stage of any room design project. It allows us to brainstorm, develop and fine-tune the theme and colours together with our clients, so that everyone can visualise how the products will come together to create the end look and feel.
This is the board we developed for Jayan's 'woodland explorer' room: 1. Badger soft toy by Maileg (image sourced from Pinterest, but new versions now available from Cottontails Baby)
2. Felt badger rug by Sew Heart Felt (110 x 65cm), £55.95, Molly-Meg
3. 'B is for Bear' A4 print by Seventy Tree, £15, This Modern Life
4. 'Into the Wild' wallpaper (shown here in arctic white and taupe on stone), £70 per roll, Hibou Home
5. 'Twigwam' children's den (160 x 85cm), £165, Cox and Cox
6. 'Stag' wallpaper decal by Inke Heiland (135 x 146cm height), £70, Little Baby Company
7. 'Gran' cushion cover - grey/white trees by Fine Little Day (100% cotton, 47 x 47cm), £30, This Modern Life
8. Bear toddler bedding set by By Nord (100% cotton, duvet cover 100 x 140cm/pillowcase 40 x 45cm - also available as single size), £54, This Modern Life.
If you're planning a room makeover, whether it's a brand new nursery or a room refresh for a growing toddler or child and would like a helping hand (or even just a little bit of inspiration), please get in touch - we'd love to hear from you.
As for our little explorer Jayan, he loves his bedroom. And his mum and dad are pretty pleased too… Which at the end of the day, means our mission is well and truly accomplished.