As an interior stylist for little people, Mel Spurling of Hello Little Birdie always encourages her clients to get their kids involved. “When I first meet a client I encourage them to bring their children, as it is a great way to gauge their little personalities and incorporate a little of them into their newly designed bedroom. In fact, you could argue that the little person is my client and they have to bring their parents!”
Designing both nurseries and kids rooms, Mel is a lover of anything that is unique and original and pushes the boundaries. With an aim to design rooms that last a lifetime (or at least past the toddler years!) she believes creative thinking combined with clever shopping, can lead to rooms rich in detail and cheap to pull together. “It is definitely possible to put together a gorgeous nursery, which will work for many years to come. DIY should not be ignored; not everything has to have a dollar sign on it. You should always start with paint or wall decals; a new colour creates a whole new look. That means that you can spend the majority of your budget on furniture that can grow with your child, such as a high-quality dresser or side table, and save on items that they will quickly outgrow.”
Mel also recommends places like eBay, Gumtree and garage sales for finding those cheap but good quality finds. “Take an outdated or damaged piece of furniture, give it a fresh coat of paint and all of a sudden you’ve given it a whole new life. You can finish off your entire new look by accessorising your room with inexpensive wall art. Try framing your little birdie’s artwork, or an image from a book, magazine or even greeting card!”
Originally working in IT as a business analyst (“I am part geek too!”), Mel’s love for interior design began as a young child when she shared a room with her grandmother and longed for a room of her own. “As a little girl, I’d spend endless hours imagining what my room would look like if I had my own little space. By the time I had grown up and had my very first baby, I swore she would have the most whimsical, stylish and dreamy room. One like no other! But once I started looking into children’s decor, I found that most items were boring at best, and horrible at worst. That’s when I realised that I could put all of my skills and experience together to start creating wonderful, imaginative and fun spaces for little people.”
With both online and on-site services, Mel designs for both boys and girls and in her opinion there are some key differences to remember: “We all know boys are boisterous and love to create clutter. Bearing this in mind, a boy’s room can’t go without storage. For boys, fresh white bedroom walls set a neutral backdrop that pair perfectly with any decorating style as tastes change. Add some bold prints and you are well on your way!”
And for girls? “Girl’s rooms are timeless and I always find decorating them with wallpaper will last for many years. We all know little girls like to call themselves little ladies, so I love creating rooms which incorporate on-trend furniture to give the room a more mature look. Once the foundations are set, adding a bunch of accessories and toys to the room, makes it come to life. I love adding lots of layers; quilts, throws and cushions.”
For more on Mel visit her website.