How to Use Colour, But Keep Things Calm, (and Non-Gendered), in Kids’ Decor

How to Use Colour, But Keep Things Calm, (and Non-Gendered), in Kids’ Decor

By Alexandra Whiting   |  

Sage and Clare’s Phoebe Bell shows us how.

By Alexandra Whiting
Photography by Lamb Loves Fox
“A space can feel calm and serene without meaning it needs to look boring or lacking in soul,” says Phoebe Bell, founder of bohemian-inspired homewares brand Sage and Clare. Phoebe has a clear love of colour. Sage and clare pieces are joyful, colourful but not in a toy-aisle way, and have warm and personality. They are the kind of pieces that feel like they could have been passed down for generations, and have the makings of family heirlooms. In addition to heading up this beautiful brand, Phoebe is mum to a little boy, Jude, and a little girl, Heidi, and has some excellent insights for dismantling gendered decor. Why limit yourself!
Sage and Clare Star Cushion

The key to a beautiful nursery or baby's space is?

“It’s got to feel authentic and unique. Rather than trying for a picture-perfect nursery that follows the current trend, aim to create a thoughtful, sentimental room by incorporating your unique style. A special piece of furniture, keepsakes like a knitted blanket from Nanna, a personalised framed card or drawing from a sibling make a room feel special. Even just bringing in your favourite colours adds personality.”

Something people often get wrong when styling their nursery?

“You can get stuck on the idea of what’s for boys and what’s for girls. Or even, when the gender isn’t known, feeling that greys and yellows are the only option. I say, be a bit more daring with your colour choices and patterns! For example, bring in some graphic florals for boys along with some soft shades like lilac or peach. And think about the same for girls: I saw a fabulous nursery the other day that incorporated dinosaurs into a baby girl’s room. I have both a boy and a girl and I’ve really shifted away from approaching their rooms in a very gendered aesthetic. At the end of the day, they both love pattern and colour universally and in all its varieties. It also means that the items you do choose have more longevity and can be used for future siblings down the track.”
Sage and Clare Nursery

What colours do work well together in a gender-neutral nursery?

“I love mustard, tobacco, green (in all its shades), cornflower blue, lilac, peach, even a splash of red! You can have a lot of fun with it and, the broader the colour palette, the less likely you’ll find yourself in a rut of pink for girls, blue for boys and yellow for the unknown. I don’t hesitate to put pink strawberry sheets on my son Jude’s bed but I’ll combine it with a tobacco quilt cover, apple green pillowcase and a patchwork bedcover for variety and fun.”

Where should we use patterns or prints, and what should be plain in a baby's room?

“Controversial, I know! But I tend to keep the walls and permanent fixtures plain and inject colour and pattern into the furniture, wall art, and bedlinen. Not that it feels like it when you’re in it, but kids grow up quickly and their needs change fast too. Within two-three years you’ll be swapping out the cot for a bed, getting rid of the nappy change station, perhaps even editing your storage solutions in the room. What comes with this transition is often a rethink of the room as whole and it’s much easier to make those changes when nothing is permanent.”
Sage and Clare Cot Sheets

Current fave Sage and Clare pieces?

“I’ve always adored our wall hangings. They’re vibrant and soft and textural. They look great hung above a cot or next to the nappy changing area and will keep little ones distracted. I also have a soft spot for our baby blankets. Little babies often need lots of layers (more than you might think!) and these blankets are so soft and breathable as well as perfect for building layers. My little one, Heidi, sleeps with a number of these each night during the cooler months and with one in summer. Lastly, I love our cushions for some extra pops of fun and personality. They look great adorning a chair or even stacked up our Etienne Floor Cushions as a place to perch next to the cot or bassinet when you're settling. We all have those nights where it can feel like they’ll never go to sleep, so you may as well make sure you’re comfy.

Carlotta Patch Bedcover, $289

Sage and Clare Carlotta Patch Bedcover

Cida Berry Cushion, $109

Cida Berry Cushion

Vito Fitted Cot Sheet, $79

Sage and Clare Vito Fitted Cot Sheet

Ville Woven Wall Hanging, $249

Sage and Clare Ville Woven Wall Hanging $249

Rylie Round Cushion, $69

Sage and Clare Rylie Round Cushion $69

Freya Baby Blanket, $99

Freya Baby Blanket

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