A young adventurer's alcove Back
14 June, 2017
There’s no reason a child’s bedroom shouldn’t reflect the same serene, sophisticated aesthetic as the rest of your home. A few carefully curated pieces, gentle accent colours and playful artefacts is all it takes to transform an ordinary space into an imaginative haven for young explorers.
With the promise of becoming a family heirloom, a beautiful wooden bed from Cameroon sets the scene as the focal point of the room – a raw wooden piece with expertly carved elements in a simple, authentically rustic style. Contrasting beautifully with the more stark wooden furnishings are boldly printed India throws and ase-oke or mudcloth cushion covers in soft pinks and neutral colours. The ase-oke, which often features complex lace-like patterns, is a hand-loomed cloth traditionally woven on narrow strip looms by the Yoruba men in Nigeria, while the mudcloth comes from Mali.
When it comes to selecting wall and floor coverings, textural and tonal qualities are key. Neutral, warm tones such as cream, beige and browns, create a safe, close-to-nature feel while interesting textures – from woven straw mats and soft sheep skins on the floor, to carved details on wall coverings – add visual interest. A crocheted stool serves as a little table (just the right height for small people to reach!) and locally made wooden shelves are a good way to keep breakable items out of reach.
Rather than filling the room with endless clutter and toys, carefully selected objects can be used to liven the space, fuel the imagination and encourage playful dreaming. Wooden antelope and elephants whisk little hearts to the savanna grassland of Cameroon; a Chewa rabbit mask invokes the spirit of Malawi; and a carved colonial figure is a playmate from the faraway lands of Ivory Coast. Not forgetting your little one’s favourite meerkat friends carved in Zimbabwe! Finish the room with a dreamy metal light in pastel shades from India, a Cameroonian feather hat above the bed and plenty of green plants to breathe life into the alcove.
Creating a stimulating environment for young imaginations is as simple as that. A calming, interesting space, full of memorable objects and beautiful crafts, allows a child the freedom to dream. Those dreams – of venturing to the faraway lands from which each object has travelled, fuelled by the story of each unique piece – instil a lifelong love for the special space that a child calls their room, and fuel a beautiful curiosity for the world, its art and its myriad cultures.