Favourite Things

When it comes to doing up your little one’s space, it’s best to let out the child in you, and act upon those things that will always hold children in their thrall, says colour consultant Latika Khosla.

Latika Khosla is on the board of the Color Marketing Group USA and the founder-organizer of Colors India. She is also the founder-director of Freedom Tree, a wholly-Indian, colour-led lifestyle brand with retail presence in Parel, part of Mumbai’s trendy mill district. Latika’s studio, Freedom Tree Design, undertakes colour consultancies and design assignments.



Raindrops on roses and
whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and
warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Children’s poems and songs are full of a narrative description that evokes all the senses. As children, we have vivid imaginations. We see shapes in clouds, mushrooms are the houses of elves, a tree tapping against the window is a monster trying to get in… Hearing the familiar refrain from The Sound of Music, makes us hear the plink of raindrops, smell the brown paper packages, and feel the warmth of a copper kettle. The word associations immediately give us colour, taste, smell, sound and touch.

Who, as a child, did not dream of living in a wonderland, where lollipops grow on trees and pixies lived in cupcake houses.

Decorating a child’s room can be extremely enjoyable, for the child as well as for the parents. The idea is to do it together. Children love fantasy. Not having to stick to an acceptable norm of any kind makes it beautifully simple. We don’t have to check ourselves; we can be as childlike and inventive as we want.

Turning to delectable food for decor inspiration opens up myriad aesthetic vistas.

What makes a child tick? That’s the key. They like a LOT of things. I remember as a child being fascinated by Harindranath Chattopadhya’s poem, Nani ki naav chali, which has alliterative words, rhyming stanzas and completely unrelated things with which a small vessel is laden: a sing-song memory-game. As a child, there is a frisson of excitement laced with fear, as you wait for disaster to happen, the boat to capsize. Yes, kids have a gigantic list of favourite things… and therein lies our inspiration.

Sweet Stuff
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Colour inspiration can come from confectionary. How often have you looked at jelly beans and candy sticks, and loved their twirling transparent glazes? Have you not, as a child, peered at the world through glazed jelly, and been reprimanded for playing with food? Now our kids should be allowed to do just that. It’s playtime folks! She likes candied flowers? He drools over dishy cupcakes? Just throwing around some happy looking cushions made up of these favourite things is a brilliant way to brighten up the room. The whole idea of converting toothsome goodies into decorative elements opens up vast possibilities.

Letters can be fun and education at once. They can be put to great use as an interactive, dynamic decorative element.

And why just stick to cushions? Coloured foam can be used in a variety of creative ways. By covering hard-edged surfaces of a storage unit with this materials, makes the furniture friendly and fun. Rolling it out as sleeping bags, makes for an ideal playdate. The softness it lends to any surface makes it a safe fit for kids of any age group. That’s utility and aesthetics in perfect tandem right there.

Big and Bright
Every little child wants to be thought of as being bigger than they are. At two, we want to be four; at eight, we want to be thirteen. Then we hit the old age of nineteen, and start counting our birthdays in reverse! The whole idea of taking cues from ‘grown-up’ interiors and transforming them into ideas for kids is something interesting to explore.

The funky stuffed animal heads are a genius play on the original ‘Hunter’s Trophies’, usually found in a stuffy den.

Don’t throw out anything. Repurpose it for the kids with joy. Think of a formal cabinet you might be waiting to change. It might have been an old mahogany-polished dining room showcase with crystal figurines. Give it a new life. Splash some bright orange paint on it, fill it with even brighter tit-bits and we have a masterpiece for the child’s room…. plus a fun day of painting together. This concept can be applied to almost anything, giving us so many possibilities. Maybe it’s time to go have a nice long look at all that old furniture you thought you are only making do with.

A child’s space does not necessarily equate to buzzing-with-vibrancy interiors. Pretty pastels work beautifully as well.

Just because it’s a child’s room doesn’t imply that we have to stick to bright over-the-top interiors. Pretty pastels work beautifully as well. Don’t limit your imagination. We can mix pastels of all kinds; get in a pale purple, a baby pink, an eggshell blue, an olive green, and you can make your child’s room look like a little box of crayons. Add frills, lace or any other soft material, and your box of crayons gets transformed into a delicious froth of icing. Just one word of caution: like icing on a cake, white is a must to break the intensity of colour.

Playschool at Home
Being able to draw on the wall is every child’s dream come true. Be irreverent along with your kids and turn all don’ts into dos! Make the interiors as fun as interactive toys. Their workspace is also playroom. Having a wall blackboard as a part of the room is a perfect interactive idea without being obtrusive. The child can go crazy with chalk every day. It also serves its purpose as a regular wall, when you station a desk right beside it. Hang up a clock, put up some paintings, and mix it up with your child’s chalk illustrations thrown in. A real art corner!

An element of white will act as a much-needed rein in spaces that are replete with intense colour.

Have fun with letters. They can be a very interactive and dynamic decorative element. Leave them on a desk, place them on a wall, hang them from the ceiling, use them as paperweights, or as bookends,  let them be the last word, literally! They can be made of wood, metal, paper, card, clay, anything… Use them to decorate, change what kids can say every day. Never be at a loss for words!

A real art corner, with your child’s chalk illustrations mounted on the blackboard.

Being young is about never letting the child inside grow up. And having children allows you to be a kid with them again. Let’s not think of ourselves as parents. Take a deep dive into the mind of a child… and you can turn to rhyme for no reason.