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Kids’ bedrooms often double as playrooms, offices, or dens. But for homewares designer Alice Palmer, the space shared by her daughter, Margarita (6), and son, Arnold (4), moonlights as an ad hoc photo studio. Whenever new versions of her signature pleated lampshades and ruffled cushions need capturing, it’s their room that provides the most characterful backdrops. “They get so excited when I swap the bed skirts and shades around,” says the London-based creative. “They really notice every change and love it.”

Before Margarita and Arnold came along, the room was for guests, although it bore the same off-white and plaster-pink paintwork that it currently sports. Slowly but surely, Palmer has tweaked the space with whimsical, child-approved touches, as well as a set of twin beds in place of the original double. Here are a few of the tricks she used to make the transition.

Don’t Be Afraid to Craft

Ointment Pink Paint, Farrow & Ball.

Boredom can be a motivator: Fed up with the plain walls, Palmer created a bunting stencil to give the room the look of a tented pavilion, complete with a sunburst in the center of the ceiling where the light hangs. “I did it all by hand and it’s a bit wonky,” she admits, “but the star makes it feel so cozy at night.” She also employed a hack she remembered from her art-school days to age the wardrobe’s cane panels. “When you buy cane, it’s much lighter, so I rubbed wet tea bags to get the effect I wanted. I tried coffee first, but it was way too dark,” she says, laughing.

Vintage Ganesh Toran Door Hanging (similar), Etsy.

Curate a Bed They’ll Be Proud to Make

Diamond Kantha Quilts, Sourced by Holly; Sash Window Wall Mirror, OKA; Ruffle Striped Bed Valance, Alice Palmer & Co.

Custom headboards echo the artisanal feel of the richly embroidered kantha quilts on top of the beds, providing layers of contrasting patterns that Margarita particularly appreciates. “She loves fluffing cushions, and she just got good at tidying,” relays Palmer of her daughter’s styling tendencies. “She will line her teddys up.” Striped bed skirts cleverly hide the drawers that store toys underneath. 

Embrace Heirlooms

Palmer’s home is lovingly filled with hand-me-downs, the children’s space included. They have not only inherited the chest of drawers Palmer had in her teenage bedroom, but their great-grandmother’s cherished floor rug and blue porcelain lamp as well, the latter topped with one of Palmer’s pleated shades. The intergenerational twist continues on the walls, where framed pages from a Babar book that belonged to Palmer’s mother are mounted as artwork.

Make a Split Decision

Tangier Denim Stripe Lampshade, Alice Palmer & Co; Kapow by David Shillinglaw, Damn Fine Print.

The blush balcony doors opposite the entry are magical in their own right; Palmer split the frames to resemble a stable style, so the top and bottom sections can open separately. This way, cool air wafts in at night without any chance of her little ones venturing out unattended.

The Goods