Where should you go to find inspiration for your child’s bedroom? Instagram and Pinterest, that’s where. Nathalie Marquez-Courtney asks three mums for their tips on navigating your way through the maze of hashtags
Lili Forberg, fashion photographer and co-founder of Mutiny Kids (mutinykids.com), a digital magazine dedicated to kids’ fashion and homewares, has seen a huge transformation in the industry. “When we started Mutiny Kids three years ago, we struggled to find Irish companies selling cool interiors for kids,” she recalls. “Now you could decorate a full room just using Irish shops, which is amazing.”
She first became interested in interior design when she and her husband bought their Rathfarnham home five years ago. “I always had lovely apartments, but I never really made them my own,” she recalls. “I felt like there wasn’t any point buying things for someone else’s house, but there weren’t as many affordable places to buy from back then. Places like Penneys Home and H&M have made it easy to buy ‘short-term’ decor.”
She describes her own style as “modern but homely”, with a mostly white palette. “I like to warm it up with accessories like cosy rugs and throws,” she says.
Lili regularly shares pictures of her space with the 15,000-plus people who follow her Instagram account (@liliforberg) and also finds the photo-sharing app invaluable for getting inspiration for her own home. “I love Instagram as I get to see inside real people’s homes – well, as real as Instagram can be,” she laughs. “Whereas Pinterest is more the dream. I get my inspiration for colour palettes and styling from there.”
Instagram hashtags have also proved a handy tool for finding styles she loves. “#barnrum, which means ‘kids room’ in Swedish is great,” Lili says. “It has become an international hashtag now for all the gorgeous minimal and modern style kids’ bedrooms.”
When it came to decorating her son Leon’s room, Lili stuck with a black and white palette to make it easy to mix and match.
“There’s a pop of yellow, due to his love of batman and lightning bolts,” she notes.
For her, Leon’s room wouldn’t be the same without Instagram: “He has a personalised superhero poster, which is from an Insta shop called Wall Circus (@wallcircus), a ‘Leon’ toy storage bag from Irish brand Moobles and Toobles (@mooblesandtoobles), which we know through Instagram, and loads of bits from Crafted Pine Co (@craftedpineco), which is a family-owned business making wooden home decor for kids’ rooms.”
Blogger and photographer Marta Miklinska (mother-blog.com), agrees. “I don’t go on Instagram or Pinterest to look for a dress or shoes,” she says. “But it’s my go-to place for anything house, garden or party-related.”
Marta follows people from all round the world, and loves being inspired by homes in different corners of the globe. “I’m a very visual person, so seeing how people decorate their homes and how they make them cosy makes me look at things from a different, fresher perspective.” Through Instagram she has found her “tribe” – a small community of like-minded people with whom she regularly exchanges ideas and advice.
“Ever since becoming a part of this small creative community, Instagram stopped being just some social media platform,” she says. “It’s my ‘safe’ place to share.”
She tackled the task of decorating her daughter Matilda’s room in an organised, focused way. “When Matilda was born we lived in a small one-bedroom cottage in Kilmainham, so I had to look for things that would meet my aesthetics and be functional at the same time,” she recalls. “I researched things on Pinterest and Instagram before making any purchases.”
When it came to inspiration, hashtags proved invaluable: “Once I started using specific hashtags more intentionally, I discovered a whole new side to Instagram,” she says.
Marta even created a spreadsheet that she regularly updated with new ideas, products she liked and links to inspiring Instagram posts. “It helped me to buy only what we needed and what we could physically fit into our bedroom,” she says. “For example I knew we needed a small crib, ideally a mobile one that I could easily move from our bedroom to the living room. This is when my Pinterest research paid off and we got a beautiful and very practical Stokke crib.”
Marta is pleased to see a wider range of kids’ interiors available in Irish stores, as well as on her Instagram feed. “My heart grows when I see that high street shops are slowly abandoning the pink and blue approach when it comes to kid’s room decor,” she laughs.
Alex Carberry is a blogger who posts about all things interior design and DIY (theinteriordiyer.com). When preparing for the arrival of her daughter Cora, she relied on a host of digital tools. “I followed hashtags on Instagram, used Google Sketch Up for creating room mock-ups and found things on Adverts.ie.” She ignored traditional accessories and simply upcycled furniture pieces. “Cora’s change table is just a normal dresser with a soft change table on top of it,” says Alex. “It’s amazing what you can do with paint if you find something second-hand,” she says.
Alex used a Pinterest exercise created by UK blogger Kimberly Duran (swoonworthy.co.uk) to help her define her personal home style. “I narrowed it down to three words, which were dark, romantic and luxe,” says Alex, who has transformed her Dublin rented apartment with clever (reversible) design touches, many of which she documented on her blog. “It helped me spot the patterns in our place, and uncover what I loved about the ‘dream’ places I was pinning,” she explained.
Again, Instagram hashtags let her find home inspiration. “I love #GothicTonic – it’s really dark, and moody,” she says. “It introduced me to people who were doing things I liked, but also doing things in a bolder way. It was really inspiring and helped me find people and projects I loved.”