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A Decorating Expert Answers Your Design Questions

Missed our Wednesday Lunch Club with a Farrow & Ball decorating expert? Don’t worry, you can read all of the expert advice she shared here

Every week at Mother&Baby, we bring you the Wednesday Lunch Club – a chance to get brilliant advice for your parenting questions from a top expert.

This week, decorating expert Charlotte Cosby was on standby to answer your questions and she had plenty of decorating ideas – from designing your baby’s nursery to planning a complete redesign now your toddler’s moving from his cot to a bed. 

Charlotte has eight years’ experience working in the interiors industry and is currently head of creative at English wallpaper and paint manufacturer Farrow & Ball, where she experiments with colour on a daily basis.

I'm only 10 weeks into my pregnancy but everything I read tells me to start decorating a room for my baby. Is it too soon? I think it might work out cheaper to do it bit by bit anyway. What do you think?

Charlotte: It’s such an exciting thing decorating the nursery and there are no hard and fast rules – it’s entirely up to you and what you feel comfortable with. It can take a while to choose a colour scheme, and any furniture and soft furnishings so don’t start decorating until you’re completely happy with what you've chosen. It’s better to take time getting it right than deciding to redecorate close to or, even worse, after your due date.


I'm trying to decide on a gender-neutral bedroom for my twins as one's a boy and one's a girl. They're about to turn four and need to share a room once the baby arrives (I'm pregnant). Any ideas?

Charlotte: A tricky one as they'll both have their own personalities I'm sure! Try painting the walls in a warm grey as a neutral backdrop and then painting them individual headboards in their favourite colours.

Which lasts longer – paint or wallpaper? I feel like wallpaper might be a bit outdated now but I really like patterned walls for children's rooms.

Charlotte: Our wallpapers are 140gsm, which basically means they're made of tough stuff. They're also coated in a protective glaze so they can be wiped clean. Wallpaper can be a really great way to add a touch of fun by adding stripes or pattern to one wall.

I'm about to start decorating my baby's nursery but worried about the fumes. Are they dangerous for her? And how soon after it's done can I move her back in? I was hoping to do it all in one day if possible.


Charlotte: Our paints are all water based and classified as low VOC (volatile organic compounds). So they’re fine to use in nurseries or children's bedrooms. Leave the windows open after painting and as soon as the paint has dried you'll be good to go! 

I don't have a garden. Do you have any ideas for creating a fun play area in the house?

Charlotte: This is where the colour sets the mood! Use brighter colours that shout 'playtime' and use a tough finish like that can be wiped clean if needed. It's also good to use a storage chest or shelving unit to section off a play area, keeping all your little one's toys together and to make clearing up afterwards a lot easier. 

I've got a really small room to work with, any suggestions for colours that will make it look bigger and brighter?

Charlotte: One technique to make a room feel larger is to paint the skirting boards, walls and any other woodwork the same colour, as this makes the ceiling look higher. Also, make sure the flooring and the walls don't contrast too much. If you have a white carpet and darker walls then your eyes are instantly drawn to the shape of the room. A lighter floor, whether carpeted or otherwise, will bounce the light back around the walls. Soft, light pastels will give a relaxing feel.

Or embrace the space you have. Accept that it's smaller and use dark, rich colours to create an intimate or dramatic feel.

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