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  • Awatef Zaoui

(Fifty) Shades of grey turned into a rainbow.

#IDONTWANTTONAME19 ruled my lifestyle, my habits, my trips, my behaviour, my plans and, basically, every aspect of my life. Like my own sword of Damocles, it stripped away my freedom, shook me to the core and opened the door to too many «ifs and whens ». Fear was continuously sprinkled over me.

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can save a life or destroy it. It gives the impulse to jump to the next action or orders to freeze every single cell inyour body,making you anxious and colouring your life (not quite 50 shades of) grey.

Having kids around me taught me the art of faking it, because I am not always the «perfect mama» I want to be. I am not always the role model I am willing to be. And I am not always practicing what I preach. But I do have this huge ambition to build their core so solid, so that whenever life shakes their ground, their beings remain the safest places to be. Grey couldn’t remain the only shade of our life (those shades are very popular… even more when they are fifty). I needed to fake “la joie de vivre”, the hope, the gratitude of life’s abundance, ‘till I genuinely felt it again.

No more greys, make way for the rainbow !

It reminds me that it takes sunshine and rain to make a rainbow. Mentally it reinforces the wide spectrum of possibilities. Ultimately, to an interior designer, the playfulness of this theme is fun to explore.

One arc at a time, I would like to take you with me to this life-full and optimistic theme: the Rainbow.

Here are 5 main principles that I like to apply when working on rainbow-themed child’s space:

1- Seven colours - endless possibilities

Rainbow is often associated with girls’ spaces. These colourful curves are perhaps, linked to the gender stereoptyping cliches in our society, however, I am happy to challenge them. Rainbow can be bold or pastel. It can be rich, consisting of the seven colors or a camaieu that creates a monochromatic image. Rainbow can be used as a functional accent. A corner, inviting inspiration and creativity. It could even be used as a room divider, that creates distinct separation of space - when a brother and sister share a room, for instance.

Rainbow tickles the eyes, the window to the soul and, who knows, what the soul can create when it smiles...

2- Colours Matter

Colours influence our perception and trigger our emotions. There is plenty of research on how the colour and our brains interact. Why not use this knowledge to choose the right colour, when decorating the space for our most impressionable ones - the children. I played a game of association with my two children - a boy, aged 10 and a girl, aged 7.

The rule is that when the children see a colour, they must say one unique word that spontaneously comes to mind. To avoid influences and biases (it is a scientific experiment after all), I asked them to write down the answer (yes, yes, very serious). Here are the outcomes:

- Green : health - Recycle

- Red : Passion - Danger

- Yellow : Energy - Energy

- Blue : Peace – Calm

- Purple : Friends - Friends

Have a go at playing colour association game with your kids, it is truly fascinating. Then look at this chart which provides interesting and holistic meanings of color(s). The corporate world spends a massive amount of their marketing budget on the visual identity of their products, including the science of colors behind them, because it pays off.

Going through a few simple exercises when choosing the right colour for your kids’ spaces is priceless.

3- Children have it all and I accept the challenge

When a client says that completed project looks like them, feels like them and allows them to be themselves’ - in my opinion, it is the best compliment an interior design firm could receive. When working with children, we remind ourselves that they « are born with all the wonder they need and our job is not to take it away ». He loves pink and roaring dinosaurs - he gets them!. She adores blue, purple, yellow and roller blades -we deliver.

Challenges are opportunities in Design.

4- Lines, arcs and intervals - the rest is in your hands

If you wish to invite your kids to experience the joy of embellishing his or her room, creating a rainbow is a great option. Again, it doesn't need to take up the whole wall. Above the desk, behind the bed or in a corner -a rainbow is a magical decorative element. that will work wonders.

Choose your colors according to your little one’s big vision. Glossy or matte finishes will help refine the effect of this rainbow, let it be monochromic or sporting all seven colors.

Here is a quick «how to» video.

5- Get some key pieces to add colours to life.

The options are endless when we enter the realm of online shopping. A good way to choose is to identify your shopping criteria. Sometimes, it’s time. Sometimes, money. Sometimes, colour.... Essentially, whatever is the need today and, always, whatever is the ‘feeling’.

So, as details are the zest of Design, here is a selection of three items “In My Cart”. I usually enjoy buying local, supporting small businesses, whenever possible. If it can be a piece that can evolve with us, it is an added bonus.

I would love to share few gems:

This shelf made in rattan gives a soft and exotic touch to any kids’ space. Its dimension (56x38x13) is just perfect to hold the story book of the day, the doudou and a bit more. This natural element is pragmatic and elegant. It comes in different colours to match your space. I add it to my cart!

This practical rounded shape piece features two compartments and tray top is a multi-function piece. We love multi-function piece. The bonus is that it will grow with your children and could be used as a bedside table or a storage unit. Made in ABS it is easy to clean and durable. It comes in various colours. I add it to my cart!

- Finally, the Rainbow cotton rug from #H&M.

This rug will add a subtle touch of elegance in every room. It is made of cotton weave with a large rainbow at each end. The rainbows are in short pile. The rug has fringes on the short sides and anti-slip protectors on the back. I rarely advise creamy colours as rugs for kids’ space but this one is washable and budget friendly so I add to my cart!

Voila, I hope you enjoyed the journey. We started this conversation on a dark note: Fears and uncertainties. We have learned that small (or not always that smalls ) consistent acts could help us and our communities (our family) to add some perspectives. We injected some colour into our life - the whole rainbow of colours, in fact. So, consistent, little changes make a big impact over time.

Your environment impacts your mood, your mood impacts your vision, your vision impacts your goals and your goals impacts your life.

Creating an environment that looks, feels and is “you” is my fundamental principal. I am always grateful and proud to be your asset in the design projects.

Thank you for trusting me.


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