| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Kids bedrooms

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Debbie Hollands is one half of Hollands and Burton. This nautical haven is the bedroom of her nine-year-old son, Max

‘If you’re faced with a shell of a room and don’t know where to start, I would say pick one item or colour and work from there. My starting point was the sailing boat curtain fabric – I loved it. Then I found the beach hut in JustKidding and I was away! The nautical theme is easy to throw together because you can find accessories anywhere and everywhere. It was my idea rather than Max’s – little boys aren’t interested in the room itself, just the toys you put in it.

‘I didn’t decorate this room immediately when we moved in; I think you have to live in a place for a while before you understand what’s right for a space. When you’re creating a child’s room you need to create an atmosphere that’s going to make them want to be in there because that’s where they’ll spend most of their time playing, so I was careful to make it a calm space rather than making it very bright and busy.

‘We started on the room around two years ago and it’s evolved – I pick things up as I see them, which is quite often as we’re always looking for new products for the shop. The trick is not to overdo it: you could go mad with the nautical theme but you have to know when to draw the line.

‘The room is normally a complete tip; the only rule we have is that the kids can’t eat or drink up there because it would ruin the carpet, which I put down because children like to have softness underfoot. Max and his friends generally play on the floor and on the big cushions, and I store his toys in the under-bed baskets which he can pull out easily.

‘If you’re on a budget I’d say you should choose one splurge item and work around it. Ours was the curtain, which really makes the room, but if it’s expensive fabric you can put a blind up and just have a dress curtain, which requires less material. The beach hut was quite pricey, but other than that there wasn’t a huge amount of expense in a lot of what I bought.

I had the desk made by a local carpenter based on a much pricier model; I bought the chair for Dhs10 from Ikea and spray-painted it a different colour; and the baskets were cheaper than cheap – I got them from The Warehouse in Jumeirah Plaza, which also sells shells for around Dhs10. I also have a lot of photos of Max and his friends on the wall – that’s what makes it personal to him.’

By Ele Cooper
Time Out Dubai,

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