Sweet dreams – or how to transform a bedroom into a space fit for a princess

Many parents try to avoid gender stereotyping – and quite right, too, when women have fought so hard for equality.

But even if Barbie is banned and you've never bought anything pink for your little girl, you'll probably find that it's her favourite colour.

As soon as she is old enough to voice her opinion, she is likely to demand a pretty pink room.

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If possible, try to steer clear of making the space a shrine to Barbie or the latest TV character, as children's tastes change rapidly.

The best strategy is to paint the walls in a neutral shade then decorate them with framed pictures and stickers that can easily be removed.

Accessorise the room with pink curtains, duvet covers and rugs.

Furniture needs to be hard-working in a child's room, so if you can afford it, invest in quality. It will carry on long past childhood.

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Yorkshire-based Fairbourn Children's Furniture designs and makes solid wood beds, drawers and wardrobes, with prices starting at 550 for a bed and 495 for drawers.

If you're on a budget, then look in Ikea and Argos, or buy solid wood brown furniture in second-hand shops and then you can sand it down and paint.

Don't forget to provide a space where your child can draw, do her homework, brush her hair and, later, apply her make-up.

A good and inexpensive way of providing desk and dressing-table space is to have a long, low worktop fitted to the wall, with open shelving above.

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It's a simple joinery job and will provide a long-lasting solution.

A trundle bed – one that slides under your daughter's own bed – will prove invaluable for sleepovers. And try to invest in a good mattress for her. Children

are light but they still need firm support.

Good storage is crucial. If you have the space, a run of bespoke, built-in floor to ceiling cupboards along one wall with a combination of hanging and shelf space is

a good idea.

For a free-standing alternative, check out Aspace, which has some well-thought-out storage units that come in either pink or white. They cost 225 each and feature open shelving with deep drawers at the bottom.

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Wooden coat hooks for hanging everything from dressing-gowns to hoodies are useful, as are boxes

and bucket for storing

toys. B&Q has some pink, flexible plastic "builders' buckets" .

For budget makeovers, try reupholstering a headboard in funky fabric. This is remarkably easy armed with a length of material and a staple gun.

You can also get your little girl to create her own artwork and put it in inexpensive frames from Ikea. A large corkboard is ideal for Blutacking or pinning colourings and photos.

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She can also try out her sewing skills customising a white duvet cover with appliqu or buttons.

Finally, don't be too controlling about the decor. Give your child some creative freedom.


Fairbourn Children's Furniture: www.fairbournchildrens

furniture.co.uk, tel: 07919 076857

Mamas and Papas: www.mamasandpapas.com, tel: 0845 268 2000

Aspace: www.aspace.co.uk, tel: 0845 872 2400

Vertbaudet: www.vertbaudet.co.uk Tel: 0844 842 0000

Little White Company: www.thewhitecompany.com, tel: 0845 678 8150

Best for budget buys:Ikea, Argos, Wilkinsons