Why decorating my daughter’s bedroom is more about politics than paint
This is what my little girl’s room looks like at the moment. As you might be able to see, it needs a bit of a rethink (see Giving our toddlers’ bedrooms some personality)
A ‘big girl’ bed
She really wants a ‘big girl’ bed (an adult single bed). She even has it on her ‘list of things to remember’ (along with start ballet classes, go to big toy shop in London and make lemon cakes) and it has now transferred, or perhaps duplicated, on to her birthday list.
My parents have my old wooden bed spare so, to save pennies, I thought we would reuse it by giving it a lick of paint. Even though my daughter’s favourite colours are yellow and purple, I want to keep the basics neutral and add colour with accessories. I don’t want to paint the bed white (too country nursery) so I’m opting for grey.
I have discovered that planning on painting your daughter’s bed grey is the sort of thing that doesn’t go down well in some circles (it turns out conservative Bucks isn’t a hotbed of radical feminism and, for the most part, wholeheartedly embraces pink, princesses and 1950s florals with no hint of irony).
Paint is political
I think the reason I am finding it so hard to work out how to decorate my daughter’s room is that it is not just about paint. It is, at least in part, about who she is and who she will be. It is about treading the line between gender inequality and absolutes and finding an aesthetic for girls that is empowering and fun.
But what does that mean? Is there anything wrong with pink? Or fairies? Or ‘cute’? Or flowers? Or ballet? Or cupcakes? And how much does it really matter? Surely identity and self-worth are shaped much more by less superficial factors?
A few ideas
- I’m on the hunt for some really bright yellow bed linen with a modern, graphic pattern. I’ll let you know when I’ve found it.
- I’ve ordered some yellow, purple and white string lights from Cable & Cotton. They’re not cheap but are hand-made by skilled Thai women in good working conditions. Which works for me.
- I’m looking into ways to display her multitude of artworks, perhaps using a pinboard that I could make myself.
I’ll be posting more ideas for my daughter’s room, including photos, as we go.