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When Julia Rouzaud and her husband, Julien, took on the renovation of a 19th-century hunting lodge just outside of Paris in 2017, they didn’t set a strict deadline for designing their kids’ spaces. “It’s not a big deal if it takes more time than expected. Our children didn’t mind,” says Rouzaud, the founder of Goodmoods, a Paris media and style agency, and mom to Manon (13), Léon (7), and Jacques (4). With no countdown putting on the pressure, she was really able to let her creativity flow. 

Dozens of mood boards and late-night brainstorming sessions later, Rouzaud tackled the kids’ bedrooms with the idea to introduce as many fresh colors and graphic touches as possible—while keeping things sophisticated. Painting Léon’s formerly gold windows blue and splurging on a mid-century desk for Manon (she loves vintage shopping with her kids so they have a say in their decor, too) was just the start. Here, Rouzaud reveals her best tips for getting the most out of color, plus why she swears by high-quality floor treatments.

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Splurge on Carpeting That Will Last

The direction for each room started with a rug sample: dark green (for Manon), creamy white (for Jacques), and royal blue (for Léon). For Rouzaud wall-to-wall carpeting is the best move you can make for young children. It adds a level of coziness underfoot and cushions baby’s first steps and falls. For parents whose minds immediately skip to “but what about spills”: Cleaning stains is relatively foolproof as long as you pick wool over a synthetic fabric. Rouzaud recommends getting the material lightly damp, then washing it with regular shampoo.

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Separate an Open Floor Plan With Color-Blocking

You don’t need to invest in a fancy divider to create zones in a large bedroom. In Léon’s space, Rouzaud painted the ceiling in the bed area white, while the work-slash-play corner got a splash of soft blue overhead. Not only does it add depth to the room, it’s an affordable (and original) way to play with color. In Jacques’s space, she painted the window trim and built-in cubbies below in celadon to balance out the crimson curtains—another way to outline a specific nook within a wide-open layout.

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Think Fair and Square

In Manon’s bedroom, emerald, terracotta, and orange play nicely, thanks to the overlapping blocks and stripes that keep the lines clean and minimal (Rouzaud achieved the look with high-quality painter’s tape). “The shapes soften up the bold color combination and help keep the space harmonious,” she notes. Unlike free-form squiggles and circles, contained squares and rectangles offer a much welcomed sense of order.

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Make a Statement With Softer Tones

“Pairing colors is like a game for me,” says Rouzaud. The key when working with primary shades? Use them sparingly for the most impact and mix in lighter tones to balance it all out. The vibrant green paint combined with the linen throw in Léon’s space reads sophisticated alongside soothing blue walls and dove gray curtains. Other accents like the crimson and cobalt Charlotte Perriand sconces and the sunny yellow tubular desk (a Marc Berthier original scored at auction) keep things feeling young and playful. The same strategy works wonders for neutrals, too, like the faint blush and saturated orange that collide on Manon’s walls. And above all, keep in mind that it’s only paint. If you mess up, says Rouzaud, “it’s easy to start over again.” 

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