How to Design a Kids’ Product That Looks Good in a Grown-up Home


I love designing products for children. It’s so satisfying to make something that meets a family’s need, and you know is going to help them in some way.

My first-ever design – the front-facing bookcase – was inspired by witnessing my four-year-old daughter’s frustration trying to find a book on a traditional bookcase. Watching Adele I realized how illogical the old-style bookcase was and I was determined to make one that actually made sense to kids.

Designs that make sense to kids, and please their parents are not as common as you’d think.  Before I made my own bookcase, I had tried shopping for one but came home empty handed.  All I could find were bookcases for adults, dressed up in colors for kids.  They just didn’t make sense.

I discovered – just as many parents do – that there are a ton of kid’s products out there that don’t work for kids.  Either they look fabulous but are not designed with kids in mind, or are practical and easy to use, but made in such garish colours that stylish parents just don’t want them in their homes.

Finding a kid’s product that functions well for kids and style conscious parents are happy to have in their décor is a real challenge.  But more and more parents are seeking out well designed products to encourage their children’s healthy habits.


Adele was also the inspiration for my next product when I noticed her trouble sleeping on the top bunk – her bedtime drink was balanced precariously on the edge of the bed. When she’d finished reading her book there was nowhere to put it so she had to chuck it onto the floor. There was nothing on the market to address the problem – so I designed the Bunk Bed Buddy.

I’m not interested in designing something just for the sake of it, or because it’s trendy, or to make a different version of something that already exists. For me, it’s about designing something completely new that’s practical and purposeful. I want my products to make sense to kids and help them connect with their books, inspiring their love of reading and learning. Everything I make is designed to be fun and enjoyable for children; to draw them in and foster their sense of independence.


You know how kids take all their books out of the storage box to get to their favorite one at the bottom? With my portable book box they don’t have to! The books are on display and can easily be found. Easily accessible for kids means less tidy up for parents.

I make sure all my designs are stripped-back to keep them looking stylish so they blend easily into a home for years to come. It’s about creating a timeless classic that can be passed down through the generations. I’m not one for all bells and whistles. The portable box comes with a few purposeful features, like a clock and wooden alphabet to add to your bookcase – these help kids with their learning strategies but don’t distract from the books. To me, the books always have to be the star of the show.

Tidy Books has been going strong for 12 years and I still haven’t run out of ideas. Wherever I am – at home, in the park or in a cafe – I’m always watching and observing, thinking about what needs to be made next. But it’s never about the product itself, it’s always about the children. Whatever I design, it has to make sense to kids.

If you’d like to know more about Tidy Books groundbreaking designs, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.