Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

CONNIE OLIVER: School's out... now what?

Keep kids involved with room revamp

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How do you keep the kids busy this summer and beautify your home at the same time? The answer is elementary, according to leading Canadian paint brand, CIL paint: Involve them in decorating their bedrooms.

"A child's bedroom goes through more transformation than any other room in the house, from a nursery through to a teen retreat, so this space will need several updates over the years," said Alison Goldman, brand manager for CIL paint, a brand of PPG Architectural Coatings. "All it takes is paint and a little creativity to keep your decorating budget on track through every stage of your child's life."

Involving kids in the creative process will not only keep them focused during the summer, but will also get them excited for the new school year, said Goldman, emphasizing that paint transforms a space more economically than any other decorating tool. "What's more, when kids take ownership of a project, no matter what their age, they will value and respect the finished project a lot more."

Goldman offers these tips to update your child's room:

Hit the books. Let your child browse through magazines and clip out pictures of rooms he or she likes. Review the collection of clippings, and you'll likely notice common elements or colour schemes that may be favoured. This exercise will give you a good framework for your project and ensure the room reflects your child's personality.

Do homework on colours. Review colour swatches with your child, but keep in mind that studies show wall colour can affect a person's mood and behaviour. Blues, greens and lilacs, for example, tend to soothe, relax and improve productivity. Bright yellows and oranges, known to raise tempers, should be used sparingly, and reds, while shown to stimulate creativity, can increase sleeplessness. Black -- a popular teen choice but often frowned upon by parents -- actually denotes passivity and is considered to be timeless and classy. Popular colours for kids' rooms include CIL paint's Falling Rain (30BG 56/097) blue, Distant Mountain (70YY 57/098) green, Pure Orchid (90BB 36/188) lilac, and Dark Secret (00NN 05/000) black.

Practice your ABCs (A Basic Colour scheme). Too many colours in a room can make it feel chaotic. A good rule of thumb when decorating a child's bedroom is to limit the palette to two or three colours. Start with a neutral ceiling and floor, then play with wall colour by painting a focal wall in a dramatic colour, using a more muted shade on the remaining walls, then adding in small punches of bright accent tones in the bedding and accessories.

Engage in child's play. When choosing a theme for a child's room, consider painting both walls and furniture for best results. From racing cars, sports themes, animals and cartoon characters to beaches, celestial looks, castles or flowers, themes help give you direction and focus. For older kids, you can opt to create a theme around their hobbies and interests. Music, travel, fashion or photography, for instance, can be the starting point for a great teen retreat.

Take a recess from the rules. Finish the space with unusual accents such as a high-top sneaker or a bright rubber boot as a plant pot. Use sports items such as a hockey stick or fishing rod as a curtain rod. For the music lover, use old record albums to create a graphic feature wall. Paint the ceiling over the bed with fun graphics or affix glow-in-the-dark constellations for an enjoyable bedtime experience. Update photo frames with paint and adorn them with game pieces or small toys.

Whatever look you decide on, it's generally best to choose a paint with no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in an eggshell finish to withstand years of wear and tear, Goldman explained, citing CIL paint's no-VOC lines -- the CIL Platinum line available at Walmart, and CIL Premium paints available at the Home Depot -- as ideal choices for kids' bedrooms.

"When it comes to kids' rooms, the options for fun and creativity are endless," she said. "The only downside to creating a great living space for your kids is that when you need to send them to their room for a time out, you just may find that they enjoy the experience!"

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 29, 2013 F6

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