You thought that decorating was fun before? Wait until you start revamping a tired old guest room for your new baby, or giving that nursery a makeover when baby is ready for a "big boy" or "big girl" room -- the colors, patterns, fabrics, and wallpapers you get to play with are 10 times more exciting than "grown-up" decor. You can let your inner artist free in a child's room, because the more whimsical and colorful it is, the more they'll like it.
And the best part: There's no rule that says your child's space has to match the rest of the house. So let go of the style rules that have ruled your roost and decorate with abandon!
- Don't rush it. Wallpapering takes time. Plan on about four hours of wall prep, depending on the condition of the walls, and 10 hours to paper a small room.
- Focus on preparation. Wallpapering over a painted wall? First, sand the wall to dull the glossiness of the paint. Wipe with a tack cloth to remove dust. Then wash the area with a strong household detergent, let dry, and start papering.
- Create a smooth surface. Wallpapering over a bumpy or textured wall? You have two options: Either cover the wall to be papered with a thin coat of drywall (honestly, this is best left to the pros, or to an extremely experienced do-it-yourselfer), or simply hang wallpaper liner. Follow manufacturer's instructions and you'll have a smooth wall to be papered in a few hours.
- Plan carefully. You want your last strip to end in a low-visibility part of the room, because it may be the one place where you cannot match the paper's pattern exactly. A good place for the mismatch is against a window frame, where it may be obscured by window treatments.
- Get a good start. Use a plumb bob to ensure the first strip you place on the wall is perfectly straight. That strip locks in position all that follow.
-- Written by Suzanne Morrissey
Chalkboard Paint Tips
- Use it everywhere. Chalkboard paint is best used on previously painted surfaces. It comes in cans or spray paint versions. Try it on walls, of course, but also on old play tables, backs of doors, or drawer fronts.
- Apply it correctly. Plan to paint when the air and surface temperatures are above 50 degrees. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation, and wear a safety mask.
- Plan on multiple coats. Chalkboard paint works best when you layer three to five coats painted in different directions (if using a brush). When using the spray-paint version, spray back and forth evenly to produce the best finish. If you linger too much in one spot, you'll get ugly drips!
- Make cleanup easy. A damp sponge cleans up the finished surface and cuts down on chalk dust.
- Add a frame. Once you've painted a wall area, you can frame it with molding or paint a border around it. This can help very young artists understand that not all wall surfaces can be drawn on. Stenciling or stamping the chalkboard along the edges is also a great way to create a frame. Simply allow the chalkboard paint to dry completely before applying the stencils or stamps.
-- Written by Emma Sarran