Post details: Decorating Tips from Debbie Travis


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Decorating Tips from Debbie Travis

Kids and DecoratingKids and Decorating

Home decorating expert and mom Debbie Travis is host of the reality TV show, Debbie Travis' Facelift, and author of five decorating books, including Debbie Travis' Painted House Kids' Rooms.

She recently chatted about decorating trends for kids, cool paint ideas, nursery decor, and more with Kids' Rooms magazine -- part of the Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications group.

Q. Are kids more involved now in decorating?

Debbie: Kids are so into it now with all these fabulous [TV] shows out there. It's changed since when we were young. Everybody's selling now to tweens and teens because they're the ones with the money. They're not just buying CDs; they're going into places like IKEA and Urban Outfitters and they're buying a funky cushion. Boys as well. It's giving them something else to think about apart from clothes and their bodies and boys and things.

And also, they're great hangers; their rooms are places to hang out it in. They're learning their skills of socializing. Yesterday I went into my kid's room and there were seven kids in there and they were all on the phone. They'd taken every phone from around the house; they were all talking to the same girl. They're not talking to each other. They want the beanbags. They want the loungey feel.

Fun ProjectsFun Projects

Q. At what age do kids get interested in decorating their rooms?

From the age of 10 you can really get them involved. Make them part of it. See it as a summer project, or a back-to-school project. I would never use a fancy designer for a child's room. I think it takes the spark out of it. It would also break my heart to spend that kind of money and then see what it looks like a month later.

Q. How much money should parents spend?

Debbie: Set your kid a budget. It's a great lesson. Any designer -- it's doesn't matter if you're the biggest high-end designer on the planet -- you still working on a budget.

Q. How can parents make projects fun?

Debbie: You need to do things that are fast and cool. Always work in the morning. They get bored after lunch. They want to go out and see their friends. Do it over several weekends. So one weekend, you can have a stripping-off-wallpaper party. You can say, "Okay, bring in ten of your girlfriends," bring in their music, and then you spend one weekend stripping off all the paper and everything -- because you end up finishing it off -- but it's fun. All you need is soap and water; you don't need any chemicals. And you'll be surprised at how much girls will get done. Then you need to prime the walls; you can do that. And then get the girls painting. Today's latex paints aren't going to harm anybody.

Q. Do you personally have a favorite paint technique for a kid's room?

Debbie: I love the faux denim. It's very easy to do. You don't need the kits. If you've got a child who's 4 or 5, I love chalkboard paint. That comes in every color now. For kids, it's fantastic. Of course they'll grow up thinking they can chalk all over the walls now.

Another thing that I love is cardboard furniture. It's really cheap. They have chairs; a chair will take the weight of a 200-pound person. It comes in plain cardboard and you paint it any color you want. The kids get to put it together like a jigsaw, and then they've got furniture. There's no gluing, nothing.

Boys vs. GirlsBoys vs. Girls

Q. What are some popular projects with girls?

Debbie: The product that's getting a lot of play at the moment is called epoxy varnish. Epoxy varnish is what they used to use on boats, and they use it on gym floors. It's really thick. You pour it on. You know how girls love to collect stuff -- you can do this stuff in 3-D.

This is an old hospital table we found in an attic. We painted it bright pink and then we put on coins and tickets and jewelry and all kinds of stuff she had hanging around. And then you pour the epoxy on and it seals it. It's a resin. It holds the stuff and then it sets rock hard to your tabletop. So you can see all your stuff floating in it, instead of gluing them on or doing the old-fashioned decoupage.

There is a nontoxic one. If you use a toxic one, mum should do it in the garden. They lay out their pattern, and then you pour this stuff on. It looks like it's in a gel.

Better Homes and Gardens



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