Post details: Decorating Tips from Debbie Travis - Part 3


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Decorating Tips from Debbie Travis - Part 3

Tips from Debbie Travis What's Hot

Q. What's really popular right now?

Debbie: Double rollers. It's got a double tray where you put in the two colors. You literally put in on together. It's like a paint finish, but it's a lot easier for a kid to do. And this is pearl paint. It gives that kind of shimmer in the paint, which they love. It's got that nail-varnishy look. There are new paints on the market that have got the pearl glaze in them with that iridescent look.

Camouflage is really hot. There are all kinds of camping stores and army/navy stores, army surplus places. We made curtains out of netting that army guys climb on. I thought it looked awful, but the 7-year-old boy is a Boy Scout. He thought it was the best thing ever. I don't think he's come out of the room since. [Laughter.]

Patterned rollers are really fun for kids. It's extremely fast. They're special rollers that have the design cut into them. There are two rollers; the sponge one, and the rubber one with the design. The sponge roller feeds the other roller. They come in everything from daisies and ducks to vines. This is bamboo. Just roll it in the tray. They can do it as a border around the room or on tabletops. It may be a bit tacky for a living room, but fun for a kid's room.

Tips from Debbie Travis Q. How can parents dream up new ideas?

Debbie: Think, "What kind of child do I have? What do they like?" If they're into skateboarding and snowboarding, look at all the bright colors and patterns they use. If they're in to Boy Scouts and that kind of stuff, go for the camouflage, and go to the army stores.

And listen to children. They're the ones doing this stuff in school. We didn't invent all this stuff. These wonderful art teachers are coming up with marvelous ideas.

Q. Where can parents find a great kid's desk?

Debbie: It's really difficult because you can either get office-style desks, which are too big for their room, or the home desks are too small. They're really tiny. Here we took a hollow core door, a cheap door, $40 from a hardware store, and trestle legs from a reno store. We painted it pale blue, put a bit of brown paper on it, scrunched it up [to give it a pattern], and poured the epoxy on; it looks like an ice cube. You've got a desk the size of a door, under $100. Making desks is a really good thing, and they all need it, even from the age of 6.

Tips from Debbie Travis Tips from Debbie

Q. Any tips for parents painting with kids?

Debbie: First of all, involve the child in the beginning. Once you've broken it down, let them choose the colors. Don't see it as a chore. It's the equivalent of a dinner party compared to cooking your Monday night dinner for family. Say, "We're going to design your room."

Tear out things from magazines, go to the library, go to bookshops, look for ideas, watch all these shows, and then come up with stuff kids can do. Remember with kids, it's very temporary. You don't have to spend a fortune.

Make sure you do your preparation first. If you're painting old existing furniture, make sure you put these high adhesive primers on. They're the most important because they stick to the old varnish. You don't have to strip furniture anymore, you can put this straight over the top and then you paint. Once you put your primer on you can do anything.

Spend the weekend going to yard sales with your 12-year-old. Bond with them. Reinvent things. Look for old lampshades. We went to a dollar store and got lots feather boas, spray-glued an old shade, and just stuck them all around. It's unbelievable!

Create a box or file with clippings so they can start building an image of what they like -- wish list. Don't try cramming it all on one weekend. They get tired and bored.

Tips from Debbie Travis Q. What are your top safety tips?

Debbie: [In my book Debbie Travis' Painted House Kids' Rooms] most projects are divided into the age of the child and also how toxic the material is. Any child, including me, should never ever use glue guns. I've got scars you wouldn't believe. They really do burn badly. Even teenagers, I wouldn't let them use some of this stuff. Some of the projects like the epoxy varnish, let them lay out the whole design and then you take it outside and lay the epoxy.

Better Homes and Gardens



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