Color Me Home Episode 6: Decorating Kids’ Rooms

This week, Betsy and Dan talk about decorating kids’ rooms. These are great projects and can be a lot of fun: you’ll get to use colors you might not typically use and you really get to put your creativity on display! But how do you create something that the kids will love–with all their favorite colors–without having the whole thing turn into, quite literally, a circus? That’s what we talk about in this episode, so give it a listen!

View our Pinterest Board for Episode 6!

Episode Outline

  • Involve Your Kids With the Decorating! (0:30)
  • What Do We Do When the Kids Pick Crazy Colors? You Compromise! (4:32)
    • My Son Embarrasses Me In Public (5:00)
    • Pick a Lighter Version of the Color (8:02)
    • Pick a Muted or Muddier Version of the Color (10:11)
    • Paint an Accent Wall (13:43)
    • Doors, Window Frames, Ceilings . . . (15:0o)
    • Accessories (16:30)
  • Choose the Right Paint and the Right Finish (17:30)
    • The Right Paint (17:57)
    • The Right Finish (21:46)
  • Our First Email Question! (23:06)

Benjamin Moore Waterborne Ceiling Paint56295-9030107

In the podcast, we mentioned ceilings as a potential area to bring in some color. If you’re going to give that a try (and you should, because it’s a very cool idea that’ll payoff with great results!) then you should definitely be using Benjamin Moore’s Waterborne Ceiling Paint. It’s specifically formulated for ceilings, and provides an ultra flat finish that easily hides common ceiling imperfections. It’s easy to work with, has minimal spatter and dries very quickly for fast recoats.

  • Superior hide for a flawless finish
  • Flattest finish offered by Benjamin Moore
  • Conceals common surface imperfections
  • Easy application with fantastic results
  • Formulated for minimal spatter

Recommended Paints for Kids’ Rooms

We covered 4 different products that would be perfect. Here’s a quick summary in case you didn’t have a note pad to jot all the good ideas down while the podcast was playing:

Hallmark Ceramic Paint by RepcoLite

Hallmark is our Premium interior paint. It’s created with Ceramic microspheres and provides exceptional washability and durability even in our matte finish. Hallmark is available in a Matte, Eggshell, Satin Sheen, and Semi-Gloss.

Aura by Benjamin Moore

Aura delivers remarkable durability and offers the most advanced way to bring color to life. Using Benjamin Moore’s exclusive Color Lock® technology, Aura paint brings you discernibly richer, truer color. Aura is ideal for kids’ rooms whenever you’re using colors with poor coverage or if you’re covering over other bright and bold colors. The reason? Aura’s specifically formulated to cover and hide better than any other paint out there. If you don’t want to fuss with 3 or 4 coats, choose Aura!

Regal by Benjamin Moore

Regal paint stands up to today’s active lifestyles in colors and finishes that create the home you’ve always imagined. A premium quality coating featuring Advanced Particle Technology® which includes our proprietary 100% acrylic resin. This makes the finish itself more durable, providing for superior uniform coverage as well as easier touch-ups. Additional benefits include spatter resistance for easier clean-up, and superior coverage for a flawless finish in fewer coats.

Natura by Benjamin Moore

Natura Waterborne Interior Paint continues Benjamin Moore’s commitment to providing the most environmentally friendly paint. Natura goes beyond zero VOC* to offer zero emissions** and no harsh fumes***, making it a safer paint for your family and the environment, all without compromise to performance or color selection. Natura is truly “Green Without Compromise®.”

Carefree by RepcoLite

While we didn’t mention Carefree in the podcast, we certainly should have! Carefree is a tremendous product for walls, will give you great washability and durability, and will price out below all of the other products here! If you’re working on a budget, Carefree might be a great option to consider.

Recommended Finishes for Kids’ Rooms

When it came to finishes, we strongly recommend either Satin Sheen or Semi-Gloss for your trim, doors, and furniture. Semi-Gloss finishes hold up well and wash up readily.

For your walls, however, our favorite choice is an Eggshell Finish. It’s dull enough to hide wall imperfections (Betsy kept referring to the dings and dents made by someone bouncing a ball of the wall . . . perhaps something she was guilty of long ago) but it also has enough of a finish to be washable.

Further Reading

We drew from a lot of articles and posts when we gathered info for this podcast. Here are just a few of them if you’d like to read further!

 

The Fifth Wall

bigstock-Happy-Woman-Painting-The-Ceili-7960216_smaller_curl3Has this ever happened to you:  you walk into the paint store for paint and then spend the next three days or a week or more agonizing over the color chips you brought home?  You hold them up to every piece of furniture in the room.  You lay them on your carpet, on your end table.  You try to picture them large scale–covering your walls.  You debate between one shade and a slightly darker shade.  And then, finally, after all the debate and analysis and agony, you pick the perfect colors.

You make your way to the paint store, order a gallon of one and two gallons of the other and then, almost as a side note, you grab a gallon or two of ceiling white and call it good.

Do you see the problem here?  The mistake?  It may not be obvious, but it’s this:  we put huge amounts of energy and thought into our wall colors and don’t give our ceilings the time of day.

Next time you paint–change that line of thinking.  Your ceiling isn’t just a ceiling–it’s a fifth wall.  And, as such, you shouldn’t necessarily just roll white paint up there.

If you’re looking to make an impact in your home, putting color on a ceiling is a surefire way to do that.  And the reason is simple:  it’s extremely rare. apt-therapy_shadow_curlMost folks forget about their ceilings when it comes time to paint and as a result, most ceilings are forgettable.

Change that in your home by rolling a color up there.  Just keep this in mind:  the darker the color you put on the ceiling, the lower it will make those ceilings feel.  This can be great in big, high-ceilinged rooms.  Rolling a color on your ceiling that’s a shade or two darker than your wall color can go a long ways toward making your room feel cozier, warmer, more inviting.  A darker color on your ceiling will draw your eyes downward, bring down those big open spaces, and create settings that feel more personal, more intimate.

Lighter colors on the ceiling will make the room feel a little more expansive, a little more open.

white_ceiling_curlHowever, there’s something very interesting to realize here:  many folks understand this concept and they figure that painting those ceilings white will really serve to open the room up.  However, think about this:  if you’ve got a medium toned color on your walls, no matter what shade, a white on the ceiling can often produce a very sharp distinction between the walls and the ceiling.  This sharp distinction, this high contrast between walls and ceiling, can often lead people to conclude that their wall color doesn’t work–that it needs to be repainted.

Look at the picture above.  The green on those walls is a strong color.  However, the room works because the ceiling is a soft tan. It’s not a dark ceiling–definitely not dark in comparison with the walls–but it’s dark enough to create a nice balance in the space.

tan_ceiling_curlImagine the same room with a white ceiling. In fact, you don’t have to imagine it, look at the picture below.  That’s the same room with  a standard white on the ceiling and the whole mood of the room changes.  The stark white on the ceiling makes the green on the walls feel harsh.  Many times, folks would paint a room like this, think they love that green, only to be back later for new paint because the color’s just too strong on the walls.

Now, I admit, the green truly is a strong color–but you can minimize it’s strength, tone it done, control it a little better, by putting a color other than white on the ceiling.

All that to say:  don’t forget about the fifth wall in every room–your ceilings.  You can put some color up there to make a room feel more inviting, to make it feel cozier, or even to tone down the visual power of a wall color you really love.  Keep it in mind.

3 Ways to Compromise With Your Kids about Paint Colors

donuts-690281_1280Once upon a time, probably about 6 years ago or so, my wife and I walked with our kids to the Zeeland Bakery.  Caleb (who was 5 at the time) waited outside with me while my wife and the other kids sauntered into the shop and ordered various donuts and cookies and different types of bread.  (It’s always a huge undertaking whenever we go to the bakery).

Anyway, while Caleb and I were waiting outside, a lady walked by with a 1-year-old boy in a stroller.  I smiled at the lady and Caleb smiled at the lady and he even went so far as to say “Hello.”  I was proud that the little guy was so polite.  And it was this pride which eventually led to my downfall.

See, as the lady was walking away, but while she was still within earshot, I thought I’d demonstrate how polite and kind my little guy was.  So I said, loud enough for the lady to hear, “Wasn’t that a nice little boy?”

Oh, it was a question that he should have been able to hit out of the park.  It was an easy one.  A no-brainer.  All he had to say was “Yes Dad, that boy seemed very nice, indeed.”  Had he said that, the lady would have thought I was a super parent because I’d raised such a wonderfully polite little lad.  In fact, I figured there was always the off chance that she’d turn her stroller around, shake my hand and ask my advice as to how to raise her own child.

Yes, my mind was brimming with the possibilities and the glory when Caleb spoke up.  He raised his little voice to match my raised voice and suddenly, as is always the case when this kind of thing happens, the entire world quit moving.  Suddenly, there were no cars–no road noise.  The shop doors quit opening and closing.  The clocks that had been ticking ceased their workings for a few split seconds.  Even the birds and the wind and the airplanes and the fountains went silent.  A whisper at one end of Main Street would have been audible at the other.  And it was into this utter and complete silence that Caleb bellowed his answer, informing me, the lady, her poor, poor child and everybody else within earshot that, “No,” he didn’t think that kid was all that much.  “In fact,” he went on to say, “the kid was actually kind of ugly.  His ears were big and his nose was all turned up and his eyes were squinty.  Like a rat.”  As if this wasn’t bad enough, Caleb ended by informing me (and all of Zeeland) that he had only said “hello” to the kid because “he felt sorry for him.”

Well, I just stared at him in horror and disbelief as he continued to rattle off all sorts of uncomplimentary descriptions that reverberated off the buildings and up and down the silent streets.  Silent, that is, except for the wildly squeaking wheels of the lady’s stroller as she pushed her child rapidly away from that horrible father and his nasty little son….

I mention this little episode partly as penance but also because it’s the perfect example of how kids think and act.  If you ask for a child’s opinion, you’re going to get it.  They’ll typically tell you exactly what they think.  Problem is, while they’re usually honest, they don’t always exercise the best judgment.

In an earlier article (which you can read HERE), I suggested that it’s important to involve your kids in the process of decorating their rooms.  You should let them pick the colors, ask them what they like and what they hope to see in their rooms.  However, when you do that, you’re going to have to be ready for some crazy answers from time to time.  In fact, when you ask an 8-year-old what colors he’d like on his walls, don’t plan on hearing him say “Oh, a nice medium-beige with an earthy brown would do just lovely.”  No, get ready for black and orange (halloween colors).  Or bright blue and red and yellow (Superman colors).

So, with that said, if you do decide to let them help you decorate their own rooms (which I still believe to be a great idea), you better have a method in mind as to how to incorporate their ideas without completely abandoning the overall look of the room.  You both need to be happy with the outcome.  And that means compromise.  Here are 3 tips:

1. PICK AN ACCENT WALL

When your kids choose the brightest yellows and oranges, the flashiest greens and blues, a great compromise is to paint one of the walls–an accent wall–with one of those bright, flashy colors.  Have them settle on which color they like best and see if you can’t work that into a small wall–a wall with a window or a door.

Now, in most cases, when you paint an accent wall, you’d pick the focal point of the room to do this with.  In this case, however . . . well, not so much.  If you’re trying to minimize the effect of the color, then picking the focal point of the room is the last thing you want to do.  Just pick a small wall–a wall that’s not the first thing you see when you walk into the room–and see if you can’t put their color there.  They’ll be happy, feeling proud when they see their bright wall and you’ll be happy because the room doesn’t glow like the face of the sun.

2. PICK MUTED VERSIONS OF THEIR COLOR

Another great compromise that sometimes works in the paint store is to steer kids toward more muted versions of their colors.  If they love bright reds and yellows, maybe throw out some options like a rusty red or terracotta and a more muted yellow.  Sometimes they’ll see these new colors and be completely willing to compromise.  Again, with this type of scenario, both of you can potentially reach a mutually happy outcome.

3. ACCESSORIZE, ACCESSORIZE, ACCESSORIZE

Perhaps the best way of working wild, crazy colors into a decorating scheme is to bring those colors in with accessories.  If your kids want to see black and orange or some other funky combination of colors on their walls, but you can’t bring yourself to do it, then offer this:  coat the walls with a nice neutral color and then bring in accessories that fit your child’s desired color scheme.  Bring in lampshades with bright colors, find art prints with the colors, switchplates and any number of other accessories that will serve to fill the room with the chosen colors without overloading the walls and driving you crazy.

The bottom line is this:  when you bring your kids into the decorating picture, you’ve got to be ready to compromise.  Don’t let them decide everything when you hate what they’re coming up with.  Likewise, don’t decide everything yourself when they hate what you’re coming up with.  You both have to be happy with the outcome for this little project to work.  If you hate the room, you’re always going to feel irritated when you walk past it.  If they hate the room, don’t worry, they’ll find a way to let you know about it.

So work together, have fun, and compromise!

Decorating Made Easy: Decorating with the 60-30-10 Rule

The 60-30-10 rule is a tested concept used by interior decorators everywhere.  It’s a simple proportion that spells out the ideal amounts of color to use in your decorating.

To keep it as simple as possible, 60% of your room should be composed of your dominant color, 30% should be composed of a secondary color and that final 10% should be reserved for accents.  Now, maybe that sounds a little confusing . . . so here are some examples:

This room is a perfect example of the 60-30-10 rule in practice. 60% = Lavendar (walls and blanket) 30% = White (bed and fireplace) 10% = brown/tan (chairs, dresser, floor)

This room is a perfect example of the 60-30-10 rule in practice.
60% = Lavendar (walls and blanket)
30% = White (bed and fireplace)
10% = brown/tan (chairs, dresser, floor)

 

 

 

Another great example: 60% = Tan (walls, floors) 30% Brown (couch, tables) 10% Blue and White (pillows, vases, etc.)

Another great example:
60% = Tan (walls, floors) 30% Brown (couch, tables)
10% Blue and White (pillows, vases, etc.)

 

 

 

A classic example showing that you don't need a soft, muted color on your walls to make this work. 60% = Red (walls, accessories) 30% = Cream (furniture, rug) 10% = Tan (floor, accessories)

A classic example showing that you don’t need a soft, muted color on your walls to make this work.
60% = Red (walls, accessories)
30% = Cream (furniture, rug)
10% = Tan (floor, accessories)

 

Another great example that clearly demonstrates that the main color doesn't need to be calm, simple, neutral or BORING! 60% = Green (walls, accessories) 30% = White (furniture, art prints) 10% = Dark Brown (floors, chair legs)

Another great example that clearly demonstrates that the main color doesn’t need to be calm, simple, neutral or BORING!
60% = Green (walls, accessories)
30% = White (furniture, art prints)
10% = Dark Brown (floors, chair legs)

 An example that proves you can use the 60-30-10 rule to work incredibly vibrant and bold colors smoothly into your decorating. 60% = Blue (walls, light) 30% = Pink (bedspread, chair, painted leaves) 10% = White (trim, doors)

An example that proves you can use the 60-30-10 rule to work incredibly vibrant and bold colors smoothly into your decorating.
60% = Blue (walls, light)
30% = Pink (bedspread, chair, painted leaves)
10% = White (trim, doors)

The color options are endless and it’s not difficult to see that using this rule helps you keep your color scheme under control and helps you produce an end result that’s very focused, very clean and very inviting!

4 Tips to Help You Decorate With Color!

14b_kitchen_tomatotangoCSP1145_harborgrayAC25_smallerHave you tried bringing color into your home only to find that it didn’t work?  That the colors didn’t look good together?  That they were too bold or too overpowering?  And then, when that happened, did you simply go back to painting in soft whites and neutrals?

This happens to a lot of people we run into at RepcoLite–they branch out into the world of “color” only to find that the colors they chose didn’t look very good.  Typically, many of those folks then assume that “color’s not for them” or that “they’re just not cut out to decorate in color” and they return to the safety of neutral.

If that’s you, then hold on for a second:  color adds interest and visual appeal to our decorating.  It can take a boring room and turn it into something that turns heads and starts conversations.  The trick is to use the right colors in the right quantities.

And here are 4 quick ideas to help you do that:

CHECK OUT YOUR COLOR IN ALL LIGHTING SITUATIONS

Many folks come into the store, pick out some color samples, scrutinize them, and then order a gallon or two of paint.  Then they go home and paint their walls only to find that when night comes and the room darkens the color’s way too dark on their walls.  Avoid this mistake by taking your color chips home and examining them in YOUR lighting and in all lighting situations.  Look at the colors at night in the rooms in which they’ll be well before you start rolling them out!

CHOOSE YOUR PAINT LAST

In the decorating process, many folks start with the paint.  They’ll come to the paint store and try to establish their paint colors before they step into the furniture stores or the carpet stores.  This is a mistake.  Folks will come in, pick a bold, bright color for their walls, and then later discover they can’t find a couch or carpet that looks good with those colors.  They then, mistakenly, assume that bold colors are just not their thing.  The problem isn’t bold colors, it’s the timing of the color choice.  Remember:  Paint is the most adjustable aspect of any home decorating project and should therefore, be selected after everything else is chosen.  First find your couch, your carpet, your wall hangings, etc. and then have the paint made to pull colors from those items.  Doing it this way makes decorating with color easy.  Doing it backwards makes decorating with color seem impossible!

PLAN AHEAD

Another thing to think about applies especially to those folks who are working their way through their house.  They start with one room, get it finished and then move on to the next one.  If this is you, plan your steps and your decorating with an eye on your next move.  Don’t find a beautiful, bold color for your living room, make everything work together beautifully only to discover that you have no idea what color will go with it when you move to your hallway.  Plan your living room with your hallway in mind.  Make sure the colors will harmonize as you work your way through the house.

DON’T BE FOOLED BY COLOR CHIPS

This last tip is important!  When you look at a standard color chip, you’ll see a light color at the top and a darker version of that color at the bottom with five or six variations in between.  The typical response many of us have to this way of displaying color is to assume that the top color is an off white.  From there, we gauge the depth of the subsequent colors on the chip.  The mistake comes in our initial assumption:  often, the colors on the top of the chips are already significantly darker than off whites.  So, while the third color on the chip may look–by comparison to the other colors–to be a “medium-toned” color, we are often surprised to see how dark it actually is on our walls.  So all that to say, one of the best things you can do is take that color swatch you like and hold it up to some standard whites or off whites to give yourself a good perception of the true depth of the colors–that way you won’t be too surprised when you get them on your wall.