EP26 – September 30, 2017: Wood Finishes, Light Bulb Early Burn Outs, Tree Trimming 101, Decorating Small Bedrooms

 

Lacquers, Polyurethanes, Shellacs, and more! There are so many finishes that can be classified under the broad heading of “clear coat”. Which one is right for your project? Which one is going to give you the most durability? It’s honestly not as confusing as it may seem! Today we clear up the confusion and give you everything you need to know to make the best choice!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 026:

When it comes to choosing the right wood finish for a project, many people are confused. There are so many options. What's best? In this segment, we talk about the most common choices and highlight the best uses for each one!

When light bulbs burn out early, we start to wonder what's going on! The packages say we'll get multiple years out of a given bulb, but sometimes we end up getting just a couple weeks. Why is that? And, more importantly, what can we do about it?

Today we're in the studio with Bill Haveman from Haveman Electric and he's got some answers and some recommendations!

Trimming plants back in the fall doesn't always seem like rocket science. And it isn't. But still, do it wrong (as I have) and you won't have any Hydrangea blooms next year!

Matt Bakker from Landscape Design Services joins us to lay out the do's and don'ts of trimming!

Small rooms can be frustrating to decorate. And often, we tend to just give up and resign ourselves to the idea that they can only be functional . . . not design-oriented.

We want to challenge that! Those small rooms can be eye-catching. You just need to approach the project with a little creativity!

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!

Let Them Help: Decorating With Your Kids’ Input!

paint_handsEvery now and then I hit upon something that I know is a good idea. And, though this doesn’t happen very often, this is one of those times. There’s no way around it: decorating your kids’ rooms with their help is a great opportunity for you and for them. Oh, I know there are lots of little bugs in the idea and potential complications–but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a good thing to do.

Taking a room that was decorated with younger kids in mind and turning it into “hip, way cool pad” is a great way to let your kids know that YOU know that they’re growing up. Taking down the wallpaper borders of stuffed bears and turtles and replacing it with something more age-appropriate will make your kids feel important. And involving them in that process, seeking their input and listening to their suggestions will make them feel that they are on the path to growing up–they’re actually an active force in the creation of their new room.

Surprise Makeovers are Cool on TV, But Not So Much In Real Life

If you still need convincing that it’s a good idea to involve your kids in the process, then think about it this way: on TV, surprise makeovers are cool. They really are. But that’s because we don’t normally watch the recipient of the new room beyond their initial reaction. We see them when they first whip off a blindfold and stand blinking and squinting in the bright lights as they try to take in their new surroundings. Everybody’s happy and giggly and the show ends. We don’t see the couple standing there 12 hours later, now that the cameras and energetic TV personalities are gone, staring at the new walls and wondering what happened and how anybody ever thought that bright orange was a good look.

Your kids feel the same way about their room as you would about your home. Their room is their space–their world away from the world, especially as they get older. Just as you wouldn’t likely appreciate it if your husband or your neighbor just dropped by one afternoon and repainted your living room in colors of their choosing, neither will your kids necessarily be receptive to the changes you bring about one day while they’re off at school. Your vision for their room isn’t necessarily their vision for the room. You’ve got to make it your goal to discover a mutually acceptable vision.

Involve Them, But Remember Their Limitations

To that end, involve them in every aspect of the process. Take them to the store and let them look at colors. Let them flip through wallpaper books and mural books. Let them explore the world of Faux Painting. However, make sure that you keep the outings short and sweet–no marathon shopping trips that will frustrate and wear your kids out. Remember that their attention spans are not like yours–keeping the trips to a limited amount of time will make sure both of you enjoy the outings. And don’t forget to think bigger than just a trip to the paint store or the furniture store: try to tie your decorating trips in with a nice dinner out or something like that.

Taking the kids to the paint store and listening to their suggestions and then taking them out to dinner will be one of those special moments kids remember. If you treat their opinions as valid options and listen to their thoughts and take the time to discuss things with them over dinner, they will start to feel like an intricate part in the decision process. And trust me, I may have young kids and I may not have had much experience in the world of psychology, but I know this is a good thing. You don’t have to be a genius to see that by involving your kids in something so small as decorating their rooms, you’re basically telling them that their opinions matter and that you value their thoughts.

What If . . ?

Alright, now you’re probably thinking that I’m living in a world where everything is puppy dogs and lollipops. Sure it sounds good to involve the kids in the decorating process, but what’s going to happen when they pick out Sponge-Bob Yellow and Bright Red for their walls?  We’ll cover that in the next post.

Easy DIY Stenciled Headboards

headboard5Here’s a great idea from a blog we follow called Simply Sjostedt.  It’s a simple way to create an entirely unique, interesting, headboard using only some planks, a stencil and some paint.

Here you can read about how it was done and see pictures that chronicle every step.  But before you click the link, remember the Cardinal Rule of any project:  don’t be afraid to tinker with the idea.

What I mean is this:  the plank background here is a great “blank canvas”.  Sure, you could stencil it–as we see in the picture at the left–but don’t be afraid to make this project your own.

For example, you could paint the boards a solid color and distress them.  Or, you could go a different route and stain and varnish the planks.  The stain job could be done with an eye toward a rustic finish or, if you prefer, a fine wood finish.  Both results would be easily achievable–you just need to figure out which would work better for you.  Really, the possibilities are endless.  Use your imagination and your creativity and see what you can come up with!  (And, if you come up with something really cool, let us know in the comments!)

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!