A child’s room is usually a place where they can get away from their parents and siblings for at least a few minutes. In that short time it can turn into a disaster area. With some tips and tricks you can create a space that is not only good looking, but functional as well.
One of the best products to come out on the market in the last ten years is chalkboard paint. This paint creates a surface similar to a blackboard, can either be sprayed or rolled on, is very durable, and water-based. It comes in several colors to coordinate with the room’s existing wall color. It would not be wise to paint an entire wall with chalkboard paint, but small areas would be a great addition to help keep your child occupied--and, you can also leave notes on the board like “Clean up your Room!”
There are two practical options for chalkboard paint; you can install a chair rail on a wall and apply the paint between the chair rail and baseboard or build a picture frame or shadow box and paint the chalkboard paint inside of that. See my Factoid on how to install chair rail and shadow boxes, Trim and Paneling Ideas to Improve the Look of your Home.
You will need a place to keep the chalk and eraser, so how about installing a little brass coat hook or Shaker peg near the new “chalkboard” to keep the supplies organized. You may also want to place a washable rug or mat beneath the chalkboard to catch most of the dust. You can also add adhesive-backed letters to spell out your child’s name, or use sponge stencils to add a little flair to the finished board. You can make smaller chalkboards in the room for a To Do list, calendar, etc. You can also paint the inside of a closet door if you don’t want to see it, or want a larger area.
Martha Stewart has a formula for making custom colors of chalkboard paint by adding 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout, white, to a cup of paint. Mix to remove the lumps, paint small areas and go over several times to fill completely. After completely dry, sand with 150 grit sandpaper and wipe off dust. Rub the side of chalk over the area to condition the new chalkboard and wipe off chalk with a slightly damp sponge.
You can add corkboard near the chalkboard to add notes and pictures that your child creates. Mount the corkboard down at the child’s level; you can always raise it later.
Add a small section of garden trellis to create an area to hang baseball caps, bags, shoes, backpacks, or purses. A good size would be about 2 feet by 2 feet, or larger if you can squeeze it in. The top of the trellis should be at the maximum height that the child can reach. Add hooks or pegs to the intersection of the trellis slats.
Buy a storage net and install it in the corner of the bedroom about three feet down from the ceiling. You can put balls, soft toys, stuffed animals, and sports equipment in it to keep the clutter off the floor and out of the way. Don’t hang it over the child’s bed for safety reasons, but anywhere else is fine. You can also cut up an old soccer or hockey net if you can find one. This option would be more for a boy’s room.
Since Venetian blinds are hard to clean and the cords can be dangerous, try installing a pull-down shade. You can add a picture your child made or stencil the inside so that there is some visual interest.
Wooden storage cubes can be stacked to create quite a bit of storage space in the room and create compartments to sort different items. These boxes can also be used as a bed frame. Place 6 boxes in a 2 by 3 pattern with the openings facing out. Cut a piece of ¾ inch Medium Density Fiberboard, MDF, or plywood to replace the box spring and set it top of the boxes.
Change the drawer pulls to a theme that your child likes: maybe soccer, nature, food, etc. You can also get unpainted wood knobs and have your child paint and decorate them. Apply 3 to 4 coats of paint as a base and then decorate over that. Varnish your knobs when they are completed. Use 4 to 5 coats and be sure to use water-based varnish. As a general rule, knobs and pulls no wider than half the rail width look best. Knobs and pulls that are too large look awkward and heavy. Also remember that the screw lengths are different for drawers and doors, this is because a drawer has a drawer face and a box, so it has to go through twice as much material.