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Tips on Decorating Children`s Rooms — Stencils

By Sarah Van Arsdale on July 13, 2008

In recent years, as the economy has boomed, one sector of the interior design industry has enjoyed a remarkable explosion: products for babies and kids to use when decorating children's rooms. We at NYIAD are here to help you figure out how to wade through all that's out there when you're decorating kid's rooms to create a place that's just right for your child or for the child's room of your client.

Tips on Decorating Children`s Rooms — Stencils

If you need to perk up a kids' room, how about a project that's quick, easy to clean up from, and guaranteed to put a smile on Junior's face?

Using stencils to decorate a children's room is a sure way to make the kids feel more invested in the room, as they can help design the stenciling, and, depending on their ages, they can help actually do the stenciling as well.

First, you'll probably need a fresh coat of paint on the wall, in the background color you choose. For example, if you're going to use a flower border stencil, you may want a pale blue wall. If you want to get really fancy, you can paint the top 2/3 of the wall pale blue, and the bottom 2/3 pale green, to give the impression of sky and grass.

The stencil itself you can make yourself, just by cutting the shapes you want from stiff, heavy paper or light cardboard. Once you have the shape, use painter's tape (the blue tape that won't pull paint from the wall when you take it off) to hold the stencil to the wall. Make sure the paper is the right weight so that it will stay close to the wall while you paint and draw.

Tips on Decorating Children`s Rooms — Stencils

If you have a stencil that will have more than one color, you'll do one color at a time. For example, first do the green stems and leaves. Then, when that dries, do the pink flower petals. Next, if you have some petals that are another color, do those petals.

For a more professional look, you can buy stencil kits. At first, this may seem to take the creativity out of the process, but you still get to put your own creative stamp on the finished product. Most stencil kits have several parts to them, and then your job is to place and layer the stencils on the wall, choosing your own colors and putting your own personal touch on the finished wall.

For example, this stencil from Yowler & Shepps Stencils is actually six stencils in one, each one painted on separately. Imagine the delight of a little girl coming home to find a secret garden gateway has appeared in her bedroom!

If that seems like a complicated design to tackle, you could try a simpler one, such as the "Choo Choo Train," perfect for making a trip around a younger child's room.

Tips on Decorating Children`s Rooms — Stencils

One of the best things about stenciling is that it isn't limited to walls. You don't need a lot of money to make a child's room pull together, if you have a tool like stenciling at your fingertips.

NYIAD Top Tip:To create a unified look in a kids' room, you can choose a motif — say, flowers, or animals, or race cars — and stencil a border around the top of the room, where the crown molding would be (or, if you have crown molding, just under it).

Tips on Decorating Children`s Rooms — Stencils

Next, find an old wood bed, dresser, and chair, and paint them in a glossy paint, all in the same color. Then use the same stencil, or one with the same motif only smaller, to decorate the furniture.

For a whimsical look, paint few stray parts of a stencil, such as one bear, or a single flower, on the wall itself, as if this bit of the border has escaped.

If you have older kids, they can help with the actual stenciling, and whatever their age, they can help you choose which motif will use, which will help them feel more involved in decorating their room. And in turn, this may encourage them to keep their room tidy. Well, one can hope.


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