Painting and decorating children – kids rooms and bedrooms
Walls have to be tough. A child expects more of a wall than an adult does and consequently the wall finish must be functional as well as decorative. A child will want to experiment with it. It is yet another surface against which he can try his toys— and his strength.
You may choose to paint the walls but the effectiveness of this depends very much on the type of paint you use. But whatever finish or colour you choose remember it must be lead-free—make absolutely sure of this by checking the label. High-gloss finishes are perhaps the easiest to wipe clean but many people these days find them the least attractive of all the types on the market. Also, if your child needs a regular nightlight, the reflection can be disturbing, even frightening.
Polyurethane paints are renowned for their toughness, and are virtually child-proof. The old stand-by, emulsion paint, is still cheap—temptingly so if you persuade yourself that a child’s room will need almost constant redecoration. It will work out more expensive in the end than one treatment in a superior grade of polyurethane, particularly as emulsions are much harder to clean and keep clean than.tougher surfaces. Conventional wallpaper has obvious drawbacks— it can be ripped only too easily— but the newer vinyl wall-coverings have many advantages.
They are notably washable, stain-resistant and are available in the brightest colours and an increasing range of attractive patterns. They are also often textured, which provides harmless interest for the child’s inquisitive fingers. Pegboard, which first became popular in schools, has now earned its place in ordinary domestic use. It both protects and enhances walls, and is certainly a useful addition to any playroom. It is more adaptable than blackboard which will undoubtedly be ‘outgrown’, but pegboard is always acceptable. In the early years you can pin up ‘educational’ pictures or alphabets—then the child’s own schoolwork or paintings. And it will still be useful later, as a display surface for teenagers’ posters. Pegboard is also a fairly good insulating material and, mercifully, slightly sound-deadening.
If, when the child has become a sophisticated teenager, he will want his walls covered with smarter, more expensive tongued-and-grooved wood panelling, then you will find that the pegboard will be easy to remove and will have contributed to keeping the walls’ surfaces in good repair.
Central London: (wc1, wc2, ec1, ec2, ec3, ec4)
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North London: (n1, n2, n3, n4, n5, n6, n7, n8, n9, n10, n11, n12, n13, n14, n15, n16, n17, n18, n19, n20, n21, n22)
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West London: (w1, w2, w3, w4, w5, w6, w7, w8, w9, w10, w11, w12, w13, w14)
Isleworth, Acton, Eastcote, Bayswater, Charlton, Brook Green, Chiswick, Ealing, Uxbridge, Greenford, Hanger Lane, Hanwell, Hammersmith, Holland Park, Kensington, Elsham, Notting Hill, East Molesley, Ladbroke Grove, Marylebone, Mayfair, North Kensington, Warwick Avenue, Osterley, Paddington, Perivale, Shepherd’s Bush, Strand,Addlestone, West Brompton, Kensal Green, Queens Park, West Ealing,
Southwest London: (sw1, sw2, sw3, sw4, sw5, sw6, sw7, sw8, sw9, sw10, sw11, sw12, sw13, sw14, sw15, sw16, sw17, sw18, sw19, sw20)
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Northwest London: (nw1, nw2, nw3, nw4, nw5, nw6, nw7, nw8, nw9, nw10, nw11, nw12, nw13, nw14, nw15)
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One way to cover up a ceiling with cracks or other imperfections is to use lining paper or a textured wallcovering and then paint over it. But a good alternative is to make a special feature of the ceiling by using decorative paper.
Papering ceilings can be a rather daunting prospect, even to the experienced home decorator. In fact, once you have mastered the basic technique of paperhanging, ceilings are quite straightforward and you are likely to be presented with far fewer problems than on walls. There will be no windows, few (if any) corners and not so many obstacles with which you have to deal. If you intend to paint the ceiling it’s usually best to hang a lining paper or a textured paper like woodchip first to hide the inevitable blemishes of a plaster ceiling. Or you might decide to choose a fine decorative paper and make a feature of the ceiling with it. Most of the papers that are suitable for walls can also be used for ceilings. But before you opt for papering, it makes sense to consider the alternative: if the sole objective is to get a textured surface which will cover up cracks and bumps, you can do it just as well with a textured paint. Using a woodchip paper would only make sense if you were skilled at papering and wanted to save money; in any case, you’ll still have to paint it. However, if you want a smooth ceiling or a decorative surface of distinction then papering is for you.
You will need the same equipment as for papering walls, with the addition of a safe working platform that spans the width of the room. You should check with your supplier that the paper of your choice is suitable for ceilings (some heavier types may not be) and ask him to provide a suitably strong adhesive, including fungicide if it is a washable vinyl paper. Such papers are extremely suitable for high humidity environments like bathrooms and kitchens.
The surface to which you fix the paper must be clean and sound. This means washing down existing paintwork with detergent or sugar soap and then sanding it with a fine abrasive paper or pad to provide a key for the adhesive. Distempered ceilings, often found in old houses, must be scrubbed to remove the distemper, or the paper will not stick.
If the ceiling has been papered before, you should remove the old paper completely. If you try to hang another paper over it there will be blobs and bubbles where the dampness of the new paper separates the old paper from the plaster. Any surface which is at all porous, such as bare plaster, will tend to absorb moisture from the pasted paper at too fast a rate for a successful adhesion. Such surfaces should be sized by brushing them over with a proprietary size, or a diluted version of the actual paste you’re going to use. Let the size dry before proceeding. New plasterboard, often used in modern construction, needs painting with a primer/ sealer before decoration. It is also wise to fix a layer of lining paper before your main decorative paper if you are hanging heavyweight or fabric wallcoverings. Decorating perfectionists always recommend using lining paper anyway, whatever the surface. There is no doubt it does improve the final appearance, particularly on older surfaces or with thinner papers. Lining paper comes in different thicknesses or ‘weights’ and you should consult your supplier about a suitable grade. One last preparation tip: don’t leave cracks and dents in ceilings for the paper to cover. Fill them and sand them smooth, particularly at joins between plasterboards, and at the wall/ceiling angle. Think of your paper as a surface that needs a good smooth base, and not as a cover-up for a hideous old mess.
Modern papers are designed for the strips to be butted against each other, not overlapped. This means the traditional pattern of working away from, but parallel to, the main source of natural light is not essential. You will generally find it easier working across the narrowest dimension of the room. Well applied paper will tend not to show the joins too much anyway, particularly if the pattern draws the eye. All ceiling papering starts from a line which is strung or marked across the ceiling 10mm (%in) less than the width of the paper away from the wall. The 10mm (3/sin) on the length of paper which runs next to the wall allows for the walls being out of square and its overlap is trimmed off at the wall and ceiling junction. You can chalk a line and snap it against the ceiling between two tacks to make a mark, or just pin it temporarily in place and butt the first strip of paper against it.