With fresh design, kids like to go to their room

Decorative painter Sunny Goode's goal has always been to get more people painting. Her just-published second book, "Paint Can! Children's Rooms" (Sterling Publishing, $24.95), empowers parents and kids to take up glazing, color washing and stenciling to create a special environment for their child.

Goode, who has been a decorative painter for more than 15 years, is tapping into a rich market: 21st-century parents anxious to fashion custom environments for their offspring. Forget slapping up a Scooby-Doo decal: Sophisticated parents fret over the decor for a baby's room as much as they do over their living room color.

"People tend to go all out when it comes to their children," says Goode, of Richmond, Va. "We see circular cribs and gold-leafed fireplaces. Are you kidding me? My last child got a nursery converted out of a closet."

The former closet, however, was given a stylish makeover with color washing, glazing and freehand painting of polka dots and curlicue borders. "Most parents are starting from scratch with nurseries, so they are willing to go one step further than just a fresh coat of paint," Goode says.

Tips for Decorating a Child's Room

  • Use patterns low on a wall for children's rooms so they can appreciate the art at their level.
  • Personalizing a room, such as creating a monogram or using the child's first name or initials, makes the child feel a sense of ownership.
  • Paint a height chart on the wall and record your children's growth, marking it with the date. They will be delighted to see their progress.
  • Take inspiration from a favorite item, whether a book, a blanket or a favorite place.
  • Use a low-odor paint. If your house was built before 1960, beware of lead paint layers below. Get your walls tested.
  • An easy-to-use, inexpensive stencil can give the look of wallpaper in a room, but you can control the color and pattern yourself.

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