Bring spring sunshine into 8-year-old's room

April 27, 2011 

Dear Debbie: When spring fever hits our household, I am always ready with a list of most-wanted upgrades. This year, our 8-year-old daughter has made a request - to puleeeeze paint her boring bedroom. Do I dare paint the walls yellow? It's her favorite color, but will she be able to sleep with all those lively vibes? - Francesca

Dear Francesca: It’s true, yellow is full of energy. It’s a happy color, and I bet your daughter has a sunny disposition. If you are going to paint all the walls, choose a soft shade, or it will overpower the room. Why not create a focal wall at the head of her bed, such as the one I designed for a young lady? Wall panels create architectural dimension and add a special luxury element to any room. You can make a grid directly onto the wall or, for a more realistic finish, cover the wall first with panels of MDF. Measure and mark off the panels in an even grid using a ruler and set square for accuracy and a chalk line to mark. These are approximately 2-foot squares. Cut 1/2-inch molding strips to build the panels, and nail them in place along the grid lines. Fill nail holes and seams with wood filler. Prime and paint in egg-yolk yellow in a gloss sheen.

Have some fun with accessories. We dressed up the bedside lamp shades using feather boa trim; you can find these at your local fabric store. Run a bead of glue around the bottom, then adhere the first length of trim. Glue and stick around the shade working in 6-inch sections until the shade is full and fluffy. These whimsical shades have been a favorite project and they are fun to do. Your daughter can help, and her new room will dazzle her.

Dear Debbie: I am moving, and the kitchen in the apartment does not have a window over the kitchen sink. What can I do to create an optical illusion of looking outside a window or making me feel not so closed in when I am at the sink? Thanks for any tips you can provide. – Lynn

Dear Lynn: The art of trompe l’oeil is a time-honored technique developed for the express purpose of painting a vision that tricks the eye. With the clever placement of stencils and shading, you can create a picture that has an amazing three-dimensional quality. Trompe l’oeil is used by decorators to open up a space, make it look grander or simply to present a realistic view that is more appealing than what is there. Shop the Internet for trompe l’oeil stencils; there are many sites, such as www.all-about, that post instructions and sell stencils, stencil tools and books. Use the search words “trompe l’oeil stencils” for best results.

Dear Debbie: Should all the faucets throughout the house remain the same color for consistency, or can you coordinate the faucet color within a room? Also, is it necessary from a design standpoint to match the color with the light fixture so the room won’t have more than one color of fixture. I am finding this decision so confusing. – Susan

Dear Susan: This is a good question, because today there is a vast choice of styles and finishes. The faucets can change from room to room, but keep the color and finish consistent within each room. The same rule applies for light fixtures; they do look better in one color, either all chrome or nickel or gold, and with polished or brushed finish, and again match up with faucets. Hope this helps.

Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. You can follow Debbie on Twitter at Please email your questions to

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