Dear Debbie: I'm looking for ideas to redo our teenage son's bedroom.
He’s away for the summer, and we’d like to surprise him with something that he would think is cool.
A risky proposition, but worth a go. – Caroline
Dear Caroline: I admire your courage, and speak from experience, as I decorated my sons’ rooms while they were at camp. The reviews were mediocre; what really bugged them was that I’d gone into their rooms and moved things around. Go with a color that most males like, such as blue. To add character I discovered a peel-and-stick product that will allow you to make up a series of fabulous designs on your walls. WallPops are easily applied, and removed; they are repositionable and reusable, giving your son the option to play around with the design when he returns. Shown here is a collage of shapes and patterns in splashy shades of green, orange and black.
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Pieces stand alone or can overlap. As well as stripes, blocks and circles, there are favorite action heroes, sports figures, euro-designs, window decor and more. Dry erase WallPops come plain or framed with a funky pattern. They also have calendars. Your son should be blown away, but don’t expect too much praise. Not yet.
Dear Debbie: Our house was built in the ’50s. The bathroom’s walls and floor are pink and black tiles. I’ve painted the walls above the tile and vanity white for years. Lately I’m wondering if I could make it look nicer without replacing the tiles. Any suggestions would be appreciated. – Frances
Dear Frances: Thank you for the photos. The large poster of Miss Piggy on the bathroom wall beside the mirror and vanity says it all. Who wouldn’t giggle at Her Royal Pinkness festooned in frothy tulle and a tiara, clutching a bridal bouquet to her porcine bosom? You are fun-loving, and the exuberance of bright pink suits you. Black’s main purpose in decor is to exaggerate other colors, making them come alive. So the pink tiles in your bathroom really stand out. Miss Piggy would approve. However, if you are ready for a change, you could paint over the black tiles to soften the effect. I’d suggest white. Tape off the tiles, wash and sand to rough up the shiny ceramic surface, and apply a high-adhesion primer. Apply two coats of gloss paint. Then, instead of white walls, choose a shade of pink that is lighter but in the same color family as the pink tiles. The contrast between tiles and walls will now be subtle. Accessorize with fluffy white towels. I noticed from your photos that there is too much visible clutter, including the mirror decoration. I know it’s difficult in a small bathroom to have everything you need at hand, but try to cut back to the necessities, and hide the rest.
Dear Debbie: The walls in my bedroom are white with a hot-pink focal wall and hot-pink window coverings. Please let me know what color comforter would look good. – Nadia
Dear Nadia: Pink is a happy, optimistic color. Since that is your dominant shade, I suggest you continue in that mood. Lime green and/or golden yellow would complement, and why not look for a patterned comforter to add a layer of texture and interest to the bed? You don’t describe the window coverings, but a valence, trim or tiebacks that have some of that third color or pattern will offer a good balance and finish off the room beautifully.
Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. You can follow Debbie on Twitter at www.tritter.com/debbie_travis. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.