Are you tired of having plain walls? Do you struggle to afford expensive wallpaper and find yourself frustrated by the limited choice of designs available in your price range? Are you struggling to come up with ideas for wall art that your children won’t destroy? There’s a lot you can do on a budget if you know how. These tips will help you to create the home of your dreams – and thrill your kids into the bargain.
Painting techniques to transform your home
If you’re painting your walls yourself, that doesn’t mean they have to be boring. First, use a lightweight tape to cover the edges of the ceiling, baseboards and adjoining walls so that you can paint right up to them but keep it neat.
Then consider one of the following:
- Scumbling – mix clear glaze with a different color or shade of paint and use scrunched up newspaper or a nylon rag to apply it to the wall in an abstract pattern.
- Drybrushing – choose pain of a different color, pour a thin layer of it into a tray and let it mostly dry out, then use a dry brush to create distinct, textured strokes.
- Lacquering – apply multiple layers of clear glaze on top of your base paint, taking time to let each one dry, to produce a high gloss effect with real depth.
Different types of paint
Paint technology has been evolving rapidly in recent years, which really expands your options. One thing that appeals to many parents is the increased availability of wipe-clean paints, and these are great for rooms like the kitchen and bathroom where kids make a lot of mess. Other variants, however, are great for artistic work.For instance, metallic paints in a wide range of hues can be used for detail work, making your home look palatial (if you have pet fish, move them to another room first, as the fumes can poison them). Chalk paint absorbs light for a very soft pastel-hued look. You can even get paint that turns a wall into a whiteboard for children to write or draw on.
Wallpapering with fabric
When it comes to wallpapering, don’t feel you have to stick to papers. Walls can also look great covered in stretched fabric, though you should always make sure that it’s fire-retardant. Don’t glue it as the glue will usually soak through and look bad. Instead, stretch and pin it with carpet tacks. Fabrics like cotton prints generally work best, but you can have velvet or satin walls if you want. You can even get kits that allow you to create your own tapestries.
It’s always fun to paint murals, and they’re a great option for children’s rooms as they can provide the perfect backdrop for play. Painting a castle or a spaceship against a starry sky doesn’t take a lot of skill but will thrill your kids, especially if they get to be involved in the design. If you’re not confident about your abilities, try copying an existing piece of art by drawing a grid on the wall in pencil and using it to work out which section of the picture should go where.
You could even copy a picture drawn by your child. If you have older children, they could paint parts of the mural themselves, but don’t count on them having the patience to finish it.
Going over the edge
When you’re creating wall art, don’t feel you have to stop at the edges. Japanese traditional art of this kind often includes paintings of trees whose branches extend across the ceiling, carrying flowers and small birds with them. If you fit shutters over your windows you can see one picture when they’re open and add a secret element that completes it when they’re closed. It’s easy to measure for shutters and these days they’re designed to be simple to install. If you prime them properly, they will take paint the same way your walls do.
There are lots of ways to add art to a room beyond the obvious approach of putting up framed paintings, posters or pictures your children have drawn. You could use stencils to create small murals too elaborate to design for yourself, you could use mirrors creatively to expand the apparent size of a room, or you could attach bands of ribbons that ripple when the windows are open. Maps – ancient and modern – can be beautiful to look at and are also a great teaching tool, and a family photograph, blown up to a large size, can make a wonderful centerpiece for your living room wall.
Once you get going, you’ll find the sky’s the limit, and your rooms will look amazing.