About to tackle a kids room? Colin and Justin have safety and de­sign ad­vice in equal mea­sure

24 Hours Toronto - - Homes - COLIN MCAL­LIS­TER JUSTIN RYAN ROOM FOR IM­PROVE­MENT

Child-friendly de­sign, as we see it cer­tainly, shouldn’t only be tem­pered by what’s cool for kids, but by fac­tors such as mat­u­ra­tion and shar­ing with sib­lings.

But it doesn’t stop there: ju­nior de­sign, to cope with the rough and tum­ble of ev­ery­day life, should also have prac­ti­cal­ity — and safety — at its very root.

The se­cret to suc­cess? A wash­able, comfy back­ground that can be mod­i­fied as time and tastes fluc­tu­ate.

The last thing you need is the prospect of fac­ing a com­plete gut down six months after your child’s al­le­giances spring­board from Bat­man to Su­per­man, or from Bar­bie to My Lit­tle Pony. Right?

Safety first

Adults can as­sess their own risks, but chil­dren, par­tic­u­larly young ones, need special con­sid­er­a­tion. If the fol­low­ing six point coun­sel sounds like we’re teach­ing our grannies to suck eggs, please ex­cuse us, but all these tips are su­per im­por­tant:

1. Tiny fin­gers can be hurt in door hinges, so fit big box store plas­tic safety mech­a­nisms which you’ll find in Home De­pot.

2. En­sure win­dow, blind and cur­tain cords are tucked out of harms way. A large num­ber of in­juries (and worse) hap­pen each year when lit­tle souls be­come trapped in the work­ings of ‘in­no­cent’ win­dow ap­pa­ra­tus.

3. Avoid trail­ing elec­tri­cal cords and en­sure plugs are fit­ted with child­proof cov­ers.

4. Keep ex­posed ra­di­a­tors on a sep­a­rate ther­mo­stat so they don’t over­heat, or em­ploy a safety screen to pro­tect del­i­cate fin­gers.

5. Rugs on hard floor­ing should be an­chored on anti-glide mats to in­hibit slip is­sues.

6. Avoid hang­ing shelves at low level: ex­cited play can re­sult in head-on col­li­sion.

For fur­ther ad­vice, check out the home safety sec­tion at safekid­scanada.ca

Paint

En­sure fin­ish is wipe-able so crayon marks and pen scrib­bles can be eas­ily erased. Matt la­tex, for ex­am­ple, is less durable than silk fin­ish: study spec­i­fi­ca­tion to dis­cover the ap­pro­pri­ate prod­uct be­fore lav­ish­ing walls.

When strip­ing as, we’ve done here, opt for good qual­ity paint (try Premier at www. cana­di­antire) and em­ploy qual­ity mask­ing tape to en­sure crisp lines. Rub a penny along the edge of the tape to seal prior to start­ing, and roller or brush away from the tape edge — rather than to­wards it — to dis­cour­age paint ‘bleed.’

Floor­ing op­tions

Car­pet. Opt for wash­able, stain re­pel­lent prod­uct. Even fas­tid­i­ous kids will drop paint pots or food trays. And don’t even think about Lit­tle Mer­maid or Bat­man roll stock berber — its way bet­ter to choose prod­uct where de­sign cues come from colour rather than pat­tern.

Karn­dean. A pli­able prod­uct like this makes great sense as it am­ply deals well with spills or ac­ci­dents. And of course you can add pop with wash­able rugs or mats. Visit www.gore­silient.ca for in­spi­ra­tion.

Wood. Ggood qual­ity boards can be sanded and var­nished as tastes evolve. Visit www.metrofloors.com

Light­ing

So that mood may be al­tered at the flick of a switch (to suit sleep, play or study) in­stall a dim­mer. And, when choos­ing bed­side or desk­top lamps, se­lect heavy-based mod­els that are less likely to top­ple.

Bunk beds

These make great sense as long as safety is prop­erly con­sid­ered. If bunks are near ceil­ing lights, or if chil­dren are within reach of flexes, we rec­om­mend call­ing an elec­tri­cian to move wiring.

Search for mod­els whose ‘ground floor’ con­verts into a comfy seat­ing area (when a sec­ond bed isn’t re­quired), or whose lower level can be re­con­fig­ured as a study area when re­quired. Try kid­sroom­scanada.ca.

Dou­ble-duty beds

Seek out beds with hid­den stor­age or draw­ers. Any­thing on legs will give space to stash linens and toys in trunks. If you have a re­dun­dant chest in your base­ment, re­move the draw­ers and add wheels to the bot­tom. Hey, presto! In­ex­pen­sive, roll out of sight stor­age.

Sofa beds

Fold­able, gen­er­ally con­structed on a spring base or built from solid foam. If you aspire to a look that’s more ‘liv­ing room’, than bed­room, a sofa bed makes sense and al­lows space to be adapted, as re­quired, fur­ther into child­hood.

Ex­tenda beds

These, while they look like standard cribs, trans­form into adult nests by re­mov­ing side­bars and in­stalling full-length struts and, of course, a larger mat­tress. Visit wal­mart.ca for sev­eral choices.

So worry not. Don’t look upon your kid’s room pro­ject as a chore, make it a fun and re­ward­ing ex­er­cise and in­volve your child from an early age so they feel em­pow­ered and take ‘own­er­ship’. Yup, decor for the young — and the young at heart — re­ally can be the be­gin­ning of some­thing won­der­ful…

— Watch for Colin and Justin on ‘Cabin Pres­sure,’ ‘Game of Homes,’ and ‘City­line.’ Find the ‘Colin and Justin Home Col­lec­tion’ in stores across Canada. Visit www.col­i­nand­justin.tv.

When strip­ing as Colin and Justin have done here, opt for good qual­ity paint and em­ploy qual­ity mask­ing tape to en­sure crisp lines.

Seek out beds with hid­den stor­age or draw­ers. Any­thing on legs will give space to stash linens and toys in trunks.

BE­FORE: To cope with the rough and tum­ble of ev­ery­day life, de­sign­ing for ju­niors should have prac­ti­cal­ity and safety at its root.

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