Lean, green home­work ma­chine

How to give your child’s study space an eco-makeover

The Kids Post - - Design Feature - THE PROP­ERTY BROTH­ERS Post City Mag­a­zines’ columnists Jonathan and Drew Scott host The Prop­erty Broth­ers, on the W Net­work, thescot­tbroth­ers.com.

Jonathan and Drew Scott of W Net­work’s The Prop­erty Broth­ers of­fer some point­ers on how to trans­form your child’s room into an eco-friendly haven where (and here’s the twist) he or she will ac­tu­ally want to study.

What should par­ents look for when pur­chas­ing paint or wall­pa­per?

First, get your kids in­volved so they’ll iden­tify with the study area as their own and want to spend time there. They’ll ap­pre­ci­ate a cheer­ful splash of their favourite colours or pat­terns (don’t overdo it — they need to con­cen­trate!). If you want wall­pa­per, look for the newer self-ad­he­sive kind, which is much eas­ier to put up (and re­move). Other op­tions in­clude paint sten­cils, wall de­cals and fab­ric pan­els. And con­sider us­ing black­board paint on a sec­tion of wall — it now comes in var­i­ous colours and gives kids a sur­face for learn­ing or doo­dling. Try to use paint with low or no VOCs (volatile or­ganic com­pounds), which keeps harm­ful chem­i­cals out of the en­vi­ron­ment (and your lungs).

In terms of floor­ing, why is it bet­ter to use bam­boo over hard­wood? Are there any other green al­ter­na­tives?

Fast-grow­ing bam­boo is tough and good-look­ing. But we also like en­gi­neered wood floor­ing, which saves trees by us­ing wood ve­neer. To­day it looks as good and wears as well as hard­wood floor­ing (we favour the hand-scraped ver­sion — the contoured sur­face hides many scratches and scuffs). The best lam­i­nate floor­ing costs less, lasts even longer and is rel­a­tively easy to in­stall or re­place.

What en­ergy-ef­fi­cient light bulbs would you rec­om­mend? What about light fix­tures and other such ap­pli­ances — any tips?

Study ar­eas need good task light­ing as well as good am­bi­ent light. You want to avoid both eye­strain­ing dim­ness and harsh, glar­ing light. There are many good-look­ing, af­ford­able desk lamps now. Check the desk or study area at a kid’s-eye level to make sure the light is ad­e­quate and bal­anced. We pre­fer en­er­gy­ef­fi­cient com­pact flu­o­res­cent or LED bulbs, which are much im­proved over early ver­sions. They use con­sid­er­ably less en­ergy and last much longer than stan­dard in­can­des­cents, re­sult­ing in sav­ings that jus­tify their higher (but drop­ping) prices. It’s also nice to have a fun, stylish floor lamp by a lounge chair to cre­ate a more ca­sual read­ing cor­ner. This gives kids the op­tion of dif­fer­ent work­ing styles so that things don’t get too mo­not­o­nous.

What about fun, eco-friendly sug­ges­tions for or­ga­niz­ing a child’s sched­ule?

A cork­board is a clas­sic way for kids to or­ga­nize and dis­play the cool stuff they bring home. We like this be­cause it leaves it up to the kids to cre­ate their own form of or­ga­ni­za­tion with­out im­pos­ing any “colour within the lines” rules.

Any tips for those who are look­ing to try and cut down on their util­ity bill?

Pro­grammable ther­mostats are now stan­dard. They al­low you to set dif­fer­ent temperatures for dif­fer­ent times, so you don’t have to re­mem­ber to re­duce the heat (or air con­di­tion­ing) for night­time sav­ings. The new­est ones, like the Nest ther­mo­stat, link to your home net­work so it can be mon­i­tored and con­trolled from your smart­phone, at home or away.

Re­mem­ber: fall is the time to put away sum­mer re­cre­ation gear and clothes. For dorm rooms and home bed­rooms, we like stor­age benches and con­tain­ers that fit un­der the bed as well as mul­ti­pur­pose fur­ni­ture such as cof­fee ta­bles that have built in shelv­ing. Be sure to keep the clut­ter at bay and add some life with an easy to main­tain plant. Happy study­ing!

To get best re­sults, make use of items that in­spire kids to keep work­ing hard

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