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Every experienced parent know that with children comes a lot of stuff! And, no matter how much you guard against it, it takes very little time for that “stuff” to end up strewn from one end of your home to the other.
 
We’ve talked to parents and kids, and here are some of the key elements for creating a play/storage space your kids will love!
 
An Activity Table
No matter how many great games and toys you have, if you don’t have a good activity table and chairs in your play space, your kids will end right back up at the kitchen counter!
 
Make sure your table is the appropriate size and height for your children now – this isn’t something you want them to grow into. A solid, sturdy flat surface, with legs at each corner – and equally sturdy chairs – will go a long way to keeping kids playing happily in their own space.
 
cubestorageAccessible Storage
There’s no point in having a lot of storage space if your children can’t reach things. Kid-height shelving, and lots of storage bins are a must for a well- organized play space.
 
There are lots of great cube storage options available at very reasonable prices, and the fabric drawers that fit inside are soft, lightweight and available in many colours to coordinate with your décor.
 
For children who are not yet old enough to read labels, consider putting a picture on the front of each drawer to show them what’s inside, and where to return toys to when they’re done playing.
 
Soft, Durable Flooring
There are so many options available today for rugged flooring that can take lots of play and still emerge looking great. Many of today’s vinyl floors are super soft underfoot, and can be loose-laid – making them easy to change later.
 
Cork floors are both warm and soft – and very durable as well. Carpeting is another option, but requires more maintenance due to the inevitable spills and stains that will occur. If you’re considering carpet – carpet tiles might be the right solution for your home’s play space.
 
If your room has a hard floor that you don’t want to change, consider interlocking foam flooring – they look like giant puzzle pieces, can be wiped clean, and are super soft, and very affordable.
 
A Comfy Place to Chill
When the games are over, and it’s time for a break, kids need a comfy place to relax. Bean-bag chairs or covered-foam modular kid-height chairs and sofas all make an easy-maintenance, hard-wearing place to sit and watch a movie or a little TV. For added safety, choose furniture that can’t topple over, and that’s scaled for your child’s height.
 
Layout 1A Chalk Board
While you can certainly purchase a chalkboard, and mount it to a wall – there’s an even simpler solution that allows you to create a truly outstanding drawing place in your playroom. Chalkboard paint.
 
Create a framework with simple molding, add a ledge for holding chalk, and fill with chalkboard paint (make sure you paint at least two coats!).
 
Chalkboard paint is available in a variety of colours including traditional black and green – and makes a great fun-wall for your children as well as a great spot for parents to post playroom rules.
 
Good Lighting
If your play space is blessed with an abundance of natural light that’s a bonus! But it’s still important to have good, bright white light to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere on even the dullest day.
 
One safe and simple solution is ceiling pot-lights – on dimmer switches – so you can control the amount of light easily. Pot-lights allow you to position your lighting exactly where you need it, and today’s LED pot-lights use almost no energy.
 
A Kids’ Gallery Wall
To be truly awesome, a play space has to have a spot where kids can show off their creative efforts. If your storage cabinets are fairly low, adding ledge-style shelving above them makes a perfect spot to display kids’ paintings and dimensional artworks.
 
Placing art in simple, inexpensive frames and then placing it on ledge shelves gives children a gallery of their own and lets them know how proud you are of their efforts. As new masterpieces are created, it’s easy to change the art in the frames as well.
 
With a little ingenuity and elbow grease, it’s relatively simple to create a play space your kids, and their friends, will love!
 
 


Originally Published by The Chronicle Herald

 

Alexandra Kelter

 
Alexandra Kelter is a social media specialist with Central Home Improvements. Her column covers many aspects of home improvement, both indoor and outdoor, and will combine trending styles with practical applications all within realistic budgets. Kelter is also passionate about fashion, travel, living by the ocean and her bulldog.
 

 
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If you’ve ever wondered how pro painters get that flawless finish on less-than-perfect surfaces, here are some of the tricks of the trade! Follow these, and your paint jobs will have that professional finish, too!
 
perfectlypaintedARoll Paint Along Edges for a Consistent Finish
Tape your edges! After cutting in close with a brush, use a small roller and immediately roll over the cut-in area for a consistent finish.
 
Make sure your small roller has the same nap as your larger wall roller. Get as close as you can without bumping the wall or molding you’re painting up against.
 
Prime Wall Patches to Avoid a Blotchy Appearance
Sheen inconsistency on freshly painted walls usually occurs over the areas you’ve patched with a filler or drywall compound.
 
These fillers are porous, and absorb the paint, dulling the surface. A quick coat of primer eliminates this problem. Prime the patched area with a roller, feathering out the edges.
 
Cut Tape Before Pulling It
Allow paint to dry, then cut tape loose for a perfect edge. Once paint is dry, you cannot just pull tape off the trim. Allow paint to dry for at least 24 hours, then use a sharp utility knife or box cutter knife to slice through the paint film on the tape.
 
Test in an inconspicuous place first to make sure your paint is dry enough. As you cut along the edge of the tape, pull the tape up at a 45° angle. It should come away cleanly and leave a perfect edge.
 
To Avoid Lap Marks, Roll the Full Height of the Wall
Rolling the full height of the wall, and keeping a wet edge are the two secrets to avoiding ugly lap marks caused by uneven layers of paint buildup.
 
To maintain a wet edge, paint an entire wall all at once. Don’t let your roller become nearly dry, reload it often so it is always at least half loaded. Keep the open side of the roller frame facing the already painted area. That puts less pressure on the open side of the roller, so you’re less likely to leave paint ridges.
 
Feather Out the Paint Where You Can’t Keep a Wet Edge
When you cannot keep a wet edge, feather out the paint along those edges you cannot keep wet. The thinner, feathered coat of paint will avoid the buildup that causes lap marks.
 
Feathering is best accomplished by rolling a nearly dry roller in different directions along the edge, feathering out the paint as you go.
 
perfectlypaintedBUse Drop Cloths
Even the most careful painter will have spills and spatters. Pro painters use canvas drop cloths in their work areas. DIY painters can pick up drop cloths at their local home improvement retail stores, but wherever possible, cotton is recommended over plastic because plastic drop cloths can be quite slippery.
 
In large rooms, tape your drop cloths together at the seams to create a continuous protection for your floor.
 
Even with a drop cloth, spills should be wiped up immediately to avoid getting paint on your shoes, then tracking it around your house!
 
Clean Surfaces so Paint Can Form a Strong Bond
Grimy, oily surfaces will not allow paint to adhere well. Cleaning surfaces with a deglosser or heavy-duty cleaner (such as TSP) intended for prepaint cleaning will greatly improve the adhesion of new paint. Areas for cleaning include kitchen and bathroom walls, and surfaces around light fixtures.
 
Apply cleaner in a circular motion using a lint-free cloth or slightly abrasive pad. After the surface is clean, fill in any nicks and holes, then sand smooth and prime prior to painting. Safety Precaution: Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when working with cleaners.
 
 


Originally Published by The Chronicle Herald

 

Alexandra Kelter

 
Alexandra Kelter is a social media specialist with Central Home Improvements. Her column covers many aspects of home improvement, both indoor and outdoor, and will combine trending styles with practical applications all within realistic budgets. Kelter is also passionate about fashion, travel, living by the ocean and her bulldog.