With such massive changes going on here in Dubai in the way staff are housed, I’ve decided to launch a new mini-series on how to get the most out of life in the Big D – because, let’s face it, things aren’t always straightforward when you’re living in the UAE, and there are often shortcuts or easier ways that can make the expat experience less bumpy.
First up, for those moving house right now, some back-to-school decorating advice for refreshing your child’s bedroom.
While getting your children excited about starting a new school year is easy, keeping them energised and inspired throughout the term can be another challenge. Toni Snyder, Colour Specialist at Benjamin Moore, shares some creative tips for getting their rooms and spaces ready for a productive year.
De-clutter: Most kids accumulate tons of tiny toys that I call bribes, i.e., kids-meal toys and the toys you buy on impulse or to get your child to do things. Get rid of anything and everything that isn’t of good learning value or inspiring, and whatever they have grown out of. Think of de-cluttering as ‘making room for growth and new knowledge’, so the more you clear, the more space your children have for a productive school year!
Creating spaces: Allocating spaces for separate activities will make a great difference in your child’s routine. Create a corner for homework and learning and be sure to position it far from the bed. Start defining a ‘study spot’ by using the colours your child likes, and painting just the study area. Try large triangles that start at the floor, or create mountain peaks, maybe even a huge pink polka-dot right behind the desk on bright white walls.
Chalkboard paint: Tint-able chalkboard paint is really fun around the study area, and can be applied in various colours, shapes and sizes to create an area for jotting down notes or drawing. Add a soft rug to the floor to give them a place to spread out a project, gather with friends, or just read. Be sure your rug follows the colour scheme and again, it’s fun to let them choose it.
Colour goes a long way: Colour is always the most budget-friendly way to change a space or create a lasting impact. However, it can be very personal and children tend to grow out of colours really quick, so talk to them and get their input. Decide on a colour palette and stick to it throughout the room. You may decide to go with monochromes, which are different tones of the same colour, to keep a clean and de-cluttered feel in the space. For example, if you have a girl who loves red, you may try a monochrome red-to-pink palette that incorporates the pinks she loved last year.
Paint a bright ceiling instead: To agree on what you want to see in their room, and what they want, I suggest choosing a handful of colours yourself and let them choose from your picks. Most younger kids will be drawn to red or vibrant tones you may not want on their walls, so get prepared before you take colour chips home. You may, as an alternative, let them choose a colour to paint the room’s ceiling while leaving the walls a clean white. An alternative is to paint two walls in their bold colour and use a less intense tone for the remaining walls.
Get the kids involved: Their ideas may surprise you. Let them hand-paint a great quote near their desk. Something inspirational like, “You can move mountains” or “A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear”. Allow them to help paint. Ask them where they want their bed this year. Take them shopping for a new desk or room accessories. Whatever changes you make, let them be inspired and be involved in their new space for a new school year and have fun doing it!
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