Decorative painter Sunny Goode's goal has always been to get more people painting. Her just-published second book, Paint Can! Children's Rooms (Sterling Publishing, $24.95), empowers parents to take up glazing, color washing and stenciling to create a special environment for their child.
Goode, who has been a decorative painter for more than 15 years, is tapping into a rich market.
"People tend to go all out when it comes to their children," says Goode, of Richmond, Va. "We see circular cribs and gold-leafed fireplaces. Are you kidding me? My last child got a nursery converted out of a closet." The former closet, however, was given a stylish makeover with color washing, glazing and freehand painting of polka dots and curlicue borders. "Most parents are starting from scratch with nurseries, so they are willing to go one step further than just a fresh coat of paint," Goode says.
The president of Sunny's Goodtime Paints, Goode is still building the specialty paint business she started in a garage in 2001. She sells her own line of products and stencils in her shop in Richmond as well as through www.sunnysgoodtimepaint.com. She has always been a cheerleader for do-it-yourself specialty painting, and she spends a lot of time answering e-mail from anxious would-be artists.
"People are too hard on themselves. We want to show it's affordable and fun," she says. Goode estimates that pros might charge $300 to $1,200 to custom paint a 10- by 10-foot child's bedroom. "If you do something yourself," she says, "it can cost you under $100 and one day's work, if you don't obsess over it." The effect can be dramatic, and cheaper than wallpaper.
Goode has painted plenty of frothy princess rooms as well as medieval chambers with faux stone walls for princes. Her own children are 11, 9 and 6, so she has had plenty of inspiration and practice.
Monograms often turn up in Goode's kid jobs, not only because they are ubiquitous in Southern decorating but also because she says she thinks they encourage family- and self-awareness in a child. Sometimes she paints them freehand or uses stencils. She sells a removable, laser-cut adhesive monogram sticker in 12 colors. The 22-inch custom version is $95 and is becoming popular in dorms, Goode says.
Here are some of her tips on decorating kids rooms.
On getting kids involved in design decisions: "At age 5, they know what colors they like, and they are totally honest about what likes and dislikes. Three- and 4-year-olds change their minds all the time, so it's too soon. Watch out for kids picking a much stronger color than you would probably want to paint a room. They often choose obnoxious pinks, purples or greens. Take that and taper it into something fun, but that they can live with.''
Why kids' rooms make great beginner projects: "Kids' rooms can be a bit more fun because they lend themselves to color and design. The good thing is that it doesn't have to match your living room. Many of my customers say that their child's room is the first room where they have ever tried decorative painting. They sometimes move on to other rooms after that.''
On the nursery colors if you don't know the gender: "I love greens, green and brown, orange and tan, or lavender and brown. Powdery blues can be for a boy or girl. Or you can do a tan room and wait until the baby is born and add a monogram in pink or blue. Some families are using high graphic black and white. There are no more boundaries as far as colors for babies.''
Consider the ceiling: "I like ceiling designs of polka dots and swirls for nurseries; when babies are on their back, they can see something up there to focus on. Stars and clouds are fun for any age.''