No strings attached for safe shades

Kid-friendly decor includes window treatments that are neat and safe.

Q My children’s bedroom is large and bright and has a wall of windows. What would you suggest for covering the windows? I have two rambunctious (a nice word for wild) boys, and curtains aren’t an option.

A: Oh, I can relate to your busy boys ... probably hanging off the curtain rods or using the fabric for superhero capes. There were years when I simply left the windows bare. But you do have options. Roller blinds come in a variety of solid, juicy colors that will jazz up your kids’ room and roll up and out of the way neatly for daytime playing.

When pulled down, most of the sunlight or night street lights are blocked out with enough left peeking around the edges to give comfort to children who don’t like totally dark rooms.

I came across another option for a safe and sound window treatment through Hunter Douglas. Its Vignette Modern Roman Shade with the LiteRise cordless lifting system has it all. The cordless feature was what sold me — safe for any age. They have a stylish fabric look, a cross between a blind and a curtain. The Vignette Shade is available in sizes that cover large windows up to 108 inches wide and 144 inches long. The polyester fabric is soil- and dust-resistant and blocks out lots of harmful ultraviolet rays. (For windows or glass doors, these are the only roman shades that roll, stack and traverse, multiplying your design options.)

The padded window bench is a clever add-on for kids’ spaces. Storage under the bench is easily accessible. Canvas boxes are lightweight and hold anything and everything from toys and books to clothing.

Q: My kids have just bought a home and are excited to fix it up. They are working on the family room. They like wood paneling. There’s a brick fireplace painted white and small windows at either end of the room. I have suggested board and batten for the walls. What do you think? Their look is modern retro, if that is a valid description.

A: The board and batten style of wood paneling is a versatile way to add character to a family room. It is rooted in history as far back as the Middle Ages and has the feeling of country about it but is also seen in elegant urban settings.

Walls are clad with 10- to 12-inch boards applied vertically and the seams covered with 3-inch-wide battens. If you prefer a stained finish, then the boards and battens must be real wood to ensure even color coverage.

A less-expensive alternative is to apply battens directly onto an existing wall and then paint all one color. The height of the board and batten application is at your discretion. Full walls are finished with molding along the top. For a dado, cap with a chair rail measuring from the floor about one-third the height of the wall. This retro panel look works with traditional and modern designs.

To balance the white fireplace, black and white furnishings are a good choice. A sleek leather couch, wide-screen TV and modern art carpet will suit your children’s style sense; it’s a youthful combination that will endure.

Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email questions to You can follow Travis on Twitter at and visit her website,