Wallcoverings designer Barbara Brower believes people are unnecessarily intimidated by wallpaper and borders. Here are her guidelines for giving a child's room a fresh, new look with a maximum of ease and minimum of money.
* If the parent, rather than the child, picks the wallcoverings, be certain the child responds to the patterns. Forget the formal floral wallpaper that coordinates with the hallway.
* If a girl's room does get a floral, pick a design that includes a friendly character. A boy's room can take a plaid, striped or patterned wallpaper as a neutral background, and then a boyish character border for warmth.
* Character wallcoverings tied into merchandising programs such as Disney's "101 Dalmatians" or the newest "Batman" movie can work, but be sure your child really loves it, "because BTC there's no way their room will ever blend in with the rest of the house," says Ms. Brower.
* If your home's overall decor matters to you, think similar color shadings. The softly faded hues of
the country look can be echoed in the mint/peach palette of many bedroom wallcoverings.
* In infants' bedrooms, choose characters that are drawn large enough for the child to see and understand. The newest borders, a whopping 20 inches tall, are placed at crib level. Many childhood development professionals think bright primary colors are beneficially stimulating to young children.
* Quality wallpaper can be an investment. If you're not sure about a design, buy one double roll first. Carefully cut a few floor-to-ceiling lengths, tape them to the wall and live with them a while. If done properly, these "samples" can be used when you decide to paper the entire wall.
* Borders are the only impulse buy the wallcovering market offers. They're much less expensive than papering a room, and even apartment dwellers can enjoy their design punch by positioning them with double-faced tape.
* Leftover borders can be used to cover switch plates, decorate picture and mirror frames, or decoupage boxes and other wooden products.