Click inside for weekly home help with items on the latest trends in kids' bedrooms, replacing cabinet door knobs, the secret behind giant pumpkins and more. Or check out these links:

Functional, yet fun. Traditional, yet techie. Today's children's rooms are stylish, engaging, organized and as unique as the kids who sleep, study and play in them. Here is what's hot in children's decor:




Debbie Zimmer from the Dow Paint Quality Institute says that polka dots and pink are once again on the horizon. So are 3-D accents, from butterflies to airplanes, with bright paint colors. For teens, glitz and glamour are back in style with gold accents making a cameo appearance. Zimmer predicts that sophisticated wall monograms will grow in popularity.

In a recent "American Chronicle" article, Andy West reported a modernizing of the furniture industry. In lieu of traditional beds, West suggested bunk beds that spread out in different directions to use space more efficiently. Chairs, desks and drawers that incorporate geometric shapes and intriguing swirls of wood are also good ideas.

Today’s smart shoppers are looking at complementary accents that offer practicality and longevity, according to Jeff Dross, senior product manager for Kichler Lighting. Instead of a themed lamp, parents might opt for a functional swing-arm floor lamp in a neutral finish that can respond to different lighting needs as the child grows.

Incorporating eco-friendly furniture and accessories in kids' rooms is essential, adds M. Grace Sielaff, of M. Grace Designs, Inc. She suggests solid wood furniture made from refurbished and recycled products with nontoxic paints to minimize harmful volatile organic compounds.

When it comes to color, the palette this year is a vivid spectrum with persimmon, goldenrod and pumpkin for girls, and pastel blues, pinks and greens for boys, as suggested by Kenneth Ludwig from Kenneth Ludwig Home Furnishings. Sielaff also notes sage green, magenta, turquoise, purple and yellow as being especially popular.

Keeping rooms clutter-free is critical. Desk organizers, closet organizers, lockers and iPod docking stations all help children keep their clothes, accessories, toys and electronics off the floor. Also try dual-purpose furniture, such as a storage ottoman or an armoire, while West recommends a pull-out trundle bed and storage drawers underneath.

For bedroom accessories, the sky's the limit in terms of color, shape and style: beanbag chairs, retro or dorm art, ribbons, shapes that glow in the dark and edgy desk lamps with built-in organizers. Have fun as you create a unique, special space that your child will be proud to call his or her own.

-- ARA


Decorating Tip: The art of hanging art


Hanging art often looks best at eye level, or slightly below eye level. When hanging art above furniture, have twice as much space above the piece as there is below. Consider whether people will be standing or sitting when viewing the art and adjust accordingly.


-- HomeDecorators.com


Home-Selling Tip: Kitchen makeover


The kitchen has a lot of power in selling a house. It is important to keep it as clean and crisp as possible. Consider painting or staining cabinets, replacing counter tops or faucets and painting the room with a warm, neutral color.


-- EnergizedSeller.com


How To: Replace cabinet door pulls


Remove the screws that fasten the current door pulls. Buy replacement hardware that will match up with the existing hole, or use matching wood filler to fill in the hole. Use the combination square to consistently mark where the new door pulls will be on each door.


Drill new holes from the front of the door and don’t splinter the back of the door by pushing too hard. Insert a new screw through the new or existing hole and tighten the door pull on the other side. Careful not to strip the screws.


-- HomeDepot.com


Did You Know…


The national median existing home price for all housing types was $171,700 in September, according to the National Association of Realtors. This number is down by 2.4 percent compared with September 2009 numbers.


Home Improvements: Cultured marble shower


Cultured marble is luxurious and elegant, but it is also less expensive than marble and is great for renovating a bathroom on a small budget. It is available in a variety of colors and patterns, and it can be ordered in custom shapes, sizes and designs.


-- DoItYourself.com


Money-Saving Tip: Create a wish list


There are many hot trends hitting the home improvement market these days and one could easily go broke after opting for the materials, designs and textures in vogue. Since you can’t have it all, especially if you are on a budget, you must pick and choose the upgrades that are the most important to you. For example, if you have your heart set on radiant heating beneath the floor, you may have to settle on second-hand cabinets or a cheaper flooring option. Creating a wish list might prevent impulse buys and encourage you to save for what you want.


-- HomeTips.com


Backyard Buddies: Guinness-worthy gourds


In October, Guinness World Records recognized the world’s largest pumpkin at 1,811 pounds. Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology wanted to know how this pumpkin could grow to be so massive without splitting.


The Atlantic Giant seed is the strain from which all giant pumpkins are grown. As the round gourd grows, it begins to flatten, collapsing under its own weight. Scientists found that the pumpkins’ deformation allows it to redistribute its stress, encouraging it to grow more.


“Their weight generates tension, which pulls cells apart and accelerates growth,” says David Hu, a mechanical engineer whose team has submitted its findings to a peer-reviewed journal.


--Sciencenews.org


GateHouse News Service