Home and Decor (Part 3)– Renovation ideas for kids’ rooms–with Nippon Paint

Kids’ rooms are the most whimsical rooms to design. From welcoming a baby to a toddler to growing child to a teen, I so love kids’ rooms – it’s really just up to imagination!

Everything is possible in a kids’ room. Nothing is out of place yet everything might be out of (their) designated space! haa..

Boredpanda has 22 creative ideas for kids’ rooms which looks more probable for big spaces. But the ideas are really so creative.

Here is one which I had a good laugh about.

“When you give your kids a thousand stickers, see what they came up with” (Images from Boredpanda):




I have also seen interesting and practical ideas from Project Nursery and Project Junior – loads of lovely decoration ideas for kids’ rooms.

Here are 10 design trends for 2016 from Project Junior which I liked: (All images are from Project Junior)





Due to space constraint, we decided to let the 2 boys share the same room for a few more years. And so we need a very practical room to accommodate their clothes, books and beddings.  Toys and study items are out of this room as there aren’t enough space and we prefer the sleeping area to be clutter-free.

Here are some ideas on shared rooms from HGTV. But once again, Singapore’s condo space are notoriously getting smaller and smaller. So some ideas might not be workable in the limited condo room sizes; unless of course you purchased some luxurious upmarket condo. Smile

Images below taken from HGTV. How I wished the kids’ room looked that “picture-perfect” all the time! (#wishfulthinking!):






Initially we wanted to wallpaper the kids’ room as this is one of the easiest way to add colors and designs to the walls. But the thought of 2 active boys inevitably tearing the wallpaper with their somersaults made us think twice, thrice.

Eventually, Nippon Paint came to our rescue!

As I was researching on ideas for the walls, I saw these Momento painting services on Nippon Paint website. These days, paints can be so creative!

I was very impressed with what paint can actually do to plain walls!

Thus it was timely when Nippon Paint proposed to work together to paint the kids’ room. They promptly arrived for a pre-painting on-site consultation.

Alan – one of their “paint manager”, came with color charts and analyse the condition of the walls and the lighting in the room before recommending one of the walls to be painted in alternate stripes. I do love the stripes painting design (maybe it’s a girl’s thing?) but the husband felt that we should be bolder and opt for the Momento series.

There is something about stripped walls which I liked. But we decided to go with Momento special effect paints in the end. Image from Nippon Paint

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Alan with the Momento Special Effect Paint Color Catalogue.

Some inspirations from the Momento Special Effect Paint Color Book:

Cloud 1

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As it’s a boys’ room and it is naturally shaded from the sun, we decided to go with blue or purple. After consultation with Alan and Nippon Paint’s helpful marketing team, we finalized on the Cloud Pearl Enhancer Series. The base coat is Purple Edge 5203D and will be glazed over with Clear Skies CP179. We went with Alan’s suggestion of a solid color – Raindrop 1160 – for the other wall.

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Though we had a coat of white paint on the ceiling done by our contractor’s painter, Nippon Paint decided to paint the ceiling and false ceiling as well so that everything is more even. I really appreciated that because sadly our contractor’s painter didn’t do a thorough job with our paint work. I came to realise the clear difference between paying good money for professional painters versus the “painters-by-the-street”. For example, a base coat or primer can be critical for the eventual smoothness of walls too. This is possibly the same reason why make-up artists recommend using a base/primer before applying foundation to our faces. Smile with tongue out

Preparing the surface with a primer paint/sealer prior to the actual paint work is an essential step which most painters and home owners might opt out due to cost. However, after comparing the paint work done in the kids’ room and the rest of the house, I really regretting not hiring a professional painting service from Nippon Paint for the whole house.

Here’s sharing how Nippon Paint transformed the walls.

On the day of the painting, the painter did a detailed job by protecting the furniture and skirting in the room. They also removed the venetian blinds which were mounted next to the windows. And not forgetting to secure the wall/window edges with masking tapes. The entire window is also tapped up so that no wind comes in to affect the paint work. The poor guy really sweat it out in the room – tough job!

The painter with his paints and tools.
Removing the venetian blinds which were already mounted.
Masking tapes along the skirting and a clear protective sheet pasted along the tapes to protect the floor.
Protecting the ceiling fan
Not forgetting the aircon unit.

If you are not on-site when your contractor’s painter does his job, you might not know what type of paint he is giving you. It is strongly recommended to be present during the painting job or get a trustworthy team on it.

I was pleasantly surprised that Nippon Paint provides training and “spot check” on their painter vendors. They do not have a painting team per se; but they procure good painters as partners and work closely with them to ensure their products are executed correctly and efficiently. In the event of any disputes, if you engage a designated Nippon Paint partnered-painter/painting company, Nippon Paint can step in to help mediate. I totally dislike calling painters to come back for repainting as they tend to give me a patchy job.

Look out for the uniformed Nippon Paint guys to distinguish the professional painters.

Anyway. I digress.

And so our painter for the day started with Nippon Paint 5101 Odour-less Water-Based Wall Sealer. This is a low-odour solution to prepare the walls and prevent deterioration of emulsion paints. It also has anti-fungal and algae resistant properties.

Painter starting with a sealer paint. Notice that he is wearing a bedroom slipper? I thought that is really pro. He will use the slipper when he is in the room and remove when he is out; so that his feet will not be stained with any stray paint which might stain the rest of the house.

Thereafter he went on with Nippon Paint Odour-less Anti-Mould Ceiling White Paint. This is en environmentally friendly green emulsion paint which is non-toxic, does not contain lead, mercury and other heavy metals. It is especially formulated for ceilings and walls especially near damp areas such as kitchen, bathrooms and area around air-conditioner.

Carefully painting around the down lights.

Lastly, he used the 2 main colors for the walls. He did 2 coats of the colored paints; allowing at least 1 hour of drying time before proceeding with the second coat.

Base Coat – Purple Edge – on the feature wall.
The lighter shade on the other wall  – Raindrop.

And that’s it for the painter’s job after removing most of the masking tapes, protective sheet and restoring the furniture’s location.

There is another lady who came in shortly after the walls are dry to work on the Momento special effects. There are a group of trained painters who focus solely on creating Momento Special Effects as they are specially trained with advanced creative painting techniques.

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Starting from one corner of the wall, Jen – the female “artist” – worked swiftly across and downwards. She deployed very quick and strong strokes with the special effects paint. It is almost like painting on a canvas to me. Something I would love to try on my own! Though I am not sure if I can achieve the same result! hahaha…

Jen working from top-down and across.
Artist at work.

On our wall, she used a “quick-strokes” technique as I requested a “cloudy” feel. It is actually more tedious than it looked. Jen had to work fast otherwise the paint will dry off and she won’t be able to blend the strokes. As such, each wall is unique. It really depends on which “artist-painter” you are assigned to. Of course you can also request to work with specific painters if you know any. Jen provides her services at Prestige Painting. I like some of her works found on the site’s gallery (photos taken from Prestige Painting):

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Mossy Shine – OP 299. Cost of painting this wall: $660 at 60sqft.
Smoke Pillar ME 044. Cost of painting this wall: $1200 at 150sqft.

As you can see, instead of a traditional feature wall TV console, creating a painted wall can be a good alternative.

A closer look on how the special effects paint is being layered onto the base paint.
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Ta-da! The finished product!
The finished special effects feature wall! (with natural lighting).
Another angle with more of the wall. (with added indoor lighting).

We really liked this wall and how it added colors and life to an otherwise mundane plain room. I am thankful that Nippon Paint allowed us to have an eye opener on how professional painting can make a difference to the process of painting and the quality of the finished product. Due to the “odour-less” properties of the paint, there was really very little paint odour after the work was done. But because we finished up really late in the evening, I aired the room overnight and the next night, the kids moved back into the room as the smell had almost dissipated.The down-time was just a day!

If you don’t mind the mild smell, you can sleep in the room straight after the paint had dried; which is what my mother did.

If you are interested to know more about Nippon Paint services and pricing, please refer to more details on their website: http://www.nipponpaint.com.sg/professional-painting-service/. It is actually more affordable than I thought. Of course, if you compare the prices to the painter-in-the-street, Nippon Paint painting services will be slightly more expensive. But trust me, it is worth paying slightly more for the quality end product. Check out Nippon Paint website for color charts, download your favourite items to generate color ideas and call them to check out prices.

Next up, I will share how the kids’ room look like after all the beddings and furniture are in.

If you are interested to read more about our Home and Decor blog posts, check out the older posts here and here.

Till then, thanks for reading! Smile

N.B: This post is a 2 part-series, written in collaboration with Nippon Paint for painting works in the kids’ room. Photos and view points are writer’s own unless otherwise credited.

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Home and Decor (Part 2)– 5 useful Home Renovation websites/apps

Following the completion of our key collection and defect checks, we moved on to the real work – the RENOVATION.

We meant to keep things really simple as the new place already have the necessary built-in wardrobes and kitchen cabinets. But having said that, we still want a cosy and efficient place. Compared to a full renovation we did 8 years ago for the old flat, this is considered a minor work. Previously we fully entrusted the job to a random interior designer (I.D.) we met at a design fair. It turned out well….. alright but impractical for the long run. We ended up putting back walls, tearing down a “floating’ dining table and basically making more space for an expanded family of 4 (not counting helper and my mum).

This time, we decided to give the IDs a miss and hired a contractor to execute our ideas in the limited space. And so, that meant researching a lot on our own to finalise the “design” we want.

Sharing some websites/apps here which I found useful for ideas research. I kept it to Singapore sites as I find them more relevant to the local spatial sizes.:

1) Qanvast

This is my favourite because it is “real”! Real renovation done in real places. Of course, photographs are taken at their best but it is by far the most user friendly and useful site in my opinion. I used this a lot mainly because the app is user friendly and the photos are well presented. You can also get free quotes from ID if you want to engage them.


2) Square Rooms

This is also a Singapore site which gives good ideas and what’s trending. It looks good on a full laptop screen.


3) Home and Decor

This is a site which has their own magazine too. Not too unfamiliar. Most of my generation should know their sleek magazines. Their website is well organised with chockfull of interior designed photos.


4) Lookbox Living

Quite similar to Home and Decor. Loads of interior designer photos. Good for inspiration. I like it that you can browse by Type of housing.


5) Facebook

This is by far one of the quickest methods to generate ideas too. Facebook is pretty much part of my life and once I start “liking” a few interior design and vendors’ facebook pages, the clever Facebook predictive advertiser will propose many similar pages.

No particular Facebook page caught my eye; but I did “steal” some ideas off their shared photos. Open-mouthed smile

And so we kinda of researched what we liked. I was really torn on practicality versus the aesthetics. Due to time and finance constraints, we bought a 3 bedroom to fit in the entire family which is quite a stretch in space. I wished for a million design ideas that I so adorned. But the husband kept bringing me back to reality with our very tight space constraints and our “treasure mountain” (a.k.a loads of accumulated junk possessions).

In the end, we did not finalise on any particular genre of design. I like a mix of industrial, Scandinavian and modern look; yet sometimes drifting into the cottage/homely feel. But fundamentally, we prefer a timeless look (save money!). I wished I have a few houses or rooms to design different looks! The husband just want things to be packed in and place to look bright. Simple. Open-mouthed smile Is. Good.

We pieced everything together and the look is … well… a mix of what I mentioned above! haaa… Let’s just say, I ain’t no designer but it is cozy enough to stay in and contain the mess while our children grow up. Smile

Next up – have a peek into the decoration of the kids’ room!

If you are interested, here’s our first post on Home and Decor – Key Collection and Defects Check.

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“Agar Agar” Door stopper from Supermama. So good you can even eat it on it’s own! Open-mouthed smile

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Home and Decor (Part 1)–Key Collection and Defects Check

This is the start of a few blog posts I am writing to share about our new place and the renovation journey.

View of the free form pool – the start of some regular exercise; hopefully?

It had been a really long and tedious process from collection of keys to defects check, renovation and moving. Even though my real job revolves around property, it doesn’t make the process any easier.

In fact, perhaps knowledge brings more options and as such, more headache. Confused smile

Here’s sharing the first part of our learning experience from before key collection to defect checks (what worked and what didn’t) if that help anyone.

1) Write in to expedite key collection

We bought an under construction private condo. As the husband was heading off to be based overseas for 4 months, we needed the keys as soon as possible otherwise I will be left alone with the renovation and moving madness; not to mention two jumping monkeys at home. Not ideal.

Before the project reach the Temporary Occupation Permit (T.O.P) stage, do write in to the developer directly or via your lawyer (if you have an efficient one) to ask for the keys asap. If you have a urgent need to collect the keys, you can try writing in to explain your legitimate reasons. Be persistent here if your case is urgent. But they will still tell you it’s case-by-case basis of course.

If you are in no major rush, then just let nature take its course.

We made the mistake of being (too) patient and waited for the tardy email from our lawyer. In the end, we realised that it might not happen any time soon and thus wrote in to explain the reasons why we needed the keys asap. Thankfully, the developer considered our special circumstances and gave us some priority in our key collection.


2) Join forums/facebook groups

And the next question might be, when will you know the T.O.P date? In speed-fast Singapore, developers are normally conservative with their official T.O.P dates on paper. For most projects in Singapore, you can expect their T.O.P dates to be 6 to 9 months or even 12 months earlier than the official published date. One of the most effective way to know will be to join any Facebook Groups (most common) or forums which are dedicated to your project or even HDB precincts. If there isn’t one, you can start one and get others to join in. Smile

Unity is power. Facebook Groups are useful avenues for sharing and collecting information too. However, I find it a double-edge sword at times too; some can be offensive with their words; some really nice to share tips and some just lurkers too. Trend carefully just like using the Internet; these people are going to be your neighbours.

3) Defect checks

Hooray! When you reached this stage, it means you got the keys! Do a happy dance, roll some pineapples (some used canned ones!), pop a champagne! Smile

On the day of key collection: A happiest Xi En at the kids’ flying fox pool

Next up will be the detailed defect checks that we went through. I am thankful that our unit didn’t have major defects. Then again, I think it really depends on how meticulous and “yim jim” (picky) you want to be. My contractor said that he once saw 300 post-it-stickers on a bedroom floor. *gasp*

If you want to be very particular, you might like to engage a proper Defects Check Specialist to assist. From my understanding, they really check everything! They have their tools such as levelling rod and bring along their accumulated experience of worming out all defects. A quick check on Google will render you results of stand-alone defect checks companies to ID and contractors who offer such services too. From my research, prices range from $300 to $500 depending on size of unit.

We did not engage one. Reason –  a) I am somewhat trained to look for defects. Smile  b) On our first check, we didn’t pick up a lot of major defects. c) We are not too bothered with small defects.

Here’s an article from Renotalk.com which might come in useful on what to look out for.

From my own experience, these are my things-to-look-out-for if you plan to D.I.Y the defect checks process:

3 simple steps:

Be Systematic. Thorough. Let Go.

You can list everything you want but pursue the ones that you think you cannot live looking at everyday. Learning to let go of the minute things will render you an easier life. That’s my (husband’s) motto. Smile

Anyway, I digress. Here’s sharing 7 main categories which we looked at during our defects check:

7 main categories:

1) Keys

Check that all keys and access cards are in working order; don’t forget any wardrobe drawer keys or DB box key. Label everything if you have time. I find buying those plastic key rings with labelling tag useful for handling multiple keys.

2) Floors

Given that most developers try to maximise profits these days, sadly, there are cases of bad finishing or rushed work. Spend some time on your all-fours to check for cracks in marble floor, bad joints, scratches on wooden flooring and pay special attention to the joints just outside bathrooms and skirting as these are wet areas.

Check for uneven floors. If you have every time in the world, you can try knocking on each tile to check for hollow tiles.

Thankfully, our floorings turned out almost alright.

There were some scratches on the marble floor in the living/dining room and timber floors in the bedrooms. The defects team readily suggested to sand down the timber and polish them. And to polish the marble floor too. Maybe it became a run-of-the-mill solution for them. I am not complaining. Smile

Can you see all the masking tapes on the marble floor? It’s kind of a waste of time as the defects team simply acknowledged and polished the entire floor.

*Sanding of timber floor creates tons of dust. Don’t move anything in during this time and tap up the wardrobes to prevent sand dust from entering. Or just be prepared to wipe down everything after they are down; which is what we did.

Stain marks on the timber bedroom floors.

3) Walls

The most common defect is crack lines. Personally I feel that crack lines are tough to fix; unless you knock down the whole wall and redo it. They can do cosmetic patch-and-paint over, but it is the fundamentals that might be wrong. I understood that you will need a good paint job of proper sealant and a few coats of paint in order to cover crack lines.

Nonetheless, no harm getting the defects team to fix them up and mend any chipped off corners.

*Defect teams tend to be based in the project for over a year. If you need some small amount of paint or the likes, you can look for the workers to “borrow” some. Our painter asked us to “borrow” some outdoor balcony paint to touch up the ceiling after our ceiling fan was installed. In this way, you don’t need to incur cost just to buy a separate paint for a small area.

4) Ceilings

The most important thing I will look for are signs of water seepage. If you notice any water or yellow patches, these are major defects. Otherwise, most ceilings shouldn’t come with too many defects.

5) Windows

As mentioned in the Renotalk article, try opening and closing all windows to their maximum angles. Check for any loose tracks and no visible gaps between windows frame and wall.

Poor joint works are a common complain as well. We are fortunately that our windows and balcony have no major worries.

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No problem with the windows; except maybe it be angled a little more so we can get more of the pool view. Open-mouthed smile

6) Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) fittings

This cover all power points, switches, taps, aircon, sanitary fittings and any appliances provided by the developer.

Common findings are choked pipes due to construction debris, dripping taps, bad joints around the switches, low water pressure and rusty or missing items.

We had low water pressure which was easily resolved by fine tuning the water pressure near the concealed water heater area. And a scratched kitchen hob knob which the defect team promptly found a replacement for me.

*Developer will normally supply electricity and water for a day or 2 after you collect the keys. Thereafter, remember to apply for water and electricity so you can continue more checks if needed.

7) Any other items

Anything affixed to the walls such as kitchen cabinets, built-in wardrobes, shoe cabinets, balcony and etc. Check for warped laminates or badly secured cabinets.

We had a piece of uneven surface on a kitchen shelf which I discovered only when we were cleaning up after the renovation. The defects team did not question anything and replaced a piece of new shelf.

We also found scratches on the common bathroom glass shower door and the kitchen yard window. The former, they polished away the long scratch line and the latter, they replaced the entire piece.

Bad joint works between ledge and glass.

One last word on defects check – be nice to the defects team. Smile Human relationships are a two way traffic. I found a collaborative relationship more helpful than an angst one. If they cannot solve it at their level, they will ask you to write in to the developer directly. We closed our eyes on some defects because firstly we were running short on time and secondly, we overlooked small issues which didn’t bother us.

Even if you have hired a professional defects check specialist and they might come up with 200 to 300 “defects”; it is up to you if you want to pursue everything or not. For us, we found that we breathe better when we let go of some items and moved on. Smile

We were really grateful that the defect teams finished up with majority of the rectification in 2 weeks and our renovation was completed in 1.5 months. All just in time before the husband left for his long trip! The real headache was the packing of all our accumulated belongings for the last 8 years! It is MADNESS really. How can 5 persons (2 of us with 2 kids and my mum) have so many things! Those who went through packing with young kids will know that this stage is hard work. We ended up throwing, giving away, selling at least half of our belongings as we knew we needed to squeeze into a much smaller place.

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This is just a fraction of all the boxes we packed! In total we have about 100 boxes and more loose items which we ferried in our car. #movingmaddness

All that done, I told myself I am not moving again till the kids are at the stage of ditching their toys…..

Next up, I will be sharing more on the various parts of our small humble place (still work in progress!). Till then, have a good week ahead! Smile

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