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March 9, 2014

Finger-paint decor: Kids' art adds personal touch

It’s a conundrum many parents face: what to do with the steady flow of drawings, paintings, collages and more that children bring home from school and camp? Which are the keepers and — besides sticking them up on the refrigerator with magnets — how can you display them creatively?

“They caught me throwing some away, and they were not happy about it,” Mandy Rose of Carterville, Ill., said of her three children.

Rose, who loves to decorate her house and writes about it at houseofroseblog.com, decided to combine some of her kids’ work with professional pieces and family photos in a montage on her dining room wall. She even commissioned one of the kids to create a finger painting for an eye-catching frame she had bought.

“People always ask, ‘Did your kids make that?’” she said. “It’s a real conversation starter.”

Children’s art absolutely has a place in home décor and can add a welcome personal touch, said Esther Sadowsky, owner of Charm & Whimsy, an interior design firm in Jersey City, N.J.

“Sometimes my jaw drops when I see the work of my customers’ children,” she said. “Children’s art displayed in a house — it’s a home then.”

Like Rose, she suggests displaying kids’ works in art groupings. She often lays out the pieces on the floor so she and her client can visualize how they fit together. “You can make a beautiful arrangement,” said Sadowsky, who has a painting she made as a 12-year-old hanging in her own living room.

Rose laid out the items for her “gallery wall” on the floor as well. She snapped photos of various arrangements so she could compare them, and went through her house to find frames in the same color palette to create cohesion in the grouping.

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