Boy and Girl Bedroom Decor Reveal

The dream I had went something like this. The kids wake up one morning after sleeping in the basement (a real treat in our house) and come upstairs to find their bedroom utterly and beautifully changed. They’d guess it was an elf, fairy, or other magical incantation of their childhood imaginations who had suddenly transformed their otherwise boring room into something fit for the cool kids they are.

After some thought, I realized that this didn’t have to be just another dream. With careful planning, uttermost secrecy, and a bit of luck, this could be reality. What we’d need to get started were just a few basic essential elements that would make all the difference once it came to implementation.

Five Essentials for awesome boy and girl bedrooms

Every good project starts with a goal and ours was no exception. We wanted to offer the kids personal space so they didn’t feel on top of each other and make the room a great place for them to foster their love of reading. The space had to be inviting, warm, playful, and yet still handle the day-to-day activities of young kids. Additionally, we needed to make sure there was plenty of space for their combined clothing, shoes, and personal items. And to top it off, we had to stay within a $300 budget.

Element 1: Color and theme
Capturing all the ideas necessary to pull off a room transformation can be tough. I find one of the best ways to organize my thoughts is by using a moodboard or Pinterest. It helps put all the inspiration into a concise view that can be referred to during the project, while shopping for accessories, or seeing how colors will look next to one another.

Sun and sea inspired kids bedroom

For this fun and bright makeover, I decided to go with aqua, navy, tangerine, sunshine yellow, and pale grey. I think they complement the theme of a sun and sea inspired bedroom. Quite fitting for a bunch of kiddos that have fond memories of beach time fun.

Element 2: Functionality
The most obvious change that needed to be made to get the new room ready was to swap out the single bed for a bunk. We opted for the bunk so it wouldn’t eat into the living area of the room. While we almost went for an Ikea bunk, after visiting the showroom and seeing how wobbly the bed was, we turned to Craigslist for additional options. We were surprised to see that used bunks weren’t too hard to come by in our area, probably because this type of bed is very indicative of a childhood stage and many get rid of theirs as the children grow.

The bunk we settled on was made by a local craftsman and had to be a good 20 years old, if not more. Made of solid wood, it involved some effort to transport home, but sanded up nicely and took well to our bright white paint which we applied by brush. After adding new mattresses and making up the beds, you could hardly recognize it from before. The work was worth it especially since it only set us back $20.

Bunk bed and kids bedroom ideas

We decided this room was going to be more focused on the kids’ relaxation so we opted to put the toys in another area of the house. This would help keep the room tidy and less of a hassle when it came to cleaning things up prior to bed. We did, however, need some good storage for clothes. With two kids sharing the same space, it seems there is never enough room to store everything. Luckily we came by a dresser at a garage sale down the street. With a bit of sanding and some bright yellow paint, it turned out to be a great solution for keeping clothes off the floor. Another $20 well spent.

We went through a number of ideas for storing the many children’s books that have found their way into this room. We settled on Ikea’s spice racks as both a function element and a design element on the wall opposite the dresser.

Ikea spice racks for storing books

The larger books lined up nicely atop the dresser, held upright by some decorative book ends I picked up from Home Goods.

book ends book shelf

Element 3: Personality
To keep the visuals interesting and the space kid-friendly, we added elements that were specifically geared toward the interests of our children. This included an enormous growth chart painted on some cull lumber from Home Depot. (Do you recognize that peacock in the kid’s bathroom?)

boy girl bedroom ideas

A special place for them to hang their artwork made from hardware picked up from Ikea.

artwork display in kids bedroom

The great thing about this solution is that the clips easily allow the kids to display their creations on their own. Not to mention keep my refrigerator free from clutter.

kid art ideas

To further foster reading, we added bean bags which we recovered using fun, contrasting fabrics that went right along with our color scheme.

funky fabric

The artwork above the dresser was a fun project that really saved us on the budget. Using old frames we repainted, we cut out fabric prints of sea life and attached them using a zigzag stitch to linen fabric. Brightly colored thread made the shapes pop to life and add interest to the wall.

fabric fish art

Element 4: Design
Placing wall art can be a balancing act to get things just right. As a helpful tool, we like to use paper cutouts that template where the final product will go.

How to put art on a wall

sea life art wall

Curtains placed too close to the window opening can shrink its size. To combat the illusion of a small window, we opted to create a curtain box with drapes that hung well outside the opening. This tactic is used frequently in our home to give the appearance of spacious windows and maximize the light they can contribute to a space.

How to hang curtains

Our homemade window box with Restoration Hardware linen curtains we found at a garage sale for a few bucks made this window treatment a steal of a deal. We added a couple of our own touches to both the top and the bottom of the curtains to keep it flowing with our color scheme.

Curtain box

A rug from Ikea rounded out the design features that helped bring the room together.

Element 5: A place to call their own
Last, but not least, we had to make the room a place the kids enjoyed. Especially at 10:00 pm when they insist they aren’t tired and this mama can hardly keep her eyes open. We focused our efforts on small touches like the privacy drapes held up by Ikea Dignitet curtain wire hardware.

Ikea drapes for bunkbed

The top bunk for my son has the luxury of a small reading light and a line up of all the chapter books he’s been dying to read.

Even in a shared room, we wanted them to feel like they have their own personal space when needed.

In the end
We compiled all of the elements we needed for our nocturnal project in the month leading up to the big night. With the kids in bed we worked away at performing a makeover miracle, finishing up at nearly 2:00 am. Their excited faces the morning of the big reveal was worth it all. We get a lot of gratification seeing them use the room exactly how we intended it to be.

Reading corner ideas

Interested in more ideas for children’s bedrooms? Check out our inspiration post focused on the top boy and girl color schemes that helped give us our inspiration.

kid bedroom ideas

If you are looking for even more ideas, might we recommend our pallet-inspired master bedroom, complete with cost breakdown and some nifty design projects?

Sharing with Shabby Nest.

Top Boy/Girl Room Color Schemes

 photo BoyGirlColorSchemesHero_zps6799e78c.jpg
With two young children and a new baby on the way, we found ourselves outnumbered.  Both in terms of bedrooms, and as parents.  While getting a nanny was out of our budget, we knew we could put in a little elbow grease to transform our son’s bedroom into a relaxing space for both him and his sister.

It can be a challenge coming up with a room that suits a girl as well as a boy – while avoiding the traditional baby shower fallback colors of yellow and green when you don’t want to risk buying for the wrong gender.  But with an infinite number of color combination possibilities, there isn’t much of an excuse to have a room that doesn’t excite and inspire.

Check out some of our top color palettes for shared rooms suitable for both boys and girls.

 photo GreyYello_zpsa7a28f9b.png

Bold, warm colors mingled with soft cool hues make a striking contrast and fun shared space.  See the room here.

 photo teal_zps32e2cf45.png

Using various shades of blue really help the salmon color pop, easily making this color pallet work for boys and girls.  More here.

 photo Pastel_zpsf66d83d1.png

Soft pastels don’t have to equate to baby colors only.  Use them in a shared room for a calming atmosphere.  More here.

 photo RedOrange_zps578f899c.png

When it comes to kids, you can never go wrong with bold, bright colors.  Photographer here.

 photo RedTurquoise_zpsd10373e8.png

Subtle and sophisticated may be the right combination for your kiddos.  Plus who doesn’t like a teepee?  Source unknown.

 photo Yellowgrey_zps3fe45c65.png

A fun take on the classic primary color palette.  Elle Decor.

 photo Peachgreen_zps4d8d47f8.png

Divide the colors in half, giving each child room space to claim as their own.  Source.

 photo GreySalmon_zps9c382c5c.png

Fresh colors contrast with a moody charcoal grey.  Persialou reveals all in her fun shared bedroom.

 photo Blueyellowscheme_zps2f1bdc92.png

A rustic-modern palette combines bolds with neutrals.  Source unknown.

 photo Primary color_zpstvokivz0.png

Classic colors and bold striped patterns make for a whimsical shared space.  Source unknown.

There were lots of other shared boy and girl rooms that didn’t make our list here, but you can see more on Whitney’s shared room color schemes pinterest board.

DIY Mud Bench with Herringbone Wall

We’ve found that innovation often flourishes when seemingly large problems present themselves. This is as true in personal matters as it is with decorating a space. We had quite the conundrum on our hands with the awkward space opposite the entry door from the garage to the laundry room.

DIY Herringbone Mud Bench


While we tried the space as a hidden nook for the garbage can, it definitely wasn’t the right thing, and quite frankly a waste of the space. However, since it was just off the laundry room and directly across from an entry door, we thought it might be convenient to have a place for jackets and shoes. Once we settled on the purpose of the area, we now had the task of deciding the design and approach.

Thanks to Pinterest, it has been amazing we have the ability to search visual ideas to help find solutions to design issues. If you are interested in some of the inspiration that has helped on this project, check out our 15 Marvelous Mudrooms post.

mud bench inspiration

We didn’t have a huge space to work with so we opted for a simple bench with hooks. Our first step was creating a box bench using 15 inch wide 3/4 inch thick wood planks. We braced the outsides and center of the bench with the same wood as was used for the bench. The cubbies would hold baskets in the future for shoes.

diy mud bench

mud room bench

Since there had been molding there, we cut it away where the new bench would sit using a multitool.

cut baseboard with multitool

Having worked on the pallet headboard for the master bedroom project, we had a reference point for what we wanted to accomplish, but we didn’t want to go overboard on the use of pallets in the house, so we decided to shake things up just a little bit by incorporating a herringbone pattern using furring strips from The Home Depot.

Bench tutorial

To make it easier to work, we measured a piece of fiber board (the type of material that a traditional peg board is made out of) and fit it to the wall above the bench. We didn’t tack it up just yet, instead, we laid it out on the floor and used it as the backer template for our herringbone design. Then, with a marker, we drew 3 lines on the board to divide it into fourths in order to keep our herringbone pattern straight.

how to make a herringbone wall

herringbone wall

Using furring strips cut into 16.5 inch lengths, we started laying out the pattern along the center line. The strip length worked for our wall to give us almost 4 full rows of herringbone pattern. Once they were placed, we then used construction adhesive to glue them onto the board. Near the bottom of the board, you may have to use some shorter furring strips, but don’t be too concerned if they don’t match up exactly to the ends of the underlayment, we’ll take care of that later.

herringbone pattern

Once the center row was complete, we moved onto the outside rows. Setting each one to make sure if fit well before gluing them on.

wood herringbone

To avoid having to make a lot of individual cuts, we let the furring strips overhang the sides as well.

easy herringbone wall

Once all the strips were placed and the glue was dried, we took the piece outside (it was a bit heavy at this point, but still manageable).

how to make an easy herringbone wall

Using a table saw, we cut the edges of the furring strips off, so they matched the underlayment board. After this step we had a beautiful squared off herringbone wood piece that fit in perfectly to our mud bench wall.

Herringbone projects

Before putting it up, however, we first gave it a good sanding – a task made much easier by having it on the floor rather than the wall.

sand herringbone wall

Once sanded, a few well-placed finishing nails secured the entire thing to the wall (being sure to attach it to the wall studs).

wood herringbone mud bench

Then we added a shelf above the herringbone and a strip of wood near the top the wall which would hold the hooks.

herringbone mudroom bench

With the wall and bench now in place it was time to apply a stain. We combined our own concocted stain using both a white stain and a charcoal stain we happened to have. But there are many fine gray stains available on the market you could use to achieve a similar look.

stain herringbone wood

We think our finished mud bench turned out marvelous and was well within budget. Including the hooks (Hobby Lobby), baskets (Home Goods), wood (The Home Depot), and construction glue (The Home Depot), the final cost was right around $100.

Homemade Mud Bench Tutorial

Now we have the perfect spot to take off snow clothes, shoes, and jackets.  I’d like to say that it’s always this nice and tidy, but hey after all, it is a mud bench.

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