Kids’ Bedroom Makeover

It’s been a while now since we finished the main thrust of decorating in the kids’ room but, as ever, it’s the finishing touches that tend to stretch a project out and, importantly, bring it all together.

Yesterday I finally got round to taking some photos of the finished room.  Well, if we’re to be completely honest about it, yesterday I finally got round to tidying it up sufficiently to enable me to take some photos of it to share here.  Ninety per cent of the time it’s still not really Instagram-ready but that’s fine, that’s really not something a kids’ bedroom should be and if it is, something has gone badly wrong!

The Before

We first decorated this room when we moved into our house almost exactly six years ago (what a fun Christmas that was).

At the time, my son was 18 months old and an only child.  We had moved from a three-bedroomed terrace in which he had a box room not big enough for a single bed to a five-bedroomed house in which his cot looked totally lost and his room distinctly lacking in any other furniture as we had blown the budget on the move.

We wanted to make it fun for him so we hastily painted it blue and stencilled on some sea creatures.  It was fine for a while but we’ve both secretly hated it for years and have been desperate to paint over it.

Add to the equation that my daughter decided to move in with him when she was out of her cot and that made for a room of chronically mismatched colours and furniture with storage that never quite worked making the whole thing completely impossible to keep tidy.

Part of the delay in fixing it was, in all honesty, laziness, but part of it was just the massive headache of how we bring together all of these elements into something that works for them now, will work for one of them when they decide that sharing is not cool, and and continue to work for long enough to make the decorating worthwhile.

My kids are now 7 and almost 5.  We are past the baby years (sob) where you can do what you like and they don’t wreck your vision with their stuff and we aren’t so far from the years where they want to feel a bit more grown up with a bedroom to match.  With this in mind these are the things that I found helped to bring it all together.


It’s pretty much the answer to every question about how you make a room work but in a kid’s room even more so.  I mean, the volume of stuff is just unbelievable however hard you try to minimise it.

We took the decision to get rid of the bunk bed and buy them separate beds so that they could each have their own separate area and also so that the beds would work for many years to come.  We chose the ones below from Made mostly because they have large drawers underneath which now house all school uniform, pyjamas, swimming stuff and various other bits.  They are a joy.

We already had the wardrobes (Ikea) and the desk (from outside somebody’s house) but other bits that we added were the book storage at the end of their beds to prevent the daily books all over the floor situation, and a whole load of baskets in different textures but similarly neutral tones.  Now there’s a basket for the Pokemon stuff (necessary), for the LOL stuff (if you know, you know) and of course, for all of the weaponry, it’s now actually pretty easy to tidy up which is massively satisfying.

I also added a hanging basket from Ikea for the teddies because those things seem to breed.  I clear out but they just seem to keep coming.  I think this one is a new design as I dismissed the old version multiple times because of its primary colour scheme but this one works well.

Gallery Wall

If, like me, you’re a lover of a gallery wall, then why not take into the kids’ room too?

Prior to this makeover we had one or two pictures up in their bedroom but over the last year or so I’ve been picking up pictures here and there, mostly inexpensive and then the odd thing that I just loved and wanted them to be able to see every day.

After we had finished the decorating I made up for the walls that had remained white by covering them with pictures, I think it really gives the space personality.

Colour and Pattern

I love designing children’s rooms because it really does give you free reign to let loose with colour and pattern.  It’s all in all a much freer experience than designing, say, a living room that has to work for different purposes and ages.  In my view kids’ rooms should be joyful and something that they are excited to show off to their friends.

Having said that I really wanted to design a room that had longevity.  I was mindful that I wanted to continue the animal theme that we had begun with our Ikea rugs and Zoo Portraits prints but without it feeling too childish.  Particularly as I wanted to use this Cole and Son Leopard Walk wallpaper which is not particularly cheap and so didn’t want to be ripping off in a year or two.

The result was to use the wallpaper and the patterned curtains (also Ikea) but to keep other elements fairly neutral.  I have used pale woods and pale grey bedding to keep the room from returning to the mismatched riot of colour it was before and the animal theme unites the different patterns without it feeling like a nursery.

It was fun, however, to add pops of colour here and there including Farrow & Ball’s Arsenic on the door to the understairs cupboard.


The Little Things

As I said at the beginning, it’s the little things that often really make a room and there is nothing I love more than the final part of a project where you get to faff and add the bits that you’ve been storing up.  I love this little corner with a hanging shelf that I picked up when BHS was closing its doors, a flamingo I bought on a trip to York and trinkets that my daughter was given as a baby that have stayed with us through the years.

We were also lucky enough to be given these brilliant pegboards from the brilliant Peg & Board which have been a great addition as the underbed storage makes it difficult to have proper bedside tables.  The boards come with shelves that you can position yourself as well as pegs which can be used to support the shelves, hold up books or hang things from.  They are brilliantly versatile and work really well with the pale wood in the rest of the room.

There are so many things I love about the room now but – without being overly soppy! – the best part of it is how much the kids love it.  Redecorating has changed the way that they use it and given them a feeling of independence whilst still having the comfort of being together.  And I know a time will come when they are desperate to get away from each other but for now I am enjoying this time with them both in their leopard print paradise.