All About It: Big Boy Room Makeover

Updated: Mar 17

Remember that room I revealed back in April 2020? The one with the tape stripes and overload of color? I know that you’re probably tired of seeing it by now (I hope not!), but I’m finally talking about it, I’m my own space, and recollection. I’ve failed you all on that account. I’m here to talk about, one full year later (still quarantine time) and I’ve got a lot to say!

(You can also read this blog post featuring the space on Domino.com!)



For reference, our son was 3 years old at the time I was planning to give him a real big boy room. I say "real" because at our previous places his room was always an afterthought. He had his necessities: A toddler bed, clothes storage, toys and book, but no effort into making it a finished space. No real structure. When we moved to our current home, I promised he’d get the room he’s always deserved.



Original Moodboard (before changes)

When deciding on the overall design of our son's room, I knew I wanted to let go and just have fun. Going in, I knew this This room would not be an extension of the rest of the home. But rather a little colorful corner of joy. Our son absolutely loves color, so who was I to deny him of that in his own space?

Pictured above is the original moodboard I created for his space. As time went on, I nixed the modern black desk for a red one with traditional lines, and ended up finding windowpane curtains on sale to replace the blue ones you see. These changes led to me switching up some of the accessories as well.


Real life shot of Room Before

(I used an (unhealthy amount) of Rustoleum's Colonial Red spray paint on what was previously my vanity desk. The red is the perfect tone. Not too bright, not too deep. The lacquer finish has proven to hold up to our son's rough play, even a year later. The knobs were a super affordable Amazon find. They came unfinished, so I just gave them a quick sand a coat of poly. (Can you imagine these in a walnut finish!?)


Using pieces I already owned like the rug (won in a giveaway the year prior) and red desk (DIY) as my starting point, I gradually added more elements whenever inspiration struck. One main source of inspiration was for the stripes on the wall. An image I saved from Sarah Sherman Samuel's nursery reveal started a snowball effect of ideas for me.


Image and design by: Sarah Sherman Samuel

Image Source

Sarah painted imperfect and effortless stripes using painters tape. I loved how the direction of the stripes changed and wanted to incorporate this detail into the space. Knowing I didn’t want to paint this room, I decided to use a trick I’d done previously; tape! Although, this time I went with a durable tape that was thicker in width. (Here’s a highlight on how I safely remove the tape!)


My main reasons for choosing tape was:

  • I was familiar with the project

  • I couldn’t afford $200+ in removable wallpaper (it can get pricey!)

  • Tape was the only thing I could think of that would allow me to recreate my inspiration without using paint.


I wrapped the tape around the room, using a piece of the 2 inch tape as a spacer. I alternated directions occasionally.

Once I decided on the material and wall pattern, I got to it. I remember working on this room from anywhere between 30 mins to a few hours after my day job (if I even had the energy). I turned a weekend project into a 3 month drawn out process. But that’s how I like to work. At my own pace (usually slow) and without any pressure. During those months, I spent so much time in that room. I was able to live with the space a bit longer and find out what it needed functionally and aesthetically. Had I finished the space in a weekend, I think it would’ve always been lacking something, and I’d constantly be tweaking.


The rug may have been the starting point for the color scheme, but the finished wall treatment is what brought this room to life. And once I saw the finished walls, I wanted more layers for this space.. This lead me to painting the dresser to blend into the wall in a pattern on pattern method. I had seen this design element incorporated in some of the most well designed spaces, old and new. I used a tan colored chalk paint (similar to the wall color) and painter's tape on the already white dresser to create mirroring stripes.


As soon as I painted the dresser to match the wall, the space was elevated! I can’t explain it, but that detail alone is what made the room go from cute to fabulous! So in 'If You Give A Mouse a Cookie' fashion, I yearned for more pattern. I proved to myself that I could have a patterned rug, wall treatment and dresser work together. So it was time for the finishing touches, and my next victim was the bedding. Sure I could’ve done plain bedding and been done with it. But the theme for this kid room was “anything goes, but make it work”.


Paying attention to the other textiles in the space (curtains and rug) I decided to highlight the underdog colors. There is a pale mustard yellow in just a couple areas of the rug that I pulled into the quilt on the bed. I lucked up and found a pillow from Zara Home in the same window pane pattern and color as the curtains. (Sold out, but here’s a similar one)

The ticking stripe bedskirt was also a last minute lucky find, that I feel was a nice addition to the working layers. (And hides my kids under-bed mess like no ones business) And to pull it all together, I added a small lumbar (from this Etsy shop) in a vintage killim fabric which included most of the colors in the rug. The bedding felt whimsical and layered, but still tailored and intentional.

For the light fixture, I did a budget (aka free) diy by removing the existing boob light dome, and replacing it with a drum shade I had. After removing the glass dome, I slid the drum shade through the center thread of the boob light. I simply used the round nut that held the original dome In place to secure the lamp shade in place. Here’s how it looks from underneath. I opted out of adding a paper/plexiglass diffuser, but it would’ve been a nice finishing touch!


Let’s talk about the gallery wall:

The gallery wall came to be for one reason, and one reason mainly:

I ran out of tape! Once that happened, I had an epiphany: Maybe it’s for the best? Having an abrupt stopping point of the wall design felt like the right move. But I still wanted to add to the empty wall space. I already had planned out for book ledges in the design and felt like I could bring even more color and personality in using art. Now let me break here and point out the obvious: This room isn’t for everyone. And that’s ok. It was never meant to be. This space was originally intended (and will forever be) for my colorful kid. So now that we’ve addressed that, let move on to Art shall we?



To be honest, the gallery wall could’ve been better. By that point, I was burnt out, and ready to reveal a finished space. I used all the energy I had left in me and sourced some wonderful art pieces that spoke to every one off my son’s Interests:

- Animals he is/was interested in.

- His favorite colors (basically all of them)

- Art he could read/interpret (sight words).

- And art he can see himself in. Representation is KEY!

The tipping point of the gallery wall was the crib slat I repurposed as a storage ladder. S hooks hold backpacks, and his dry towel occasionally. Utensil cups holding pencils and markers for his art making. And a little thrifted shelf holds his current favorite hot wheels. Everything in perfect reach.


That’s it folks. That how this boy room came to be a year ago, broken down piece by piece. Just in time for a little 2021 refresh! Stay tuned...


Shop the room! (Similar items linked for thrifted and sold out pieces.)


Bed (Thrifted) (Similar)

Rug Similar Ceiling Light (DIY) (Similar)

Yellow Quilt

Lumbar Pillow (Similar)

Windowpane Pillow (Similar)

Bedskirt (Similar)

Red Desk (Similar) (Similar)

Spray paint for red desk

Oversized Desk Knobs

Cork board

Curtains Curtain Rod Gaffer's Tape (Walls) Dresser Table Lamp Laundry Bags Chalk Paint (Striped Dresser)

Toy Storage

Acrylic Book Ledges

Tiger Print

'I Like You' Print

Barber Print

S - Hooks

Utensil Cups

Neutral Colored pencils