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The Ultimate Little Boys' Room Makeover: Tips and Tricks to Fuse, Form, and Function

Since finding out that we are expecting our second son I have been designing and planning for a new little boys' room. Our son Callan is almost 3 and certainly has out grown his nursery and is ready to hand it over to his baby brother. This meant moving Callan into a new room, and of course I had to redesign it completely.

What was once our guest room and second largest bedroom is the victim to being newly designed. But being who we are it wasn't just some new paint and decor, it was a full gut and renovation. Our home is over 120 years old and with each room we completely renovate it to give it our full attention. Updating the old knob and tube electric, adding in more outlets for code, removing the old fallen insulation, relieving the house of some weight from the lath and plaster with new drywall - we wanted to make sure that behind the walls were just as new and updated as in front. It's so important for us to not only create a beautiful space but a safe space especially for our kids.

So I knew that this room would eventually be for not only Callan but his brother Copelan. They will share this room - that posed a challenge on how to make sure this space was equally as functional as it is beautiful. I had think of them from toddlers to teenagers, how will this room grow with them.

It is a rather large room with a closet and two windows and brick chimney running through the middle of the wall. With that architectural element I have always placed the guest bed alongside the other wall and honestly on either side of the chimney felt like dead space, unusable. I needed to rework this room to eventually house two twin beds comfortably. Thinking about boys and how messy they can be, all of their little cars, dinosaurs, trophies and hats I knew I needed more storage. The closet is big enough for clothes and thats about it. Nightstands take up a lot of space and end up being a disheveled catchall. I also need to fit a dresser into the room and potentially a desk.

Great design starts with space planning, understanding how to make the most of your room and its function. I decided to use that brick chimney to my advantage and build alcoves on either side to create not only a focal point but individual space for each of my boys. Sharing a room is good but I know it will come with its own challenges and I still want them both to feel as if they have their own space within the room they share. The depth is only about a foot from the brick to the wall but that served enough space for creating custom alcoves for their headboards, custom bookshelves on either sides and a reading light. This gave me the opportunity to eliminate nightstands all while giving them plenty of storage that is "hidden" so it can be as messy as they would like. This also gave me the opportunity to play with the design and boy did I ever!

Now that I had flow to this room I was able to really hone in on the design elements. I love to start by creating a design board to pull all the elements together. I have been wanting to use Cole & Son's Nuvolette paper for years and years but it is a rather pricy one so I knew I needed the perfect place for it to live for a long time, insert this project. Starting with the wallpaper I continued to build my design - as you can see in this design board some things have changed along the way.. so stay open to change! I am so glad I decided to make a few adjustments along the way to really create this fun room.

The new floorplan render

Design Board

This is the original state of the room when we first lived here - pink with wallpaper and plaster covering the brick. We eventually painted the room and removed the plaster to expose the brick. This room was one of the first rooms we "redid" and needed a lot of attention so this was the perfect opportunity.

Demo Days

We knew adding new electric and sconces to the back wall meant it would be easier to remove the old lath and plaster and start over. This gave us the opportunity to add new insulation to the back wall (which is exterior) and get new electric into place!

Building it back

We also decided to remove the current ceiling which was overly textured and the original lath and plaster. Again, it gave us the opportunity to add new insulation, remove the old knob and tube electric and run new for an overhead light. You can see the framing for the alcoves as well with sconces on the back wall.

Before drywall was finished we wanted to add a little "time capsule" for the people who dare tear this down... hoping its not us hahah!

A great progress shot of all new drywall - which if you have done renovations before you know once drywall is in things really start to take shape and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Skipping the mudding and sanding... here you can see the ceiling and walls painted, the casing and trim on the alcoves and the brick cleaned and sealed!

Another progress shot but this one is so good - the wallpaper is in and so is all of the trim! The colors really came together harmoniously!

While I was waiting for other parts of the project to get completed I tackled making a custom headboard with my mom! We started with cutting 3/4" MDF into the shape of the headboard which was 7" down from the point on each side making a subtle angle. We then wrapped the MDF in foam and then double layered batting and then lastly the fabric. This was honestly a really easy DIY that turned out so dang cute and very custom!

Brandon then attached the headboard to the back of the platform storage bed. This still allows us to utilize the storage drawers the bed has. We took a very affordable bed, some materials and a little elbow grease and turned it into a custom high end looking bed.

If you cant find it - make it!

Here is the progression of this room

Seeing how much Callan loves his new big boy room makes us so happy and all of this work very worth it. Excited to see how our boys grow into this room and make it their own.


Ceiling paint- Inkwell Sherwin Williams / Eggshell

Trim paint- Granite Peak Sherwin Williams / Semi Gloss

Wall paint- Wool Skein Sherwin Williams / Eggshell

Lamp / made the lampshade from leftover fabric

Floor & bookshelf stain- Dark Walnut Minwax

Tips & Tricks:

If you cant find it - make it!

Space plan first.

Remember to think of function not only for now but for the future!

Design timelessly with materials that age well.

Be open to change.


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