arlo’s big boy room

arlo’s room is finally done and i’m soooo happy with how it turned out! i’ve sort of neglected his room ever since we first started making changes from his initial nursery and i felt pangs of guilt when he was so excited about izzy’s nursery and said he wished his room was “painted a color” and “tidy like izzys”!

so in my newfound quest to redo my house forever and ever, i decided that arlo’s room was absolutely the most dire. it was just basically a blank slate that lacked adequate storage for the amount of stuff he has and all it looked like was clutter to me. when we would hang out in there and i would look around i basically just felt anxious and stressed and that’s not the feeling you want to have in your kids room right?

first, paint!

so it started with painting EVERYTHING. i wanted to color drench his room in a mix between green and blue because i didn’t want a paint that felt too green and i didn’t want one that felt too blue so i think this color ended up being the perfect in between. it’s a north facing room that gets very little light, so i opted to go lighter than i originally planned. in hindsight now i sort of wish i went a bit darker, for that cozy vibe, but i’m happy with it.

the color is called gray wisp by benjamin moore.

his dream of bunkbeds

arlo begged for bunkbeds for years now, i really can’t explain why! a few of his friends have them so i think it was this novelty that he thought seemed so cool, to be able to choose which bed to sleep in? lol. i really tried to convince him to do a bed with a trundle instead because the room isn’t exactly tall or large and i was worried bunkbeds wouldn’t work in here but he wasn’t having it. bunkbeds seemed to be the #1 priority for him.

i automatically assumed he’d sleep on the bottom bunk and kind of liked the idea that we would finally have additional space for the giant oversized shark stuffies he awkardly slept with, so he could sleep on the bottom and they could sleep on the top. but i was wrong, the first few nights he slept on bottom and then excitedly moved to the top. now he’ll do bottom once in a while but mostly the top. i was worried about him rolling out but we’ve tucked him in under a tight duvet and top sheet and now i’m less worried about it.

had i known that he’d love sleeping on the top bunk, i actually would have loved to get him a loft bed for some extra play space, but it’s nice to have the spare bed just in case for guests. and since writing this, he’s already had his first sleepover!!

also in regards to the full size below the twin size, again i debated this choice a lot – i really like the streamlined look of a twin over twin bunkbed, but i know how much time we’ve spent laying on his bed and i was scared to give that up and felt like a full size bottom bunk would give us the option to lounge with him easier. i’m really glad i did, now i can’t imagine a twin on the bottom!

the canopy was an easy inexpensive solution to his request for curtains surrounding his bunkbed. at first i liked the idea and started brainstorming DIY ideas, but then quickly decided against it – especially because of the full/twin situation. but i do love curtains around a bunkbed, so i decided a canopy would suffice! (i think it’s actually the reason he sleeps on the top bunk because he loves to be all cozy inside it). i wasn’t sure if it would look too young or feminine but the moment we hung it up, it instantly transformed the bunkbeds! it adds such a whimsical vibe and i just love it so much more than i expected!

the lounge area

another choice i’m super happy with is his little lounge corner. i wasn’t sure what i wanted to put in the corner and realized a nugget couch was the best choice for us — he loves playing with them but i never thought we had the space in our house for one, but again we’ve spent so much time laying on his bed i was worried about having seating and i’m so glad i brought in extra! it’s so nice for all of us to have a place to sit and hang out and watch the kids dance and izzy loves it because it’s her size.

i still might get him some fun pillows later, but i was spending so much on the room i tried to use some stuff i already had like these *boring* but soft throw pillows.

i added the little side table we’ve had for years and a fun sticky dartboard to really commit to the lounge concept, and this is where arlo says he’ll “serve drinks” haha

the wall shelving

you might remember arlo originally said he wanted a RED ROOM. well that was not going to be possible for me, but instead i decided to incorporate pops of red throughout the room and i’m shockingly pleased with it! i’m a beige mom (in recovery) so the moment i saw the red spray paint hit the brackets i got reaaaally nervous, but i love the way it looks with the wall color.

and arlo has very timely taste because pops of red are all the rage now.

i knew i wanted to paint the shelves and the trofast desk in the same paint color and i knew i wanted red brackets, but the ones i found and liked were $20 a pop so i decided to DIY it with some brackets from the hardware store (technically hung upside down to most people?) and some candy red spray paint.

i got the supplies to do four shelves but panicked that it would be too many when he hung three — i went back and forth a lot that day but i’m really glad we went four. three may have looked empirically better, but i feel like four makes more of a bold, fun statement. and he has SO MUCH stuff that it would be a shame to have skipped that final shelf. i also like that it kind of plays off the height of the bunkbed – everything goes high in this room now!

i was sad to say goodbye to the circle shelf, but it’s so nice to have the entire width of the wall now because we needed it so badly! these shelves will obviously look cluttered and crazy very soon with all of arlo’s legos, but i’m just happy that we’ll have a pretty background for the clutter now.

i love that the shelves feel like they tell a story of who he is and everything he loves and has loved over the years.

the trofast desk

last year, i had a carpenter build a tabletop for two ikea trofast cabinets for his room and it’s been so helpful for all his toys and legos, and to have a workspace for arlo to build or draw. i had him make a small backsplash because i knew legos would always be falling behind otherwise. he used metal brackets on the undersides of the desk gap to attach to the trofast units, and i should probably do a separate post just on the construction of it!

it looked nice raw wood, but i am SO happy i painted it because i like it so much more now. the paint has already chipped on the tabletop, and the hardware store employees told me there wasn’t much i could do in terms of non toxic, non super shiny protection layers, so for now i have an long old leather table runner i found in the garage on top to protect it.

he’s 6.5 now so at some point he’ll be outgrowing the desk, but if we still want to keep it maybe we could put risers on the bottom to increase the height. for now he fits there fine and loves to sit at his desk.

the other stuff

i made so many changes to the room that i got a little carried away and obsessed. to be honest i’m a little sad the room is finished! but relieved, also very relieved.

  • i swapped his very old rug with a nice new soft one we all love to sit on.
  • i also swapped out the glass pendant light because i realized it was inches away from the top bunk.
  • i kept his cellular blackout shades but i decided to cover them with linen roman shades.
  • i blew up one of our favorite arlo drawings and framed it (used an old frame we had laying around and painted it this totally fun, non-beige mom color!)
  • i subtly incorporated his love of mario with a mushroom lamp and this cool question box wall art.
  • i hung magnet strips so that we could do a rotating art gallery of his latest drawings.
  • i got the most fun lego light switch plate covers.

phew! i worked so hard on this room, and luckily it makes both of us so happy!

now some dramatic before and afters, i opted not to clean up for the before photos because this is how it typically looked lol don’t judge me

shop the room :

wall paint / bunkbeds / canopy / rug / rice paper shade / nightstand / digital clock / mushroom lamp / wall shelves / wall brackets / red spray paint / inspiration brackets / green chair / modular couch / dart board / wall lamps / roman shades / closet curtains / lego switch plates / magnetic art strips / bookshelf / blue duvet / striped sheets / throw blankets / mario wall art

photos by marie buck

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One Comment

  1. Katy Lind says:

    I am about to completely copy this look. Did you paint the ceiling the same color as the walls? The room looks lovely!