FROM FRUSTRATING TO FABULOUS: One girl's bedroom gets a major overhaul!

It all started on August 18, 2015. I walked into my daughter's room and threw my hands in the air.  It is a constant mess! As much as I try to keep it organized, her stuff is just everywhere.

Good design is beautiful. Great design is functional AND beautiful. This room used to be great, but as my daughter has grown up, her needs have changed. Now it's cute when it's clean, but that's not very often these days. This room is about to get an overhaul to make it great once more! 

When I meet a client that is overwhelmed by where to start, my instinct is to start in the place that frustrates them the most. You should love where you live. Right now, this room puts me into panic mode just opening the door. Even on a good day it's overwhelmed with crafts, toys, and stuff. (You should know, these pictures are of a "good" day. Ugh!). It's time to bring the function back, and start thinking about how my soon to be six year old will be better using her space. 

My immediate thought was keep it economical, and take a look at some new Ikea shelving.  I picked out what I wanted and needed to get this room functioning optimally.  After adding it up it was about $400 in shelving.  Not bad for outfitting an entire room, but I felt like I could do better.


Looking through a local FaceBook garage sale group, this photo flashed across my feed. I picked up a set of 2 solid wood cabinets for only $80! MAJOR SCORE!

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But, orange brown wood? Well, I knew I could do better than that.  Plus, they needed some tender loving care.  And, of course, I have a hard time saying no to a challenge.


The fist thing that needed to be addressed was the height.  Fully assembled, the pieces measured exactly 8'.  Her ceilings are also exactly 8'.  I decided I'd trim one inch from the top to give me just enough clearance for any slight variance in my ceiling plain.  The great thing was, the top molding was already 1" taller than the side and center moldings so I knew this change would suite the piece just fine. After the top received it's hair cut, I had quite a bit of sanding to do.  All I needed was enough sanding to give the existing finish a little tooth to hold the paint.  I used a power sander with a medium grit sand paper, and went to town.  All of the painted surfaces need to be completed.  After sanding, I removed all of the dust, first with a vacuum, then a tack clothes.  I absolutely love tack cloth. It is an super inexpensive product that works like a dream.  All of that dust was quickly eliminated, and it was soon time for paint!


In thinking about her room, I knew the paint color would be very important.  She currently has ivory upholstered walls and a pale green ceiling.  That palette is very soft, and has been great for the first 6 years of her life.  But, I know my daughter, and I wanted to make sure this was a piece that would grow with her and last as long as we needed it.  So, I didn't want pastel.  I needed BOLD, baby!  

Benjamin Moore Mulberry was the perfect choice.  Fun and lively for a soon to be 6 year old, but enough of a classic jewel tone to look more sophisticated as she gets older.  

I am a huge fan of Home Depot's Behr paint.  I ended up choosing their Behr Ultra.  It is a paint and primer in one, and I have amazing luck with the coverage from this product.  Let's get painting!

In the end, I needed three coats of paint.  Without fail, shades of red are notoriously difficult to get good coverage from. In retrospect, I should have tried Behr's Marquee paint.  It is marketed as one coat coverage.  I imagine it still would have taken 2 coats, but 2 is better than 3!

Knowing that these pieces would see a lot of abuse, I decided to also add 3 coats of clear varnish to the tops of the cabinets and to the tops of each shelf. With all of the activity that happens in a kids room, we need to be realistic about how furniture will hold up.  And, after all of my hard work, I didn't want to get nervous about her actually utilizing her own furniture.  

TIME TO MOVE IT IN!....Or so I thought.

Installation day did NOT go according to plan, but I remained undaunted. The base cabinets came up the stairs and in the room easily. The bookcase portions were not so amiable. In short, they didn't fit. That was an issue that wasn't even on my radar.  The bookcase portions are almost as large as a queen size mattress. What I didn't think about was the fact that a mattress has some give.  These cabinets do not.  At one point the shelf was wedged in the stairwell. It was a very Friends "PIVOT" moment. So it was either rip up two of my stair treads giving my husband a small heart attack, or cut the bookcases up.  Neither solution sounded appealing.  I ended up having to take these pristinely painted cabinets and saw off the top. It was heartbreaking, I'm not going to lie. The bright side is that they are anchored really well to the wall now which would have been a challenge had they not been cut. They finally made it into the room, got reassembled, and spackled. It was certainly a set back to my pace, but thankfully it was something that could be overcome.


When it was all said and done the final outcome amazes me. I was so worth the few days of work. Not only did I save a couple hundred dollars, but I also got a very custom product that adds color and personality to her space.  But, above all of that, I have a super stoked little girl, and her room no longer stresses me out when I walk into it (for now anyway...).