A Bedroom For Our Toddler
We've been hard at work transforming our old craft room/office into our toddler's new bedroom. I was excited to tackle this project, but knew it wouldn't be an easy feat. My husband and I chose to work on this room, rather than the guest bedroom, because it is right next to our bedroom.
When we moved in last June, we had actually already designated a room for our kiddo, B. It was at the end of the hall from our room. Plus side: it was big enough to hold his wardrobe, toys, and bed and had plenty of play space. Down side: It was pretty much on the opposite end of the house. This wasn't nearly as bothersome at first, because he was still sleeping on his mattress on our bedroom floor (or sometimes in our king size bed) when we moved in. But then we found out we were pregnant, and I began thinking of transitioning him into this bedroom at the end of the hall. I know it's just a hallway, but it felt *SO* long and far away. A couple of things that came to mind:
1) The bedroom was at the front of the house and close to the stairs (There is a baby gate but what if one of us forgets to latch it one night? What if he learns to open it? So many scary thoughts crept in...)
2) What will B think when the baby comes and is sleeping all cozy with us...and he's at the end of the hallway alone in this room?
It just didn't sit well with me. When I proposed to my husband that we make the craft room/office into our son's bedroom, he looked at me like I had two heads. But once I discussed why I wanted to change things around, he understood where I was coming from and we agreed it would be a good solution to our sleeping situation, especially after baby's arrival.
Deconstructing this room was quite the process. I wish I took a true before picture, because that photo would have shown the wall lined with cabinets and shelving (imagine it where the teal paint starts). We weren't even sure the cabinets would come out easily or if there would be hardwood flooring underneath. Luckily, there was flooring and my husband said that removing the cabinets wasn't too challenging. But that's when we discovered the teal paint on the lower half of the walls! So, we were working with covering up teal, purple, and gray paint....awesome.
We took the cabinets out to the backyard and set them up along the wall in our storage barn- which works nicely for my husband and all of his tools. I love that we were able to find another way to use this unit for storage!
My husband and I found a light gray color at Menard's and painted over the teal, purple, and dark(er) gray. The walls in the closet are still teal but who cares! ;) It took about three coats to get a nice, even layer which was a bit painful but so worth it. I'm always excited to paint but after the first coat, I'm always all, "Are we done yet? Why didn't we hire someone to do this again??"
After we painted the room, I touched up my son's furniture with a fresh coat of white paint. I used Rustoleum's chalk paint, which we also bought at Menard's. I really love it! We also repainted the knobs for the drawers a charcoal color (originally brown) to make them pop. I think the contrast looks nice against the light gray walls, too. Painting the furniture, like the walls, took me a while because of the multiple coats needed. I don't dare try to paint with my toddler around either (he would be eager to help but probably would not have been a helpful assistant), so I almost always waited for nap time or stayed up after putting him to bed to work.
Luckily, we had framed artwork (Check out Animalsleep on Etsy for some wild, amazing prints!!!) from his nursery in our previous house that we were able to keep in his big boy bedroom. I also created a canvas with song lyrics I love, and I think it really made the room feel complete. The teal curtains, gray walls, and white furniture have a very neutral feel and I would eventually like him to share this space with his sister. I don't feel like we will need to change much, except for the sleeping arrangements, in the future. We had planned on purchasing the KURA bed from IKEA but the nearest store was out of stock when we planned to visit. Darn! My son's full size bed is low to the ground though, and I don't worry about him rolling off of it as much as I thought I would. It's also great because we can store clothing totes underneath for the next size up! We have a twin size mattress, too, so when/if we do make the decision to buy another bed, like a bunk bed, we'll be set. For now, we plan to set it up in the playroom (my son's original bedroom...the one down the hall) as an extra place to sleep.
The last thing we needed to figure out was where to store our son's and the new baby's clothes. B started off with two dressers, but we ended up moving one to another room and putting half of his clothing on hangers in the closet. This really helped make his new (and smaller) room feel less crowded. There is also a HUGE bookshelf fastened to the wall in this bedroom. Originally just for books, we've now added blankets to the bottom and baskets at the top (mainly for his baby sister's onesies, pants, and diapers). I love that we were able to to repurpose the shelving so that we could eliminate a bulky piece of furniture. It feels more efficient and useful for it to hold many different items.
B is going on two months of sleeping in this new bedroom. Our bedtime routine consists of: taking a bath, taking vitamins, brushing teeth, reading books, and then resting together in his bed until he falls asleep. He almost always crawls into bed with us at some point, but at least he only has to walk one room over instead of all the way down the hall! I do think he enjoyed seeing the room transform into his own space, too. He loves the alphabet poster above his bed, the books right next to his sleep space, the fun pillows and bedding, and the glow in the dark stars we put up on his ceiling. I hope he continues to enjoy this space but still feels close to us as we adjust to becoming a family of four in the next two months. I would never want him to feel excluded or unimportant, and I think that, in a way, this room helps with that transition.