Kids Room Decorating – Let The Fun Begin!

There’s a full-size mattress leaning up against the wall outside our second bedroom right now…

Kids Bedroom | Before | The Lettered Cottage | Hardwood Floor

…and there’s an old headboard and footboard tucked underneath it. The mattress is new, but that bed belonged to Kevin’s parents for almost 40 years. It’s sturdy, and special, and I can’t wait to use it in our soon-to-be kiddo’s room. :-)

The room itself is tiny, just 106 square feet, but it seems to me that big bedrooms don’t have a thing to do with how much you love where you live.

Kids Bedroom Before | Small Space | The Lettered Cottage

And besides, I like think to that small spaces are my specialty! πŸ˜€

Kids Room | Before | The Lettered Cottage

I was originally going to do some tall wainscoting in here (hence, the partially primed walls), but I’ve had about a year to think about things, and I’ve decided to go in a slightly different direction.

The room does have it’s own full bath and a decent-sized, double-doored closet…

Kids Room | Before Bedroom | The Lettered Cottage | Hardwood Floor from Home Depot

…and I look forward to personalizing those spaces eventually, too.

I’m going to be re-using the bedding we had in our old guest bedroom/home office

Guest Bedroom | Home Office | The Lettered Cottage

Guest Bedroom | Home Office | The Lettered Cottage | Wood Wall | Plaid Bolster

…andΒ I’m excited to pull that stuff back out again!

I’m also looking forward to picking up this big old door my friend Lucy found for us:

Old Salvaged Door | Sliding Barn Door | Wide Door | Raised Panel

It needs a little TLC, but it’s four feet wide, and with the addition of some casters and a sliding track, I think it’ll make for one pretty cool door on the outside of the room. You know, where the mattress is leaning right now. πŸ˜‰

Hallway Before | Algonquin Trail Walls | Manchester Tan Trim | Sherwood Tan Ceiling | The Lettered Cottage

And to make the most of this small space storage-wise, I’m meeting with Brian the Carpenter about building something super-functional against the wall in the photo below. Move your cursor on and off of the picture to see the (very rough!) “presto change-o” inspiration I put together:

I’m thinking about embracing that pesky little “bump out”, but turning it into a shallow, floor-to-ceiling bookcase. It’ll stick out about 9 inches further than it does now, and I thought it would be neat to create a 20″ deep storage unit next to it. It’ll sit flush with the bookcase, and here’s a better view of the amount of floor space it’ll cover:

Bookcase | Storage Unit | Kids Bedroom | The Lettered Cottage

I was thinking about putting a dresser to the left of the bump out anyway, so that floor space was going to get eaten up by something 20-ish inches deep either way.Β This way, we maximize the room’s potential, and create something that looks like it’s always been there, too.Β Lucy is on the hunt for a couple more skinny, old doors we can use on it, and I’ll probably have Brian frame out a few cubbies for storage baskets at the top and bottom of the unit while he’s at it as well. Here’s an inspiration photo I found online that *sort of* demonstrates the kind of storage unit I’m hoping to create:

Built in Storage | Cubby Bins | Old Door


I love using as much of the vertical space in a room as possible. Who says storage has to stop at sixty inches high? πŸ˜€

One day, we plan to add a few more rooms onto the back side of this house, and at that point, our current master bedroom will become our kiddo’s room, and this smaller room will become Kevin’s studio/office. I’m keeping that at the forefront of my mind as we pull together this space, so for instance, the bookcase won’t look exactly like the one in my inspiration photo. It’ll probably look more like a regular bookcase (without the “guard rail”), so that Kevin can fill them up with books and photos when he moves in there on down the line.

I’m thinking about the walls and wall color today and I look forward to sharing more about that when I’ve got it all figured out!Β πŸ˜€

PS- For more makeover pics between posts, join me over on Twitter, Facebook and/orΒ Instagram!

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  1. says

    Very clever idea regarding the book shelf/closet! I think my younger daughter’s room is on the smallish side. When we needed room for a desk her twin bed fit in the nook sideways to the left of a bump out closet. We made it into a “daybed” of sorts by adding beadboard and moulding to just that nook. Her bed tucks in the space perfect and is covered in pillows to lounge on. I am so glad I had “the vision”. You have many of those, always well thought out, and they look so great in the end! Looking forward to this transformation.

  2. kathy says

    Hi Layla,

    What color paint do you have in the hallway? I love your blog and am so inspired by you!

    • Layla says

      Thanks, Kathy! The current color is called Algonquin Trail, but we’re actually painting over that with more Gray Owl soon! πŸ˜‰

  3. says

    So happy for you guys, and can’t wait to see this room come together! We have a similarly small bedroom in our house (but with lower 8′ ceilings), and no kid on the way yet, but I’m excited to follow this room closely for inspiration.

  4. says

    I love it all, Layla! It’s going to be beautiful! I wish we were down there so Cy could help with those bookcases. He’s great at that! Although I know Brian the carpenter is amazing too. I just wish we could be down there enjoying this time with you in person. {yes, I am pouting}
    That little room is gonna hold a whole-lotta-love!!!
    Can’t wait!

    • Layla says

      Thank you for the reminder, Beth! We’ll make sure to make it kiddo-friendly! πŸ˜€

      • says

        Oh, I have no doubt it will be perfect with your expertise! I cannot wait to see how you assemble it so it’s kid-friendly. I have wanted one of these doors for a while but my feeble brain hasn’t been able to figure it out yet. πŸ˜‰ Excited for that post!

  5. Carol says

    EXCITING!! You and Kevin are so cute. You guys are going to make awesome parents:-)

  6. Jeanne says

    You are right – the size doesn’t matter. We have THREE boys in a room 11×12 so almost the same size. I love your idea of the built in to fix that bump-out. Can’t wait to see the rest!

  7. melissa says

    I am looking forward to seeing your layout as I have a very similarly shaped room that I am decorating for my future little girl (that I am in the process of adopting)!

    My room is probably more like 8 X 9/10 and I find it difficult for furniture placement as there is only one “blank” wall. I do not have the window on the wall opposite the doorway (the other window is bigger, with a baseboard heater underneath), but the closet is to the right of the door and there is a bump-out to the left (it is the opposite of yours – with a little nook right in the corner). I have also considered a built-in, but I just don’t have enough room, unless it were to take place of a dresser.

    I am off to paint the dresser (my old dresser) today!

  8. Jess says

    Cannot wait to see what you do! I miss seeing updates around your own house. Love your style so much!! I’m looking to upgrade my son’s nursery into a “big boy” room, hoping to get great ideas from you!!

  9. Sam Frank says

    I’m a bit confused about the choice of a full bed – aren’t you adopting a baby/toddler? Surely a twin bed would suffice, and would give you much more floor space to use for playing. What about a crib? Wouldn’t that be needed first?

    • Layla says

      Hi, Sam! You are correct. We are adopting a toddler…probably around 3 years of age. A twin bed would be great, but we already have the full sized one from Kevin’s parents, so that definitely fit better budget and “special factor”-wise. :-) We’re looking forward to spending lots of time snuggling and reading stories in there, so the bigger bed will be just right for that, too. I like to think of it as a bed our little one can grown with, not out of, I guess! :-)

      • says

        Great plan! My son has been in a full size bed since he was a little over two, and we spend every night snuggled up reading books. It’s been a great decision for us.

  10. Laurie says

    I know that sweet little one is going to be blessed by a super cute bedroom!! …but especially will be blessed by having you for a mama : ) I can picture that you and Kevin will make his or her life so full of creativity, fun, and love. Can’t wait to see the room!

    • Layla says

      Oh my goodness, it’s so lovely Melissa! πŸ˜€ Thank you for posting the link here. What a sweet room! #AndLittleOne!

  11. says

    Looking great! I love all the changes you’ve been making to your home and can’t wait to see what you do with this room! Our girls share a room that is also 9×11 and I think it’s cozy. :)

  12. Harmony says

    Aw, man. . .cannot wait to hear/see what paint colors you choose. I love the cool sliding door and the built in. I need to find a carpenter that can come create nice storage in my house. Thanks for sharing!

  13. says

    Ahh! I am so excited that you are getting to start designing his room. 2014 is going to be a wonderful year for y’all. I love all your ideas and have a special place in my heart for small areas… to me they require the most creativity. In addition to all your ideas I was wondering if you had anything planned for the landing area a the top of the stairs by the window. I think it would make a great little reading nook with possible built in benches.

  14. says

    What a great room! I love the idea of building in storage all the way to the ceiling. Can’t wait to see it coming together!

  15. Siobhan says

    What a great room & use of space, and how incredibly exciting for you both this time is! I can imagine the thoughts and prayers for your little one that you have lifted up while working in this room…what a beautiful labor of love!

  16. says

    I can’t wait to see what you do! And those doors are drool worthy. I have the perfect place in my bedroom to do what you all did in Kevin’s old office, I dream of it all the time but then I would have to loose my curtains, and I love those too. :) So exciting getting ready for the baby!!!

  17. Lisa W. says

    Layla…this is awesome. I loved your words also that BIG is not always as special as small:) You are exactly right. I have had both. Right now I have a very large master bedroom, its nice, but not always feeling cozy. I have to say, I love to decorate (the besties/girlfriends) always say I missed my calling. Enough on that, your style and sence of space is always just amazing to me. I cannot wait to see the results as they come. Thank you and Happy New Year to you both!!!

  18. Amanda says

    Hi Layla,
    I LOVE your blog…been reading for about a year now :). We have a very similar style. We too have a small house and have to find space wherever we can. Our bungalow in Tulsa, OK was built in 1939 and it’s a two bed now one and a half bath. I saw this post and love your ideas! We’re big DIY people too. I was wanting to suggest something about your built ins, take it or leave it πŸ˜‰ I’m not sure if you knew or not, but you can built extenders for your outlets. We just built a built in wardrobe in our bedroom. We built it door casing to door casing and just extended the outlet inside the cabinet and put our switch on the outside of the built in. Works great, thought y’all might like the look and get a few more precious inches of wall storage! Sorry for the long comment :) can’t wait to see the process for your future little ones room (good luck) Your more then welcome to email me if you’d like to see pictures of our cabinet or house :)

  19. says

    I LOVE old doors on sliding tracks and casters! There’s a partial wall in our living room and I’d love to add some sliding barn doors to separate the two rooms. Can’t wait to see your finished project! Always so inspiring.


    • Layla says

      Yes! πŸ˜€ We discussed and prayed about it A LOT actually. In the end, we felt Led to adopt one child this time. Who knows what the future will bring though! :-)

  20. Jen says

    I love the hardwood floors in that bedroom! I am looking for that exact color for my kitchen. Where did you get them? What wood/color are they? Gorgeous!

  21. Kim says

    Hi Layla – Canadian fan here! I love your site and have been following you for a long while now. I love that you work with small spaces and I am hoping you could give me some ideas for my 15 year old daughter’s small bedroom. She got stuck with the smallest room and I know it drive her crazy. Her room is 9.5 by 9.11 feet and she want to keep her double bed in there. She currently has a sleigh bed which has taken up the whole room. I suggested we get rid of the head and footboard to free up a bit of space and get better with using the veritical wall space with shelving. Do you have any other ideas to make my girl happier with her room?

  22. Terri Cass says

    I love your how you decorated the bedroom and how everything looks great! You do a beautiful job decorating. The Lord has blessed you with a special gift! The room is definitely designed with LOVE!

    I’d like to know where you found the blue drapes? I have been looking for some and even thought about making them, but it has been hard finding blue and then a light weight fabric!