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If you are new to my site then you might not know that I’m a mother of two little girls. Preparing the nursery for the second child was a breeze, since we already had everything we needed from girl #1. We moved into a new house 2 weeks before the second child was born (I do NOT recommend moving in your 9th month of pregnancy, but that’s another story). We were super pressed for time, and oh yeah, I was also on bed rest, so we opted out of painting baby’s room and just lef it that unfortunate tan color that was on every wall in the house.
I figured we’d paint her room when she was ready for a big girl room makeover.
Well, Layah is turning 4 in just a few weeks, and for the first time in her life, she now has a room that was thoughtfully put together with her in mind. I have felt guilty that her room has always been sort of thrown together and without any direction up until this point. Maybe that’s Pinterest’s fault. Maybe it’s just item #1,334 that mothers tend to feel guilt about when it comes to the second child and all the ways that you didn’t do things as perfectly with #2 as you had the time and energy to do with #1.
Still, I was glad to have the chance to remedy the situation and give her a bedroom all her style. When I asked her what she wanted, she enthusiastically responded, “A red and blue room!”
Not gonna lie, I immediately envisioned her room as a permanent ode to the Fourth of July, and I was less than thrilled. But then I remembered that this wasn’t about me, but about her, and I dug in and began to try to figure out how to put blue and red together in a way that wouldn’t cause people to start reciting the Pledge of Allegiance the moment they stepped in the room.
I think what I came up with, in the end, is pretty cool. It’s definitely red and blue (and white!) but I played a bit more with the tones to find something less jarring and more relaxing and playful.
Let’s start with the wall color. I actually have this exact same shade in my kitchen, and I liked eliminating option fatigue from the list right off the bat. I knew this color (Benjamin Moore Timber Wolf Gray) wouldn’t clash with the rest of the house, and I also knew that despite being gray on the color swatch, it’s blue on the walls. A soothing blue, which just felt right.
Layah was insistent that her bed be red, which really threw me for a bit. Honestly, most of the beds that come in red are $$$. Then I found this red metal framed bed on Walmart for a very reasonable price. It was one of my very first purchases for her room. She loved it and I love the playful nature of the frame.
I really had a lot of fun pulling together the bedding. I knew I wanted it to be rich with texture, so I didn’t even try to find a red and blue bedding set, but instead put it together piece by piece. The super soft blue blanket was a Dollar General find (I know!), the plush red blanket and the furry red pillow were both snagged at Home Goods on clearance, and the blue pillow with tassels was scooped up on a trip to Pier 1. Isn’t it fun to have all those great textures combined?
My other favorite part of her room is this little play nook (which I imagine will become a reading nook in a few years). Big sister has a reading nook called Butterfly Cove with netting that is wildly popular with both girls, so I wanted something similar for Layah, but different enough to be her own. She named it Waterfall Wishes once she saw it, which I thought was adorable. The key piece to this little nook is that absolutely GORGEOUS floor pillow Minted.com sent our way. Did you know that they offer pillows, now? They have hundreds of stunning prints and patterns that you simply won’t find anywhere else and a nice selection of different sizes. I searched for red and blue (you can search by color or colors…love that!) and had quite a few choices, but knew this one was right once I saw it. We went with Wildflowers.
Isn’t it just darling? And soft, too! Oh it’s like sitting on a cloud. Both of the girls really enjoy playing in here, and I for one am super pumped about how easy it was to get the cover on the pillow that it came with, and therefore how easy it will be to remove it later and wash it.
The canopy above the floor pillow is something we already owned, and the color isn’t spot on for the room, as it is more of a turquoise. But Layah seems to like it so we’ll keep it like this for now. I’m contemplating dyeing it a color closer to the lighter blue you see in the floor pillow, but that will be a project for down the line.
For now, if the little one is happy, then I’m happy!
I mentioned the idea of dyeing the canopy, which brings me to one of my projects for the room that really got me to venture out of my comfort zone (Who am I kidding? Redecorating a room is already outside of my comfort zone!). Another request Layah had was for a bright red rug. Online searches quickly confirmed what I already knew: rugs are pricey! She had a pale pink rug in her room already that definitely wouldn’t work, but I was sad to see it go. It had been in both of my girls’ rooms when they were younger, and it was super soft. I hated to part ways with it simply because the color was wrong.
And that’s when inspiration hit! I did a little internet research and discovered that it is, in fact, possible to dye a rug. The fact that my rug was very pale to start worked in my favor. I can post a separate tutorial on how I dyed the rug if that’s of interest, but here’s the before and after.
Let me tell you, buying two container of Scarlet Rit dye is much more friendly on your wallet than buying a new rug!
Additionally, I purchased a can of red paint so that I could overhaul a few other items to give the room more pops of that fun red color. First, I painted over a mirror that I purchased on clearance at a home decor store in town (it was down to $10!). It had a stain on it already, and I fully admit that I did a poor job of sanding it off before painting it apple red. So the final product isn’t perfect by a long shot, but for now, it totally works. I made sure to put the mirror near her closet and at a lower level so it’s actually of use to her.
And I used the same can of paint to give a colorful makeover to some shelving that Layah already had in her room. This is something I found at my favorite thrift store maybe a year ago for $12. It wasn’t already painted or stained, so adding paint to it was a breeze. Layah immediately displayed her light sabers once we had it up. 🙂
One other piece I reworked in her room was a standing lamp. It was a yard sale purchase from years ago (before I had kids and had time/energy to go to yard sales). See what I mean about this kid having a room full of random stuff? Anyway, I painted the base white and found a cute lampshade on Walmart.com. Professional decorators will likely tell me that I picked the wrong shape lampshade for a tall floor lamp. But I decided that I like it, and Layah decided that she likes it, so we’re sticking with it!
Now I want to talk about 2 projects I did for the room that sort of failed. I say “sort of” because they still passed the final test and are in her room. But they didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. The good news is that I can tell you why they failed so that if you attempt something similar, you can have different results.
“Sort of” failure #1: the dyed tent
Santa brought Layah a play tent that was beige with bubble gum pink stripes on it a few Christmas’s ago. It is such a fun item to have, but it clashed so badly in her new room that I just couldn’t stand it. After I finished successfully dyeing her pale pink rug I thought to myself, “Why not throw in the tent next?” So I used the same batch of dye and threw in her canvas print. The result was more of a deep pink, and unfortunately, the dye turned out very splotchy. I’m honestly not sure if canvas just has more trouble dyeing evenly, so that may just be part of the deal. But one thing I am sure of is that if you dye something that has already been used to dye other things, and if the water isn’t super hot like it is supposed to be, you just aren’t going to get as rich of a color as you were hoping for. If I were a perfectionist, I’d have purchased another bottle of Rit dye and give the tent a second dyeing session. But you see, I’m not a perfectionist, and after putting the tent up in her room, it looks like it belongs just fine (definitley much more so than it used to).
“Sort of” failure #2: painting a fabric storage box
One other random item Layah had in her room was a fabric storage box from Target that I bought 2 or 3 years ago to store toys in (big shocker: it was on clearance). The color of this box was flourescent pink. Oh it was the ugliest thing! But it held her Calico Critters and the top had enough of a cushion that a child could also sit on it, so it had a purpose. Since I was painting or dyeing everything else I could think of, why not paint this bench? I looked up tutorials about how to paint fabric, and it was suggested to buy fabric medium, as that helps ensure that the fabric doesn’t stiffen too much. The problem? Fabric medium is white. When you mix red and white, you get pink. So the box looked almost the same after two coats as it did before I started. The final coat I did was without the fabric medium. It’s now red in color now, but it’s a bit stiff. If I had to do it all over again, I’d probably research how to spray paint fabric instead. But again, for now, it works. Layah uses it as a night stand and continues to use it as storage.
So that’s how her red and blue bedroom turned out. What do you think? Any questions for me? Happy to help however I can! I hope I inspired you to look at any items you already have in a new way, because you just might be able to paint or dye them, and I hope I helped you get some fun ideas for simple ways to add pops of fun to your child’s room.