How I Revamped My Eight Year Old Son's Room To Make It Future Proof
A couple of months ago, I announced my plans to revamp Leo's room. Leo is eight and in the two and a half years we have lived in this house, has bravely tolerated the fact that he is living in what could only be termed as a lilac girls room, with very little complaint. This was one of the reasons that his room was next on my list for a revamp. The second reason was that he was REALLY excited about the idea of having a newly decorated room and this interest, never before encountered with any of my other children, was so refreshing that I wanted to make it a really good one. Our initial discussions involved his suggestions. These included an astro turf carpet and a football goal mural completely covering one wall. I immediately had palpitations and hurriedly rushed to Pinterest to show him some alternatives. These new ideas didn't go down well but over the next few weeks, we managed to create a mood board that we were both happy with. Phew for that. I can't even imagine the consequences with Buddy and the cat if there was an astro turf carpet laid.
It's a hard bit, that bit between eight and early teens. They don't want anything that's too childish, but they're also too young to have a full on teen room (check out my bedroom revamp of Max, my 14 year old for the mini man cave look). Primary colours were the answer. I decided to keep the room mostly white walled with a blackboard wall and a non intrusive patterned wallpaper, adding colour with furniture and accessories.
As always, I did all the decorating myself and tried to reuse as much as possible of what I already had. I have to admit, it took way longer than I anticipated due to work commitments - poor Leo spent a fair amount of nights sleeping on his mattress at the end of our bed due to his own bedroom looking like a house clearance warehouse - but now it's done, both Leo and I are super happy with it.
So what did I do?
Cleared The Crap
So Leo is a third child. What this means is that he has literally everything that the elder two have discarded crammed into his bedroom. This ranges from old Enid Blyton novels to Trash Packs, mixed in with a large selection of rubbish McDonalds toys and broken cars. The first thing I did was have a huge clear out. Two huge tubs of Lego and old cars/farm animals were whacked on Gumtree and sold within moments.
I filtered through the books, of which there were so many it would have literally taken Leo seven years to read them all. I took four bin bags of books in good condition to Leo's school for the library and gained about two years worth of Good Parent Brownie Points (believe me, that doesn't happen often. I'm usually the parent who forgets non uniform day and doesn't turn up for the school play).
Even after this cull, there were still enough books to fill a bookshelf twice over. We were hardcore harsh with the remaining toys and a huge pile were put aside for the charity shop. All old christening presents, sentimental items and general nice stuff was boxed up and put in the garage. God, that was therapeutic.
Freecycled & Recycled
After I'd worked out a room plan, I knew there were certain furniture items that needed to go. I Freecycled an old IKEA unit and the stained rainbow rug (seriously, people will take ANYTHING but hey, it's better than landfill) and sold an IKEA Expedit unit and the vintage school desk and chairs. I was sad to see these go tbh, but my children had outgrown them.
The day bed was still in good condition and I kept the old painted pine side table with the intention of repainting at a later date. The white Expedit shelving unit remained.
Ripped Up The Carpet
I've said it before, but who in God's name carpets an entire family house in cream? A mad person, that's who. Leo's carpet was a haven of chocolate mousse stains, ink leakages and stains that were best not examined too closely but mostly involved the dog. Leo and I went off to Carpetright in York where they helped him choose a dark grey (it was difficult to drag him away from the shagpile) that was perfect for his room. The sales assistant was really helpful, ordered it promptly and arranged both delivery and fitting for the end of the month.
They also offer a service where they remove carpet which in my opinion, is invaluable. However, Joe pulled the previous carpet up using a technique suggested by Carpetright - use a Stanley knife to cut the carpet lengthways and roll up. That way, you're not left with a huge carpet that you can't get out the door. Which is what happened last time, obvs. Also, the two carpet fitters who arrived to install were really friendly, efficient and couldn't have been more helpful. A good job all round.
Binned The Lilac
Poor Leo had lived with lilac for too long, it was time to change. I used the new ultra matte chalk wall paint from Frenchic in Whiter Than White and it was fab. I only needed two coats and it went on brilliantly, with a really matte and chalky finish. Perfect.
Once again, I pulled my wallpapering skills out the bag for the feature wall, for which I'd chosen a print from Scion via Wallpaper Sales. I would hugely recommend Wallpaper Sales - give Sophie a brief as to what you are looking for and she can always find exactly the right product. Love that. It was a paste the wall paper which I always prefer and it seriously took about two hours to do the whole lot. Just don't look too closely.
Painted A Blackboard Wall
I LOVE a blackboard wall so I decided Leo's bedroom would be perfect for one plus it's an excellent excuse for some wall art. I used Johnstones Magnetic Blackboard Paint for the desk area wall, a brilliant product that I rollered on. Again, it needed two coats but gave a really brilliant finish.
I added some very amateur wall art, a map of London and a letter board with a suitably humorous joke. Yep, I'm a Comedy Queen. Lovely Audrey from The English Beagle is sending me a moon sticker for the wall which I'm putting up next week - in the meantime, I've attempted to draw one. Just call me Tony Hart.
Created A Desk/You Tube Den
I'd picked up an old long school desk the other month at the Community Furniture Warehouse for £30 and I'd been using it in my office. I decided that it was perfect for the space in Leo's room, so put it against the blackboard wall to great effect. I added an old Habitat chair that I'd bought years ago on eBay and a vintage black one so that he could sit with a friend. I put the white Expedit unit to the right of the desk and it created an ideal study area. I say study, let's be realistic. Leo spends more than a small amount of time watching The World's Most Stupid Babies or Best Pranks Ever on YouTube.
Anyway, the wonderful people at AO.com provided an Asus Chromebook which means that he can do all of these things plus his homework - they also upped his music game with a Samsung portable speaker so he can belt out Stormzy at full volume from his iPod. Lucky Leo.
Leo needed some sort of wall storage and Maisons Du Monde had the perfect solution - a Circuit red metal locker shelf that was easy to put up on the blackboard wall. The pop of red looks great against the black and it's super useful. IKEA was, as always, my homeboy when it came to picture ledges - I used four in total, two long ones and two short.
Like all of my children, Leo had been deprived of a wardrobe for the last eight years and this had to change. Maisons Du Monde had the perfect solution - a red metal industrial closet with shelving and a hanging rail which was ideal for the space and added the pop of colour that I was looking for. It was easy to put together and is also on castors which means it's easy to move around.
Made The X Box Area Look Stylish
Okay, so any space involving an X Box and a 55 inch wall mounted television is going to struggle to look stylish. This is true. However, Bear & Wolf produced the perfect solution for this predicament - a metre long reclaimed scaffold bench that looked not only stylish but also very, very cool. Beautifully custom made, the games consoles fit perfectly and Leo can store his games underneath in baskets. It's really versatile and am thinking it would also be a perfect bench for the desk. I love a practical piece of furniture and this one is gorgeous.
Leo needed a large beanbag for gaming and the one I picked from Ollie & Leila was ideal - large enough for Leo to sit comfortably but also cool enough to keep the room looking good (my priority, of course). It comes in lots of different colours to suit any scheme.
Picked Art To Last
Designer Eleanor Bowmer sent me some amazing prints for the room, including Where The Wild Things Are which is one of our favourite books. I love connections like that. I bought some frames from The Range - as always, a total bargain - and they looked great on the picture ledges.
I picked some cool artwork and frames from Desenio which I think will cover that period between little boy and teenager. Desenio are offering 25% off all prints (except handpicked) from 10-14 December - just use code LISADAWSONSTYLING.
Made The Bed
This is something that doesn't happen often but we had some really cool bed linen from Ollie & Leila to do it with that Leo picked himself. It's Space themed which ties in with the moon on the chalkboard and the idea of travel and adventure which I've tried to bring into the room.
It's lovely quality cotton with a matching base sheet and brings all the colours together.
Lit It All Up
I changed the woven ceiling light that looked like it had been accosted by cigarette fumes for the Cruse duck egg painted lampshade, again from B&Q. I liked the fact that bamboo interior added an extra texture to the room.
Leo picked out a copper pipe arrow from Copper & Blonde at Walter & May and we added that to the wall above his bed. A neon cactus from Violet & Thistle completed the look and we added some faux plants to keep it green. Well, faux green anyway. The Zander red double bell alarm clock from Ollie & Leila picked up the colour scheme and looked fab next to his bed.
I used Kilner jars to store pencils and chalks. His collection of football trophies - literally the MOST important thing in both my son's lives (competitive, not) - are perfect on the window sill and his Marvel characters are resplendent on the bookshelf.
So there we go. Finally finished and transformed from a lilac boudoir punctuated with Nerf gun bullets into a cool, fun, primary coloured and hopefully future proof eight year old boys bedroom. Leo loves it and it satisfies my colour cravings, so everyone is happy. Right, on to the next one!
With lots of thanks to all the lovely companies who helped me with this makeover. I work regularly with brands and only ever promote products that I would have in my own home.