Just before the 2015/2016 school year, our oldest son wanted to move his bed to the middle of the room for “something different”. The moment he showed some interest in his space, I jumped at the opportunity to partner with him to get it a bit more current and to his liking. At the time he was about to start High School as a freshman, and being that this was a very exciting milestone, I wanted to give him a finished bedroom. Up to this point, it was a minor change here, a furniture swap there… years of little updates along the way. After speeding things up a notch, he has already finished an entire semester of High School, and we are finally finished up with his more grown-up bedroom.
I must warn you… If you are looking for a Pinterest frenzy of a teen boy room, you have come to the wrong place (but you can check out some super cool children bedroom ideas here). But I did want to share a little about how I handled marrying the requests of our son with some organizational needs, to give him a space that we are all really happy with.
The first order of business was to see what was important to Preston. Here were his thoughts:
- Keep the closet desk area – this was his number one request as it is his favorite spot in his entire bedroom
- Ensure it is sleepover friendly
- Keep a place to do/store puzzles (away from his younger brothers who like to “help”)
- Display the Twins baseball artwork that he made at school
- Inject his love for baseball (without it getting too “theme” like)
- Include teal in some way
In one of the previous updates, I shared that I painted the upper portion of the wall in Nebulous White by Sherwin Williams. I continued the color all the way on the ceiling as well, which offered a nice and clean finish. I also updated his light fixture to something very simple that didn’t distract from the rest of the room.
The existing trim was painted in Ralph Lauren’s Iron Blue, which has a hint of teal in it. The lower wall was previously painted in a very shiny blue color that reflected and created excessive glares, so I toned it down with a lighter tealy blue color in an eggshell finish (Ralph Lauren’s Adelaide Blue). The new finish reduced the glare, is still easy to wipe clean, and brought in some of that teal color that Preston is fond of. All of the white trim in the room also received a fresh coat of paint and all of the outlet covers were finally swapped to a true white vs. the previous almond color.
We have had an old faux leather bench for years, and it works perfectly for storing the frequently used sleepover gear; an air mattress, bedding, extra toiletries, etc….
The leather was looking a bit worn and dated, so I used some inexpensive linen navy fabric to recover it (using this tutorial). It turned out so nice and instantly looked like a whole new piece! It also now ties to the navy curtains we hung across the way.
Above the bench, a handy basket holds random sport items such as a signed baseball glove, baseballs tied to important memories, football rule books and a bundle of ribbons and medals that Preston has earned over the years.
It is not a traditional setup to use an armoire as a closet and a closet as a workspace, but that is what our kiddo requested so we made it work. The armoire is a bit of a space hog, but it is ultra organized and Preston has been fine sacrificing this corner of his room.
The exterior and portions of the interior of the armoire were primed and painted a few months ago. At first, it was extremely prone to chipping (my guess is because I used a water-based primer). The good news is that over time it has cured up nicely, and after a few minor touch-ups, it doesn’t seem to be as prone to markings any longer. Our painted IKEA shoe cabinet has held up beautifully right from the start, so the key must be to use a good oil based primer.
As much as I like having throw pillows on benches and beds, I know they will ultimately be used as floor/chair cushions and for brotherly pillow fights. Because I am certain that our son will not be fluffing throw pillows and making his room look finished and cozy on a daily basis, they will likely live in the over-sized basket I placed near his bed instead.
The headboard has remained the focal point in the room, and it gives us all a super-sized grin each and every day. I love that our son has a piece of furniture in his room constructed by his dad, and one that he can take with him the day he moves out (but I try not to think about that day… it is approaching much too quickly).
To the right of his bed, I painted his nightstand the same Iron Blue that I love (it is such a good navy!), and added some new hardware. It was previously the same stained finish as the headboard and the combo was a little bit too much on the eyes in such a small corner of the room.
We are always playing the musical lamp game, and for the way our son uses his room, a task lamp felt a bit more appropriate for nighttime reading sessions. A few years ago I had purchased a task lamp from West Elm in yellow… that color is so specific and no longer fit any of our spaces, but I tucked it away in my closet under the stairs knowing that some day I would be brave enough to spray paint it. That day came when our weather recently cooperated; I will admit I was a little nervous to go after such a nice lamp. It took me over 45 minutes to tape off every last detail with precision painter’s tape tearing and sticking, and only 5 to actually spray the lamp, but the results were just as I had hoped. As the boys always tell me, “You have to risk it to get the biscuit”. I selected white to balance out the white in the photo frames and in the nearby curtain panels.
Random note: These glass bottles are great for nighttime water drinkers.
Preston made the Minnesota Twins artwork at school last year, and one of his requests was that it be displayed in his room. To pair with the art, I printed off some of the more artistic shots I took of him playing baseball over the past few years and hung them around his bedroom.
After I hung our fantastic navy print curtain panels in the shared boy’s bedroom, my son and I decided they would also look great in his room (and we had a total of four panels so it worked out perfectly).
However, we have a teenage boy on our hands and he finally decided that he likes to sleep in on the weekends and even occasionally take a nap. I took a few hours to add a nice and thick lining to the backside of each panel. It is something you would never notice looking at the room, but a great investment of time to keep the bright morning sun out during his
beauty growing boy sleeping sessions. We also installed some new white faux-wood blinds.
While moving his bed, we found a lot of random items that were being “stored” not so neatly underneath. After hanging his chalkboard calendar, we had the ideal space below to add a small locker. It added some storage for extra puzzles, some crafting and school supplies and a box of mementos.
I also added a plant to bring in some life… and to see how well he takes care of it. Knowing this kid, the plant will be twenty feet tall in six months…
The stain on the chalkboard calendar no longer worked with the stain of the headboard and nearby study organizer, so I painted it the same gray as the armoire on the opposite side of the room (Sherwin William’s Gray Matters). I also recently switched from chalk markers to these awesome chalk pencils, which write and erase much better on the chalkboard paint. I found I need to personally date the calendar each month or our son won’t take the time to use it… but when he does use it he finds it to be helpful for keeping track of test dates, practice schedules and time off of school.
His current puzzle is still stored on the puzzle board we made him a few years ago. It has worked out so well for his love of doing puzzles; the board simply slides under his bed in-between sessions. I may add a low profile tray to add a little extra protection for all of the loose pieces he likes to keep out as he works.
And now for his favorite spot in the room… his closet workspace! I think he loves it so much because it is like a room within a room. I personally love those paneled walls!
The shelves are the perfect place for him to display any trophies/awards and more sport memorabilia. He stores extra notebooks and paper in one of the magazine files and important schoolwork he wants to keep in the other.
And because I am a huge believer that hooks are your best organizing friend when it comes to kids; we have another row behind his door. He uses these flip down hooks for hats, his backpack, sport bags, etc…
And that completes the tour. The room is simple enough to maintain easily, yet still has his personality sprinkled throughout. It is a room that he and his friends can hang out in, and one that he can also use to find quiet study time. Most importantly, it is a room that can grow with him as he continues through high-school. #sigh #slowdowntime
We may still try and add a little pattern or pizazz to the upper portion of the wall, if the right paper or stencil comes along. But until then, we are just letting this room be and excited that our son is happy with the outcome of his space.
As I mentioned, we have been making small tweaks to this room for the past few years, below is a round-up of many of the projects we have completed along the way:
- Painted and Organized Armoire
- DIY Study Wall Organizer
- DIY Chalkboard Calendar
- DIY Herringbone Headboard
- DIY Nightstand
- DIY Puzzle Board
- Closet Workspace Paneling Process
- DIY Wood Console Desk
And because I am frequently asked for product sources, I added many of the items below (similar items linked if we DIY’d or if the original item can no longer be purchased):
* affiliate links used