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Kid's room makeover in blue and red

It usually happens fast and it's not just the milk teeth that are gone that give it away. It's the not so subtle way that they tell you they don't want you to kiss them in front of other children at school, that they can walk on their own to class and leave you behind the school gates. The unexpected questions about 'democracy'. And even telling you straight forward 'mom, that's embarrassing' when you dance a little crazy. Yes, our little one is not so little any more.

Our son is now 7 and a half. Or 8 as he will happily correct me (why do they want to grow up faster?). Although not yet a teen, George is definitely not a toddler. He's like an old soul this one. Well, sometimes. So as he is getting older, his room needs to also 'grow' with him.


Here's a reminder of what I started with. The photo inset, by the way, is what the room used to look like before we moved in. This makeover is about room styling, I didn't have to repaint the walls.

The first step in making a kid's room look more grown up is to remove the obvious offenders: toys. Don't worry, we still have the lot, but more strategically organised in his closet.

Dulux Steel Symphony 1 kids room

Armed with patience, I got the kid out of the house (you need some peace and quiet for a task like this!) and started de-cluttering his room. Nothing gives me a better satisfaction than decluttering really. I always end up wondering 1) how all the stuff moved out of the room fitted in there in the first place; and 2) why I left to so late (when decluttering his wardrobe I still had loads of age 4 clothes - what!!).

While decluttering I faced the dilemma of replacing the bulky EXPEDIT bookcase. It was placed on its side to use the top to display toys. This arrangement posed a couple of problems.

1) My son did not use the top effectively and most toys were on the floor. The top was getting all dusty. As for the drawers? Filled to the bream with Lego.

Dulux Steel Symphony 1 kids room

A close up of the IKEA Expedit. Photo: Oliver Gordon Photography

2) The Expedit took up most of the space against the theme wall (which by the way is painted in Dulux Steel Symphony 1). To the right, there is a radiator on the wall, so there was no way to move the Expedit there. And when turned upwards, the bookcase looked too tall and out of place.

3) I wanted to make more space for a reading nook. George reads A LOT. By any standard really. You'll find him engrossed in a book in his room (I would often find him reading cross legged on the floor - not even on the carpet! - hunching over his book); or in the living room; in the car; on the stairs. The kid really needed a reading nook. So where to create the reading corner?!


Dulux Steel Symphony 1 kids room blue red carpet

Come on in... Mind the monkey and shark !

1. Goodbye IKEA bookcase, hello IKEA bookcase

To make the room feel lighter, the big bulky EXPEDIT was moved out. I still needed somewhere to hold my son's books though. The solution was to use a 2m high BILLY bookcase (also from IKEA) in a little recess created next to the built in wardrobe.

TIP: I would definitely recommend attaching such bookcase to the wall (like we did later on) as its structure is light and you don't want a kid to bring the whole thing down on them! Believe me, they can. So this change sorted out the books. They look much better now

Dulux Steel Symphony 4

The Billy Bookcase comes in three different heights and has wall brackets too.

Its slender shape means that it can be 'hidden' away in a corner like this. Perfect!

2. Goodbye side table, hello Kallax

The side table next to the bed (an eBAY find and a bargain at that) looked pretty shabby chic. Given that bed was a gloss white, I decided to replace the side table with a KALLAX shelving unit.

The KALLAX by the way is the replacement of the EXPEDIT series and it is less bulky in its shape and can utilise the EXPEDIT drawer inserts too (the new version of inserts are less robust I'm afraid). The white unit starts at £20 (£40 for the white gloss unit seen here).

I also removed the circus cotton ball lights from over the bed and replaced the yellow HOKOLO London lampshade with this one which is DIY from Farrow & Ball's latest wallpaper collection. On the bed, I replaced the ZARA Home bedspread with this denim chambray quilt.

Dulux Steel Symphony 1 kids room

Dulux Steel Symphony 1 kids room

To make the KALLAX unit look more expensive (or custom made), I ordered these leather pull handles from ETSY. They are £3.60 each and only a small part of a collection of leather pull handles (some longer, with brass fittings too). You can find them here.

Oh and if you like them and want to order anything from this seller, here's a very cool 15% off your order with code FORYOU.

3. Goodbye empty space, hello Shark chair

By removing the side table altogether and replacing with the smaller KALLAX, I ended up with a lot of space to the right. Perfect to crate my reading nook! A reading nook though needs a great reading chair, right? Where do you go when you looking for a great kids reading chair/ armchair? of course!

Mini me! From left: 2 seater Mini Kubrick sofa £299; Mini Kubrick in yellow, £199; and Mini Richie in lime (also available in yellow); all

The chair that I chose was a kids armchair and one of my favourite pieces on the Shark chair by fashion designer Philip Colbert. It blends pop-art, fashion and culture and is designed exclusively for Made. And because every reading nook needs a great reading lamp, the orange Truman lamp (also Made) seemed like a natural choice given the blue walls (this lamp will also look great against teal).

Dulux Steel Symphony 1 kids room

Dulux Steel Symphony 1 kids room

4. Bringing the scheme together: the rug

Many times I found that a scheme really comes together when the right rug. The rug in the 'before' photo was a flat woven rug. This meant that it was not thick enough to make for comfortable sitting on and it kept moving about even with an underlay to keep it in place. Also its pattern was just too busy for the new scheme.

So I found my perfect rug on The Rug Seller's website. It's the BLOX rug that features bold blue, red and grey blocks of colour for a strong interior statement. It is hand woven in India with a 100% pure new wool pile which is luxuriously soft. With a pile height of 8mm and weight of 1800g per square metre this is perfect for a youngster's room.

A big shout out to the Rug Seller team for outstanding service, as this was delivered within a few days from order. The Blox also comes in Mustard which I love, as well as another 4 colours. In my view it complements the scheme - in fact bringing the lot together - but would love to hear your thoughts on it!

Dulux Steel Symphony 1 kids room

Dulux Steel Symphony 1 kids room



Rodnik Shark Fin Chair £449 | Truman Task Floor Light in Matt Burnt Orange £69 | Blox rug in blue/red 100% pure new wool from £129 The Rug Seller | RED5 Mini Cooper Remote Controlled Car £15 John Lewis | KALLAX shelving Unit from £20 IKEA | Cairo 180 x 130cm Knitted Throw, Yellow, £49 | Meccano Micronoid Socket Set £39.99 Superman Lego Clock £19.99 and Lego Storage Box from £14.99 all John Lewis |



Wall colour: Steel Symphony 1 (Dulux) on theme wall. The rest of the walls are painted in Steel Symphony 4 (Dulux) | Bed: John Lewis | Chair: | Rug: The Rug Seller | Shelving unit: KALLAX, IKEA | Bookcase: Billy, IKEA | Curtains: John Lewis | Minion glasses: Specsavers | Flooring: Smoked oak 12mm laminate, | The chair and carpet were gifted to me by and The Rug Seller but all views are my own. The post contains affiliate links.

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