It’s show-and-tell day! In August, I redesigned the boys’ room as we prepared to welcome our oldest son Ralph home, after spending two years in Colombia.
This was easily the most fun design project I’ve done in ages. I loved working with Room & Board to tackle the challenges in the space, and I love, love, love how our boys room ideas turned out. The room is cozy. It’s interesting. It’s practical. It’s handsome. It’s a very small bedroom that works really hard.
There were three particular problems I wanted to solve with the redesign: 1) I needed the room to work as an optional guest room. 2) I needed to figure out adequate closet space for a 13-year-old and a 20-year-old. 3) I wanted the room to feel more grownup, but still cool.
Would you like to see how the space turned out?
The Treehouse: Cozy and Practical Boys Room Ideas
The first thing we decided on for the room was the bed. We went with a twin-over-full option — the Fort Bunkbed — that has a boxy, industrial feel. It’s super cool. I really appreciate how the ladder is incorporated. It leaves head space for the bottom bunk, it doesn’t take up any floor space in the small room, and it adds an architectural element.
I used thinner-than-standard 6-inch Bunk Mattresses. They’re safest for the top bunk, because they keep plenty of safety railing exposed. I chose one for the bottom bunk too because it leaves more headroom when the bottom is used as a daybed.
One of my favorite elements in the room is the custom wallpaper. I designed it based on a mural at Sequoia National Park. I’m seriously over the moon about how it turned out. You can read more about it here. It works for Ralph because he loves national parks as much as I do. It works for Oscar who has a great love for animals and wants to be a marine biologist. And it works for guests because it’s all about the flora and fauna of California.
Since I had the bed picked out first thing, I designed the wallpaper around it, taking special care that the California Black Bear could be seen between bunks.
After I designed it, I had it printed by Astek on self-adhesive fabric. They were super easy to work with and shipped the finished product to me right away. The wallpaper ended up being the palette for the rest of the room.
For bedding, I started with a base of white cotton percale sheet sets for both bunks. Next, on the bottom bunk, I layered a Percale Topstitch Duvet Cover with Insert. The cover is in a gorgeous grey-green called Slate. It’s such a good shade. I kind of want to borrow it for my own bed. : ) For the top bunk, we used a grey, big-stitch quilt we already had.
Ralph prefers a duvet cover over a blanket or quilt, and he doesn’t like a top sheet. Oscar prefers a quilt, and also doesn’t like a top sheet. I have both of their top sheets on a shelf in the closet, and use them when we have guests. : ) On the end of Oscar’s top bunk, I added the Haven Throw Blanket — wool with blue stripes.
I wanted the lower bunk to feel like a daybed when it isn’t in use for sleeping. So I picked out the Apex Coverlet in Cement & Orange to layer over the duvet cover. I looked for an option that felt heavy and substantial — almost like upholstery — and this is perfect. Plus, the navy and orange grid works beautifully with the colors in the wallpaper.
Room & Board’s throw pillow game is strong. They have so many gorgeous options, in so many different sizes. I love going in knowing I’ll find something exactly right.
Since I wanted a daybed-feel on the lower bunk, I knew throw pillows would be the number one way to accomplish that. I went to the store and walked around every space, gathering the pillows that caught my eye. Then I pulled everything onto one of their model beds to see what they all looked like together.
I pulled up a photo of the wallpaper design on my phone and would reference it while I studied the pillow compilation. I was going for specific colors, I wanted a variety of sizes, and I wanted a ton of different textures too. It was a lot of fun to shop for the pillows.
For reading lamps, we chose Camber Wall Lamps — you can hardwire them, or plug them in (we went with plugs). I love the look of these so much! The round orbs make a nice contrast to the boxiness of some of the other pieces in the room. I love that they’re dim-able too.
For Oscar’s nightstand, we used a metal wall-mount cube that we’ve had since early in our marriage. It was originally a gift from my mom, who saw it in a store and knew I would like it. All these years later and I still do like it very much! The front is hinged so you can open it and keep stuff inside. We add magnets to the cube when needed, and the top is a perfect surface for books.
For Ralph we chose the Linear Nightstand in Cherry. It comes in several configurations. I liked this one best — everyone needs a good junk draw. I love how the warm wood brightens up what could feel like a dark corner, and I think it looks so amazing with the wallpaper.
For the sitting area, we chose the Jonas Chair in Portafino Cashew Leather. It is GORGEOUS. The woodwork is graceful, and the leather is buttery soft. We chose it because we love the look, but we also chose it because it happens to have the smallest footprint of any lounge chair in the collection. : )
I paired it with the Tolomeo Reading Floor Lamp with Parchment Shade. It has mechanical design details that I find a irresistible. It’s such a handsome lamp.
I knew we wanted more space for books and trinkets, but there wasn’t a good spot for a book shelf — floorspace in this very small bedroom is so precious! The last time I put together this room, I used wine crates as night stands, and I ended up repurposing them here as wall-mount bookshelves.
From this angle you can also see the new closet doors. They look so good! When we moved in, this little space wasn’t a closet at all, but had shelves instead. We first adapted it to be half shelves, half hanging space, with a curtain closure (you can see it here). But for this iteration, we ordered actual doors, and we enclosed the top portion with sheetrock. I think the doors look so much better!
The built-in closet is still small, but it works great for Oscar. We used Elfa to kit it out with mesh drawers, a hanging rod, a shoe rack and some shelves — every thing he needs!
For Ralph we added a double armoire — the Alden in Ash with Bark Stain. This is such a quality piece of furniture. The six drawers are wide and deep and roll in and out as smooth as can be. In the upper storage area there are hanging rods and shelves that can be positioned at any height. And it’s tall enough that there’s enough space to hang clothes and have shelves in the same section! It seems like no matter what we put in it, there’s still plenty of room.
Next to the armoire, we put the Hudson Full-Length Leaning Mirror in Walnut — it looks like it’s leaning, but it’s actually attached to the wall at the top for safety.
Oscar helped me picked out the rug. The goal was something that would be really soft underfoot. And if possible, something blue. The Stipple Rug in Smoke is perfect. In some lights it feels more blue, in other lights it feels more grey. It does a great job of centering the room and making the space feel connected.
We added two Crew Single Wall Hooks. They hang between the closets and they’re perfect for bathrobes, jackets or bags. I like how deep the hook is. They come in a ton of different colors (though we chose simple white).
I seem to add baskets and plants to every room in our house. Baskets are so good for quickly gathering things and tidying up in a snap. In this case the Bangla Basket I chose is functioning as a plant holder, but I won’t be surprised if it lives lots of different lives in this space.
By the way, the basket was hand woven in Bangladesh through a group called Ten by Three, which guarantees the artisan will receive a Prosperity Wage — at least 2.5 times the Fair Trade Wage. You can learn more about these one of a kind baskets here.
On the wall, I framed photos of Oscar and Ralph. I didn’t want the frames to be matchy-matchy, so I chose 3 different sizes in 3 different materials. I picked a Profile Wide Frame in Black, a Profile Frame in Walnut, and a Profile Frame in Silver.
On another wall, we hung this oversize Agenda Magnetic Board. It’s BIG — 3 feet wide and over 2 feet tall — and it’s so cool! The tray at the bottom is super practical and it’s a great catch-all solution for notes, polaroid snapshots, postcards, and other bits of ephemera that make their way to a bedroom. It would be fun in an office or family room too.
Okay! I think that’s the full tour. I hope you enjoyed these boys room ideas. Any favorite pieces or accessories in the room? Can you believe how gorgeous that leather chair is? Do you like how the wallpaper turned out?
P.S. — You might be glad to know it’s already been put to work as a guest room! We have two friends from France who are visiting — they’re sisters — and they’ve been staying in this room while they’re here. Oscar is using Maude’s bed (since she’s at college), and Ralph is traveling for work. Also, if you’re curious, here are more posts about our Treehouse home.