Using Bold Color and Tone-on-Tone To Create a Fun Kids Bedroom

by Kate Mazariegos

I can’t believe I am finally writing a blog post for my son’s room. When I started his room, I had no idea it would be well over a year before I would officially call it “done”. But here we are, at last!

If you’ve ever been in my home, or follow my social media, you know that my personal preference in colors for my home leans towards neutrals. It helps me feel relaxed, brings peace to my busy mind, and feels open and airy. However, I love to have fun with design and what better space for that than a kid’s room?

Liam’s favorite color is blue. Of course, he’d prefer a bright Crayola blue, but I do like to set some kind of parameters. So I went with Van Deusen Blue by Benjamin Moore. On a whim, I ended up lightening it ever so slightly with some leftover Chantilly Lace paint we had in the garage from our recent home addition. Early on, I decided I wanted to saturate this room in blue, painting the walls, trim, and ceiling. I painted the walls in a satin finish and the trim in semi-gloss to still give it a little pop from its surroundings. 

It was quite the drastic difference from his previously all white room and it took us a while to adjust, but now we love it. I always advise living with a new color for a bit before making any rash decisions, especially if it is a bold color. Your mind and eyes can go into a sort of shock from the change, causing you to doubt your decision. 

I kept the tone-on-tone feel in the room by going with a navy velvet daybed. Again, similar color but different texture to help it stand out ever so slightly. His sheets are white with blue ticks from Target’s Opalhouse line, and I decided to do a gray stripe duvet cover from Ikea. I love a subtle pattern mix, especially with a tone-on-tone space. The pillows I selected are varying shades of blue, white, and gray as well with even more pattern and texture added in. 

Above his bed, I chose to hang 27 (!) pieces of art that we created together in our front yard using watercolors. I spray painted some cheap plastic frames from Walmart a soft yellow to add some pop against the blue. They even came with the mats. I really needed to watch the budget on those frames, because anything multiplied by 27 adds up rather quickly. But I wanted something unique here and that made a big impact. Bonus points because it’s his art, which he was so proud of.

The other furniture in his room (dresser, mirror, nightstand) is a Swedish mid century modern set I inherited from my mom, who inherited it from her mom. I originally wanted a set from Anthropologie, but I already had this set in storage that I could make work and I think I might like it even better! 

I chose a blue rug, but a very light blue to have more contrast with the walls, and an off white plaid pattern to keep with the more geometric lines of the room. For the windows, I chose a mid-tone blue. My original gut reaction was to go with an off-white. However, I felt that going with white in a room saturated with color would draw your eye straight there, rather than all of the other amazing finishes in the room. I kind of think of it as creating the opposite of a black hole. So, once again I went with the blue to keep up with the tone-on-tone, but in a lighter shade.

I styled the dresser using a thrifted lamp and lampshade, a wooden truck his dad brought back for him from Mexico, some books, his soccer trophies that he prizes, and a plant. For the nightstand, I used a budget friendly mini lamp from Target, a vintage dog plush from my great grandparents, a piggy bank he got for his first birthday from a dear family friend, and a brass airplane I found at an estate sale. I really tried my best to use what he already had–I only bought the lamp and plane. He also has a slightly ridiculous amount of books stored in three baskets from Target. The nightstand is where I shove all of the random things I find that he brings into his room, and of course, more books!

In the corner close to the closets, there is a steam trunk that I found on Facebook marketplace that I absolutely love. The green goes perfectly with the walls, and I love the bright pop of orange and yellow flower lining. It’s so fun. I paired it with an acrylic floating frame from West Elm that houses some more of his art, as well as an art gallery print from “Les Lalanne”. A friend shared a British living room with this print and I searched for hours trying to not “copy” the look, but I absolutely love that ridiculously simple bird. I purchased a poster frame from Walmart and painted it a mat rusted red color and took out the glass so there wouldn’t be a glare. That may bother some people, but I love it!

Liam has two closets but he barely needs even one. So I turned the larger one into a “clubhouse”. I painted it with stripes, to tie into the room but add a little bit of pattern. I also had my husband hang a sconce, and I added a small rug and some pillows. The sconce isn’t even wired–I really didn’t want that mess, even with a husband who used to do electrical for a living! They have awesome puck lights now that screw into a lamp base, but come with a remote on a timer. I used a velcro command strip to mount it to the inside trim of his closet and we use that as the “switch”. It’s perfectly sufficient since we don’t use the sconce that much. To keep with the art theme, I had him and his dad paint the white shade it came with to spice it up a bit.

Lastly, I changed out the door hardware to brass. I love the way it pops against the blue, I love the egg shape, and I love the beveled rosette. The previous bronze-black knobs were just too dark with the new wall color. 

I love his room and I see the foundation of it–the color, bed, furniture, rug carrying him through to his teenage room (or one can hope). It can easily be updated as he grows with new art, new dresser styling, and new bedding. 

I had so much fun with Liam’s room, but I am determined to finish my daughter’s room much more quickly! I do try to adhere to the rule of finishing a room before starting another. I work on plans and have ideas, so that I can keep my eye open for the pieces I need, but I don’t start actively working on one room until I am finished with the current one. This helps push to get a room done, and I mean completely done, and helps create more cohesive spaces that adhere to a vision rather than flying off in different directions.

I hope you all enjoyed this peak into his room, and a little bit of the process and thought behind the design. I can’t wait to share my next blog post with you all, so stay tuned!

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