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Mar 23, 2011

Living Small - Update #3 The Kids' Room

I found the photos!  I finished the kids' room last week - for the most part.  Some of you might think I'm crazy for getting rid of the kids' IKEA storage bins, and yes, they were nice - but I believe in selling stuff while I can still get some money out of it, and I had a set that literally lined every wall in the room, and it was just too much stuff.  I also took apart the bunk beds since those aren't selling on Craigslist, and used them as twin beds.  Yes, it takes up more floor space, but now I can actually make the beds, and they really seem to like the new setup, it's a little more "big boy".  The nice thing is that I can easily put them back into bunks if necessary.

I'll warn you that it looks a little institutional in all gray LOL, but the idea is to bring back color into their room through fabric which I can easily change at whim, instead of becoming sick of colored bins and furniture, does that make any sense?

Believe it or not there's a theme, here - what's the one really important "room" that we don't have here at our house?  A GARAGE!  So now, the kids' room is a "garage".  I styled it that way so the bikes and outdoor gear we have to stow in the open anyways is now an integral part of their decor, and as a bonus the furniture is cheaper that way!

Here's the before, during and after:

Before, the bins I sold - they were awesome, but they were everywhere!

Before, bunks


Below, all furniture moved out except beds, which were broken down into twins just for a change

 here's where it looks like a juvenile detention facility in monotone :)

One of the things that helps space and save money is that none of us in the house have dressers, we use the closet to the utmost!  They used to keep their clothes in some of the former bins that were sold, but I purchased these drawer carts for each of them and they stow right in the closet.  I figure if the clothes start overflowing these, it's probably time to purge.

Drawer storage bins - $40

Next I framed some of their own artwork to bring some color and their personalites in.  I store just a few things they have brought home or done at home over the years, so this freed up space in my closet!

 Frames - $0 (they were reused from other old photos and things I no longer wanted framed and hung)

Wire rack bookshelf/nightstand and bedside lamp - $30

Here's where things get really "garage-y"!  After tossing and donating many toys they no longer use or need, we were down to a very manageable amount that would fit along one short wall on these very inexpensive ($19 each)metal garage racks.  Combined with some extra bins to contain small things like Legos, building sets, etc, it makes for a nice area that's easy to keep clean, as well as portable.  If they want to play Legos or something in another room, they can just bring the whole bin with them.  We already had the fishing rod rack, it was stored in my craft area LOL, so this is a MUCH better place for them!

metal racks -$57
storage bins (some we had already) - $36

In the above photo, I can't get a good shot of the open space thanks to my massive seed starting contraption that's in the way, but they have a drafting table that can seat one on each side when it's folded down level, with a art storage cart repurposed from my old yarn storage.  They already had this, but it was kind of stuck in a corner, now it's easily accessible from both sides, near the sunny sliding glass door and they are playing Legos or drawing and painting every day there.

Below, I can't seem to get around that darn seed/light setup, but they each have a cool footlocker ($22 each) at the foot of each bed they can store their "own" things.  They are already begging for locks, haha, Finn wants to lock up his precious rock collection and Loch is convinced somebody might take his duck calls :)  Ah, to only have to worry about these things, eh?  Must be nice :)
Footlockers - $44

There is quite a bit of open floor playspace in front of the beds, I just can't seem to capture it here.

For obvious reasons, I haven't had time to even dream up quilt designs for them yet, but I intend to get some more color in there with quilts and a couple of funky fabric panels I will attach to a few random shelves on the metal shelving unit.  Of course Finn wants a black and white "skull" quilt, and Loch wants "chess"...  I need to have a talk with them about color!

Remember how everything in this house has to have 2 purposes?  HA!  When the kids leave home now we already have all the stuff we need for our future garage :)  That's kind of the idea here, to not spend money on decorating that is only specific to this house - not only are we military and the living situation could change at whim, but we are also starting to prepare for leaving the military in a few years.  We want to be able to have things we can easily repurpose for any room in the house as we do not know what type of home we will have. Will it be a farmhouse?  A cabin?  A yurt?  Who knows, but all this stuff can easily go from kitchen to bedroom to basement or garage and we will have lower expenditures on furniture when we really need "low", i.e. no more government paycheck LOL.

Project Totals
                    Week 3: - $207   (kids' room - storage, accessories)
Week 2:  -$146  (furniture, accessories)
   Week 1:  -$196  (paint, painting supplies)
Sold via Craigslist:        +$275  (sold kids' IKEA storage bins)
*net spent on house refreshing to date:  $274.00


  1. You continue to AMAZE me! I can't begin to fathom how you envision all this, let alone make it happen! Can NOT wait to see the quilts you make for the boys' beds. What fun that project will be! (Sorry I don't have any skull or chess fabric to offer. Otherwise, I'd be more than happy to contribute!) Carry on, Wonder Woman.

  2. Looking great Erin!!!! Please come to Florida and do my house. :)

  3. Wonder Woman is right! I'm lucky if I envision a coordinated outfit or matching socks, let alone an entire room or gasp, a house! I think I'm going to have to un-follow your blog soon... it's made me realize how unorganized and fly-by-the-seat-of-my-often-on-fire-pants I really am! ;)
    Nice work, lady. And I'm just kidding about the unfollowing, BTW :) Though I am serious about you coming here and organizing my life -- after you finish Dani's house, that is!

  4. I love it... to me the gray tones make it look clean and neat, and I love the thought of a skull quilt or chessboard one.

  5. Super ideas on thinking ahead! What a novel concept and usefulness...you are always one step ahead!

    I can not wait to see what you come up with for the beds!

    Erin, I seriously wish I had half of your energy in a jar. You'd make millions, ya know? Maybe a TV show could be in your future! Then you could afford to buy whatever type of house your heart desired...ahhhhhh if only :)

  6. Erin-fantastic ideas as usual. You're amazing.
    Those are some lucky kids. And the price for all that was really good.

  7. Great job! I'm sure the boys love their newly painted room.

  8. It is a more mature look, makes me think of teenagers. Well, aside from the artwork which brings back the little boy to the room. What I am trying to say is they won't find it baby-ish in the years to come, it is a great style to grow with! Nice work Erin!!

  9. The room looks great! I agree that it is a room that they won't out grow!

  10. The re-design of the boys room looks so awesome! And more "grown-up" and kid friendly. Nice job.

  11. And only your kids will keep everything in their correct boxes. We have boxes in the playroom also. The toys, however, seem to prefer the center of the floor.

  12. Thanks, everyone - I think it's probably not what I would have done exactly if I had more $$ to spend, but it definitely has its merits in future re-usefulness!

    Ribbit - oh NO! Only ONE child will keep the room nice, guess which one?! The other is a kid just like every other and prefers his stuff strewn about LOL

  13. WOW, what a difference! You are truly a jack of all trades. I won't even know where to begin. I guess I just don't have that organization gene.

  14. An idea: Block print/rubber stamps + fabric paint + rainy-day-kids-project = chess (or other) themed fabric in colors-of-your-choice!

    Can't wait to see the quilts when they're done!

  15. Alison, funny you mention that - I picked up a book at the library the other day on fabric stamping and stenciling! Mostly because I really like folksy Scandinavian printed fabric but it's hard to find, but now you have opened up a whole new idea :) Now all I need is 12 more hours in the day!

  16. That looks fantastic! You are my decorating guru!