Real Costs: A deserted bedroom becomes a double use bunk room with lots of blue

A seventy square foot, deserted bedroom turned charming, treehouse bunk room for $1,300.

Blue bunk room makeover with feature woodland wallpaper
(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

We moved into our fixer dream house four years ago when our kids were just one and four years old. Among the five bedrooms on the second floor were two, pint sized, seven foot wide rooms, split by a bathroom. And from what I could tell, they had all gone unused for what looked like decades. As a result, this side of the house had the most extensive water damage and most outdated mechanicals. It required major repairs and a giant scoop of TLC.

One of these cozy, mini rooms became our son, Everett’s bedroom. After repairing the rain soaked plaster, I covered his walls in a full dip of rich blue, created a curtained sleeping nook, and furnished it with some of my favorite second hand finds. Next we updated the neglected bathroom. The other pint sized kids' bedroom remained frozen in time, including the water stained, original, faux bois wallpaper.

The room before:

Blue wallpapered children's bedroom

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Over the last few years, Everett filled his side of this split, bedroom lair with toys and piles of books. This fall, I set out to create a double-use bunk room for overnight, kiddo guests and an every day play space-- all housed in the other, 70 square foot, twin bedroom.

Paint

I wanted the entire split bedroom lair to feel like one cohesive space. I used the paint that envelops Everett’s bedroom on the trim and ceiling in the bunk room. I mixed the paint for his bedroom from leftover half cans, from various DIY projects, creating a cozy shade of blue.

Blue wallpapered children's bedroom

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Wallpaper

Blue wallpapered children's bedroom

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

After selecting a treehouse bunkbed as part of a collaboration with local Homemakers Furniture, I knew I wanted kids' bedroom wallpaper with a woodland feel. I showed Everett some options and he selected a traditional toile pattern in blue. I’ve wallpapered a few closets, powder rooms, and small entries over the years, but this tiny room was still my largest install to date.

The selected wallpaper was pre-pasted. Like I always do before starting a project, I watched tutorials on different DIY how to wallpaper methods. After trying a few, including rolling additional paste on the walls, I landed on spraying water directly on the paper. It took six rolls to wrap the room in whimsical trees.

Blue bunk room makeover with feature woodland wallpaper

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Blue wallpapered children's bedroom

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Gel staining the floors

After the fresh paint and wallpaper were up, I couldn’t get over how rough the floors looked in comparison. I decided to freshen them up by using a gel staining technique.

Blue bunk room makeover with feature woodland wallpaper

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Painting the blinds

Blue bunk room makeover with feature woodland wallpaper

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

I had a blind that fit the window, leftover from my daughter’s all pink bedroom, we’ve since given a less princess makeover. I used two cans of chalk paint to give the window covering a new look fit for the bunk room. I coated the front and back so the blind would be opaque even when hanging on the brightly lit window.

Bunk assembly

Because of the narrow width of the small kids bedroom, the bunk needed to be assembled in place which complicated the process. Our entire family pitched in during assembly, squeezing into the tight space to ensure every screw was secure.

The results:

Blue bunk room makeover with feature woodland wallpaper

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Real costs: a breakdown of materials

By choosing to DIY and getting creative with some materials I already had, I was able to pull off a very cute look for less than you'd expect! I'm so pleased with the results.

Total: $1,326

After finishing the bunk room, something unexpected happened. Everett moved into the top bunk and has forsaken his bedroom. I’m currently dreaming up ideas to lure him back into his own bed before cousins arrive to celebrate the holidays. It’s been great to have the extra space for both our kids to play.

Blue bunk room makeover with feature woodland wallpaper

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

*Received as a promotional product in collaboration with Homemakers Furniture.

Ruth Jackson

Ruthie Jackson is an Iowa-based DIYer, furniture flipper, certified interior decorator, and lover of all things vintage. She's currently renovating her family's 1930s colonial home, which she documents on Instagram at @miracleonthirtyfourth.

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