A Definitely, Indisputably Not-Girly Shared Room

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Names and ages: Biggest Brother (6), Big Brother (4), and Littlest Brother (2)
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Anyone who took the tour of Ashley’s daughter’s gorgeous nursery knows that this is a mom with absolutely amazing taste. But in the case of this room, shared by Ashley’s three sons, her taste did not come into play. These little boys knew what they wanted. Planes. Orange. Not girly. And that’s what Ashley delivered.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

If you visit Ashley’s beautiful blog, Under the Sycamore, you’ll see that she has a wonderful eye for design that marries clean, contemporary lines with subtle feminine touches. While this room has many subtle touches, you’d be hard pressed to find anything remotely feminine – and that’s just what Ashley’s boys wanted.

Despite the fact that, by Ashley’s own admission, her sons’ design opinions were not always her own, she delivered spectacular results that would thrill any non-girly kid. In our opinion, that’s the sign of a great designer. And more important, it’s the sign of a great parent.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Inspiration: My boys. They wanted an orange room with airplanes and nothing girly. They had lots of ideas for what they wanted and we compromised to make it work for all of us.

Favorite Element: The poster from Simply Create. It is a combination of artwork from each of the boys. Each boy made a handprint, a watercolor painting and a family portrait. I love how it shows so much about who they are right now. It is timeless to me.

Biggest Challenge: Working with my four- and six-year-olds. They had strong opinions on what they wanted and what they did not want! It was also challenging to get motivated to work on the room. Since I was trying to work with the boys on a “boy” room instead of decorating in my usual style, I found it hard to just get it done.

What Friends Say: I think a lot of people are surprised that we have three boys in a fairly small room… and all their clothes, too. (The room is 10 feet by 13 feet.) Several friends have commented on all the details of the room, too. I think those closest to us feel like it reflects the personalities of my boys.

Proudest DIY: It isn’t the most creative DIY, but for someone that doesn’t really sew I am pretty proud of the curtains I made to hide the dressers! I also thought the idea of using Happy Tape to dress up cheap roller shades was a pretty good one!

Best Advice: Remember who you are decorating for. This room is not for me or my friends or the design community. It is for three little boys who love the color orange and airplanes.

I think sometimes adults create rooms for kids that are more pleasing for adults than they are for kids. I didn’t want a room that screamed “this is for small kids,” but I also didn’t want a room that didn’t reflect my boys. I don’t really like transportation (planes, cars, trains, etc.) in rooms, but that is what the boys wanted. The boys don’t have a say in the decor of the rest of the house, but this is their room, so they had a big say. I think that is important.

The clipboards on the wall are also a place for them to have freedom to display whatever they want. Usually it is pictures, but they have also had artwork, birthday invitations, notes from friends and stickers.

Dream Source: A dream source for a boys room would be a company that makes indestructible, un-scratchable everything. It’d be great to find a company that makes bunk beds that can make themselves – tucking those sheets and blankets in is hard work! While we’re at it I’d love a company that makes sheets that can easily go from the bed to hanging forts and back to the bed without so much work.


Beds: Ikea
Polka dot sheets: Target (discontinued)
Orange blankets: Pottery Barn Kids
Curtain: Made from Ikea fabric, white shower curtain in “newsprint” fabric
Shades: Roller shades from Lowes, Happy Tape on the bottom
Paper airplane decals: UpperCase Living
Custom “retrospective” artwork: Simply Create
Pendant lamp: Ikea
3-Piece Airplane painting: I made this with a paint pen. I don’t really like it, but there are other things I want to do before messing with it again.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

(Thanks, Ashley!)

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