One Room Challenge

Before and After: A Grown-Up Office Gets a New Life as a Cheery, Kid-Friendly Nursery

published Jun 24, 2023
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About this before & after
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Nursery before renovation/makeover: black walls, wood floor, white furniture and bookshelves, some arts,
Credit: Touch Life Studio

Your home is a reflection of you — your style, yes, but also your interests, your hobbies, your lifestyle, and your life stage. Even if you love the way your home looks and functions today, you might find that as your circumstances change, your home must change as well.

Credit: Touch Life Studio

Here’s an example of a home upgrade brought about by a big life change, courtesy of interior designer Angela Belt (@_angelabelt). The room Angela started with was her husband, Leon’s, office, outfitted with a mini sofa, standing desk, and floating bookshelves, and painted a nearly black shade of charcoal. “But once I learned I was pregnant, we needed to convert the room into a nursery,” Angela says.

Credit: Touch Life Studio

That was a year ago, and with work and time constraints, Angela wasn’t able to fit in many aesthetic changes to the space that her son now sleeps in. “The space still felt like an office even after a year,” she says. “It felt more like a place where we changed him and put him to sleep, but not to just sit down and play in. Nothing about it felt designed with a kid in mind.”

Credit: Touch Life Studio

Spurred into action by the One Room Challenge, Angela decided to take on an eight-week revamp of the room. “I really wanted to design a space that felt like it was meant for my son,” she says. That meant getting rid of the “serious” paint color, as well as the grown-up design features.

Aside from the style, Angela wanted to make the room cozier and warmer (literally) so that it was comfortable even in colder months. She also knew it was important to her to have a comfortable chair to sit in while reading to her son (the office chair just wasn’t cutting it!).

Credit: Touch Life Studio

After getting quotes for redoing the wall insulation that were way beyond budget, Angela decided to tackle the issue of coziness in a different way: with wall-to-wall carpeting. The carpet plus the pro installation was under $1,000, which was far less expensive than redoing the walls’ insulation.

As for the walls, Leon stepped in to do the painting, choosing a pale dusty blue. The new color makes the room feel bigger and brighter. Angela decided to go big on one of the walls, choosing a mural that features an abstract rendition of the NYC skyline in soothing shades of blue, cream, and brown; she had pros do the installation.

Credit: Touch Life Studio

“Once the paint, mural, and carpet were installed, it was easy to style the room because it felt like a new space,” Angela says. “I wanted to make it FUN — so I added in artwork with cars (something my son loves), clear toy bins so he could easily access his toys, and a new play area for him to build blocks, draw, and then hang up his art pieces.” The room has enough flexibility to suit his interests as he gets a little older, too.

Angela’s crib — still in use from the previous version of the nursery — is from Nestig, and the bookshelf is an IKEA piece that she’d used before in her daughter’s room. A cozy chair and ottoman round out the room’s reading nook, but the real hit is the play area. “The play area is my son’s favorite spot in the room — with carpet, I don’t have to worry about him hurting himself when he falls,” Angela says.

Credit: Touch Life Studio

The small space — only 150 square feet — now feels brighter and way more kid-friendly. Angela’s glad she used the One Room Challenge as a way to kickstart the makeover. “Once you start transforming one room, you inevitably want to start digging into another eyesore in your home,” she says. “This project was also a lot of fun to do in my spare time in between work and family responsibilities. And seeing the response from my son at the end of the project and how happy he is in the room lets me know I nailed it!”

This project was completed for the Spring 2023 One Room Challenge, in partnership with Apartment Therapy. See even more of the One Room Challenge before and afters here.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.