Money Month

Before and After: A Neutral Nursery Gets a Bold, Rainbow-Infused Big Kid Look with a $600 Refresh

published Mar 11, 2022
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About this before & after
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grey and white striped wall

A lot of times, DIYers know their space is ripe for a redo when it doesn’t quite represent who they are, whether that’s due to previous owners’ design choices or just a change in personal style.

This also happens in children’s spaces. As kids grow older, their interests and design needs change. In blogger and designer Robyn Delahey’s (@robynjohanna_) home, her young daughter was “rapidly outgrowing her nursery,” she explains.

Robyn designed the nursery before her daughter was born, and it had “a neutral palette mixed of whites, grays, and browns with a few touches of gold,” she says. “I chose this color scheme because I was working with the existing paint and glider from my son’s nursery.”

But now that her daughter is a full-fledged 4-year-old, Robyn knows the room doesn’t quite suit her. “Her room was in that awkward in-between stage where a few baby items still remain in the room and new items are entering the space every other day,” she says. “The original organization system was no longer working, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep her room clean.”

Robyn liked the neutral palette of the nursery but was ready to give her daughter “a room that was so much more her: vibrant, bright, bold,” she says.

The best part? She worked with her daughter to make the change happen. “Involve your kids,” Robyn recommends when it comes to redesigning home spaces. “They may seem young, but they are so so capable.”

To start, Robyn and her daughter decluttered the existing space, and her daughter “did surprisingly well at downsizing her toys, stuffies, blankets, and clothes,” Robyn says.

Next, they took down the striped wallpaper. “What 4-year-old doesn’t love ripping paper!?” Robyn says. “Especially off a wall.”

With the old wallpaper gone, they gave the space a brightening coat of white paint and painted the trim and doors pink (Sherwin-Williams’s Memorable Rose).

This was her daughter’s first time painting, so Robyn started her with a paint brush and a dry roller. “She would apply the paint using a brush and then go over top of it with a dry roller,” Robyn explains. “Once she got the hang of that, we advanced to wet rolling, meaning she would apply the paint to the wall with a roller. Painting and dancing went hand-in-hand for her. There wasn’t a time she was painting that she wasn’t dancing.” Perhaps a DIY de-stressing tip for adults to steal, too?

Robyn also installed board and batten wall with her daughter’s (supervised) assistance. Her daughter helped remove outlet covers, measure, carried boards, and helped her mom shoot the nails.

“Together, we shared so many wonderful moments and created lasting memories,” Robyn recalls.

The board and batten got a coat of the rosy coral paint, too, and then it was time for the wallpaper install. Robyn and her daughter selected a new, playful llama wallpaper from Spoonflower, and Robyn installed it.

“After that, I painted and assembled the loft bed we purchased secondhand,” Robyn says. “I hacked a couple IKEA ALEX drawer units and put together some scrap plywood to make a desk. To liven up a blank wall, I created an inexpensive gallery wall using printable art and washi tape.”

Thanks to the IKEA hack, secondhand finds, and DIY artwork, the all-in budget for the room refresh was under $600.

Now, Robyn says, her daughter “has a space that is as vibrant as she is and a space that will nurture her creatively, imaginatively, intellectually, and physically for years to come.”

This piece is part of Money Month, where we’re covering everything from side hustles to down payments to a beginner’s guide to investing. Head over here to read more!