Ella's Bright & Bold Bedroom

Ella's Bright & Bold Bedroom

Danielle Thompson
Jun 21, 2011

Name: Ella
Age: 2.5 years
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Room size: 6kvm (6 square meters)

We've featured all sorts of IKEA hacks on Ohdeedoh, but when Swede Isabella Waldenmaier shared her daughter Ella's room with us, we were totally impressed and inspired by her unique IKEA furniture makeover. Full of bold colors and patterns, she has created a room for Ella that is nothing short of magical.

Isabella was kind enough to answer some of our questions, and doubly kind to answer them in English since it isn't her native language. Here's what she had to say.

Please share with us the function of this room:
This room is used for mostly play at the moment. It will become Ella's bedroom in the future when a sibling comes along. This room is slightly larger than her bedroom (an equally inspiring room with a castle built inside!) but common to both rooms is the lack of closets and storage areas. We solved this problem in this room by building the house cabinets. Each house has its own function.

In the white house, Ella's clothing is organized by color in cubbies originally meant for CDs. The bright pink house you can find everything from cuddly toys to piggy banks. The hot pink house is what Ella uses most. It houses such items as beads to create with and legos to play with.

I have started to restore my old dollhouse and the plan is that it will be a miniature of our home. So far Ella is too small to have taken interest in it, but she will probably appreciate it in the future. Barbie dolls, horses and babies, as Ella calls them, live in the red house. Along the window wall is a round table and two chairs for playing and crafting. The table is covered with graphic roads for imaginative car chases, and a self-built radiator cover makes room for favorite toys. In the corner stands a black forged lantern that doubles as a night light. The third and final wall acts as a resting area. On the floor are pillows and the wall shelves are filled with colorful books. Most of the toys and books are inherited from me when I was little, which makes Ella reading and playing with them even more meaningful.

I love how you have organized various items by color. Is it a challenge to keep things organized in this way? Does Ella help and enjoy sorting things by color?
We believe it is important that children have a room that encourages a growing imagination and creativity. Creative chaos, as I call it, creates curiosity, and it helps with child development in big and small ways.

Here at home, we place great emphasis on the word sort After hours of mischief-making, we help Ella sort her toys and put them back in the right place. Legos are organized by color and we see this as a playful learning. When Ella plays and then cleans up, she is learning colors at the same time.

The house cabinets are amazing! Can you share how you made them?
They were built from IKEA Billy shelves (40x200cm and 60x200cm sizes). For the doors we had the hardware store cut MDF panels in the correct width. In our case it was 6 pieces at 40cm wide and 230cm high. For the roof tops, the shape was designed in free-hand with a pen. My husband Martin then cut with a jigsaw.

For the color palette, we brought one of Ella's dresses to the hardware store and they matched the colors. The doors were painted twice using a roller.

For the windows, I made a template of cardboard which I then used to cut decorative plastic in white and black. After we adhered the windows, the doors were then hung by hinges. This was a bit tricky to get right, but Martin and his dad decided it relatively painless. Only a few grey hairs later. ; )

Are there any other DIY projects that you created for this room?
Along with the dollhouse that I mentioned, we also custom constructed the bed made from Ikea shelves. The ceiling lamp is a fruit bowl that is now acting as a shade.

I love the way you use bright colors and graphic elements. What is your background? Are you a designer?
I just have a great interest in color and design. Otherwise I work in a department store named Rusta.

I love the graphic table with the track extending up and over the shelf. Did you do it? If yes, how?
We used decorative masking tape from here.

What is your favorite piece or element?
Definitely the house cabinets!

If money were no object, what would you buy for this room?
I'd buy two new chairs by Charles Eames.


- Shelves: IKEA Billy Shelves

- Table and chairs: Mio

- Bookshelves: Mio

- Lantern: Rusta

- Pillows: Rusta

- Piggy Pank: Favoritsake

Thanks, Isabella! Be sure to follow Isabella's blog where she shares interior inspiration, adorable DIY's and more. And if you missed it, we shared Ella's amazing DIY backyard playground last week here.

(Images: Isabella Waldenmaier)

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