Projects & Improvements

Before and After: A Cheerful Kids’ Room Gets a New Life as a Sophisticated Office and Guest Room

published Dec 29, 2022
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Office & Dens
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
A kids' bedroom with half-walls painted blue, white furniture, and a sand-colored canopy above a reading nook.

It’s no secret that paint is an easy way to switch up a look. A few coats of a new color can transform a living space, update thrifted furniture, or give a beloved IKEA find another spin in a fresh design. Want more inspo for how paint can change a space? Check out this project from DIYer (and Apartment Therapy contributor) Trisha Sprouse, who turned a kids’ room into a sophisticated work space for adults, thanks to a strategic paint job and some fresh decor.

Trisha lives in Jacksonville, Florida, with her husband and their young twins, and originally set up the kids’ shared bedroom to be playful and coastal. Trisha painted the bottom half of the walls in a bright blue, and paired that with white furniture, wood accents, and a sand-hued canopy above a reading corner. 

“I loved the whimsical style of my kids’ room, especially the charming half-wall paint feature, but they had outgrown the space,” she says. “As they’ve grown over the years, so have their individual interests and collections of toys and books.”

Even though she asked her kids if they wanted their own rooms, they still wanted to share. She and her husband decided that the kids probably needed more square footage to feel comfortable, so they decided to take the opportunity to do a switch-up.

“We essentially played musical chairs with the bedrooms,” she says. “We moved them into our primary room, moved our primary room into the office, and turned their old room into a guest quarters and office. It was a pretty large-scale undertaking! We took one weekend to do all the moving, another weekend to do the painting, and two more weekends to set up the decor.”

Given all of that change, Trisha wanted to get everything settled before making more permanent decisions around the new flex space. Now that the old kids’ room doubles as a guest room and office — where she produces written and video content — she knew that white paint would be the best foundation. 

“Since I shoot a lot of DIY projects at home, I needed a neutral backdrop,” she says. That meant saying goodbye to the charming half wall feature, and painting over everything with a creamy white (Behr’s Blank Canvas, incidentally their pick for 2023’s Color of the Year).

Where crisp whites can feel a little cold and sterile, the little bit of brown and gray to this white tone helps warm it up enough that it’s a fitting pick both for the photo backdrop side of the space and for the guest hangout side.

That hangout side is a zone Trisha set up with her own work in mind, too. “I wanted to create a little reading nook in the corner, which guests could use, but that I could also use as an alternative to working at my desk,” Trisha says. Although she’s a lover of neutrals, she wanted a little color against the white, choosing a green-gray chair with a cozy boucle texture. A floor lamp behind it is a practical add, but the wicker shade makes it a statement piece, too. Gauzy floor-length curtains were another easy swap with big payoff — where the shorter curtains were perfect for kiddos, the longer ones are fully grown up.

Now, there’s not a single hint that this space was once a toy-packed kids’ room.“My favorite part is that it feels like a sophisticated, grown-up space for me to work in, but it’s also a cozy spot where guests can feel relaxed,” Trisha says. “The afternoon light that pours in from the south-facing window makes the whole space look especially inviting.”