One Room Challenge

Before and After: A Bold Makeover Makes This Boring Bedroom Bright with Color

published Dec 8, 2023
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Children's Room & Nursery
Skill Level
Rental Friendly

It’s easy for kids’ rooms to suddenly feel like a time warp. In what seems like a flash, a space can go from a nursery filled with beloved objects to a pending garage sale of discarded toys. Furniture isn’t spared, either, and commonly turns into a mismatch of former interests surrounded by paint colors that are decidedly juvenile. (Don’t beat yourself up, parents — plenty of people have been on either side of this equation. And remember, it’s possible to do a transformation as a memorable family project.) 

Designer Angela Belt (@_angelabelt) shows how with this transformation of her daughter’s bedroom. Pre-makeover, it showcased the days when she played with dolls rather than the Taylor Swift era (get it?) she’s in now.

“My daughter’s room was filled with furniture that was oversized, a plaster ceiling that needed a major repair, and pink walls that didn’t fit her style at all,” Angela describes. “Plus, when you walked into her room, you couldn’t open the closet doors completely. Her bed was in the center, so there wasn’t a lot of space for her to relax or move around and dance.”

Angela wanted her daughter to have an of-the-moment haven, so she enrolled in the One Room Challenge, an eight-week DIY challenge where participants post progress updates on their social channels, to give herself a timeline to get it done. Alongside her husband, daughter, and a few pros, Angela thought the best way to tackle this project was to mix DIYs with highly skilled expertise. 

“There were three reasons why I wanted to make a change to my daughter’s room,” Angela says. “First, it was no longer functional. Secondly, the ceiling needed repair. And lastly, I wanted to give her a room that was cool enough to grow up in during her teenage years.”

Credit: Angela Belt

A professional ceiling repair kicks off the project.

At the beginning of the process, Angela called a contractor to take a look at the ceiling, which was clearly showing proof that their home is 80 years old. “He shared that repairs would take a week to complete,” she says. “It involved removing the entire plaster ceiling, sealing up cracks, and applying a three-step skim coat to make it smooth for paint.” She considered DIYing the job, but ultimately, it “made sense to just invest in the space properly and get it repaired by a professional,” Angela says.

With that in mind, she prepared the room by donating or discarding all of the things her daughter either no longer used or used to the point of no return (she turned to AptDeco and local charities). Once the ceiling was repaired — and the contractor was right, it took a week — Angela then focused on the paint.

A radiator upgrade adds color.

“I had never used a paint sprayer before, and I wanted to give the radiator a dopamine upgrade using one,” Angela says. 

Angela got a custom radiator cover via a partnership (because the old one got covered with art supplies, she says). She purchased a spray gun and coated it in a vibrant teal (Clare’s Keep It Teal) for a pop of color. Angela set up a spray area in her sunroom, and created this “wow factor” on a lunch break. 

Credit: Angela Belt

So does peel-and-stick wallpaper and paint. 

To add even more personality, Angela worked with Tempaper to select a pink-and-purple palm pattern for the wall behind the teal radiator and the wall behind her daughter’s bed. 

“The pattern looks hand-drawn,” she says. “My husband, daughter, design assistant, and I spent a weekend putting it up. Learning how to install peel-and-stick wallpaper was my biggest DIY lesson of this project.” The purple in the wallpaper gave her the idea to paint the trim, doors, and ceiling in a light lavender (Clare’s Wink), which was completed by Angela’s pro painter friend Jen Yanko

The new furniture functions better for the bedroom and makes it feel larger.

As far as new furniture goes, Angela selected a matching teal daybed, white desk, and nightstand from Amazon Home using the money she got from selling her daughter’s bulking old pieces. All of the items have a slim profile to make the room feel larger, making the potential of her daughter dancing and singing to Taylor’s Versions all the more inevitable. And here’s a tip for fellow busy parents regarding the dreaded flat-pack phase: “I saved a lot of time and energy hiring Taskrabbits to assemble the furniture so I could focus on my business and not get pulled down by manuals,” Angela says. 

She repurposed her husband’s office bookcase on the last large wall of this room, which is painted in Wing It by Clare Paint, and filled it with colorful pieces and storage opportunities for her daughter. 

A closet upgrade is the last step of this bedroom spruce-up.

If you noticed that there isn’t a dresser in sight, you’re onto something — that was intentional, given the bookcase, space beneath the bed, and closet. While that closet sure isn’t as stuffed as it once was, it’s still on Angela’s to-do list to finish it with a truly spiffed-up system. 

“If I could do it over again, I would start with the closet design first, because I underestimated the time it takes for a custom closet,” Angela says. “Each closet still needs to be demoed and repaired. It’s a lot more work than I thought.” 

Nevertheless, this bedroom transformation has proven to be the perfect place for a girl to grow up, and Angela is happy with the results. “Definitely get your child’s input in the design, but keep in mind what your overarching goals are for the project,” she advises. “Also, push yourself out of your comfort zone! I know I did by painting the trim, door, and ceiling purple, but I love how much it paid off.”

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