After five years and two boys, it’s finally time to say farewell to our nautical nursery. I loved their little nursery theme when I put it together when I was pregnant with my first son Demetrius. With Richard trailing shortly after him at 24 months, we bought a second crib and put them both in the room. As Demetrius got a little older and started climbing out of the crib, we converted his to a toddler bed.
While many nights filled with him getting out of bed and coming into our room or flat out sleeping in the guest room because he liked the “big bed,” it was finally time to create a “big boy” bedroom for the boys.
As someone who loves décor and styling, I always said, “my kids will never have car beds!” I always felt that they were big, plastic, and tacky. However, when your 5-year old says they will stay in their bed all night and not come running into your room at 2
am jamming their feet into your back in exchange for a car bed, you suddenly eat your words and run out to buy said car bed.
I stopped looking at the big red car beds as a nuisance and more as a design challenge. I wanted to develop a theme that could still carry the boys a few years, even if the beds themselves changed. I also didn’t want to do the prominent “racing” bedroom theme with black and white checkers you frequently see everywhere. The more I thought about it, the more I got excited. While I let the boys pick out the exact car beds they wanted (which was actually a great choice, I’ll share more on that later), I came up with the theme. Instead of a modern raceway, I focused on “vintage racing,” pulling in elements and artwork from the ’50s and 60’s races in Montreal, rustic woods, and warm colors.
In the end, I love the way the room turned out! The boys love it too and have successfully stayed in their beds every night since!
Here are some of the great finds I acquired for the boys’ room as well as some style tips if your struggling to make a cliché’d boys’ room theme into something unique and Palatable:
START WITH A STYLISH ACCENT WALL
An accent wall is great because it can break up the monotony in the room, and it also can be as discreet or bold as you want it to be. Very simple accent walls can still add so much character to a room. I decided on a framed shiplap style and had my carpenter add it with wood panels. I love how it turned out and how much character it added.
ADD A BOLD AND COMPLEMENTING PAINT COLOR
The next step was getting the accent wall painted. Initially, I planned on painting the entire room. However, the more and more I looked at it and all of the elements we were bringing together, the more I felt the existing gray walls worked best. Our painter, @Sergio did a fantastic job patching all of the holes from old artwork on the walls, changing the light fixture, and most importantly, painting our shiplap wall a beautiful blue. When I was selecting colors, I was a bit nervous that the blue may be too loud. When my husband saw it, he reminded me that it was for a little boys’ room and not an adult’s, so the color worked great! I wanted a blue that would compliment the bright red car beds, and I believe the paint SW 6503 Bosporus from Sherwin Williams did just that.
RE-ASSESS THE FURNITURE YOUR KIDS NEED FROM THIS STAGE TO THE NEXT
Often, people think that you have to match large furniture pieces with your theme. However, use timeless furniture pieces. You can play up your theme with your décor, which is a lot more cost-efficient than getting a race car dresser that you’d have to repaint or get rid of when you change the theme. Unlike our nursery, we no longer needed a hanging rack for pampers, a rocking chair, and the long, wide dresser that doubled as a changing table. I began to think through what my boys need right now and what that may look like in years. I decided to keep it simple since the beds themselves brought so much character to the room. I sold their existing dressers in an online marketplace. I replaced them with two four-drawer chests so that they each had their chest of drawers. To maximize space, we removed the bookshelf and replaced it with gallery shelving for just a few books they could pick through to read at night. For their other books, we moved them to the playroom.
GET A BED THAT MAKES SENSE FOR THEIR STAGE
As I mentioned above, I let the boys pick out their car beds from a few options I saw online. All were around the same price anyway and looked similar. While I would’ve loved one of the vintage wood versions to go with the vintage racing theme, they picked the bright red, plasticky, large ones that you tend to see mainly. While this mama smiled at her boys but cringed on the inside, here are all of the reasons I love their current car beds I ordered from Walmart, and why it was such a great choice!
- They were vested in the decision. With the boys having a stake in the game by selecting them, they were more proud of their choice, which is one reason why Demetrius has been good about staying in his room.
- The bed is perfect for a toddler or small child. Because of its depth, the mattress fits inside, and the large plastic sides act as a “railing” to keep them from rolling off of the bed. This was absolutely perfect for my three-year-old Richard, as he transitioned straight from a crib to the car bed.
- They are lightweight and move easily. When it comes to changing the sheets or moving anything around, the bed is actually relatively light, and I can move it or push it on my own.
- The curves allow for no sharp corners when their wrestling in the room or running around naked while I chase them at bath time. All in all, they were indeed the perfect fit!
ADD CHARACTER AND PLAY UP YOUR THEME WITH DÉCOR
This was the best part for me. As I mentioned, I found vintage poster prints from Redbubble that I was able to order and frame with value frames from Michaels.
I ordered white bunting banners from Amazon to trail across the shiplap wall like a raceway. I stuck with white to keep it clean and soft.
I ordered these adorable custom nameplates from The Modern Silo. I liked customizing the room with the boys’ names so that they knew this was their space and their room. Mainly for my five-year-old who had been climbing out of bed so much.
I found vintage car pulls for their chest of drawers, also from Etsy, which were very easy to put on and are great because as they get older and the room theme changes, we can also change the pulls.
I ordered Mirrors from Wayfair that were rustic and warm. I wanted something masculine but also not too childish so that it can grow with them as they get older. I also thought they would fit well with the vintage theme due to the wood color and the dark hardware.
Lastly, I wanted a custom piece of artwork. In the nursery, each boy had a bible scripture over their bed. I wanted them to have something in their new room with another scripture they could learn and carry with them each day. I chose Hebrews 12:1 and had Shawn St. Peter from Saint & Sailor Studios on Etsy add it to a canvas print.
Not only did the boys love the finished room, but I’m proud to say, my five-year-old Demetrius has slept in the room every night since! Notice, however, that I said “room” and not “bed?” He and my three-year-old Richard now sleep together in one of the car beds! It’s so cute to see them bonding in their big boy room, and I know they might utilize both car beds as they get a little bigger and more confident.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post! I hope it has been helpful! If so, please leave me a comment below, and follow me on Instagram.