Last year my sister Elizabeth decided it was high time the kids had a decorated bedroom. My Mom had painted it green a few years ago (it was black when they moved in).
Elizabeth and her husband Bill found the bunkbeds on-line and–without consulting me about placement or colour, but I’m okay with it–had someone assemble it and stick it in the corner of the bedroom.
This left us with a space on the other side (which was better in the end) that I turned into a little reading corner with the blue ottoman and elephant art.
I had a reader email me about a charcoal bed for her son, she worried whether it was too trendy. I replied that it was definitely trendy, and if possible, the best colour would be either a blue, black or a pale or medium brown wood stain.
For girls, the best colour is white, a colour, pale or medium brown wood stain.
Choosing charcoal is like choosing red. You need to repeat charcoal in the room so that it looks intentional. It’s technically not a neutral. Just like charcoal wood floors, it looks best if grey is repeated in the room. If you choose pale or medium brown wood floors, you won’t be as bossed around.
The first room (above) with the navy blue walls and dresser, the charcoal crib looks like ‘We tried to match it and we failed”. It would have been better in a medium brown tone. Charcoal needs contrast, NOT more colours in the same value.
If you must have charcoal (picture on the right), but you want your child to have a bed they can grow with, decorate the room in grey but keep the bed in one of the colours suggested above (here you can pretend this bed is not grey, just notice how the room is decorated).
Here’s my nephews bedroom photos including some befores:
Paint colour – BM Stem Green
Can you count how many lamps are in this room?
My nephews are highly trained by their Auntie Maria. They turn them ALL on when they are playing.
After – Bunk beds similar here.
William especially loves the ambient lighting that a string of christmas lights bring to a room (as you can see by the before pics) so I draped a non-holiday strand in the room.
I usually ignore the colour of the carpet when decorating kids rooms, since they are not as big as master bedrooms and are all about the bedding anyway.
Lighting from IKEA
We found this dresser (below) from Craigslist. Already painted in the right shade of turquoise. It just needed new knobs.
Photos by Maria Killam
And they love the ‘death star’ light from IKEA.
William and Markus
I’ve posted this picture before, but here it is again, it goes with the bedroom! They grow up so fast, here are some other posts that include my nephews when they were much smaller (below)! I’ve been writing this blog almost as long as they’ve been alive, haha!
There are 2 spaces left in my Chicago course coming up in May. And I won’t be back to Toronto probably for 2 or 3 years, so if you live in the East Coast of Canada, you’ll want to register for my March course here.
Related posts that include my nephews:
What Colour Should Your Concrete Driveway Be?
What I’m Up to This Long Weekend
Progress in my Master Bedroom (In my last house)
The room is almost as cute as the boys are! They could pass for your children — such a great family resemblance!
I have never known a child who wanted a gray or neutral room. Children like color. IMO, parents should give them what they like, as with your nephews. Poor babies who have to sleep in one of those sophisticated, beautiful nurseries I’ve seen pictures of. So boring for them–nothing interesting to look at. Little girls love things like colorful posies on wallpaper and will look at it for hours. Ten or twelve years, and they’re ready for a room that the parents will prefer.
Kay, I agree with you! I think it’s so funny to see the “sophisticated” kids rooms. My daughter always wanted pink or purple or turquoise, and it’s so easy to paint over ( as long as it’s primed over the pink or purple). At 8, my son surprised me by requesting Shaker Beige!
Quoting Maria’s Blog post [above]
“Choosing charcoal is like choosing red. You need to repeat charcoal in the room so that it looks intentional. It’s technically not a neutral. Just like charcoal wood floors, it looks best if grey is repeated in the room. If you choose pale or medium brown wood floors, you won’t be as bossed around.”
This is extremely helpful! I was tempted to go with wood (or perhaps wood-look ceramic tile) that had at least some grey in it. I don’t want to be “bossed around” by my flooring choice! I guess having some grey in the wood is a bit different than wood that is charcoal colored but maybe what I liked in the showroom was too complicated in terms of mixtures of colors in the wood and simpler (as usual) might be better in the long run.
By the way what are your thoughts of the wood-look ceramic tile flooring? I generally don’t like things that are made to look like something that they are not but these might be an exception. I also tend not to like a lot of the “enginerred hardwoods” and I have concerns about the possible offgassing of Formaldehyde and harmful chemicals and some concerns about durability and learning/care of. It seems like the ceramic tiles that look like wood might be better in terms of chemicals/air quality and durability but I wonder if they will stand the test of time or be something that we might regret later on.
I have porcelain wood look tile in a mid tone (Thank you Maria) brown. Don’t know how trendy it is but it is perfect for us. I did not want engineered flooring having the same concerns you cited. Real wood requires more maintenance that I was willing to commit to. It can also be slick and our tile has a bit of texture to the surface. I was careful to request a dark grout, 1/8th inch grout lines and made certain it was installed in the same layout that hardwood would be installed. The ideal floor for anyone with a husband, young grandchildren, dogs or cats and we have all of the above. Love it!
I wrote a post about wood tile floors and it’s here: https://mariakillam.com/porcelainwoodfloors/
A little grey is okay, it’s hard to get away from grey right now, as long as the overall READ is not primarily grey, you’re good!
Hope that helps,
I agree with Rhonda on both accounts!
I love how happy your nephews’ bedroom is. The colors are bright and stimulating without being intense and loud.
Those are so cute! I love that. If your kid picks like a fire engine read and white and strong navy blue bedspread, I can repeat those colors around the room but what do you do with the wall when your kid picks such strong colors?
That’s when you can choose a pale blue or green grey, perhaps a blue grey because of the navy blue in the room, because it’s the perfect backdrop for bright colour. It’s charcoal that we’re talking about here, AND as I’ve shown in this post, I would simply avoid it in the furniture because it will not be timeless for 20 years if you want your child to grow with it. Maria
What a cute room for such handsome boys. The room looks like it reflects their personalities.
Fun & energetic!
Happy birthday Terreeia!!! You are such an upbeat, happy person… I hpoe you and Maria have
a fun, enjoyable day celebrating youy birthday!!!
I’m with William…what room doesn’t look better with Christmas lights strung somewhere? I cannot get enough of them. And cafe lights! They aren’t just for kids 🙂 🙂
What an adorable room! Love the bunk beds and the bedding. The colors are so happy against the gray. Yes you did incorporate plenty of lighting. Those “little” boys are going to be heart throbs when they grow up. So handsome!
Oh oh, I meant to say green walls! And I love the shade of green!
When I was around 7, I picked Banana Green, and mom painted my room that color. Now with all the rain in California, the hills are about the same color!
Adorable bedroom for two adorable boys!
I think their room looks really cute and they are really adorable boys, love the fairy light strand too, I may be alone here, but… as far as a bedroom goes I am on the neutral “sophisticated” end of the spectrum. Yes, kids like bright colours but that can somewhat be incorporated in some accents and a few toys. I believe that kids rooms, like ours, should be calm restful places. It really helps for good sleep hygiene. They are supposed to be boring places so that they read or go to sleep in my opinion. They can still be beautiful. Furthermore, kids do like the comfort and stability of having a place for a long time. That is easier to do if it is a little grown up from the start.
Adorable! Kids AND room! xo
What a delightful room!
I have always thought that even a little bit of decorating in a child’s room makes an impact on the child’s esthetic choices later.
When I was little, we were dirt poor, but my mother painted our bedroom furniture with roses and vines, and made quilts to match. I felt so special!
I made sure my kids also had fantasy elements in their rooms and they still talk about it.
Thanks for sharing your nephews’ fun space.
Your nephews’ room for is adorable! I love how you aren’t afraid to mention Craigslist finds and IKEA as sources for great “finds”, since that is the shopping reality for the vast majority of us with tight decorating budgets! (Your site is so much more real (and helpful) than reality HGTV –and one of the many reasons I love your posts (though I do love HGTV, too- taken with a huge grain of salt!)
Just wanted to ask, Maria, if you are getting any whiffs that gray is starting on the way out already? I heard a home stager say, on a 2016 home staging video on Caldwell Banker’s site, that greige was “not being done” anymore but now she was seeing a trend toward more earth tones!! She mentioned Benjamin Moore colors like “ashen tan” , “warm sand” and “sea haze”. This stager was filmed while staging a 3.5 million dollar mansion!
( I’ve always heard that fashion trends start in New York- do interior trends start there, too?) So if gray is on the way out, all the more reason to heed Maria’s advice NOT to buy gray bedroom furniture for the kids!
So what do you say, Maria– was that stager on the cutting- edge of design trends or has she “jumped the gun?”
OOPs- I meant to mention that the mansion being staged was in New Jersey, not too far from New York City, where I imagine many design trends in the US start.
I love the elephant art! Where did you get it Maria?! Home Goods/ Home Sense?
I would not do gray either. I admit I think wood tone or painted primary red or navy furniture for boys rooms (nautical .. transportation. .. sports scheme looks). Your mother is a color lover Maria! Is that green in her place too?