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One Room Challenge: Toddler Boy’s Room Makeover

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Guys, I have been waiting for this day for months. Yes, literally months.


Because today kicks off the One Room Challenge (ORC)! And we have BIG plans over here.

You might be sitting there going, “The one room … what?” Let me explain.

The One Room Challenge is a twice yearly design challenge where lots of interior designers and interior decorating lovers come together to make over a room in their respective homes. The event is now in its 17th season (!!!).

This spring’s ORC is a little different than past ones: Namely, the team extended the makeover time from six to eight weeks, and is encouraging people to reuse what they have (or at least shop online versus going to a store) to create a beautiful space.

It’s definitely not lost on me how fortunate I am that I have the choice to participate.

Especially during this strange time when so many are worried about their jobs and personal health and loved ones.

I’m so very grateful for that.

For this edition of the ORC, I’m definitely going to reuse many of the things we already own … although that’s always my M.O. with decorating, global health crisis or not. 

And the thing is, I’ve been planning on participating in this round of the ORC for about six months. 

This means that I’ve had the opportunity to plan and save for the new things I need for this next makeover, and was able to space out my purchases.

Because there was absolutely no question about me participating this time around.

More on the why behind that in just a minute.

Psst: Here are some other posts I bet you’ll love:

This post contains affiliate links — thanks for supporting the brands that make Kate Decorates possible!

Not our first One Room Challenge rodeo

Last fall was the first time I participated in the ORC.

I made over my eight-year old daughter’s bedroom and she and I absolutely LOVE the way it turned out!

You can see her colorful tween bedroom reveal right over here.

But guess what?

As soon as Haley got a new room, my four-year old started asking when he was getting one too.

And so naturally I promised him that I’d make over his bedroom for the next ORC round.

Our spring One Room Challenge project: Marshall’s bedroom

Let me tell you: This kid is so excited that he’s getting a new room.

It’s themed, of course, because he has an obsession with a certain movie.

Can you guess which one?

If you’ve watched any of my Instagram stories lately, you’ll probably be able to figure it out. 

Nearly every day (especially while we’re at home) he wears clothes with characters from this movie on them.

That said, even though his room has a theme, we’re making sure the space can easily grow with him over time (AKA we can revamp it without spending a ton of money when he eventually loses interest in certain characters and films).

Toddler boy’s room makeover: The “before”

Before we get to the design plan, let me show you the very sad “before.”

Brace yourselves, guys,

This room is not pretty right now.

It used to be lovely back when it was his sweet and preppy nautical nursery.

See what I mean? This was the rocker where we used to read books and where I rocked him to sleep:

That rocker is now long gone. Sniff, sniff.

And here’s the wall where his crib used to be:

Here’s one more view of his old nursery.

I’m really enjoying this trip down memory lane, although I’m also sitting here laughing at my lack of interior styling in all these photos — let’s just say I’ve come a long way.


But then one day we bought him a big kid bed, gave him a fleece blanket as his bedding, and called it a day.

I’m not exaggerating. We literally ordered a bed from Amazon, threw a blanket on it and that was it.

I know, I know: Not what you’d expect from someone who loves decorating.

But the reality is this: Every one of us — no matter how much we love mixing colors and patterns and hunting for the perfect light fixture — has at least one “forgotten” room in our home. 

And for a while, Marshall’s room was that forgotten spot. 

Not to mention he likes having sleepovers with his sister or his parents regularly, so I had zero motivation to invest time, energy, and money in his room.

Here’s a peek at what his “big boy” room looked like until very recently.

I’m embarrassed to show you. Promise me you won’t judge!

boys room makeover before photo 1

Oh, there’s more mismatched goodness where that came from. Here ya go:

boys room makeover before photo 2

We’re keeping Marshall’s dresser and bed because they’re both well made, versatile pieces that can go with any type of decor.

And here’s a peek at the “before” of the wall across from his bed, complete with lots of clutter and a play table he insisted we relocate from the playroom to his room:

boys room makeover before photo 3

But now it’s time to make some changes, especially because he’s spending more and more full nights actually sleeping in his own bed.

Are you ready to see the plans for his room?

Toddler boy’s room makeover: The plan

Marshall is obsessed with Star Wars.

Actually, “obsessed” doesn’t begin to cover it.

Star Wars is pretty much his life.

So it felt fitting to design a Star Wars-themed bedroom for him. (With lots of color, of course — because you’re not allowed to live in my house unless you let me decorate your room with color.)

Here’s the mood board I created to guide the makeover:

Sources for the Star Wars bedroom makeover:

Black and white striped tassel curtains // Star Wars blueprint wallpaper // Star Wars vintage poster // “Hoth” pennant // Sputnik light fixture

Orange and white pillow // Color bar rug // Star print bedding // “Be brave” art print // Orange planets art print // Rocket ship art print

Leather mid-century modern accent chair // Orange clock // Blue table lamp // Walnut book bin // Wall-mounted 1 – 5 bin 

What do you think?

Like I said, we’re keeping a lot of his existing decor — mostly the big items. And then we’ll be supplementing that with smaller pieces here and there.

So … what happens next?

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing the progress I’m making on Marshall’s room, plus other foolproof tips and tricks for creating a fun, colorful kids’ space.

So excited for you to come on this fun journey with me!

Don’t forget to check out all the other designers who are participating in this spring’s ORC. 

You can go see all their amazing design plans right here!

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Wednesday 13th of May 2020

I'm working with my son on ideas to update his room, so I'm excited to see how this turns out! Would love to know what you use to create a mood board. Thanks Kate!


Thursday 14th of May 2020

Thanks, Lori! I typically use Canva to create my mood boards -- it's so easy to use!


Tuesday 12th of May 2020

This is so great! Love all the photos (even the 'embarrassing' ones). Makes me not feel so bad about my little boys' room! Thanks for this post, and can't wait to see the progress!


Wednesday 13th of May 2020

Thank you, Jennifer! Yep, sometimes you have to just let the little ones have free reign over their room decor...but now that my youngest is inching toward five years old, it's time for a change!

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