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Princess no more: Bedroom makeover

Parenthood is bittersweet. On the one hand, we want to see our children grow and mature. On the other hand, we want them to remain children forever. Sometimes it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that my 11 year old daughter will never be 4 years old again. Call me Captain Obvious, but the bottom line is that my little girl is growing up. That became even clearer when it came time to redecorate her bedroom.

First of all, I should explain that our daughter has always had ownership in her room.  When she was 5, in 2007, she picked out typical princess-y paint colors: lavender and pink.  A Cinderella rug, a Tinkerbell comforter and ceiling lights with pink and purple flowers all fit that design aesthetic.  Who would have ever thought her tastes would change?

A couple of years later, she informed us that she no longer liked the “little girl colors” and couldn’t wait to redecorate. But we had drained our bank account for the major renovation. To buy some time, I promised that we would redecorate when she was 12. This past January, for her 11th birthday, we gave her the gift of a commitment to do her room makeover this year. 

“The most affordable home improvement”

Any “expert” will tell you that the most affordable home improvement is painting. And they are right, to a degree. Painting a room will set you back about a couple hundred dollars or less for paint and supplies. However, updating the look of a room doesn’t stop with the paint. Window coverings, floor coverings and other accessories can quickly add up. 

Painting is one of my favorite home improvement projects.  I know exactly what I need to do the job (no rushing out to the hardware or building supply store mid-project) and I am pretty accurate in estimating the amount of time I need to finish each stage of the job.  And painting results in instant transformation–  it’s very satisfying to watch the new color rolling onto the walls.

Spending spree

In case you’re wondering about the smell of burning plastic, it is likely my credit card.  My daughter and I gave the old Mastercard got a pretty good workout when we went on a shopping spree for her bedroom makeover.  Normally, the kid never wants to go near Home Depot, but on this day she insisted on coming with me to buy the paint.  Quality time is quality time.

After almost four hours, we had given Home Depot and a couple of other stores hundreds of dollars in exchange for a minivan full of stuff.  Besides the paint and supplies, we had also bought ceiling fixtures, an area rug, night stand and a tower fan. 

Time consuming project

We moved most of her things out of her room and stuffed them in the guest room to give me enough room to work comfortably.

To make room for painting, we jammed a lot of stuff into the guest room.

It took me one weekend to paint the bedroom.

With the dormers, and the cathedral slope, this room takes a lot of painting.  Rolling is the easy part.  All the cutting in around the trim, in the corners, and at the edge of the ceiling is very time consuming.  It took me about four hours to apply each coat of paint, turning into a human sweat stain thanks the increased humidity level. Frankly, I hope it’s a very long time before I paint this room again, if ever.

fresh paint
The new paint color (“Sandingham” by CIL) replacing the old lavender.

Quest for curtains

We spent about four hours shopping for curtains and other stuff and pretty much came up empty-handed. We hit four or five stores, but selection and affordability were an elusive combination. After returning home and spending a few minutes online, we found a website,, (Sew Custom Curtain Company) which specializes in animal print accessories (which is my daughter’s design aesthetic).

The animal print trend has largely come and gone, so we had no delusions of being able to find leopard print curtains in any stores. We had told the kid that it was an unrealistic expectation and she was prepared to settle for something else.  Needless to say that finding this website was very fortunate indeed. Had we done some research beforehand, we could have saved four very long hours of going from store to store. 

The curtains were shipped from California. We received them in Ontario, Canada a week and a half after placing the order.

The sitting area.

ClosetMaid Cubeicals Organizers

We previously had two white 9 cube Cubeicals units in the bedroom. They provided ideal storage for Barbies and other toys that could be tucked away into the fabric drawers. But our daughter’s taste had outgrown the white laminate shelves and pastel colored drawers. A single 8 cube unit in espresso finish is a more sophisticated choice and fits neatly under the dormer window.

Bookshelf and CUBEicals for storage and display.

In general, Cubeicals get mixed reviews.  The most common complaint cited by consumers is that the product looks or feels cheap.  While I agree that we are not dealing with fine furniture here, I feel that the quality is on par with what one might reasonably expect from a particle board / laminate shelving unit at the same price point. Cubeicals are worth consideration when basic functional organization is needed.

No longer a child

Her large collection of Webkinz and other stuffies, save a few special ones, will be going into a storage container.  She’s not quite ready to get rid of them completely, but realizes that she has outgrown them.  She plans to sell her Littlest Pet Shop collection, a large doll house, and assorted Barbies and other “toys.” 

bedroom makeover
Sleeping and sitting area (with ottoman open in chair position).

This bedroom represents our daughter’s transition out of childhood. Officially, she is a ‘tween, but her decorating choices reflect an impressive level of maturity.

In case you’re wondering, the dog is real.

Makeover summary

In addition to fresh paint, the makeover includes the following:

  • Two new light fixtures (to replace the ones with pink and purple flowers)
  • Two sets of curtains (to replace the pink ones)
  • Area rug (to replace the one featuring Cinderella)
  • 6 ft bookshelf (to replace two smaller bookshelves, taking up less floor space)
  • Comforter and other bedding (so long, Tink, hello animal prints)
  • Bean bag chair
  • Storage bench (replacing toy boxes)
  • Stereo with iPod dock and CD player

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