It was the Greek philosopher Aristotle who said that “Change in all things is sweet.” However, if he’d ever had to endure the emotional experience of converting a baby’s nursery into a bedroom more suitable for a toddler or preschool-aged child, then he might have said, “Change in all things is bittersweet” instead. A large part of my pregnancy was spent carefully selecting shades of blue and green for bedding and accessories to match the Noah’s Ark themed wall mural. While the theme was as adorable as ever, it no longer suited the tastes of my son who had recently discovered the popular Disney Cars character, Lightning McQueen.
Where had the time gone? It seemed like just the day before that he was learning to put the pieces in his wooden animal puzzles, and now he was climbing on top of the changing table and pretending that it was a race car. Regardless of whether I was ready or not, my little boy was letting me know that he’d outgrown the nursery, and it was time for an interior design overhaul.
Depending on what color you selected for paint or wallpaper treatments, you may get away with leaving them in place. Because my son’s walls were pale blue to begin with, my husband and I decided to remove the existing wall murals and update with some that reflected the new theme. The old decals came off easily, peeling away from the wall without harming the paint or leaving any unflattering residue behind.
However, our son’s enthusiasm made it difficult to install the new wall murals. His desire to help was much stronger than his ability to provide any real assistance. Finally my husband came up with a plan that worked out for everyone. Working quietly during our son’s Saturday afternoon nap, my husband and I were able to put the new decals up in just a couple of hours. When our son woke up, you can probably imagine his excitement. All we heard for the rest of the day was, “M-Keen! M-Keen in my room!”
We replaced the carpet when initially designing the nursery. There was no way I was going to pay to replace carpet that was just a couple of years’ old and still in perfect shape! My mother-in-law found the perfect solution – a large area rug printed with a road and popular buildings found in a city, like a post office, a fire station, and an airport. It not only provided an economical way to update the floor treatment, but also caught bits of snack and spills from leaking sippy cups before they could soak into the actual carpet underneath.
Along with removing the changing table, my husband and I used the feature on our son’s bed to convert it into a youth bed. It saved us from buying a new bed and we were able to use the existing crib mattress. While we did buy a new comforter to match the new theme, we continued to use the same sheets and pillowcases. Because the dresser matched the bed and was of solid wood construction, we found transportation drawer pulls that were a better match than the plain wooden ones.
Updating the accessories was the most fun part of redecorating our son’s room. When time came for my son’s birthday, friends and family bought him toys, pillows, and even a lamp featuring characters to match the theme. A bit of searching online produced a wooden sign for his bedroom door that displayed not only the movie characters, but also his name in bright, capital letters.
The end result was something that fit our family’s needs on multiple levels. With the baby furniture gone, the room was safe enough that we were now comfortable letting our son play in his room upon waking up from his nap. And with the former pastel-colored theme gone, our son was happy to see bright, colorful characters from his favorite movie in every part of the design.
Whether you are looking for ways to convert your little boy’s nursery into more of a big boy theme or searching for advice about how to decorate a little girl’s bedroom, plenty of information exists online to help parents both prepare for and endure the transition. If you’re completely stumped and arent’ sure what theme will fit your toddler or preschooler, try asking them for suggestions. After all, your child is the one who will have to sleep there.
Freelance writer Melissa Cameron and her husband have three kids and an assortment of nephews. While she is fond of all the boys, when a niece finally arrived Melissa was tickled as pink to find wall décor for girls at www.whimsicalroomdecor.com. When she’s not writing or visiting with her family, Melissa spends her time playing chess, watching old comedy movies, and upcycling old sweaters into a plethora of new items.