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Oldest Boy’s Room Reveal

Gabriel is my oldest son.  He is eleven.

He also loves dinosaurs archaeology. (I say archaeology because Gabriel has struggled with the dilemma of his ongoing dinosaur fascination while in the 5th grade this year.  He wonders if he should be past it already.  Sweet boy that he is, I can’t bear to see his passions mocked, so I tell him to simply tell everyone he’s fascinated with archaeology…which, he very much is…and this semantic seems to keep other kids quieted down a bit 🙂

I really love this boy.

When we were talking about how to decorate his room, Gabriel knew he wanted a dinosaur theme.  However, being that he is eleven, my desire was also to create a space which would grow with him—a space that could easily be changed down the road should another interest prevail.

Gabriel and I agreed, naturally :-), that we would use nature-inspired colors.

As with many of my projects, Gabriel’s room was inspired by an idea I had seen in a magazine.  The following room served as a springboard for our ideas.  This picture had been in my file for quite some time…you’ll even see my scribbles of paint colors and other ideas, always a clue as to how much a picture speaks to me:

House Beautiful

I’ve always liked the look of two twin beds in a room, and with cousin overniters a common event in our home, extra sleeping space is always optimal.

The two additional elements that drew me to this room were the window fabric with bold ribbon trim and the large-scale patterned rug.  If I could find these two things to begin our design in Gabriel’s room, the rest would certainly come together easily (or so I hoped).

(I also LOVE the grasscloth walls, which would’ve been a wonderfully “natural” touch, but the cost was too high.)

Here is our finished product:


We painted the walls Valspar’s Caramel and the ceiling Valspar’s Pale Apple 2. The wall color actually came out a bit darker than I’d pictured, but we were trying to make it the color of jungle grass.  I think we did pretty well 🙂
I ordered the dinosaur sheets from Pottery Barn Kids.  I think they are the softest sheets I have ever touched.  No kidding.
I sewed the shams with the same fabric as the window cornice, using a simple envelope closure in back.
I know, a leather chair in an eleven year old’s room?  I found this on craiglist for cheap and thought it would add some nice masculinity to my growing son’s space 🙂
My first purchase for this room was the rug.  I loved the design, but still am not too crazy about the indoor/outdoor fabric underfoot.  I will probably change this out someday to make it softer for Gabriel; however, when I found it locally for $70—a 5×8 rug in a color and pattern I was looking for—I jumped on it.
Next came this amazing fabric for the window treatments and pillow shams.  I bought this at JoAnne’s from the home decor section during a 50% sale; I think I paid $15/yard but only needed 3 yards for both the cornice and two shams.
My husband, Greg, built a long, shallow, three-sided box for this cornice and then added a board on the very top so sunlight did not shine upward out of the cornice.  After I covered the board with batting and fabric, using my staple gun to the max, we attached it by securing three L-brackets to the wall (one on each side and one in the center).  We then applied one side of adhesive velcro to the L-brackets, and the other half of the velcro to three coordinating points on the cornice (on the underside of the top board).
I then just raised the whole thing up overhead, lined up the velcro strips, and set it gently on the velcroed L-brackets. Worked like a charm.

I am in love with these crown molding shelves.  The top portion of this shelf was originally purchased from our local one-stop shopping store, Fred Meyer.  From the back, we screwed a 1×4 board to the bottom of the shelf to give it more heft (I’d seen the idea in Restoration Hardware and loved the look).  I then primed and painted the entire unit as one and hung it from the original hardware.

Another fun feature we added were these green wooded “chalkboard” vinyl signs above each bed to serve as floating headboards.  After painting and glazing the wood, I applied some vinyl bubbles I’d purchased a year earlier at a friend’s vinyl party.

Greg attached two strips of wood to studs behind each sign to give them a 3-D effect (his idea, not mine!):


And once again we attached the signs with heavy duty adhesive velcro, although this time I reinforced the velcro on the back of the sign and the wood strips with staples.


The boys have already had lots of fun writing various messages on these signs, as you can imagine with the humor of a 9 and an 11 year old….enough said 🙂  I opted to clean everything off prior to photo time.

Here’s a picture of the two of them many years ago, so sweet.  Isaac, Gabriel’s younger brother, is on the ladder:



I refinished this desk above specifically for Gabriel’s room.  Here is a pretty rough picture of the $20 craigslist desk before:


So much better now, isn’t it?  I love the dark hardware against the creamy white.  I found the modern-style chair at Target.  It was a bit of a stretch for me, but I liked throwing something a little unexpected against the traditional lines of the desk.  Plus, this chair has very little visual weight, so it doesn’t crowd the space between the two beds.

A few touches of dinosaur art and literature:
…and this bedroom is finished 🙂
Okay, I’ll be honest…is a room ever really finished?  I’m still looking for a nicer boxspring and mattress for the bed on the right.  You’ll notice it’s a little “wimpier” than the one on the left.
Also, I think the beds need a tailored bedskirt to hide the boxsprings and finish off the look.  What do you think?  I’m not quite sure how I’ll do this, as it seems like it will have to be a very long skirt.  But I do have some old burlap curtain panels sitting around here somewhere…..hey, I think I may be on to something…


Reader Interactions


  1. I love it! And can I just say that a touch of burlap would go perfect in this room? I might need you to give me more detail on adding the 1×4 to those shelves – I really like that look.

  2. Looks great! I also like the idea of the burlap, it's on my current favorite list and would look great in this room. My favorite “bedskirt” solution for my boys rooms has been & still is an extra fitted sheet to cover the boxspring. A slightly different but coordinating pattern looks great and is easier under sideboards ~ but I still love the burlap idea. Tell Gabriel I wanted to BE an archeologist when I was his age and I am still fascinated with it! jolynn

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