Boy’s Bedroom: The Reveal

boy's blue bedroom little greene blue sky 103
Little Greene Blue Sky

So here it is: No 2 Son’s bedroom reveal. Two weeks ago it looked like this (that’s without a roof for those of you who can’t be bothered to click the link). It’s a small L-shaped room belonging to, possibly, the messiest person I have ever met.

We have tried all sorts of storage solutions over the years – wardrobes, shelves, hangers, drawers. None of it works. It all ends up on the floor. The most progress we ever made was the time he spent 20 minutes hanging everything on the handles of the chest of drawers.

Faced with a small room, a large mess and a restricted budget (we hadn’t planned on doing this room but the ceiling had to come down and the walls needed insulating so we had no choice), I came up with the following plan.

boy's bedroom blue and charcoal

The bed and desk would be built as one continuous platform in an L-shape around the room. This makes the bed high enough to store things underneath while the desk was kept to 40cm wide. This is big enough for a lap top,  in a larger room I might have gone wider but this works because it’s long so it doesn’t need quite as much depth. There are also a couple of small holes drilled at the back to pass cables through from underneath. If your child is younger you could add a rail to make it safer for them.

The space at the bottom of the bed was used for shelves. Or as he decided on moving in: “my display units”. The rest of the books are under the bed. Where *sighs* they will probably remain.

blue walls hanging pendant light black desk

Ah yes, under the bed. The solution was to buy three white boxes on wheels from Ikea (the wheels make them easier to move on carpet – we have used the normal boxes – trust me you need wheels) into which will go pyjamas and pants, weekend trousers, tops and in a fourth, blue, the dirty laundry. In theory – and we are only two days in – the boxes are pulled out, the clothes thrown in or taken out with ease and hey presto. He’s 11, he doesn’t need his clothes ironing. By the way, you can buy lids for these boxes. Obviously that will look better but I know from bitter experience that that will complicate the procedure so I didn’t bother. It has to be that simple.

The school uniform (the bit that needs to be more presentable) will hang on a rail of shaker pegs on the wall above the cushions in the picture below. It hasn’t arrived yet but when it comes it will have seven pegs and will hold five white shirts, one pair of black trousers and a blazer. He will then also stop asking me when it’s the weekend because he can count the shirts. I am a multi-tasking design genius! Also, when he is older and does want to wear more shirts or ironed clothes, he can put hangers on the pegs. I imagine these will be mostly empty hangers for decorative purposes and the clothes will still be in the hoppers but he has that option.

black and white cushions charcoal carpet blue walls

Now you’ll have to excuse the builder’s lead coming through the window on this one. It’s going to be there for about a month so I had to work round it. The pegs will go on the right hand wall as you look at this picture.

And that’s about it. The lights are all Hektars from Ikea. I bought three metres of steel grey fabric cable from Dowsing and Reynolds for the pendant. It’s incredibly good value at £3.79 a metre only I did a last minute order and had to pay £11 for UPS next day delivery which basically doubled the cost but if you are more organised than me it’s very good value.

blue bedroom, grey carpet, built in desk and bed

The walls are Blue Sky by Little Greene. I would have chosen a slightly paler version myself (I love Gentle Sky) but he was adamant he wanted blue and he wanted THAT blue. Given that this is a boy who would refuse chocolate cake rather than eat one single pea, there was no point fighting that one. And actually, these photos don’t really do it justice, it is a gorgeous colour. The desk is Down Pipe (it’s all over the house and we had some left over) which he also wanted. Handily, as so did I. And the carpet is also dark grey.

The carpet fitter was completely terrified of Enid Cat, who matches the carpet and is therefore camouflaged, and kept shouting that she was creeping up on him. In fact, in that way cats have of knowing who dislikes them, she sat on the stairs just outside the room and stared at him without blinking for the entire two hours he was here.

I may have to find someone else to do the stairs up to the loft.


Anyway, there you have it. Do you like it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Looks so good & your comments made me laugh, both of my boys are messy and I’ve tried so many different storage ideas to try and work with their messy problem but nothing seems to work. My project over half term is my eldest son’s room (…lots of eye rolling from my husband and ‘I thought we were all done now & were having a quiet week without any ‘projects’!) So I will be pinching your ideas, especially the pegs for school uniform…just need to show him ‘again’ how to put clothes on hangers!! Love the lighting too & the duvet cover…and the carpet…and the desk idea!!

  2. Hi Kate

    Love what you’ve done for your son’s room! Works really well, cool yet still allowing him to be a boy! I’ve got a 9 year old son and I know he would think it is awesome! (his fav word)! Love the cushions too, where are they from? Have a good day 🙂

  3. wow – what a difference 2 weeks make – unbelievable.
    the room looks great. i think the shelves at the end of the bed work really well and love how they just are fitted into the space and the depth is perfect as i’ve made the mistake before now of making them too deep and then all you see is bare shelf when the book is pushed back(if you know what i mean)
    ikea lights work brilliantly and i was interested to read above how to try and change the flex with regards to the sealed unit. i’ve often seen these ‘fixed’ lights and not dared to ‘tamper’ with them but will try this for sure 🙂

  4. Hi Kate – love what you have done – a real boys room without been too childish. The one thing I can’t find mentioned however is where you sourced the bedding from – love the duvet! (OH and love your blog)

    1. Oh I’m so sorry – it’s because he’s had it for a while so I sort of didn’t even notice it – it’s from Ikea! They have some good bedding. It’s this one but there are lots of other great designs now I look again.

  5. I love it! In fact I’ve just written down the two LGC colours for my son’s room. We are just thinking about decorating and I’ve managed to get the colour selections down from red and black to blue and grey, thankfully! So, thanks for the inspiration. And I feel your pain on the clothes front……..boys hey!

  6. love it, the bed/desk works perfectly! Your son sounds like my daughter, we’re about to start decorating as soon as her exams are out of the way.

    1. She’ll probably never want to sit at a desk again then! If her room is bigger than 8ft (the bed wall) by 9-and-a-half (the desk wall) then I might take the desk out to 50cm (can you tell my age by the mixing of the measurements from inches to centimetres!) so it’s a little bit wider. His room is L-shaped but that’s the long part of the L – you come in by the short bit where there is room for hooks.

  7. What an amazing transformation! And in an incredibly short time frame.

    I also love the idea of plastic boxes for storing clothing. Two out of three of my kids find hanging things up impossible too!

    1. Well we’re only a few days in but it seems to be working well so far…..and if he can’t be bothered to throw clothes into an open box as he takes them off then there really is no hope!

  8. Looks lovely – really like colour combination. Just wondered how easy a job it was to change light flex – presume electrician did this? Did you also change ceiling rose or use original? Thanks.

    1. hi Jeni, thank you! Now the light wasn’t totally easy. It came with the ceiling rose which was great and about a metre of plastic cable, which I didn’t want. However, it was in a sealed unit at the top of the light (the ceiling rose end was easy to change). I couldn’t have done it but I showed it to the electrician who said he would “modify” it. I wasn’t there when he did it and there may have been some force involved but he managed it and there are no dents!

  9. Great job, I love the light and I will be pinching the shaker peg idea for my messy child (currently the school uniform gets dumped amongst her cuddly toys every evening).

  10. Really great. Love the colours, and it’s a super boy’s room. I think my two would have the Chelsea posters up by now, but what can you do?
    Good work, Kate.

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