January 28, 2020

The Boys' Bedroom Makeover Reveals (with a trillion pictures)

I know this isn't exactly a "revealing" post, because I did touch on this a little before. But after writing a step by step post about when I gave my utility/laundry room a huge makeover, I really had the urge to go back and write about each room individually with whatever pictures I happened to take in the making.

I wish I'd taken more progress pictures, ESPECIALLY true "before" photos, but it's still fun to see the transformation.

So, this post will be all about my boys' bedroom makeovers. For the record, Eli is 14 and Noah is 15. I wanted their rooms to fit their ages--not too childish, but definitely not boring.

The makeovers for the bedrooms were totally a surprise. My parents flew the kids down to Hilton Head, South Carolina for a week to vacation with them, and I decided that I was going to spend the entire week completely redecorating their bedrooms.

Little did I know, it was going to take longer because of a special project I'd planned (that didn't go as smoothly as I'd hoped).

My main goals:
  • Remove the textured (stomped) ceiling (most people think of textured ceilings as "popcorn" ceilings, but ours was called stomped. It's basically the same thing and just as annoying to remove).
  • Tape and mud the drywall seams between the top of the wall and the ceiling.
  • Paint the walls and ceiling.
  • Widen Eli's closet door (it was two feet wide, but his closet is six feet wide inside!)
  • Build shelves for the closets so that I could remove the standard wire shelves.
  • Get Noah a new bed frame.
  • Find some way to organize Eli's "stuff" (he collects everything and is so sentimental that he throws away nothing... it drives me crazy).
  • New bedding for both rooms, and just clean/organize in general.

All of this needed to be done within a week. No problem! ;)

I knew that Eli's closet was going to be the biggest pain and take the most time, considering we were going to widen the closet doorway. First, here are a few "before" pictures of Eli's bedroom (note the ceiling, crown moulding, and brown trim):

I wish I'd taken a photo of his closet before I removed the wire shelving, but here is what it looked like after I took removed the shelves and was ready to widen the doorway:

This is what it looked like after removing the shelving, moulding, and jamb:

I'd never done anything like widening a doorway before, so I had no idea what I was doing. After some research, though, I thought it would be pretty simple. The wall wasn't a load bearing wall (the convenient thing about remodeling "trailers"--manufactured homes, double wides, call them what you will) is that there aren't many load bearing walls. 

There was an electrical outlet to the right of the closet door, so I had to choose carefully where to widen the doorway. I decided to make the door four feet wide, increasing a little more on the left side than on the right, to avoid having to mess with the electrical outlet.

Using a level, a straight edge, a pencil, and a measuring tape, I drew out exactly where I wanted the new door to be. I was super nervous to start cutting through the drywall, but that part was easy. Another bonus (or not, as we later found out) is that the inner walls in a trailer are thinner than a typical stick-built home. I could easily cut through both layers of drywall with a jigsaw--super fast.

I ran into two problems with the doorway. The biggest issue ended up being the stupid electrical outlet. My brother, Brian, used to work with an electrician and knows electrical work really well. I sent him a picture, and he agreed that it was dumb on the manufacturer's part to do it the way it was (I just needed that validation before continuing). The electrical cord came up through the floor several inches to the left of where the outlet was.

This was a problem because that's where I'd opened up the wall. I didn't want to mess with the actual wiring to the outlet, so after removing the 2x4 on the floor, I cut a "well" for the cord to pass to the outlet without having rewire anything.

This is what it looked like after removing the drywall:

Because of removing the wall, there were bare spots of where the carpet would be. Thankfully, Jerry came to the rescue after work and decided to install some leftover luxury vinyl plank flooring we had. So, Eli's closet had the plank flooring instead of carpet, and I really liked the look!

The second problem we ran into was a door jamb. Nothing is standard in a trailer! The door jambs are thinner in both width and thickness. I needed it to be 1/2 inch by 4 inches, and I didn't want to spend hundreds of dollars buying finished oak. None of the door jamb kits would work. It was very hard to find finished wood that was 1/2 inch thick.

Finally, I found some MDF with a gray coating on it that would work. It wasn't ideal, but it was the best I could do--and it was still better than the jamb that was there before. (Now that I have a table saw, I can totally make my own door jambs!). Using my brother's Paslode finishing nailer, I was able to set the door jamb pieces into place and nail them to the studs. Then I just had to put trim around it to cover the edges. I was impressed at how it was coming along!

It was the perfect size for the bifold doors, thankfully. I don't know why I never thought of it before, but bifold doors are fantastic for closets! They save so much space because they don't have to swing open. Jerry, who was off work for the week after the first two days of my working solo, was able to help--and I never would have gotten the rest done without him! 

Oh! When I was removing the shelving from Eli's closet, I found this drawn on the wall, and my heart almost couldn't take it. It was so cute! When it came time to paint, I just couldn't do it.

I also removed some trim from inside the closet that covered the gaps in the corners (the drywall hadn't been finished in the corners or at the ceiling, so that was another spot that needed tape and drywall compound--i.e. mud).

Once we got Eli's doorway done (which took about a day and a half!) we got to work on the ceilings. 

Here are some "before" photos of Noah's room:

This is the ceiling before:

First, I removed all the cheap, ugly crown moulding. Which, of course, revealed the gap between the top of the wall and the ceiling. Next, Jerry and I started scraping the texture off of the ceilings.

(Here is a post I wrote a post about how to remove a textured ceiling). 

This is super messy and a huge pain, but it's totally worth it in the end. After removing the texture, we had to fill in the little nicks with drywall compound as well as put a thin layer of drywall compound over the seams in the ceiling to make the drywall the same thickness throughout.

Then I got to work taping and mudding. Jerry is not good at this at all, so it was up to me to do both bedrooms and both closets. There is a learning curve to this, so the more rooms I did in the house, the better I got at it.

Basically, you apply drywall compound to the wall and ceiling along the edges (about 4-6 feet in length at a time); then you place a strip of drywall tape (folded along the crease down the length) and push it into the drywall compound. 

Then, using a drywall knife, you run the knife along the tape, which presses it to the wall/ceiling and removes excess compound. Once it's in place, you add another layer of compound along the whole length, and then use a drywall knife to scrape along the length of it to remove excess. If you are careful, it will make it very smooth and you won't see the tape underneath. 

It's a thin coat, so you have to let it dry overnight and then apply a second coat (not using the tape--just adding another layer of drywall compound). Once the second layer is dry, you sand it all smooth against the wall and the ceiling, so it looks seamless. I watched a lot of YouTube videos before doing this, but now I feel like an expert ;)

I wrote more about this and showed a few pictures on this post about my utility/laundry room makeover.

To finish the ceilings, we had to sand the heck out of them until they were smooth (this is the worst part of making over any room--sanding above your head is SO annoying and tedious). It still won't *look* great, but it'll be smooth. And that's where the paint comes in.

I used Sherwin Williams ceiling paint, and I hated it. I put on so many layers and I still didn't like how it looked. I went back to Sherwin Williams and explained, and they then told me that I would like the "special" contractors' ceiling paint. It's the stuff they sell to contractors! Why don't they sell it to everyone if it's better?

I didn't learn this until I did the laundry room after I'd already done almost the entire house with the crappy paint, so the boys' rooms have (several layers of) the paint that I really don't like. Anyway, ceilings look a million times better once the paint is on and it's all nice and smooth. (I later installed ceiling fans in each of their rooms)

After the ceilings were done, it would be all downhill. Eli's door jamb (to the entrance to his room) was a little crooked, so I took that apart and put it back together, straightening it out. I'd also gotten new door slabs for the kids' bedrooms and hung those, then painted them white. (I'd done the door slabs last year when I did the rest of the house, but I hadn't done the interior part of their rooms yet. Nevertheless, here are the doors before and after.)

I added the vent above the doors in the bedrooms because in manufactured homes, they cut the doors short (high off of the ground) for cool air return to the furnace (see the "before" photo of the door). I always hated that, so when I put the new door slabs in, I added vents above the doors for the cool air return and had the doors go all the way down to the floor.

I removed the trim along the floor and eventually the casing around the window and doorways. I figured I'd replace the cheap stuff that came with the house with something (a little) nicer. I didn't spend a fortune, but the trim was definitely better than before. 

Before replacing the trim, however, we painted both of the rooms. I picked out a nice blue (see above photo) from Sherwin Williams--not as light as the Aviary Blue we got for the kitchen, but not as dark as a navy, either. I thought it would look good with white trim, and I could use it for both boys' rooms. It didn't look too childish, but it was still a fun color.

I painted along the ceiling while Jerry used the roller on the walls, and the painting was done pretty quickly. By this time, however, we were down to less than two days until the kids came home, and we were nowhere close to being finished.

Meanwhile, in Hilton Head...

On the night before the kids were due home, Jerry and I stayed up long after midnight measuring and cutting floor trim and the casings for the doors and windows. I was SO grateful to have bought that miter saw on Facebook Marketplace. In most of the house, I'd cut the trim by hand!

Jerry would take a measurement, letting me know if I needed "inside" or "outside" corners on the ends of the pieces; then I'd go to the garage, measure it out, make the cuts, carry it into the house. We'd put it in place and then I'd likely have to go shave off a tiny piece here or there, so I'd walk back out to the garage and repeat. We had to do this over and over again.

As we finished each piece, we used the Paslode (I eventually bought one of these from Facebook Marketplace, too, and I LOVE IT) to nail it to the wall. Once all of the trim was nailed in, we had to fill in the holes with wood filler and wipe the boards clean. Then I used caulk to fill in any gaps. Finally, I used a white oil-based paint to paint all of the trim, including the window sills, doors, and door jams. 

I got up super early in the morning (just a couple of hours after going to bed) to try to get things finished before the boys got home. I touched up the paint where it needed it, and then I started working on shelves for their closets. I was glad I'd bought finished boards so I wouldn't have to cut down plywood.

Eli's shelves were easy... I just used two 3/4" x 12" x 8-ft boards for sides, and then I cut some shorter ones to go horizontally between them. I used my Kreg pocket hole jig to screw the shelves into the sides. Then it was like one very tall bookcase and I stood it up in the center of his closet.

To maximize space, I put a dowel on each side of the closet to hang clothes, and I later added a shelf above them. 

Noah's closet was very deep, but not very wide. I wasn't sure how to best maximize the space there. Before, there were a few wire shelves on the back wall, which was also used for hanging clothes.

I decided to build shelves from wall to wall on the left side all the way up to the ceiling. On the right side, I hung a dowel like Eli's for hanging clothes, and then I added a shelf above that. I would have liked to put shelves in the back of the closet, but there wasn't enough space. When all was said and done, I basically created a very mini walk-in closet. I switched out his door for a bifold as well. 

For the finishing touches, I quickly went out to Target to get some new sheets and pillows. I also got some white blinds from Lowe's and I hung those last (I had to wait for the paint on the window sills to dry). 

I hung new ceiling fans in both rooms (I eventually want to paint the blades white or orange so they match the color scheme, but for now, they are brown). 

I painted all the closet doors orange. (That's a mirror on the right, not another door!)

I looked at a couple of stores for a bed frame for Noah, but I couldn't find what I was looking for. I wanted something simple and that didn't cost $500+. I thought a daybed would be cool for him, if I could find one that wasn't too girly. He likes to sit on his bed to do homework and hang out with friends, so a daybed would have been great.

I wasn't able to find anything before he came home, so I just made his bed with new bedding and then planned to do something about the frame later. 

When the boys got home, so much of their stuff was in the kitchen and dining room! We didn't have time to put it all back in their bedrooms before they got home. But they were very surprised and loved the look of their "new" bedrooms. 

I ended up finding daybed plans online that looked perfect for Noah, so I went to Lowe's and bought the materials I needed. It was super easy make, and the end result was fantastic! It was exactly what I was hoping for. I made the mattress pretty high up so that he could have storage under there, too (his room is pretty small). Here is the post about his bed frame.

The only thing I didn't touch in his bedroom was his desk. He'd bought it at a garage sale and painted it with my mom, so I didn't want to hurt his feelings by painting over it to match (he later told me that it wouldn't bother him at all, so I might still do it someday). 

For Eli's fishing stuff, I temporarily moved it all to the garage because I wasn't sure what to do with it in his room. But later, I made a "fishing station" for all a tenth of his fishing gear. Here is a blog post that I wrote about how I made his fishing station. I love how it turned out!

Eli has a ton of Rubik's Cubes, so I made some little shelves to hold all of those. I wrote a tutorial for those here

Now, I'll just throw a bunch of photos of random stuff at you. Before and after!

And there you have it! Two bedroom makeovers done in (almost) a week. Some of the things were done afterward, but the big stuff (ceilings, walls, doors, trim) were done. The boys are thrilled with their new rooms, and I LOVE the maximized space in the closets. We were able to get rid of bookcases and shelves in their rooms because of the maximized closet space, and now their rooms are more spacious. 

Now, if only I could get them to keep their rooms clean... ;)


  1. Wow! I'm super impressed! I do lots of DIY and have been doing it for years, but you are at another level, girl. Great job!

  2. i love these posts. it's so fun to see makeovers

  3. This is great! do you also do landscaping? =)

  4. I'm just reading this now after seeing the post about your most recent bedroom update. This is a crazy amount of work! I'm always impressed by how talented you are and how hard you work, but wow. It wore me out just reading it. Love your attention to detail.


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