June 26, 2022

Noah's Bedroom Makeover Reveal!

Well, I accidentally published this early! But since yesterday's post was kind of a downer non-post, I'll just leave this up until tomorrow night.

Finally! I've been wanting to post these pictures all week, but I knew it was going to take awhile (prepping pictures is a slow-going process). When I gave our entire house a makeover a few years ago (it was in 2018, can you believe it?), I gave each of the kids' rooms a makeover as well.

I removed the textured ceiling, drywalled the gap where the crown molding had been, sanded sanded sanded, painted the walls, installed new casings for the doors and windows, and got new bedding. I also remodeled the closets a bit, which I'll explain below. (You can get all the details and pics of their bedroom makeover on this post). 

It looked great! But the kids didn't love the color after a year or so. Eli wanted khaki-colored walls and olive green bedding. Noah wanted more Japanese-esque decor. He wanted to get rid of his bed and put a Japanese-style mattress on the floor (it's surprisingly very comfortable!). He wanted a table that was very low to the floor with cushions for seating. For his birthday last year, we went to Menard's and picked out the materials to build the table. Then he helped me make it and stain it.

He also wanted a very minimal desk (no drawers--just a corner table for his computer monitors). I made his desk as well. And that's the extent of it. No dresser or nightstand (by his own request); just the Japanese-style mattress, the table (that he put in his closet when not using it for homework), and his desk. 

Here are some "before" photos:

This is a panoramic pic, so it looks a little warped

This is from after pulling everything out of his closet. I put his mattress in my closet so it wouldn't be in the way and the cats wouldn't be all over it.

The next step was putting everything back into the closet (if that's where it should belong). It looked a million times better! (My only regret was that I didn't have time to paint his closet doors. I'd like to paint them black.)

Once I got all of that stuff off the floor, I moved his desk to the middle of the room and covered it with a sheet to protect the computer. (The great thing about his having scarce furniture is that it's easy to prepare the room to paint!) I added a coat of Kilz 2 primer. Love that stuff!

Of course, the county inspector was there to make sure everything was up to code:

I absolutely LOVED the color once it dried. I can't really describe it--kind of like a very light tan/gray.

The biggest part of this project for me was to make shelves. I had no idea what sort of shelves to make and each time I started, I ended up scrapping them because they just didn't look right. I was looking online for inspiration and I came across this photo:

I really liked it and it seemed very simple to make. Since I had only 24 hours until Noah was going to be home, I decided to go for it. I actually cut down 2x4's for the ends:

I had a large piece of sanded pine that I used for the shelves themselves. I rounded the edges of all of the pieces just the tiniest bit with the router and then I sanded all the pieces well.

I couldn't decide how I wanted to piece them together. Glue wouldn't be strong enough for the butt joints. I didn't want pocket holes because they would be easy to spot. I didn't have time to use things like dowels (I still need to build a dowel jig anyway), so I just simply screwed in the ends and filled in the holes when I was done. Not perfect, but since I was painting and not staining, it worked. I spray painted the end pieces black:

I painted the shelves gray. I normally would have used oil-based paint for his shelves, but since there wasn't time to let it dry, I just used the paint I used when I painted the garage. It has enamel in it, so it was a little more durable than regular latex.

That dried super quickly. I was SO excited to put the shelves together! I spent way too long in Noah's room leveling and measuring to get them just to my liking.

(The little whimsical stuff that Noah has are sentimental things from friends.) Here are both shelves together:

I absolutely love how they turned out.

While the shelves were in the works, I temporarily brought in a piece of furniture that I'd been wanting to paint for a long time. I had it in my bedroom, but it wasn't crucial or anything. I figured once the shelves were done, I could take it back out. But when Noah saw it, he LOVED it. He wanted to keep it in there.

From that point, it was just adding a few decorations. I bought a few things that I thought were kind of "zen" and put those around. I also got a duvet cover with Japanese cherry blossoms (the duvet cover is actually a cream color and not pink, how it looks; but regardless, Noah loves cherry blossoms and he was very happy with the duvet cover). 

I got a little rock fountain, some tiny fake potted plants, a cherry blossom tree night light, a neon ramen sign (love this!), and a cherry blossom incense holder (he likes incense). The area looked kind of peaceful and calm when I was done. Especially when we turned the lights off and it was dark except for the few lights from the ramen sign, the fountain, and the cherry blossom tree night light.

Then came the posters/canvases. He has several of them! (Actually, there are still two more that we haven't hung up yet.)  Only a couple of the posters/canvases had a way to hang them or frame them or something. Taking a cue from the Japanese Star Wars poster, which has strips of wood with magnets to place on the top and bottom, holding the poster in place (rather than taping it to the wall).

I didn't use magnets, but I did cut a bunch of very thin strips of wood and stained them the color of the table we made last year. Then I used double stick tape and wood glue to glue them together with the edge of the poster sandwiched in between. I tied a knot on each end of a long piece of jewelry cord and stapled it to the back of the top piece. Hard to explain--maybe the pictures will help:

And here you can see them hung up:

You can see here that I put his round table and the cushions by his desk; before, he just crammed them into the closet.

Here are some final before and afters:

The final product:

I can't even describe how excited Noah was when he saw it! He hugged me about 12 times and said "I love you! Thanks for doing this!"

Totally worth all of the blood, sweat, and tears ;) 

If anyone is curious about the products, here are the links on Amazon (these are affiliate links, meaning I may get a small commission if you use them). But I bought everything with my own money:

This was a labor of love for Noah's 18th birthday. I wanted to do something special for him that wasn't just about money. While it wasn't super cheap, it was probably less than $300 (including the Sherwin Williams paint)--very cheap for a makeover like this. My favorite parts are the shelves and the ramen sign! I'm just so glad he loves it :)


  1. Wow that's gorgeous. You are SO talented when it comes to stuff like this!

  2. It really is stunning Katie! You are a fantastic craftsperson.

  3. Wow, the bedroom looks great! I particularly love the shelves. I'm glad he was so happy with the results. You should feel proud of yourself--you are so talented when it comes to any kind of home renovation or DIY projects!

  4. This is gorgeous! Wow you have such an eye for home improvement! What an absolutely fabulous birthday gift!!

  5. Holy smokes! That's amazing. I'd LOVE that bedroom too. In the lead up you kept telling us not to expect much. I'd say as a mom you knocked it out of the park. WTG!

  6. Those shelves turned out SO good!! I can see why you were so pleased with yourself!

  7. What is the name of the color? Love it!

  8. I've been reading your blog before I'd ever even considered having kids, and now I have a 2-year-old boy. You and your boys are the embodiment of how I want my relationship with my son to be! You are such a thoughtful mom and your boys clearly love you and seem to be growing into amazing humans :)

  9. Since Noah loves Japan and presumably the language and culture too, he might be interested in teaching English there after college. It's pretty easy to get a teaching job there as long as you have an undergrad degree in any subject and are a native English speaker. I had a great experience living there for a couple years after college. Just a fun idea!

  10. Love the shelves and how you did the posters! So clever!!!


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