Kids Room Redo: The Plan and Prep

When we bought our house, the kids room had lime green walls with a chocolate brown accent wall. It was fine – but definitely not our style. We loved the floors, which run seamlessly through the whole upstairs (minus the bathroom and garage entry). They are a beautiful, medium toned wood like laminate. We also loved the generous closet and bigger room size.

Kids Room Before

But I was craving a little more calm on the walls so we decided to paint here first, as all the other colours in our house are more neutral and not begging so much for a fresh coat of paint. The trim also needed to be painted as it was only primed (as is the rest of our house) when the previous owners installed it.

We also wanted to add an overhead light (as they only had a switched plug), upgrade and move the baseboard heater, add more built in shelving to the closet and replace the damaged ceiling, which were all before painting jobs. So we decided to tackle it all in one go and get all the messy jobs done at once. I was so excited to start in on it. (What can I say? Making things functional and pretty makes me happy). We moved the kids into our room where they got to camp out for a week and a half while we worked away in the evenings and weekends to get it done. It was great to have it fully as a work zone, even though we pushed to get it done in good time so the kids could have it back, it was so much easier to do the work without having to clean it back up for living space between every job.

Kids Room Makeover

First, Dan added an electrical box to the ceiling so we could have a switched overhead light. His Dad is an electrician and he worked quite a few summers with him so he’s great at this kind of stuff. It made such a difference in the room, especially to our sometimes scared of the dark little girl. It really brightened the room up. He also added a second switch in case we ever want to add a overhead fan in here, it can be switched separately.

Then we set out to build a little more storage into their good sized closet. It started out pretty standard – one shelf with a hanging bar below. I thought we could get better use of space, especially with the kids little clothes, if we built a row of cubbies up the middle of the closet and added a second hanging bar on the right side (leaving the left side with only one high hanging bar for Emma’s dresses, etc. as she grows). I also wanted to add a row of hooks below the high hanging bar to hold Emma’s purses. Seriously, that girl has more then I do!

Kids Room Makeover - Building a closet organizer

We built the shelving out of 3/4″ MDF and it was a nice Saturday afternoon project. So much more functional now.

Dan also moved the old baseboard heater from under the window and installed a newer, more efficient model on the wall to the right of the closet. With the baseboard moved I could then put up floor length curtains without them getting in the way of the heater. I love how they soften up a room and I love that Emma can open or close them herself (we always close them before the kids nap or go to sleep at night so they get moved a lot). Emma even got out her tools to help.

Kids Room Makeover - Emma helping

We added new baseboard moulding where the old heater had been and some in the closet too, where there hadn’t been any before.

The ceiling was our last project before we could break open the paint. It was a textured plaster finish which wasn’t our favourite and the drywall itself was problematic. It was slightly saggy between the ceiling joists which resulted in waves across the ceiling. Not a good look. It seems like the drywall that was installed on the ceiling wasn’t thick enough which is why it tended to sag.

Kids Room Before - Ceiling

We debated between strapping and re-drywalling the ceiling or planking it with painted white boards. We decided to go with the planking as we both loved the look and thought it would be easier to install. We spent about two evenings working until midnight or so to get it done. We were very thankful the kids slept through all that hammering. We started out by trying a few hardboard paneling planks on the ceiling, but they weren’t rigid enough to hold their shape and had that same sagging between the joists. We considered using paneling adhesive to hold it up better but worried that the hardboard would then follow the waves in our ceiling as it didn’t have a good flat surface to adhere to. In the end we decided to go with the safe option and bought beautiful thick pine tongue and groove boards, which finally gave us a nice flat ceiling.

Kids Room Makeover - Planked ceiling boards

It definitely helped having both of us to work on this project together. I held up and fit one end of the board while Dan fit and hammered a few nails in the other end. Then I’d measure and go cut the next board in the garage as Dan finished nailing the current board in place. We finished off the edge with some simple quarter round. It was so exciting to see it take shape.

Kids Room Makeover - Filling holes with dap

I finished up the prep work by filling all those little nail holes with dap and sanding them smooth. The ceiling wasn’t so hard as it was easier to sand but the trim was a little tricky to get smooth. I also filled a lot of small cracks in the plaster walls and a few nails holes. It feels like it takes forever, but smooth trim and walls are so worth it! A lot of white sanding dust later – and we were finally ready for paint.

To read part two of the kids room redo go here.


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