making it personal: J.'s big boy room is done

My oldest son is seven, soon to be eight.  After living in this house for over a year, he finally has a room that's all him.  

It was hard to be patient, but J. really didn't want me to anything to his room.  So I waited...and waited...and then he saw the mile marker signs from Rebel.reclaimed..  We spend a lot of time in northern Michigan and these signs really captured his heart.  I bought four signs to start and then decided to have more made, each with cities that were personal to J., and do a whole wall installation.

Everything in the room was approved by my son.  Even the wall color.  Instead of showing him "grey walls and a blue ceiling", I explained that I'd like to paint the walls the color of shark skin and paint the ceiling like the top of the ocean.  Sometimes, you have to sell your ideas.  Even to your kids! :-)

The poster over the dresser is from a shop in Chicago, it's vintage, and I only paid $5.  J. spends a week with my mom in Chicago every summer.  This year, he won this gumball machine while they were together.  I found the rowing paddle in my dad's garage.  SCORE!  The glass piggy bank was my husband's, and so was the dresser.  I'm happy because now both boys have a piece of my husband's childhood furniture in their rooms.

I found some fab hardware on clearance at Home Depot.  As always, hardware makes a huge difference in the whole feel of your room.

This whale watercolor was a splurge for me.  J. loves everything water/boat/ocean.  This was the perfect, original piece for his room.  If you're going to splurge on a piece for a kid's room, please let it be something that they can grow with or that you'd be willing to use somewhere else in your home.

This is a happy view from his bed.

J. wanted more green and white in his room.  So my mother in-law and I sewed these white linen drapes.  {My mother in-law also sewed the plaid blanket at the end of his bed.}  We decided not to hem the edges because we liked the roughness for a boys room.  Then I added this Kelly green wide ribbon to the leading edge.  This was incredibly easy because I used hemming tape.  Seriously, it took five minutes and if you can iron your clothes you can add trim to your drapes.

I found this darling book about boat terms when we were on vacation.  J. spends a week every summer with my dad on his boat.  (Yes, this kid has ridiculous summers.  I'm jealous.)

This is the last thing  J. sees when he leaves his room.  I can only pray he takes the advice!

I hope you like what we have done to his room!  It was very special to work with my son to create this space.  I hope he looks back with good memories on his room.

*If you haven't read my philosophy on big kid rooms, click here.*
*To see my youngest son's bedroom, click here.*

Source List
drapery fabric: Dwell Studio, Linen in White via JoAnn's
pinstripe blanket: via L.L. Bean, not available 
Nightstands: re-sale
Bed: already had
Tall Dresser: My husband's dresser from childhood
rowing paddle: found in garage
vintage Chicago map: shop in Chicago
lamps: re-sale
pendant: Ikea, no longer available


  1. Love your son's room, and I really love how you sold him on "shark skin and top of the ocean!" I often work to convince little girls that the "Disney Princess" look isn't as special as the "European Princess" look :)

  2. Classic and perfect, Abby. I've coveted the whale poster for a while now. Just a little jealous that J gets to gaze at it everyday. ;)

  3. Abby, I love it! What a lucky boy he is! I might be needing your help with space planning in our daughter's room! It's small & I am lost!

  4. It looks great Abby! I love the signs and the whale poster. It's so personal and I bet the color scheme will work for years to come!

  5. Love it all, Abby, it came out perfectly! Have a great weekend :)

  6. You've done it again! Another terrific boy's room! Love the colors and all the special items that have personal meaning to him. Wonderful :)

  7. Our boys are just about the same age (mine will be 8 on Monday) and a year later, he just got his mauve walls painted white. It's a start but I still have to get it in gear to finish his room :)

  8. Hey Abby! The sell on the colors was brilliant. I wonder if that kind of an angle will work when I do my 15 year old's bathroom. Love the personal details in this room.

  9. It's sweet! I love the colors and all the wall hangings. He must be so excited!

  10. *I'm* jealous of J's awesome room! I really love those drapes, too...just that raw edge and touch of color are so perfect! And the best part is that HE really loves it, too sweet (c:

  11. It came out so so great! Love the rough edge on the curtain panels! I need to get cracking over here - we've been here over 2 1/2 years and my boy's room still isn't done!

  12. What an awesome room for a young boy! I love all the great details that he approved. And you are one smart and observant mommy to give him the option of "shark skin" and "ocean top".

  13. It looks terrific Abby. I know your son must feel so good about his new room and the fact that he was able to help in the decision making. I especially love the signs painted with places of meaning for him.

  14. Your son’s room is looking awesome; I would like to decorate my room this way too. Thanks for this great post.

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Abby Manchesky Interiors is a boutique design firm based in Grand Rapids, MI. Combining the new traditional, vintage and a dash of the unexpected is her ideal. Contact Abby Manchesky Interiors for more information on available interior design services for clients near and far. abbyminteriors@gmail.com | 616.719.9400


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