Boys’ Room + Play Room

Growing up, I shared a room with my older sister. As a family of 5, we lived in a four bedroom home, so there was enough space for each of us to have our own, yet my parents used one of the rooms as an office and moved my sister and I in together. While we had our fair share of fights- as sisters do- we have always been incredibly close, and I have great memories of staying up long past our bedtime talking and playing on our twin beds across from one another.

When my husband and I found out we were expecting our third child, my first thought was how the room situation would change. We had enough rooms for everyone to have their own, but living abroad from family, we often have visitors so I wanted to keep a guest room open. The solution was to move both Dexter (4y) and Shepard (2y) together up into our playroom. All the furniture was purchased here in the UK, but I wanted to use the decor and finishes we already had from Dexter’s room back in the states. (Below)

The Tent, Bedspread (updated version here), photos (Homegoods), and pillows (Target 2017) all came with us from Chicago to the UK.

When we arrived in our new home in London, we had a beautiful room in the top level that was bright and colorful and perfect for a kid’s room. Skylights and brightly painted storage doors and pull shades made the room light, airy and an exciting place to play.

The first piece of furniture we bought for this room was this Hemnes daybed from Ikea. With storage below for toys and bedding, and the option to pull it out to extend it into a double bed, it was the perfect piece for the room to relax, play, and an extra bed for guest overflow in addition to our guest room. The decor pieces I had from Dexter’s previous bedroom fit perfectly.

Since we don’t plan to purchase a car here and are a bit intimidated to drive at all since the lanes are opposite directions, Ikea online became our best option to furnish this room, as well as the entire house. We still own our home and furnishings back in the states, and we don’t plan to move any furniture back with us when we return, so we were very mindful of a strict budget when decorating this home. The egg chair, side table (set of two), rug, reading lamp, and reversible easel (from US), are all from Ikea as well. Plush underground train and double decker pillow are from High Resolution Design (purchased on

The reading nook just may be my favorite corner of the room. I lined the floor with an extra mattress topper from Ikea for a cushioned layer, and propped the tee pee from Dex’s old room. It has really become a plush corner to throw all the boys’ stuffed animals. I found the perfect book shelf at the charity shop in my neighborhood for £15 (retails new on Amazon for £150!). The ruler height chart is a sentimental piece we brought with us from the states. I had asked my father in law to make it and it’s where we measure and mark the boys’ height every six months. I love that it’s a piece that can come with us wherever we go!

This framed word art in the reading nook is another sentimental piece that my aunt and godmother made for us after Shep was born. She’s a talented graphic artist and gave me two copies in different color combinations so I could swap them out depending on the decor of the room.

Our room transition coincided perfectly with the online sale and we found bunk beds that were a perfect match to the Ikea daybed. They were a breeze to assemble and can also be taken down to use as two side-by-side beds. I’m hoping these can come back with us to the states when we move back. I found these duvets at M&S online and they are perfect with the bedspread we already had.

I’m a big believer of (inexpensive) rugs over carpet in kid’s rooms. Kids get sick, babies spit up, midnight potty training accidents are inevitable, and the occasional bloody nose happens. Having a rug over carpet is like holding an insurance policy on your beautiful permanent carpet. If the mess is too big to clean, you can roll it up and move it out.

This room was so much fun to put together and is now one of our favorite rooms in the house!

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