We moved into our little 1,100 square-foot house in cottage country just over a year ago and one thing is for certain, we lack storage space! Our home has three bedrooms and two small bathrooms; however, after changing our mind and moving furniture around countless times, we now use the largest bedroom as a T.V. room/playroom/guest room. Very multi-functional, I know!
We bought our home knowing we were going to have the boys room together (Austin was in my tummy still with two more months to grow). I am pretty certain that I forgot how much stuff actually comes with a newborn baby and an additional child in general ha! Anywho, we originally made the largest bedroom the playroom/bedroom but quickly realized that would never work. Brooks – our oldest – still needed a place to play and wind down before bed. Let’s just say he isn’t the quietest almost-five-year-old which means putting his toys away while Austin slept was just never going to work. This prompted our most recent, completed renovation: Office to Boys’ Bedroom.
We were using our smallest bedroom as an office because, to be honest, it is too small to be a comfortable guest room with a queen or even full-size bed and we needed a storage room in the house since the garage was already full. The room is an awkward shape and just under 88 square feet. We needed to fit a single bed, a crib, a nightstand and a closet into that space which meant we were going to have to get creative (and not break the bank). Needless to say, out went all of our shelves with boxes and office supplies along with the desks and chairs in preparation for renovations.
I have 3 very important tips when renovating a room yourself while living in your home (all three of which we should have followed).
Tip #1: Expect the unexpected and plan time for it.
If you think a project is going to take you three days from start to finish, give yourself four days. This was what the room looked like after we cleared out all of our office supplies and furniture. We thought to ourselves, “Ok. Take down the crappy particle board on the ceiling, recess the ceiling fan, put up some drywall, do a little mudding and sanding, add some fresh paint, add crown and baseboards and a closet organizer and BOOM, done. Of course, we ran into a minor setback right from the start. Our insulation was black and moldy due to an old water leak from before the previous owners replaced the roof.
Given how important indoor air quality is to me, I wasn’t about to cover that dirty mess up and call it a day. Therefore, M and I removed all of the old insulation, disinfected the wood supports with Young Living’s Thieves cleaner and installed new insulation. This added an entire day on to the three days we had planned for.
Tip #2: Arrange for childcare during your room renovation if you are on a time crunch and doing it yourself.
While some people are amazing at multitasking, I am not one of those people. Since both M and I were going to be working together on the room renovation over his weekend off work, we made plans for Brooks and Austin to spend the weekend with Grandma and GrandAuntie so that we could make the most of our limited time. Renovations that drag on forever are THE WORST (trust me… we have several of those happening too) and having little ones crawling and running around in the middle of pulling insulation and painting just screams messy disaster! Besides, getting to have a sleepover was way more exciting for the kids than watching us work.
If you aren’t lucky enough to have family close by or a trusted babysitter, you may consider including your kids if they are old enough by giving them basic jobs like hauling out old wood or sweeping. Just be sure they have proper safety gear like safety glasses or goggles, closed toe shoes, hard hat, etc. depending on the task at hand. If your littles are too young to help, you may consider giving yourself a longer time line and completing tasks in the evenings.
Tip #3: Wear the proper safety gear
This seems like a totally obvious tip especially since I just talked about getting your kiddos geared up. However, wearing the proper safety gear is just as important for you and whoever you are doing your renovation with. M and I weren’t overly concerned with safety when we started and we should have been. While M was wearing a mask when pulling insulation, I was not as I was mainly just hauling it out of the room as he was tearing it down. This was a BIG rookie mistake. I am sure that I inhaled some tiny particles as my throat became very scratchy and sore and I was having coughing fits for the entire day. Fortunately, a bit of hot tea helped calm it down, but it was VERY uncomfortable and unlike anything I had ever experienced. I will definitely be wearing a mask next time.
Anywho, we were able to turn this tiny third bedroom into the boys’ sleeping room in just four days. Instead of placing the crib in the “nook” next to the bedroom door, we mounted a closet organizer from Home Depot which gave us a tremendous amount of clothing/storage space which is key for a family of four living in a smaller house. I also found that exchanging about ten inches of hanging space to hang a cloth, cubby organizer was definitely the way to go for all of my infant’s onesies and tiny clothes.
The other necessary components to the boys’ room were:
- A wavy fern to clean the air and improve the overall air quality
- A Himalayan salt lamp to emit negative ions into the air to counter all of the positive ions given off by traditional lights and electronics that can negatively affect our sleep patterns (acts as a great night light)
- An essential oil diffuser (I prefer my Young Living Dewdrop diffuser with an automatic shutoff) to purify the air, boost immunity and support calm emotions at bedtime. To learn more about essential oils, please connect with me!
- A cool mist humidifier to help settle the boys’ airways when they catch a cough or cold
- A night table to put everything on (This one came free from M’s grandmother’s house. We just painted it white to freshen it up and get rid of its stuffy smell.)
- Dream catchers to ward off unpleasant dreams (Brooks really likes “cleaning out” the bad dreams once and a while)
Here are the After Photos of the boys’ finished bedroom. Please let me know what you think in the comments section. XO