The K Man started high school this year and — like many 14 year olds — thought about the possibility of bringing a girl home. And with it, the horror of one seeing his bedroom, decorated the same way for the 12 years we’ve lived in this home. From Scrabble-themed artwork to a bookshelf covered in Skylanders stickers, our teen boy decided it was time for a bedroom makeover. More specifically: a beachy bedroom with Nordic vibes. And the Parks Canada-inspired BeautiTone paint colours, with more gorgeous coastal chips than we could have imagined, offered just the right jumping-off palette.
I’m not sure all nearly-15-year-old boys would have as much interest in colour and design as The K Man, but this kid has a stellar eye and wanted to be heavily involved in every part of his beachy bedroom makeover. So we created a Pinterest board together and, from there, narrowed his desired aesthetic into a mood board:
Once we had a good sense of the overall direction, it was time for this toddler-to-teen bedroom transformation to begin!
Setting the “tone” with BeautiTone paint colours
The coastal feel was easy to achieve once we selected the two BeautiTone paint colours for the new space — available exclusively at Home Hardware: Northern Reflections, inspired by the Nahanni National Park Reserve (in Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories) and Great Blue Heron, inspired by the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia).
The K Man was really drawn to the Great Blue Heron colour, in large part because it reminded him of our time on Vancouver Island last summer, and wanted to use it for an accent wall. They really set the tone for the entire project, and we went with the Designer line in an eggshell finish, which went on beautifully in just two coats without a primer. In fact, the paint was so good that we may have even been able to get away with a single coat.
A sustainable beachy bedroom makeover
With Parks Canada’s mission of ecological integrity ringing in our ears, the idea of a beachy bedroom makeover with sustainability in mind was born. We upcycled as much as we could, bought new-to-us stuff from Marketplace and DIY’d a couple of pieces, too.
The only new furniture we bought was The K Man’s bed frame, which we commissioned a Montreal-based artisan to make by hand with sustainable lumber. This was not a budget-friendly project component by any stretch, but when your kid has broken his two previous bed frames, and is poised to keep growing for several more years, quality and durability had to be our priority.
BUT! We saved money and focused on sustainability in other ways:
- We kept things from his bedroom that still worked aesthetically, like his light fixture, night light (which is now his desk lamp) and all of his books and magazines
- We found a local furniture refinisher to give K’s existing dresser and bookshelf a totally new lease on life (just wait until you see their before-and-after pics below!), saving them from landfill and saving us a pile of money
- We bought a pre-loved desk from Marketplace and sent it off to the furniture refinisher to help make it look like it was part of the bedroom set (his existing desk was broken beyond repair); the desk chair was another Marketplace find
- We took a “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure” mentality to heart and found the perfect spot for someone’s discarded bamboo blinds
- I turned a mason jar into a vase with some leftover Great Blue Heron paint colour and a bunch of dried lavender
- I found a woman selling wood rounds she’d used for her wedding centrepieces, gave her a few bucks for one and turned it into a bedside table
- And forget pricey and impersonal artwork — I repurposed one of K’s “baby” art pieces I made for him when we first decorated his room at two years old, turning it into some trendy plaster art (and added some of the BeautiTone paint colours here and there to tie in more of those coastal colours). We also went through old family vacation photos and had K choose his faves; a series of nine hugely personal memories are now part of his desk décor
- Finally, I went shopping…at home! I found a nice duvet cover in the linen closet that worked really well in K’s new beachy bedroom and a bunch of décor items, such as a picture ledge and vase, that I’d put away after other home makeover projects
We also saved time by purchasing a LOT of items under one roof at Home Hardware, including the paint, jute area rug, curtain rod, closet door handles, bookshelf baskets, a faux banana leaf tree and planter, a gorgeous mirror and a cute indoor plant pot that I filled with a pup from one of our main floor plants. I’ll note the proper names and model numbers for each when I point them out later in this post. (Who knew that place was such a one-stop shop?!)
Beachy bedroom before & after pics (featuring BeautiTone paint colours)
Keep in mind that the before pics aren’t exactly what The K Man’s room looked like; we took these only after we’d replaced his bed frame for a third time! If you can imagine a large-scale, dark brown frame facing the opposite direction, firmly planted beneath the Scrabble art, taking up way too much space…that’s the true “before.”
Before and after teen bedroom makeover
Even my own mother walked into her grandson’s room and couldn’t believe it was the same space. With all of the dark wood furniture gone, lighter and airier window treatments with a curtain rod moved higher by nearly a foot, and a fresh coat of two complementary BeautiTone paint colours, The K Man now sports the best bedroom in our entire house!
Before and after old bedroom furniture makeovers
I need to kick off the individual befores and afters with our upcycled furniture because not only did it save us many hundreds of dollars, but it also meant we didn’t have to spend time visiting online or brick-and-mortar stores to go furniture shopping! “Upcycling” simply means that you’re reusing discarded objects or materials to make something of higher quality (or value) than the original.
We bought this dresser for K more than 12 years ago, and even though the whole thing isn’t solid wood, it was still sturdy enough to love for years to come. Our local craftswoman took off the excess around the top, sanded down the drawer fronts, changed out the hardware and lopped off the legs, replacing them with some mid-century modern-style ones. The difference is absolutely stunning:
This inexpensive bookshelf isn’t even wood, but by simply turning it on its side, painting it inside and out, topping it with a slab of wood and adding some hairpin legs, it looks like a much higher-end piece:
This Marketplace desk already had black metal legs, and by painting it the same white as the dresser and bookshelf and using the same pulls and knobs, you’d never know it wasn’t originally a complete set:
When we overhauled our living room last year, we saw how much bigger our space felt simply by moving the curtain rod higher, so we replicated that same cheat in K’s new modern teen bedroom:
Although K begged to have his rug replaced, that simply wasn’t in the budget. Instead, we opted for a large area rug to breathe new life into his flooring; and, I’ve gotta say, I was shook when I learned I could special order a stunning 8×11-foot jute rug at my local Home Hardware store for around the same price as what I’d seen at “discount” home goods retailers.
DIYs (two with BeautiTone paint colours!)
After spending more on my kid’s bed frame than I did my own, we wanted to try to cut costs wherever possible. We abided by the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra, shopped second-hand and repurposed decor items we already had at home when it made sense.
But do you think I could find a nightstand low enough for a low-profile platform bed? Nope. They were either all way too tall to make reaching for a glass of water in the middle of the night comfortable or they needed to attach to the wall, but the bed isn’t pushed up against the wall to account for an air vent.
Alas, what’s a thirfty mom to do…? Make her own! You’ll need a fairly level wood round, some sanding paper (or an electric sander if you’re fancy), a tack cloth, a good-quality synthetic brush and a clear polyurethane glossy coat — plus a little elbow grease — and the furniture legs of your choice; I went with black hairpin legs to match the bookcase.
I asked my local Home Hardware staff for advice on the sanding paper and brush, and they also suggested the tack cloth for removing even the finest particles after sanding. I’d never even heard of a tack cloth before this, but — boy! — did it ever work like a charm! I’ll be sharing the full time-lapsed DIY in an Instagram Story this week, and I’ll link it here once I do.
But there were two DIY projects that incorporated the BeautiTone paint colours we used: a vase and plaster art.
The vase was the easiest DIY ever; you can simply find an old mason jar, ditch the lid and pour about half a cup of leftover paint into it, then roll it around on its side to coat the inside of the jar completely. Pour any excess back into your paint can. Let it sit for a few days to dry and then add some twine and dried grass or flowers. Easy peasy!
Plaster art, on the other hand, takes a bit of patience. It’s a very forgiving medium, but getting super-smooth edges and making designs you’re happy with takes practise, especially if you’ve never handled a trowel before (I hadn’t).
I went the easiest route possible and bought both a trowel and pre-mixed plaster from Home Hardware, so I didn’t have to make my own. Slightly more expensive, but far less complicated, far less time and far less mess.
We had a large canvas from K’s room that he no longer wanted to display, but to which he felt attached enough that he liked the idea of reimagining and keeping it. We combed Pinterest for plaster wall art ideas and noted that, in some cases, people had mixed paint into the plaster to add pops of colour. While “coastal vibes” doesn’t scream POPS of colour, we liked that we could subtly tie in the blues from his new walls. I’ll also share this time-lapsed DIY in an Instagram Story this week, linking it here when I do.
Three important notes if you want to take on a DIY plaster art project:
- Adding latex paint thins out the plaster enough that your trowel’s deep grooves will be less defined once the art dries.
- Plaster art takes a much, much longer time to dry than a regular piece of art with, say, acrylic paint. Ours took about a week. Depending on the temperature and humidity of the room in which it dries, it may also form some cracks. We liked this “patina,” but if you want absolute perfection, this is probably not the medium for you.
- Plaster is very heavy, so don’t attempt to hang your piece on a wall or display it on a picture ledge/floating shelf without using the right hardware and/or checking weight-capacity limits first. Bonus points if you find a stud or two to lend extra support.
Most of all, my best advice is: don’t take my advice. Head to your local Home Hardware and pepper them with all your home-improvement questions. Chances are good they’ll have the answers.
DISCLAIMER: Home Hardware compensated me for this content. All design direction is mine and my son’s and Home Hardware let us decide what to do in the space, allowing us to define the makeover on our terms. All opinions and ideas are our own.