Auckland-based owner of homeware store Collected, stylist and pilot LeeAnn Yare talks us through her boys’ bedroom makeovers.
When we moved into our Sandringham bungalow, Tyler (now 11) was a toddler, and Dylan (now 10) was just a week old. The house was a sea of beige, so I quickly took charge and decorated their rooms in a playful way appropriate to their age. But after a decade of accumulating stuff and the general wear and tear that kids’ spaces are subjected to, it was time for a makeover to ensure their rooms reflect their personalities as they move into their teenage years. This time round, Tyler and Dylan basically designed their own spaces, with a little guidance from me. Dylan’s more into colour and chose a bold, fun half-and-half scheme, whereas Tyler wanted something a bit more grown-up. We were working to a budget, so needed to carefully choose what to keep and what to ditch, and work out how what was being reused fitted with their overall looks. The nine-to-11 age bracket is a really good time to do this because at this stage they’re developing their own tastes and sense of style, and becoming more responsible for looking after their own belongings. We went through everything, including clothes, books and toys, and sold and freecycled so much stuff. Every single thing that went back into the boys’ rooms was considered first. They decided to swap their blinds because they worked better size-wise, and agreed that the colour schemes of their existing rooms actually suited each other instead. Tyler’s world map mural involved a stay-or-go discussion, but it made the cut, so he chose his wall colour to match some of the countries. The boys are growing fast, so new beds were at the top of the list, meaning the vintage hospital beds they’d had since they were babies (which I found for $75 a pop on Trade Me) sadly had to go. We replaced them with supersupportive Sealy beds; opting for king singles gave them more room and meant we could keep our collection of single duvet covers and just buy new sheets. Storage was key. I find low drawer storage on castors to be really practical, and it handily fits below windows, too. Dylan’s room has never had a wardrobe, so my husband Glen built him one. He turned to Google and looked at friends’ houses, then drew it up and built it from leftover materials we had lying around, and had sliding doors and a wardrobe inner built and fitted. We swapped the boys’ recessed lights for some much more attractive round white ones that almost disappear into the ceiling. Choosing designs that fit into the original cut-outs made the process easy and cheap, yet they make a real difference aesthetically. The topic of carpet required a family conference over a box of samples; all four of us had to agree because we were carpeting our master bedroom as well. In the end, Dylan and I came up with a really convincing argument to get our favourite colour and style across the line! This project was something the boys and I enjoyed doing together, but ultimately they chose what they wanted, including some pieces from other rooms in the house. We’ve now instated a one-in-one-out policy, so we’ll see how that goes.