the boys’ room : a loft + alcove

I’m kind of super excited about sharing this space with you today. This time last year, I shared a few of our {then current} ideas with you for the shared room revamp. It started out as a nursery for Malone…

And it went through a bit of a temporary transitional phase in a shared room by both of my boys to make space for the playroom. Only, as you can see, Aiden felt a little pushed to the side. Literally. We knew it was only a matter of time until we could create a big boy room for both kiddos.

And here we are.

We got this crazy idea to build a loft that extended the back space of the room, with both of their mattresses butted together. So we designed, and built it.

Our children are only children once, so why not go all out?

This space was literally scrapped together, with only a few purchased items for the boys. Remember the barn door that was on our mantel? We bolted it to the wall above the loft for a simple accent piece and instant texture.

It was a challenge to stay within budget {by using the money we made, in selling a few of the older pieces to fund the new room} We wanted to keep the spending at a major minimum. But it was a real challenge to stay low maintenance on the sometimes trickier elements. {Bedding…lighting…rug…it’s the small details that add up quickly.}

This chest of drawers was a real mess. But it was Jamin’s as a child. I think we used three containers of clorox wipes cleaning up the inside. It had been in storage, so I’ll spare you the details. Just think back to my worst fear. As a result, I basically gutted out the back and inside dividers above and below each drawer, in order to get rid of the storage grossness. We thought it was really special for the boy’s space, so it was definitely worth all the hard work. And fear factor moments. Did I mention it was free? I’m forever appreciative. It was time to upgrade from that hutch, bad on storage for two bigger boys, and get some real drawers for them to store their clothes.

These are just a few globes we’ve slowly been collecting over time. If I’m out, and I see one for a reasonable price, I grab it. I’d like to add more in the future, for another area of the home, but for now, I love the simplicity of these.

These simple rope knobs came from Hobby Lobby during their half off sale. The room definitely has a nautical, adventurous edge to it, and I thought this carried it through to the chest.

This shelving is a simple piece of a wood, and utility brackets which only cost a few dollars. It holds another painting, and a few keepsakes we cherish.

The rug was a find from World Market: a natural fiber rug. at 5 x 5, I promptly scooped it up, and brought it home. I knew it would be super fun for the space. We measured, taped it off, and painted it, using some more of the same white from the furniture, and a pint of some of the custom match from the stripes on the curtains. We wanted to carry more of that titan blue to the floor.

You can read more about their curtains, and their process of a little how-to, here. I basically combined some chevron that I already had, with some linen I scored at half off from the local fabric store. The best part: both fabrics went a long way, as I can still have my dining room table runner {I cut vertically, so I have plenty left} and the linen went as a no-sew covering {along with more ironed chevron} for a touch of repeated color on top of duvets for their bedding. Who said you have to sew it? In real life, they’ll just use their duvets and quilt. But when company comes, I can add that extra touch to the top, and no one will be any wiser. It saved me hours of more sewing time…and a lot of funds.

The Pottery Barn quilt was a bit of an investment on our part, three years ago for Aiden. But I loved that touch of red, and missed it when I moved him in with Malone. There’s nothing quite like a good quilt, and we still love it today. The best part: I only need one for the top of their loft. I feel like it’s paid for itself by coming out of the linen closet for good.

What’s that pendant light made of? A planter from Lowe’s. 33 dollars, total.

We scored this little campaign-esque dresser off of Craigslist. It’s not quite campaign, but it’s not quite something else, either…and I think that’s what I love about it. It’s simple, masculine lines, and handsome hardware were just asking to be coated in some contrasting varnish and white paint. I think it brings a nice, simple, almost modern edge to the room.

We are a Coke family. So when I spied this little guy at the local flea market, I scooped him up, initially planning to put him in the kitchen. But, he found his way back to the boy’s room. The colors were just too perfect.

The paintings above were done a few years ago, by me, for Aiden’s original big boy room. It’s really important to me, and it may sound silly, to make things for them that they can pass down to their own children. I think paintings are sweet and original and something that can be cherished for years to come. So, I’ll be creating pieces, just for them, for the rest of their childhood, whenever I have a chance to. They can have them when they have their own children, no strings attached. {that includes guilt, if they choose not to take one.} 😉

My piggy bank as a child.

Jango Fett loves it here.

I was kind of hard core, on simplifying the space. So we actually have very few accessories in the room this time around. {I’m kind of over little table frames that take up too much space and knock over easily in their rooms.} This was a book, that I’m pretty sure was my dad’s growing up. And then mine. And Aiden turns six on the 16th. So it’s even more appropriate now.

We built the loft in a day, and the rope ladder was the finishing touch. We’ll have a how-to on the loft later, so stay tuned for that. Probably the simplest thing we’ve ever made. The rope ladder {if we can teach the kids to climb on it} serves as both a great accent piece, and a bit of a deterrent for Malone. He’s two, so I don’t leave him in the room on his own. He has yet to sleep in the loft, as it’s only been up for four nights, and honestly the kid prefers his pack n play for now. But if I need to be somewhere else in the house, doing something, and not being a helicopter parent, I could remove the ladder. Broken arm risk averted.

The command fleet approves.

For a how-to on this life-saver of a toy crate, click here. 

I made the fabric at the bottom for them to move, and mounted it on a copper pipe so it slides easily. The best part {and I know I’ve mentioned this before: it patinas over time.} The bottom of the loft suddenly becomes an instant alcove.

Yesterday it was an airplane. Today it was a pirate hideout.

Creating environments for our children that will make memories that last forever. It is our favoritest thing. ;}

…Or at least memories that will last them well into the therapy sessions I’ll cause them later in life from constantly changing their spaces.

I’m off to play with my lil stinkers. Apparently their plane has crashed, and this is their survival hut, while they hide from Chloe the evil dog that visits their camp at night.

Thanks for checking in, guys. I’ll be providing some how-to’s later, but just wanted to share the space today. If you have any questions, be sure to ask!

Updated: be sure to view the how to, here!

Have a blessed weekend, and I’ll catch you back here, Monday.

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Responses to the boys’ room : a loft + alcove

  1. Jenn says:

    THis is GREAT!!!! LOVE, love, love it!!!

  2. Saby says:

    This is awesome! What an amazing creative space for your kids to kick back and let their imaginations take hold. I would have loved this when I was young. I am sending this post to my husband right now…see if I can get that loft idea planted :).

  3. Kara says:

    Your littles are lucky to have such beautiful spaces, even if they change a lot. Love this room. Can’t wait to see the loft how-to. I think it will be perfect for my son’s room when he moves out of the crib.

  4. Katharine says:

    Wow! That is amazing. What a great space for the kids. All their friends will be jealous. So fun..plane, pirate ship…what’s next? Share with us ok?

  5. Erin says:

    Oh my goodness – instant tears welling up when I saw your piggy bank… I had the same one growing up, and had completely forgotten about it. I wonder if it’s still around…

    Anyway, the room looks fabulous! How fun!

  6. Amanda says:

    This is AMAZING! I so appreciate that you were willing to go out on a limb and build that loft for your kids. Most parents would have shied away with excuses about time constraints, re-sell values etc. Love it!

  7. Danielle says:

    I have been following your blog for a few months now and I must say that this tops it all off… what a great job you guys did! BTW- how do you get your husband to help you out with building things?! Just kidding… sort of… anyways- awesome job and I agree that creating things for your kids to enjoy is one of my greatest pleasures.

  8. Catherine says:

    Wow. That is so cool. Lucky kids!!

  9. Beth Miller says:

    Ah-mazing Ashley! I love it! I love the rope knobs, Titan blue, pendant light, and of course the awesome loft (and everything else just to be perfectly clear)! Can’t wait for the how-to. I’ve been debating a loft bed with alcove for when my 2 yo graduates from her crib. I love that it elevates the sleeping space w/o taking away any play space. It would be the perfect space for her play kitchen so she can cook her fav mushroom, onion, donut, cookie-pasta!
    I know you’re thrilled to have it done, and I forsee many fun adventures in that alcove space! Well done as always!

  10. Thank you, sweet people. 😉 the kids are having a blast. Will post a how-to on it soon. Super basic….and fun!

  11. WOW. I don’t think there is one thing I’d change. I love it. All of it!

  12. Andrea says:

    Recently found your blog and I LOVE it! I love what you did with their room. It is amazing! Love the loft. I have a 2 year still in her crib, but I can’t wait until she gets a “big girl” room. Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Bella says:

    Oh I LOVE this so much. Like I want this in my room too, he he. That loft is so awesome, and I love that your room is just a normal room, with only slightly higer ceilings. A lot of the rooms I see that have lofts, usually are massive rooms, with high ceilings, and this just isn’t the case at my home. So this was very encouraging, that I could do this too. I LOVE it.

    Have a great day playing with your kiddos, how fun!!

    Stop by anytime to say HI…
    Hugs, Bella :)
    **AMAZE ME AUGUST** @ Bella Before and After Any projects, recipes, diy welcome.
    **PARTY PLANNING TUESDAYS** @ Euro Style Cakes. All your party planning tips, decorations, invitations, and recipes welcome at my NEW party.

  14. Jamey says:

    This is really awesome! I know they will all enjoy it for a long time!

  15. Emily says:

    This is Soo cool! and just the inspiration I needed, since I plan on tackeling my boy’s room today….. Whom also Love Lego Starwars!

  16. Samantha says:

    Love this room!! I’m sure the kids will love playing and sleeping in there, any kid would!

    You have such a great eye for design, and I love your clean, sophisticated approach to decorating your kids rooms!

  17. Lindy says:

    Ashley, you are my decorating go-to girl! I am in awe of you! Did you use a twin mattress and a crib mattress or two twins? I’m sorry if I missed it in your post and asked anyway.

    • Hey Lindy! No, I didn’t cover that. 😉 The width of the room, unfortunately, would not allow for two twin mattresses. But the width was perfect for the twin and crib mattress. {toddler mattresses, apparently, are the same size.} So, we are using Malone’s crib mattress for now, and the twin Aiden was sleeping on. We figured Malone would last on his for a few more years anyway, and when he doesn’t anymore, we would move him. We padded the edges with extra pillows, where the crib mattress doesn’t fill it in completely. If we do end up moving Malone and doing something else crazy, Aiden loves the extra space with the bed up top on the loft area. We only lacked a few feet, however, so this plan would also work with two twins. We could even throw in a twin bed underneath, if we ever wanted to. Sucka isn’t going anywhere.

      We debated lots of design choices, but thought this fit best with the dynamics of the room. We LOVE it, as it gives the kids SO much extra space in our home, and will probably be doing something similar to this in our playroom this winter. 😉 I’m thinking entertainment loft with a tv. who knows. ??? 😉 OH, and it’s completely removeable if we ever want to move, or the next owner can just keep it as is.

      Hope this helps! Again, Jamin will be providing a tutorial later next week. stay tuned! 😉

  18. Andrea says:

    I loooove this space. It’s so cute. A space where they can play and sleep.

  19. Leen says:

    Amazing! How clever to butt the beds together, I love that idea! and the knobs, and the paintings, and the fort…I love it all!!

  20. Megan Brooke says:

    Love this makeover! Love the pendant light, the barn door and rope knobs. Love everything really :)

  21. I love the loft bed. My grandmother built loft beds for my sister and I when we were young and we loved them. I’m sure they will look back on them when they are adults and remember how much fun they had playing in them! Great job!!

  22. aubrey says:

    I’m new to you, so I didn’t see your last post about this room, but it’s totally awesome!

  23. Amy says:

    The rooms looks amazing! My favorite part has to be the loft bed and the alcove. It’s such a unique idea for a shared bedroom….something I’m sure your boys will remember when they’re all grown up!

  24. Lauren says:

    This is awesome! I would have loved a little alcove like that as a kid. You’ve done such a wonderful job of tying everything together AND making it fun for your kiddos. LOVE the rope ladder :)

  25. Lorie says:

    I love how the room turned out and I am even more in love with the bucket pendant lighting now!

  26. TB says:

    Love, love, love it!

  27. jami says:

    dude, you rocked this. does not look scrounged. not one bit.

  28. Christina says:

    Looks Fantastic!

  29. Gale says:

    Love love LOVE it!!!! What lucky kiddos :) Makes me ALMOST wish my youngest wasn’t getting ready to be a senior on Wednesday – how the heck did THAT happen?! :)

    Great job – as always!!! :)

  30. Kathleen says:

    Awesome room….I’m sure that they will all have lots of fun times with their imagination hanging out in the new room!

    My son also turns 6 on the 16th and we are currently making his room a little more fun and grown up…..We hung maps of the states and the world on his walls and he loves to plan his routes to different places….so fun to watch their imaginations work!

    You did a fabulous job!

  31. Dorothy says:

    You did a fantastic job. What fun for the boys! The dresser inspires me to not diss one in our guest (kiddy) room too. You were so inventive with this whole room. Darling room for equally darling kids! You are just a little hothouse of great ideas. :)

  32. Beth says:

    I love your revamp! I have two year twin boys and will transforming their nursery this year and have been looking for ideas on shared rooms. I’m pinning this to my Pinterest board called “twins”. Great job and thanks for the inspiration!!

    ~Beth at

  33. Yarnista says:

    Ashley — this is amazing! I love the bed concept so so much. Good work, sista!

  34. Jennifer says:

    Absolutely love this! I tried to pin this to pinterest, but I guess I don’t know how. I clicked on your pinterest link on the side, but it only showed your inspiration. I think yours turned out better than those! Great job!

  35. Meredith says:

    Absolutely fabulous! The blue and white stripe is a great accent… love it all!!! WOW!

  36. Shaunna says:

    Ash, it looks AMAZING! Knew it would, though. :-) Love, love, every detail!

  37. Teegan says:

    So. I think you’re absolutely fantastic. You’re addicting, like that “I don’t have 30 seconds at the computer but I KNOW Ashely is going to post the boys room re-do and I just haaaaave to see it” kind of neeeeed. With that being said, THANK YOU for being such a joy to follow. We have three little ones too (ages 3 and under) and my hubs is itching itching itching for me to start blogging about all of the DIYs we do (I dictate, he cuts), recipes, sewing, l.i.f.e. I just can’t wrap my brain around getting started with it….
    Anyhoo… I was perusing the ever so amazing Etsy and saw this… and whataya know, you popped in my head. Thought you’d enjoy AND, check out this mans solar lights? Ummm… whaaaat? I want a jar that sits outside and the harbored sun rays from the day, makes it glow at night. Totally Tangled-ish and I adore it.
    Lots of love thrown your way. ~Teegan

  38. Laura says:

    I love it!! So playful, and it creates so much space in the room! I’m looking forward to having the how-to for the loft for a possible future reference :)

  39. Christi says:

    Wow!! Great job and thanks for sharing it with us. Love your blog :)

  40. Lindsay says:

    What a GREAT boys room! That dresser that you re-did is awesome! We have two boys sharing a room (someday it will be all three) and we need serious dresser storage, not the little junky ones that you can find today…still on the lookout for that one! I am sure your boys love love love it!

  41. I love the simplified look, the artwork (awesomely sweet idea), and especially… the Lego dudes!!!

  42. faye says:

    I love this! I have been wanting to do something similar for my son’s room and can’t wait for your instructions on building the loft.

  43. It’s official. You are my hero.

  44. Marie says:

    Hi. I’m new to your blog and LOVING it. So inspired! Is the process for painting your chest of drawers the same as your kitchen cabinets. So in love!! Thanks.

  45. Jen says:

    Amazing and truly talented! Thank you for sharing!

  46. Amanda says:

    I love your site! I just finished building the toybox for our son’s room, it was so easy and looks better than anything bought. I’ve also made 2 of the chalkboards for the kids room and one in the kitchen. Next I’m going to make the fab 5 sign!!!. THANKS!

  47. I just wrote to you, but I don’t think my post went through as the address box bounced back but the comment box was empty. If you did receive this, I apologize for 2 posts.

    I saw your boys loft on Pinterest. I was wondering if it is okay to repin this on my board. I am a reading teacher and like to promote Reading Nooks. I think your boy’s loft is a great example of this. I like how your blog showed details on how to DIY bed. I would put a link back to your blog if I can continue to keep the picture on my board.

    Thank you,
    READING: The Cornerstone to Success

  48. Rachel says:

    can you tell me what size mattresses you used and what you did if you had gaps in the spaces? love this loft and can’t wait to build one for my 2 year old. how has your littlest one adapted and at what age was he okay to be up there finally?

  49. Judy Long says:

    Completely a newbie at DIY. Saw you on a Nate show rerun. Can you tell me what type of paint you used to finish the boy’s dresser. Love it all!

    • Hey Judy! The boy’s dresser was completely fresh with raw wood, so I simply used latex paint. No priming. Usually I used Killz oil based primer to top off something before I start. I also used minwax’s Early American to finish off the drawers. For more details on painting furniture {with basic latex} check out our post, here! Hope that helps!

  50. Amanda Peacock says:

    Stalking your site today for ideas. :) Love this!

  51. Lois says:

    Where do I find the instructions on how to make the loft bed?

  52. Leanne says:

    How old are you boys who use the loft bed? This would be awesome for my 5yr old boy and almost 2.5yr old girl who share a room. We are about to move her into a big girl bed and I wonder if this would be safe for her?
    This would free up SOOO much room for us.

    • Hey Leanne! Aiden was 5 when he moved in, and he was fine. We probably moved Malone into the bed at about 2.5 years old, but I definitely can’t make that call for you. It depends on how crazily she sleeps, etc. We did it too early for Malone. When/if you do, I would also recommend a huge body pillow to barricade that opening, so that there is not a chance to roll out. We also stuff the sides with pillows at night, and they act as a cushy bumper. Somehow, our crazy sleeper has found a way, twice. I mean, it happens with any bunk, but that’s also why we didn’t build it too tall. ;} So that’s definitely your call. That probably didn’t help much, but it’s been our experience!

      • Leanne says:

        Great, thank you! I know you can’t make the decision for me but at least I had a ball park idea of ages..
        My kids sleep great and I think it will be a spring project once my 2.5yr old gets use to being outside a crib and in her toddler bed. This is such a great idea, thank you for your creativity.

  53. Zc says:

    This is so inspiring!!
    You are so incredibly creative. I love it!

  54. Cynthia says:

    This is such a great room! I am looking for ideas for a shared boys room and have not really liked the idea of bunk beds, but I really love this! What has been your experience with making the beds and changing sheets? Do you crawl up there or get a step ladder or something? I really want to make them a space they will love and I know this will be a huge hit!

    • Hey Cynthia! I actually do climb up there with a step ladder. Most days, the bed goes unmade, and it makes me twitch a little, but when I do make the bed, it isn’t just terrible. The fun definitely outweighs the bed making ;} They adore this bed, and when my oldest wanted bunk beds, this is what I came up with to save space. They love it… so it’s definitely already paid for itself in memories. Now if only I could get all three to stop sleeping up there all at once… ha!

  55. Mel O says:

    I love the artwork you’ve done!! Do you sell any of your artwork!!!?

  56. Jennifer says:

    Hoping to do this in October. Did you use single mattresses or crib mattresses?


  57. jill says:

    love the room, any suggestions on a teenage loft metaly room for my son if i sent you pics?

  58. PollyZieper says:

    I must be missing something, because I can’t see from the pix how the loft/ top bed is held up. please help me to see it, because I* love this idea!

  59. Michelle says:

    How much weight do you think that your boy’s loft would hold?

    • Michelle – it’s held me and the two boys, and we have been fine! But we are not engineers, and as always, use caution and I wouldn’t recommend jumping up and down or anything, but it’s very stable on ours over here. I hope that helps!

  60. Jordann says:

    I was really interested in knowing if you happen to make your own picture frames that I see all over your home! .. And if you happen to have a tutorial for them? I just came across your site, so I haven’t really checked it yet! The chunky wooden frames with cool designs, with a small opening for a picture..