Thursday, September 10, 2009

Max has outgrown his room—got any good ideas?

On my long list of things to do: update Max's room.

It has barely changed since he was a baby, other than the addition of a hanging airplane and a fire truck big-boy bed (which he never sleeps in, as he vastly prefers my big-girl bed). The baby-animal rug has got to go, cute as it is. The rocking chair is also too infantile for him. I still like the color of the walls a lot, though: Sherwin Williams' Baize Green.

At six, Max still has a changing table, which I could easily convert to a bookcase but he still needs changing. He's getting long for it, and he's also getting heavy to lift onto it. I worry about that. Maybe this will be the year he gets fully toilet trained.

I get very sentimental about this room. I loved putting it together, and had it finished before Max was born. When he ended up in the NICU, it made me cry to see it empty. We kept the door closed until we brought him home. I still love it, but it's stuck in a time warp. Max has progressed; his room has not.

For starters, I got him new bedding, found it on sale at Target. I showed Max the photo and ordered it after he gave it a big "YES!!!"

I am open to any suggestions for a big-boy room that I can run by my client (aka Max).

P.S. There's still plenty of time to enter to win a Lisa Leonard necklace.


  1. What a beautiful room!

    A bean bag chair- they're great for crashing in, especially in Max is sensory. You can put it near that cozy grown up chair!

    Also, if you can, a toy box. Years ago, we got a nice-looking blond-wood one from Ikea that holds a nice amount of toys, or linens if you prefer. The cool thing is that you can also use it as a low changer- he just stands near it and you give a tiny boost. I cover it with a folded towel.

    You can also let him choose how to stock the bookshelves you have.


  2. We just made a chalkboard for my son's room. We bought some chalkboard paint, painted a 2x4' piece of very thin wood, then added a frame to it and hung it on the wall. Over the chalkboard we put letters that spell out his name. You can put the paint directly on the wall, if you'd like. It looks cute, and can be a good therapy tool. Get the thick sidewalk chalk that will be easier for Max to hold.

  3. A Chalkboard and easel with roller paper (butchers paper) is easy and cheep... Colorful kids chairs and a kids desk or art table would be fun. A low book self and or book shelf and low colorful floor totes so he can access his toys and clothes. Perhaps a colorful play mat so Max can do some home PT or... learn judo! :)

    I'd avoid beanbag chairs for kids under 10, they are a suffocation hazard.

  4. Maybe instead of the cute round rug you can get a round train table. You know the kind...towns, switches, trees & trains? I'm sure max would love it!

    I love the chalkboard idea!

  5. Do you have an IKEA around? Really fun and affordable stuff. Oh! I see someone else mentioned IKEA. That's all I have to offer as I have no imagination when it comes to this stuff!

    Good luck!

  6. I agree with Staying Afloat about the toy box as a changing table. Another alternative is a window seat with a padded cushion. I loved the windows in the picture. You could have one built, or just convert a toy box or chest. Just be sure it's sturdy and has a safety lid. If you have one built, design it with changing in mind. Make sure it's long enough for him to lay and still have room for you to sit so that you won't have to be kneeling on the hard floor when you change him.

    One thing I've noticed with my kids is that as they get older they really like bookcases. They use them some for books, but they also want to display all the things they collect, make, or just find interesting that month. What's cool about that is that it's instantly updatable as they grow into and out of stages. The same shelf can display stuffed animals, the latest lego creations, or a baseball glove and team photo.

  7. I agree with changing the changing table -- you need to do all you can to take care of your back and arms. My little guy (who will be 7 in 3 weeks!) has only been potty trained since Feb. Even though I can carry him, it has been a long time since I could lift him to a changing table. Since he was in pull-ups, most of the time we did a standing change. Even now he likes to be picked up and held, at almost 50 lbs, I can feel it in my arms.

    For a real firm bean-bag-type chair, check out foof chairs. Not knowing Max's physical abilities, this might be a good (though not cheap) alternative to the real mushy bean bag chair.

    In Luke's room I have his little tramp w/ handles and a CD player where he can turn it on (he loves to jump to music). We have ceiling fans in all of our rooms, so I have added long chains so Luke can turn the light and/or fan on and off.

    Colorful laundry baskets work great to sort building blocks (Luke still uses the big toddler size), trucks (big too), and sensory integration stuff.

    Part of my goal in setting up Luke's room is to allow him to be an independent as possible. Another thing I have tried to take into consideration is that I wanted him to be able to be in his room without supervision.

    Look isn't into books, but my girls LOVE thier bookshelves for books and stuff.

    Can't wait to see pictures when you are done.

  8. Love the color of Max's room. What I wanted to suggest has already been covered really...but:
    I think a bean bag would be a great idea, and allowing him to stock the bookshelf, maybe a rug with a city/street scape on it, so he could use all his transportation toys, TRUCKS, and play on it.

    Oh, and I think maybe some chocolate ice cream may be in order when all is said and done! {Thats the first thing I thought of when I read the post. Chocolate and mint green go together!}

  9. I love Max's room! Daniel had a sports - themed nursery, and we just sort of updated it (now with mostly Bruins and Red Sox stuff) as he got older. He still has his original dresser - a white one with baseball knobs. We also bought furniture that could grow with him, so a lot of it hasn't changed. He's getting WAY too big for his toddler bed, though, so we're going to have to update that soon.
    Anyway, how about this site?
    How awesome is the dump truck bed? The only problem is that I have the feeling it would result in any little boy who got it staying up all night to play. But the caution tape wall border, the lamps, the power drill pillow - this is making me want to redo Daniel's room again!

  10. I agree with STAYING AFLOAT--Get a good sized Hope AKA Toy Chest--he can keep his things in it, and you can have a pad made or use a towel and use that as a changing table for the short term, until he learns to use the pot.

    I also like Karen's window seat idea, if you can find a good carpenter to put one together for you and it works in the room.

    When you get him his Big Boy bed, an easy way to adapt to his changing enthusiams (Sponge Bob, Maya and Miguel, Spiderman, whatever) is to buy sheets and comforters that are themed.

    If he likes astronomy, you can buy this little machine that puts the stars in the room at night. My kids were on a kick with that for the longest time, they still get a charge out of it every so often.

    Lots of good ideas here!!!

  11. For nostalgic (and maybe slightly selfish) reasons, I would almost say to leave it as it is!!! That wonderful bedroom holds some amazing memories for me and my mom - we formed a special bond there with Max when he was younger. We would spend a lot of time with him in his room, especially at bedtime, when grandma would sit in the rocker and cradle him in her arms and read him a book. Then, she would sing him a lullabye she composed herself and he would fall asleep in her arms, at which point, I would take him and put him in his crib. I know that he still remembers those times because not too long ago, my mom sang the lullabye and there was definite recognition by Max of the song.

    Although I am having a girl, I would be proud to inherit anything Ellen would be willing to give me from Max's room and use it to create new memories with my daughter.

  12. This website:

    is FABULOUS. Wallpaper cutouts and vinyl cutouts for the wall - easy to apply and easy to remove when Max outgrows them. I put the Wallies butterflies up all over my daughter's room and people think I hand-painted them(, no - I'm just not that talented).

    Emmett is too big for his changing table, so I change him on the floor. His bottom dresser drawer is where I keep the diapers and wipes.

  13. Lots of great ideas!

    My friend did the chalkboard paint on the walls of her children's playroom and also some "wipey board" paint. They have really enjoyed it.

    I love the ideas for the bench for a changing table.

  14. Argh, Julia O' stole my answer!! I was going to suggest vinyl wall decals too!

    I put a silhouette of a tree branch with birds on it in Kasia's room. Gorgeous, cheap and totally removable. Look for them on Ebay too... you can find them in every possible theme imaginable.

    Love Max's Pottery Barn chair by the way..... been wanting one of those for Kasia for a long time.

  15. Wow, I am so floored by all of these amazing ideas! There actually is a toy box in the room (you couldn't see it from the photos) and, duh!, I am just going to get a cover for it and use that as the changing table. But I still pray for toilet training!

    Definitely doing the chalkboard. And I am going to let Max pick out some Wallies! Rich, you're right, we can fit a table and chairs once I move that rocker out. Janet, excellent points about encouraging independence. Jo, boysthemebedrooms rocks! I also love the dump truck theme. Did you notice there was a collection called "Max"?! There's also a great trucks table there.

    Felicia, where did you get that machine that puts the stars on the ceiling at night? Maybe if I get that thing Max will actually SLEEP in his room. And if I can just find a princess version for Sabrina, there is still hope that we might have a kid-free bed before they both head off to college.

  16. Love decorating talk! I don't put Charlie on the changing table any more and he's just two--I change him on the floor and if I think it's gonna get messy I grab a piece of dirty clothes out of the dirty clothes basket and put it under him. Viola! No extra messiness. I'd pull one of the elements from his new bedding and paint it on the wall. The suggestion of Wallies is good too if you're not the artistic type. Etsy also has beautiful wall decals that could go in any room and are even sort of modern and chic as opposed to super cutesy.

    For other things, I'd search some education web sites--they have great rugs/schedule boards etc--I'm always stealing my MIL's catelogs for ideas.

  17. Daniel has that same blanket and bed set.

    He loves it!

  18. Sounds like your going to have fun! We never had this problem in our family, we moved so many times when we were growing up that our rooms were regularly changed anyway!

  19. Ellen, I got the machine as a Christmas gift for the boys from their uncle--it's a home planetarium. I think he got it at one of those Einstein shops. If you go to Amazon you see all sorts, from the pricy and really good to the less expensive and "OK."

    We love planetarium shows (hey, you can sit and look up and be WOWED), and they got the thing shortly after we all (extended family and the grandparents, too) went to one--the kids went nuts and were thrilled over the show, which motivated the gift. They still flip it on every now and again!

  20. I have those foam interlocking alphabet block things that go on the floor (my daughter's entire room is done in these). They are great for sensory and you don't have to worry about bumps and bruises from the hard floor. Also, we use colored bins that have a place for a pic label on the front and we put them in low bookcases (that are ancored to the wall so they can't be pulled over) so she can find and put away her own toys. Also, big hooks hung low are great for hats and jackets. For her walls, we bought those removable sticker decals so that we can change them as often as needed (she goes through fav. cartoon character phases lol). She also has a reading corner w/ a child size comfy chair and plenty of board books (we put these in a large basket on the floor so they can be reached easily). We also lined the basket w/ her old receiving blankets, to keep from getting splinters and to keep a sentimental something in her room. If you have a lot of blankets or clothes, you can have them turned into quilts, bedding, or even curtains. We like to encourage independence so we make sure everything is within her reach, easy to do w/out supervision, and most


Thanks for sharing!

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