A bright and cheerful big boy room {subtle transportation theme}

Slowly but surely, we are settling into our new home, and today, we have our first room tour — my son’s “big boy” room with a subtle transportation theme!

A brig bright and cheerful   Big boy toddler  room subtle transportation  theme

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you probably remember his whimsical woodland nursery at our old house! It’s amazing how quickly these little guys get bigger 🙂 Although we could have easily transitioned his woodland nursery pieces into a toddler-friendly room (his IKEA crib converts to a toddler bed), my son was rather delighted to inherit a car bed from his older cousin, so we decided to save the woodland nursery pieces for his baby brother and design his “big boy” room around the bright blue car bed.

But before we dig into the specifics of the room, let’s talk about renovations! Our home is a transitional house from the early ’90s, and it was not move-in ready when we bought it — 30-year old carpet with marker and pet stains, outdated light fixures, and bad paint jobs.

Here is a shot of our son’s room as it appeared in the house listing:

Updating a 90s transitional house

The room felt *quite* small when we purchased the house. The popcorn ceiling, dangling light fixture, stained carpet, the ancient blinds — the room felt dark, dated and cramped. Also, it’s hard to see in the photo, but the paint job was very uneven, and the baseboards were one shade darker than the wall.

To give the room a clean slate, we removed the popcorn ceiling and painted the walls Alabaster by Sherwin Williams and the trim Extra White by Sherwin Williams.

Sherwin Williams alabaster  Sherwin Williams extra white best white paint
Walls in SW Alabaster; Trim in SW White

We also replaced the dark shag carpet with an oatmeal-colored, low-pile carpet with a subtle waffle pattern (Aerial Arts by Shaw in the color “Cotton”).

Shaw carpet aerial arts  cotton  stylish low pile carpet
Walls in SW Alabaster; Trim in SW White; Carpet is Aerial Arts in “Cotton” by Shaw
Room with fresh paint and new carpet! Note how the dangling light fixture makes the already small room feel super cramped.

Next up, we swapped out the light fixture for a simple, low profile flush mount ($35!) and ripped out the blinds.

Affordable low profile flush mount
Flushmount ($35!)

Now that we had a gorgeous blank canvas to work with, it was simply a matter of moving stuff in 🙂 I actually bought very few things for this room — almost all of it was repurposed or gifts from family members.

How to style a toddler car bed in a way that looks cute
Sheets ($24), Quilt ($30)

First up, the car bed! Our son was so excited to graduate from his crib to this big boy bed passed down from his cousin. The sheets and toddler quilt were two of the only things I bought for this room — I didn’t want anything too “noisy” that would compete with the vibrant blue of the car bed, so I stuck with soft neutrals. The Breton blanket was hand-knitted by my mom — I love how its cream background adds some warmth to the bright white of the quilt, and the stripes add beautiful pops of color and tie into the car bed.

Over J’s bed, we plan to hang two paintings that my mother-in-law (a professional painter) recently painted for J. They depict Jesus asleep in the boat and calming the storm for the disciples (Mark 4). The boat in the paintings will of course tie into the subtle transportation theme, but more importantly, the painting will serve as a beautiful reminder of to Whom we should turn when life get stormy.

Transportation theme boys room

The antique mirror was a baby gift from a close family friend, and the wooden name train was one of the first baby gifts we bought our son. After I took these pictures, I realized this space was missing something so I’ve since added a wicker basket below the mirror to house J’s library books.

Eric Carle pillows

The nightstand used to be in our bedroom, but we painted it white and donated it to J’s big boy room to house the books (the vast majority of J’s rather large collection of books lives in his play room, so the books in the nightstand are the ones we’re actively reading). His lamp was repurposed from his woodland nursery, and if I could choose any color for the lamp, I think I would choose black instead of bronze for this room, but I think the bronze is fine. The Hatch+ was the most expensive thing we bought for this room (review coming soon!), and I really appreciate that with it consolidated all J’s room “electronics” into one device.

Close up of the Eric Carle Pillows! These were repurposed from his play space at the old house. I love that they add a splash of color! The blue in the butterfly ties in perfectly with the blue in the car bed, and the pillows are comfy spot to read together.

Toddler boys room soft neutral palette with  gorgeous pops of color

I’m so happy with how this room came together. To my eye, it is bright and cheerful and perfect for a toddler, but since the backbone components of the room (i.e. the carpet, light fixture, and paint) are neutral, it will be very easy to swap items out as needed when he gets older.

I hope you enjoyed this room tour! Thank you so much for reading!

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