The Boys’ Room, Before

I’m continuing to make slow but steady progress on the boys’ room. This week I finally merged the dressers into one. I blasted classic rock and purged underwear. Not a riveting day, but I got things done.

Since I don’t have much to share, I thought I would post a few before shots. The walls are the same color we painted shortly after moving in 7 years ago. It’s a warm, dark cocoa, and I hate it. I got compliments on it in real life–back when the room didn’t look like a dorm room waiting for campers–but I never liked it. The walls, the floors, the furniture: it’s Brown Town in there. The reason I chose the color was because I bought a powdery blue that turned pastel on the walls. I don’t have a problem with boys in pastels. I have a problem with pastels. They are almost colors, colors that can’t commit. If pastels were people, they’d have Peter Pan Complexes and pose Blythe dolls.

The brown was my safe pick, one I thought I would grow to like or quickly paint over. Neither happened. I will most likely paint the walls the same Garden Wall I have throughout the house. I asked the boys for their opinion, and Mikey asked for no change. Nico asked for blue and purple and orange, triggering simultaneous recoils from me and Mikey. Garden Wall it is, unless I can find something else. I’ve been looking, but so far nothing.

Again, this is the same little nightstand I had in Mikey’s nursery back at our first house. Nine years old from Target = expiration date passed. I’m looking for a petite dresser or a large nightstand with drawers to store pajamas.

The map is new, a special request from both the Mister and the boys. They love it. I did point out that it’s a bit too big, but they don’t care. They’re happy, so I’m happy. The dresser holds their advent calendars for this year. Lego and chocolate, a combination they are loving.

In the corner are items from the merge that never moved. I decided to take care of that corner, too.

The top two drawers of the dresser were Mikey’s junk drawers. I didn’t realize he was cleaning off the top of his dresser with one fell sweep until I opened the drawers a couple months back. I gave Mikey and Nico their own drawer and organized their socks and underwear for them. Organized means underwear are in a neat pile and socks are rolled and tossed in. Their undergarments are too tiny to fold or organize properly. Besides, I want them to put their clothing away, so the system needs to be something they can handle.

You’ll have to trust me that it looks presentable. I took pictures, but since they boys’ underwear are front and center, I felt weird about it.

Here’s that same corner tidied up. I rehung the mirror. It’s temporary, but it was better than storing it on the floor. The white hamper is for school uniforms.

And here is the pile of clothing heading off to Goodwill!

There is still so much left to do. I think I need to do a mood board for myself to get organized and stay focused. I have so many pins flying it’s ridiculous.


This post was part of The William Morris Project, a weekly series that details the steps I am taking to create an intentional home. You can see more of my goals and completed projects here. To learn more about this project, start here.


Now it’s your turn! Feel free to share how you have lived according to the William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Made a plan? Cleaned a drawer? Bought a sofa? Tell us about it with a link or comment. A few guidelines:

17 Responses to “The Boys’ Room, Before”
  1. Charlotte says:

    I love the oversized map. I would love to wallpaper an entire bedroom wall with one!

  2. Joy says:

    Do you have to state ahead of time, what your goals for this William Morris Project is? Or could you just do projects and purges, etc. as they come up on a regular basis? BTW, I like the progress on the boy’s room. I have two boys sharing a VERY small room, so I will be doing a lot in their room, as well!

  3. I always wanted that big map for my son, but could never pull the splurge trigger on it. I did get him a wall-sized map of the world when he was about your boys’ age. He loves geography, and he logged hours (literally) sitting and looking at it. I give many thumbs up for the big map–no matter what size!

  4. Ris says:

    The map is great! I want one for my own bedroom :)

  5. Janine says:

    GREAT GOOGILY MOOGILY! I have the same advent calendar as the boys do. Mine’s on top of the bookshelf in my office. I’m 33 years old.

    ….can’t tell if I’m delighted or totally embarrassed.

    • Phaedra says:

      LOVE that you have the same Advent calendar for YOURSELF… my daughter has this one and I honestly wish that I’d gotten myelf one, too. next year. :)

  6. Phaedra says:

    Number One, love the huge map. My daughter has a big map on her wall and it doesn’t go with anything, but she loves it and so do I. I had to remind myself that matters more than if her room looks like Pottery Barn catalog. (It was hard to overcome that notion, but I’ve managed).
    Number Two, she also has the exact same Advent calendar! Fun! ( I think next year I’m going to buy myself one because who doesn’t want to count down with chocolate pieces again? )

  7. Melissa says:

    Garden Wall might be just the thing. Your pastel problem made me laugh, but I suspect I agree with you–I just never thought about it that way! I like my colors a little moodier. My personal color pendulum seems to be swinging toward neutral walls so I can switch the color palette with accessories more easily. The only place I’ve achieved this is in the kitchen and my 5-yr-old’s room, where I painted a warm sand color that I haven’t yet tired of, even though I’ve switched most everything else in the room. But I STILL haven’t pulled the trigger on new paint for the bathroom, though I did buy wallpaper adhesive today for my experiment with beadboard wallpaper. And I’m almost afraid to start thinking about a color for the family room. Luckily, I don’t have any budget for changes in there right now!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I stayed up late last night (totally wired from being crazy-busy at work) and William Morris’d the refrigerator. I was fed up with whatever odd smell was wafting out whenever I opened it, and I took advantage of the fact that child, gentleman, and doggies were all in bed early.
    I of course thought of you while I was doing it, Ms. Jules! Tomorrow night: freezer.

  9. KaeleyAnne says:

    My husband feels exactly the same way about pastels. He hates them with a passion. His mother recently told me that he wanted bright orange bedroom walls when he was little, but they painted them a pastel orange instead. I’m convinced that incident forever turned him against pastels.

    I unintentionally participated this week when I moved some shelves from the bedroom to the living room and put the rocking chair in the bedroom in their place. It made for a much more functional set-up. I’m going to try to remember to participate intentionally in the future so that I can write a blog post – I love this series and love the weekly inspiration.

  10. Monica says:

    The room is really shaping up and those Sundance vintage blankets would be perfect for the new beds.

    In all the years that I lived in the states I don’t remember ever seeing an Advent calendar. Cool. Sam has the Lego Star Wars. As in Darth Maul disguised as Santa.

  11. Joan Brown says:

    If you like green for a boys room, I used Martha Stewart’s Garden Shed (found at Home Depot) in my office and I love it. It’s light without being pastel, and goes really well with the tan-ish color we have in our house (Pratt & Lambert’s Lambswool). Just an idea!

  12. Cara says:

    Love it Jules! The room and the post….and you make it so I can’t wait to do my boys’ room after Christmas…although it’s MUCH smaller and it means the last vestige of babyhood will be gone-the crib….I’m excited! I’m thinking a map is in our future too. :) Yours looks so cool!

  13. Jaimie says:

    You may reject this as being “too pastel,” but I assure you that in person it is a grey-blue, not baby blue, and very livable — Benjamin Moore’s “Soft Chinchilla” (what a name!):

    I think blue would be really nice against the brown wood furniture and feel soothing and fresh. On the link above they show this colour pairing well with orange and brown tones, so perhaps you could satisfy Nicholas’s desire for colour with accessories in those shades?

  14. roni says:

    love the mirror! it should stay. i would love to do that in my 10 yo boy’s room. he won’t run back upstairs to the bathroom to do his hair (we have to gel it now :) so he’s always doing it in the dining room mirror. fine to get us out the door quicker but i would love less hair products left in the dining room. also found a very cool wire basket with burlap liner at home goods. i now put their backpacks/soccer bag in there. modeled after your entranceway storage. working so far!

  15. Bethany says:

    Ah!the mirror with his adorable hats and the coin jar is awesome. Love how you transformed the corner. Also, I love the idea of a larger nightstand with space to keep pajamas. Their bedtime zone! Clever!

  16. jeannett says:

    I have forever hated pastels. Why? Because they are non-committal. When I meet people who are non-commital I refer to them as “Peach”. Because they can’t decide if they want to be orange or pink.
    And never, in my years have I found someone else who shares my psychological issue with pastels.
    I think we need to be best friends. It’s like fate.

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Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.