Before & After: A Sunny Yellow Bedroom That’s Sure to Make You Smile

published Nov 8, 2021
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Family: Christy Ramón, husband Charles Drennen, and son Benjamin Robin

Location: Highland Park, IL

Bedroom size: 14’ x 16’

Designer Christy Ramón of Honey and Salt Home created what just might be the sunniest, happiest kids room in all of Chicago. Concentrating less on a particular style, and more on her son’s personality, she designed the room to be a reflection of him: full of light, loud, and gloriously joyful.

Growing up, Christy lived in a home with a yellow kitchen, in a beach house with yellow walls, so she was partial to the color for many reasons. In her own home, the interior door in her entryway is painted a bright yellow, and the grasscloth wallpaper that runs up the staircase also features yellow, so you’re introduced to the color immediately upon entering her home. She fretted over the color choice for her son’s room for quite some time, as those of us who are about to embark on a very vibrant design journey do, and tried to tone down her impulses. Yet, she ultimately went with the shade of sunshine yellow that just makes you want to scream “Yay!” with a big ol’ smile on your face. So how did she pull it all together?

Monochromatic rooms tie everything together simply

The choice to stick with a monochromatic color scheme was all about simplicity. The space isn’t huge, and Christy knew she wanted a large corner for books, so to keep things from looking too busy, she repeated the bright sunny color everywhere in the room from the walls to the floor to the bedside table. The geometric wallpaper was chosen because she found it to be a good backdrop for her son to age into. Wallpaper is a pretty major investment, so considering something that will age well is definitely a designer tip!

Reuse and buy vintage where you can

The yellow vintage Pantone chairs were carefully selected because reusing items is important to her and she feels she has a responsibility to be sustainable in her design work. Christy’s design philosophy is to “stop aiming for perfect” and to just “live in your space,” which is a mantra that helps to repeat to yourself when considering placing vintage or antique items in a child’s room. One of my personal favorite decor items in Benjamin’s room is the Warhol-esque Campbell’s soup can, a purchase from one of Christy’s favorite antique stores. It’s not in perfect condition anymore, but Christy says it doesn’t matter because it’s no longer in an antique store — it’s for use and appreciation! 

In keeping with her desire for sustainable design, she repurposed an antique spindle bed by using up the leftover yellow paint from the downstairs interior door project. The bed was a lucky find on Facebook Marketplace, and the bedside table was from an antique shop. The bright yellow paint gave the old furniture pieces the glow-up they needed to fit happily into the new space.

Toys will be toys

The one question I always have whenever I look at photos of a beautifully designed kids room is this: “But where are the TOYS!?” Not the pretty, handmade wooden toys that you can easily spot in the photos — I’m looking for the plastic junk; The Barbies with messy hair, the box of messy LEGOs, etc. I asked Christy of their whereabouts and her oh-so-refreshingly truthful answer was, “Ha! The toys are behind the door, not being photographed.” As for how she tackles toy organization, she shared the tips we all know and love: drop donations at Goodwill often, use baskets for bedroom toy storage, store excess toys in the basement. It’s all about balance, and when the bedroom floor looks like you can shovel a path, it’s time to remove some toys and haul them to storage — or the donations bin.

Create depth by placing contrasting wallpaper within eyeline

The walls in the bedroom opposite Benjamin’s are covered in a wild blue print, packing each delicious glimpse across the hall with depth and drama. Christy’s attitude about everything is that she wants “to be Ferris Bueller, not Edward R. Rooney.” In terms of style and design, she has definitely succeeded. Life moves fast, but in Christy’s house there are lots of things to stop and look around at so you don’t miss it.