Before and After: A $1,400 Kid’s Room Transformation Features a Smart IKEA Closet Hack

published Apr 9, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Child's crib in nursery before renovation.
Credit: Fatim Karns

For parents of young kids (and those kids themselves), the switch from crib to toddler bed is monumental. For Fatim Karns ( and her family, it spurred an entire room makeover. 

“I started this project when my son was getting closer to 3, and my husband and I felt like he was ready for a big boy room,” Fatim says. “I honestly had not put much thought into making a beautiful nursery, so I considered this a fresh start and an opportunity to put a little more effort into the look of his room.”

Before, the room had linen white walls with yellow undertones and dated metal bi-fold closet doors that Fatim didn’t like — and hardwood floors that she did like. Fatim first got to work on improving the closet, and an entire room makeover was born from there. 

Credit: Fatim Karns
Credit: Fatim Karns

The closet got a makeover that includes an impressive IKEA hack.

Fatim and her husband, Eric, removed the closet doors (but kept them in storage in case they choose to add them back later), took down the old ornamental shelves, and added chunkier, simpler wooden shelves instead.

They also added a chest of drawers inside for more storage. There was an $800 chest of drawers from a popular retailer that Fatim loved, but she decided to create her own version from an IKEA MALM 3-drawer dresser instead. The dresser cost $150, and her upgrades cost about $80. “I painted the white chest of drawers green, added legs and gold knobs, and voila!” Fatim says. 

She used a dark green (Sherwin-Williams’ Ripe Olive) for the MALM and the trim around the closet. “I also decided to add wallpaper to the back wall of the closet to give it a playful look,” she says. Fatim says she was intimidated at first because the wallpaper wasn’t peel-and-stick but rather paste-on. “But like many of my projects, I took the time to read about the process and watch several videos before I decided to go for it.” 

Credit: Fatim Karns
Credit: Fatim Karns

New furniture ties everything together. 

In addition to the MALM, Fatim added a twin-sized big kid bed for her son, a bean bag chair, curtains, a rug, and a tapestry on the wall to make the room feel complete and cozy. Plus, there’s a desk from IKEA, and a cute little purple chair she scored for $4 at a thrift store to go with it. 

Fatim says if there’s one thing she would do differently in her project, she’d add some book storage for her new little reader. (Perhaps she can borrow from one of these 20 kids’ room storage ideas!)

Credit: Fatim Karns

The walls and trim got a cozy color palette. 

The other walls and trim got a paint upgrade, too, in “a beautiful creamy and warm white color,” as Fatim describes it (Sherwin-Williams’ Greek Villa).

Next on Fatim’s project list? She’d like to make a shelving system for books and a DIY headboard for her son’s bed, and she’d like to try her hand at wallpapering a larger room now that she has new paste-on wallpaper skills.

“This made me realize that as long as I put my mind to doing something, I will find a way to make it happen,” she says.

This article originally published on Apartment Therapy. See it there: A $1,400 Kid’s Room Transformation Features a Gorgeous Closet Worth Copying