Before & After: This Kid’s Room Has a Desert-Themed Mural (and 3-Foot Stuffed Llama!)

published May 15, 2024
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Bedroom before renovation.
Credit: Brian Rose

People pull design inspiration from anywhere when dreaming up their kids’ spaces. Whether it’s putting the entire creative control in your kids’ hands or hanging map wallpaper to track a traveling relative, the sky’s the limit when coming up with how to style your kid’s bedroom. In Rebecca Rose’s experience, she wanted to showcase the beauty of their newfound home with her 2-year-old son. 

“Neither of us are from Arizona, but we now live in Phoenix, and the landscape is a far cry from the flat plains and greenery of the Midwest I grew up in,” Rebecca shares. We absolutely love and are inspired by the beauty of the desert, the warm colors, and the resilient cacti and flora that live in it. We want to teach our children to appreciate nature and the outdoors, so we thought we’d bring the outdoors in.” 

Credit: Brian Rose

Originally, the spare bedroom was essentially like a dumping ground for items that the family “didn’t want to regularly use or look at, but didn’t feel like parting with quite yet.” Rebecca and her husband, Brian, knew that the space would be a nursery one day, so they weren’t too pressed about designing it to its full potential. However, when Rose was pregnant with their second child, they wanted to create a space that their future kid could grow into instead of buying a crib. 

Credit: Brian Rose

So, the couple started transforming the room. Knowing how much they’d spend playing with their kid on the floor, they installed a thick carpet in a light shade. “We needed to clear out the room, which forced us to finally purge and let go of a lot of items that didn’t suit us anymore,” Rebecca admits. 

Once the fresh carpet was installed, it was time to paint the room. The couple painted the wall white, giving Brian a blank canvas to sketch the mountains and cacti outlines. Initially, they considered hiring someone to create the mural but decided against it. 

“It was more meaningful to do ourselves and demonstrate you don’t need to be a professional to create art,” Rebecca explains. “In the end, we like the imperfections in the hand drawings.”

Credit: Brian Rose

Next, it was time to use the paint colors Rebecca sourced from Valspar to color in the outlines. For the sun, they used Fragrant Coriander, the cacti were colored in Green Garlands and Autumn Grove, and the mountains came to life in Cattle Drive and Chestnut Beach. 

“We love the warm colors and the mural design. That room does not get a ton of natural light, as it faces north and there is a big beautiful mesquite tree that shades it (great for the HOT desert summers), so the colors help brighten it up,” Rebecca writes. “Using muted paint colors brightens while also keeps the room more tranquil for quiet time and sleep.”

Credit: Brian Rose

The last step of the process was finding furniture to complement their design. For example, the Babyletto cactus-shaped bookshelf nods to the mural, while the Pottery Barn Kids llama adds a touch of adventure to the space. Their son likes the functional pieces, too, like the craft table, couch, and bed frame, which he swings from while “pretending to be a monkey.” 

Now that the room is finished, Rebecca and her family spend so much time in it that it’s become somewhat of a multifunctional room. 

Credit: Brian Rose

“Because we don’t have a playroom, it definitely functions as not only a bedroom but a play space,” Rebecca says. “It is a safe space for him, and he will go in it for comfort and also when he wants to play. It is also, of course, a place for him to (usually) peacefully sleep.”

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