Before and After: Simple Layout Tweaks Transform This Kids Bedroom into a Jungle-Themed Oasis

published Dec 15, 2021
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Gunnar Larson's Kids' room before
Credit: Alec Kugler

Sometimes the best transformations are the subtle but high-impact ones. At least that’s the case with our kids’ room. When my wife, Sara, and I first moved into our current Brooklyn apartment, we weren’t pregnant with Royal, our son, yet. Our daughter Ihlen’s room was going to be “her” room, with the addition of a small desk for me to do my design work at while she was in school. Then Royal came along, and the room had to quickly transform into a bedroom for two. The focal point of the room was always Ihlen’s lofted bed so we kept that, put up Rebel Walls Jungle Land wallpaper to set off the space with a whimsical touch, and added in Royal’s crib and a nursery chair.

Credit: Alec Kugler
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Things were working pretty well, then the pandemic hit, and now we have a toddler and a tween — and a new pandemic pup, Freyja — on our hands. With floor space getting tight, Royal nearing three and about to graduate to a bed, and the lofted bed not really being the best place for cuddling with a puppy, it was time to make some changes. Our goal was to flip the room fast to get it done right before Ihlen’s first week of third grade.

The biggest change we made was to the layout. Prior to the redo, the crib and loft bed were side-by-side on one of the long walls of the space, directly across from a little shared wardrobe area with a bar for hanging clothes and a low-slung set of drawers. Instead of putting both new beds on one wall, which you see often in shared rooms but would be tough to do in a space this narrow, we opted to split the room in two and give each kid a side.

I selected a twin-sized storage bed for my daughter, putting it on the shorter window wall of the room and orienting it more like a daybed so she could curl up with a book or her iPad there; I even swagged a pendant light in this spot for extra reading light after dark. This lower storage bed also provided separate toy storage underneath it and fairly easy access for Freyja to jump up and cuddle with her. 

For Royal, we selected the Oeuf Perch toddler bed, which was a perfect fit for the wall opposite Ihlen’s bed by the room’s door; we didn’t even have to move the guitar we had previously mounted on the wall in this spot! This way, both kids essentially have opposite sides, or ends, of the room as zones to themselves. We knew we wanted each kid to have their own little workspaces, too, so on the long wall where the crib and loft bed used to be, we placed two Blu Dot’s modular Hitch bookcase desks, which we divided with a bookcase from the same collection to add more storage for books, games, and knickknacks.

The full unit we built out basically spans the entire wall (save for where the ends of both kids’ beds are) but still has a pretty compact footprint, so now the room has much more open floor space than it did before for playing and hanging out. The last and final wall in the room has stayed pretty much the same; we removed the hanging bar and stacked more drawers onto the modular, low-slung unit that was always there to more efficiently work the vertical space for both kids’ clothing. We also added clear shelving above the drawers for even more spots to stash little odds and ends.

We’ve all been so happy with the transformation. The timing couldn’t have been more right for a fun and exciting redo to take us into fall and the new school year. It all started with looking at the room and really working its perimeter with space-saving furnishings that will grow up alongside our kids.