My son has been into sharks and sea creatures for almost three years so a submarine themed room was a safe bet. I never want to hear “I don’t like [insert flavor of the month] anymore” after spending precious time and money putting a room together.
For the colors, I was inspired by Denver Aquarium’s submarine area so I went with grays and DIY’d the submarine style with the bubble wrap wall paint and industrial chair rail and then navy and turquoise, which I decided on after bedding and decor shopping.
For decor, Home Goods and Hobby Lobby are a sea life mecca! If it was within budget and he (or I) liked it, I grabbed it and didn’t worry about nailing down exactly where it would go. Overthinking always stalls room design so I go with the mantra that anything can returned. And, somehow (magic?), I always find the perfect place for it.
These are a few of my finds. The shark photo is special because we met the photographer at an art fair in Maui. The “4” was inherited from his brother’s room.
This piece from Hobby Lobby was one of my faves since it looked like a porthole. We “made it our own” as a marine life version of a doll house. I originally hung it higher and my six year old said, “But how will he play with his sea creatures?!” so I realized it needed to be at eye/play level. The lesson: always get kids to check your design.
Cool storage containers (Home Goods) are always a good idea in kids rooms.
Of course, some decor items were not the right color (but they were cheap, yay!), so I did some #makeitowndiy.
And speaking of spray paint, I did one of the oldest Pinterest tricks in the book: sprayed some IKEA spice racks. I love books as wall decor, and it doesn’t waste as much space as a bookcase.
I painted over these stripes with blue craft paint and a sponge brush. Easy peasy.
I also shopped our house and found things like a birthday banner, pinatas, frames, pictures from trips, and a Great Barrier Reef frame my hubby had in his former bachelor pad. We even used his brother’s hammerhead sharks science project.
birthday name banner, I used the screws from the chair rail project and jute to thread. And I spray painted the jute so it was more industrial. I also spray painted the “T” and the “A” because I needed it to be turquoise (it was green originally). I had never sprayed paper before, and I was a little surprised when it worked.
We swam with dolphins on a pre-kids trip and had the photos in this frame. I kept one and added some submarine pics from our recent Maui trip. I also sprayed the frame to make it more industrial. And the whale with hooks got some spray painting action as well.
I saved these pinatas because he’s had a sea creatures birthday theme two years in a row (maybe I will bring them down for his next birthday, too!) and the chain was leftover from one of our light fixtures.
Hubby’s Great Barrier Reef print that I touched up with some gray paint.
The chain on the hook was a place holder until I found the perfect lobster art from Far Away Hood (below).
DIY sign…”Captain” plaque from Hobby Lobby, swordfish (sprayed) from Home Goods, wood scraps from my garage, and, best of all, the letters were from his nursery. I love pulling nursery decor – thrifty and sentimental. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I had planned on painting portholes with sea life for above his bed (I may still do that on his ceiling), but then I found some steel portholes on Amazon. The portholes are screwed in and I removed the glass so they are safe.
Then I found the handy-dandy sharks and whales decals (lots of different sizes!) on Amazon and decided those would look better than my painting. The decals have portholes on them, but I cut those out since I had the real deal and wah-la!
For furniture, I like to go minimal in kids rooms. I’m generally anti-dressers – my goal is to fit all clothes (and most toys) in the closet so they are out of sight and out of the way. I try to make it easy to organize so they know exactly where things go. No excuses when it comes to room clean up and it’s good for them to practice staying organized (I haven’t quite mastered guiding them in this, but I will let you know when I do).
Closet organizer is the Container Store elfa system.
I repurposed his train table into a play table with storage buckets underneath that I pulled from the garage and painted with chalkboard paint so I could label – sight words are always a good idea in kids rooms.
The only piece of furniture I bought was this Restoration Hardware Baby & Child side table. I totally splurged on it because it was just too perfect.
He inherited the Pottery Barn Kids Catalina bed from his brother, and I thought about repainting it (maybe later), but I just removed the finials instead. We also bought the trundle so the boys can bunk up when we have guests.
The rugs, lighting (fisherman table lamp and bronze depot hanging pendant), and bedding are also from Pottery Barn Kids. I love wool rugs, and the mini chevron rug was the perfect color and the pattern looks like ocean waves. Downside: it’s pretty lumpy so it doesn’t vacuum well. I’m hoping that improves over time. I had my eye on another PBK shark rug, but it was out of stock so I got the bathmat instead and not only was it cheaper, but my son doesn’t even know the difference.
The sheets were discounted and the matching comforter wasn’t available anymore, but I found it on eBay. Sidenote: There was a shark duvet cover available, which was cute, but I would never get a duvet for a kids room – ain’t nobody got time for that!
I’ve got more ideas for this room…like putting up a chain with clips so he can hang all his sea creature artwork, some ceiling art, and my brother gave me some plans to attach the wheel above his bed so it will spin!
And something for above the door…porthole?
But for now, that’s a wrap for Draft 1.