Reader SOS – Little Boy’s Bedroom

I’m back with another “DIY Playbook, Save our Space”. My plan for this series is to take a reader’s space and (virtually) offer design tips and tricks on how to improve it.

Here are some of my favorite design solutions from this series…

How Can I Create a Little Boy’s Bedroom?

Today’s design dilemma comes from Ainslee. She recently moved into a new home and wants to create the perfect bedroom for her son, Lucas, who is three and a half years old. Kids’ rooms are always fun to work on and this one comes with a few specific requests because Lucas has autism. I’ll let Ainslee take it from here…

Ainslee’s Design Dilemma

Reader SOS room before

We moved into our West Michigan house last October and between moving and juggling two kids we haven’t had a chance to decorate our oldest son, Lucas’s, room. Lucas has autism and while he can do everything that other kids his age can, his brain operates in a different (but very fun!) way. Lucas loves to climb and occasionally likes to get into things a bit more than some kids, so creating a room that feels cozy and inviting, while also giving Lucas an environment to be safe and rest is key for us. I think it can be often misunderstood how capable people with autism are and how similar they are to neurotypical individuals.

Reader SOS room before

Requests for the room…

  • A cozy space. Lucas loves blankets and LOVES all types of animals. 
  • Because Lucas likes to climb, we’d like a space that doesn’t have furniture in close proximity to his window so as to not encourage him to stand on the window ledge. 
  • Fragile decorative or knick-knack items within reach are trickier to decorate Lucas’s room with because they can be tempting and too distracting for times of rest. Soft items or things that don’t easily break are preferred. 
Reader SOS bedroom before
  • We’d love to use space on the wall with pictures, art, etc. 
  • We’d love a new dresser for him (doesn’t have to fit in the closet), some type of bed frame with a headboard, a new light, and other decorative items on the walls, floor, etc. 
  • We don’t need much toy storage in his room, but possibly a place for his favorite books. 
  • The rooms in our house have a slightly rustic and transitional look to them so it would be nice to complement that through his room decor. For example, there is a brick wall right outside his door. 
  • A room that grows with him for a few years would be great. A decor style that isn’t too childish, but still fun would be ideal. We love Pottery Barn style. 

Little Boy’s Bedroom – The Gameplan

I am so excited to help this family create a cozy space for their son. I appreciate all of the details Ainslee submitted about the needs for the space. Of course, I’m all about designing rooms that look good. But it’s much more important for a space to work well for whomever will be using it! So the ultimate goal here is for Lucas to love it and his parents to feel comfortable knowing he is safe and resting.

Here’s what I suggest…

  • Add an 8×10 rug, daybed with trundle, and dresser.
  • Create a cozy corner near the window for reading and relaxing.
  • Add personality to the walls that showcase his love for animals.

The New Layout

new layout for the boy's room

Here’s how I would set up the new room. I would lay down a plush 8×10 rug on the ground. Typically when laying a rug, you want the long side to align with the longest wall of the room. This room isn’t huge (9×12), so I would opt for a trundle bed on the far wall instead of using a traditional twin that would jut into the room. That would leave a lot of floor space for lounging and reading. Plus, I always love a trundle bed for a kids’ room…so fun for future sleepovers! A side table or floor lamp could go next to the bed and a dresser across on the opposite wall. This leaves some room near the window for a cozy reading nook where we’ll add a spot for books, a bean bag chair, and a basket for blankets.

The Basics

Okay, let’s talk about my picks for the space. First up, the rug. Lucas loves all things cozy and comfy, so I think a plush rug is the way to go. I’d usually say they’re not ideal for a kids’ space (toys and little stuff can get stuck in the fibers), but Ainslee said this will be a room purely for reading and relaxing so a soft rug is a must. This checkered one is adorable and comes at a good price.

payton upholstered daybed
Upholstered Daybed

Now, onto the star of the room…the daybed with a trundle! I really love this one from Pottery Barn because it comes in so many colors and fabrics. I’d opt for a medium gray with a durable fabric. (The “Pebble” is really nice.) I like the bedding from the photo above…a navy quilt and some soft pretty sheets.

sausalito dresser
Rustic Dresser

For the dresser, I’m leaning into their rustic style with this pick. This dresser is large, beautiful, and can really grow up with Lucas. It will work for many years as his room transitions over and over again.

The Cozy Reading Corner

With the basics in place, let’s talk about my favorite idea…the reading corner. Since we want to keep furniture away from the window, I think it’s a good idea to create some cozy floor space down below. First up, this window needs some curtains. I’d opt for these cute striped ones in indigo with a black rod across. They should be hung high and wide off of the windows and Ainslee will likely need two panels on each side for extra fullness. Oh, and she should also consider adding a blackout panel behind, to make this the ideal sleeping spot.

floor lounger

Underneath the window, I love the idea to add some book storage with book ledges. You could buy some simple wood ones or DIY them with my tutorial. Then, it would be nice to have a cool bean bag or floor lounger for reading. This one looks extra comfy and comes in a few cool fabrics. Finally, I’d add this cute animal hamper that could be used to store extra blankets and stuffed animals, since Lucas loves them so much!

Personality On The Walls

animal head wall
Photo via Cozy Nursery

Let’s chat about the walls. Lucas is an animal lover, so let’s showcase his favorite thing in his new room. Over the daybed, I’d opt for a trio of plush animal heads. Soft, safe, and a nod to his favorite animals. This site has a lot of awesome ones to choose from.

Over the dresser, I’d opt for a gallery wall. This could be a symmetrical gallery wall and exclusively feature some of these really beautiful animal prints. Or, it could be asymmetrical and incorporate family pictures into the mix as well. Both would look awesome.

Shop the Look – Little Boy’s Bedroom

designing a little boy's room

Shag Rug // Daybed // Dresser // Striped Curtains // Floor Lounger // Book Ledges // Bear Hamper // Felt Animal Heads // Chandelier // Floor Lamp

This was such a fun challenge for me. I loved designing this little boy’s bedroom and I can’t wait for Ainslee to bring it to life. Thanks for sharing more about your adorable family, Ainslee. I hope you can create the perfect space for your little man.


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.