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Underwater Boys' Bedroom

An under-the-sea theme transforms a bedroom for two young boys.

Curt and Claire Stewart would like the bedroom that their two young sons share turned into an underwater kingdom filled with exciting ocean colors and lots of marine life.

The Dilemma


Host Lee Snijders meets up with the family to discuss the new underwater design. They decide to replace the two twin beds with space-saving bunk beds so the boys will have more room to get rowdy. The denim comforters are okay, but could be embellished to help liven things up. Another goal is to give them a place to sit where they can work on art projects or puzzles. Finally, to make the room more sea friendly, additional lighting is also a must.

The Solution

The design team shores up a spectacular ocean theme for the young boys — here's how they pull it together:

  • The walls are painted a deep sea blue to start the theme. Snijders and design coordinator Charles Burbridge cut out various organic shapes from 1/2-inch finish-grade plywood and 1/8-inch masonite to resemble sea kelp, coral and rock formations, which, after painted, are appliquéd to the walls and furniture for a three-dimensional effect. (The plywood cutouts are attached to the end of the bunk beds; the masonite pieces are secured to the walls.) The coral pieces are painted with a red base coat and the textured look is created with orange and purple colors stippled on with a sea sponge; the sea kelp look is created with a green base coat and blue and purple paint stippled on for more depth. Design coordinator Summer Baltzer finishes the theme with wallpaper cutouts of schools of fish adhered to the walls with wallpaper glue.

  • The twin beds are replaced with space-saving bunk beds. Baltzer embellishes the denim bedding with iron-on transfers of colorful fish, which she made from color photocopies.

  • Burbridge makes a whimsical jellyfish lamp out of basic materials including a salad bowl, cotton jersey fabric, felt, a light kit and colorful spray paint.

    Here are the steps:

    1. Drill a hole in the center of the bowl to accommodate the light kit, then spray-paint the interior blue.
    2. Cut a piece of fabric to about three inches larger than the diameter of the bowl; place the bowl upside-down and drape the fabric over it.
    3. Gather armature wire in a circle (larger than the bowl) and wrap with white cotton felt. Place it over the bowl, wrap the extra fabric up over it and glue to secure.
    4. To make the tentacles, cut more of the cotton fabric into strips and tie knots every three or four inches. Paint the strips bright yellow and purple for contrast.
    5. Spray-paint the fabric-covered bowl with bright colors. Cut a small hole in the center to thread the light cord through.
    6. Use hot glue to secure the tentacles to the interior of the bowl rim.
    7. Add the light kit and a bulb and hang from the ceiling.

  • The new arrangement makes room for a table and chair set at the foot of the bunk beds.

  • An area rug, live beta fish and beanbag chairs are the finishing touches.

    The Cost

    Furniture - $520

    • bunk bed: IKEA - Hemnes, #70045383
    • table and chair set: IKEA - Sork, #18068/Periwinkle
    • bookshelves: IKEA - Billy, #10043725
    • bean bag chairs: Target - #074030450/Blue

    Rug and accessories - $200

    • area rug: Rug City
    • vinyl fish for transfers: Staples - #728502009054
    • transfer paper: Staples - #072782032791

    Wall treatment - $130

    • fish wall border: Do-It-Center - #487760

    Paint supplies - $113

    • wall paint: Benjamin Moore - # 791/3B Paddington Blue

    Lighting - $35

    Project Total - $997

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