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Outdoor-Inspired Toddler Room

A nursery becomes a toddler room with a fun outdoor-inspired theme.

Chara and Gary Campanella's 16 month-old son, Luc, is treated to a new bedroom with an outdoor-explorer theme.

The Dilemma

Host Lee Snijders visits the family and Gary and Chara explain that Luc's room was thrown together at the last minute without any thought for style or theme. They don't like the wall color, Luc's toys need proper storage and the crib needs to be replaced with a toddler bed. Along with making the room multifunctional for playing, reading and watching television, safety is addressed and the vertical blinds on the closet will be dismantled in case a precocious Luc wants to pull them down. Snijders also suggests turning the closet into a hideaway.

The Solution

Luc's room is redesigned with play in mind — here's how the design team creates a room fit for a young explorer:

  • New furniture pieces include an armoire and a toddler bed. Fun age-appropriate camping items include a sleeping bag, lantern, backpack and explorer kit.
  • The walls and ceiling are painted sky blue to simulate the outdoors.

  • Design coordinator Summer Baltzer continues the tree theme with a tree-like lamp. She hot-glues individual faux vine leaves onto the lampshade, layering them one by one for a textural effect. She paints the lamp base brown to make it look like a tree trunk.

  • Baltzer also creates a forest playland floor covering where little Luc can pretend he's camping in the woods. She uses green and blue fabric to create the base, which looks like grass and water. She adds two big "grassy knolls" and stuffs them to make them comfy. Other fun pieces include fabric logs, flames and rock ottomans, which are all made out of felt. She uses fabric paint to give the flames and logs some dimension.

  • Snijders transforms the ordinary closet into a cave with plywood cutouts sprayed with textured gray paint. A desk, chalkboard and easel are placed inside.

  • Design coordinator Charles Burbridge's tree-shaped bookshelf is a clever corner storage piece suitable perfect for stuffed animals. He cuts the two tree shapes and small shelves out of 1/2-inch plywood with a jig saw and sands down the rough edges. He gives everything a brown base coat then paints on a mixture of brown and black paint and faux glazing liquid, which he rags off with a plastic bag for more visual depth. Once the pieces are assembled, he adds fasteners to the top to hold the silk greenery, which cascades over the entire piece.

The Cost

Accessories and lighting - $353

  • blue fleece: Jo-Ann Fabrics - Royal Alpine, 3006061
  • easel: IKEA - Mala, 50019370 / 50021076
  • rug: IKEA - Lustig, 400.498.58/200.498.59 / green
  • Roman shades: IKEA - Setaria, 40039270 / 14257

Furniture - $346

  • bed: Toys R Us - 065857120363 pecan traditional / 721735
  • desk: thrift store
  • armoire: IKEA - Diktad, 80045207
  • chair: IKEA - Gulliver, white / 16170 / 90061310

Building materials - $225

Paint - $75

  • paint: Behr - True Blue (Pearl) 6620-50

Project Total - $999

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