A Touch Of The Attention Deficit – And A Decorative Dilemma

So this week, huh? My goodness. There’s been way too much sadness packed into the last few days. And last night when I saw the footage from the explosion in Texas, all I could think was Oh, Lord – be near. The combination of everything that’s happened this week is just heavy, you know? Maybe that’s why I watched this clip this morning…because when all else fails, well, DISNEY MUSICAL.

I’m not saying that I want to live in a bubble, but I am saying that the world doesn’t seem quite so harsh if you watch that little section with the basketballs about six times in a row.

I also struggled today with a really stunning inability to pay attention to anything for longer than about four minutes. I would think something along the lines of I think I will write a blog post! – and then I’d type two words, stare at the screen for several minutes, and the next thing I knew I was making a list of BOOKS I WOULD LIKE TO READ and then I stopped doing that because WHAT IS THE NAME OF THAT NEW HANSON SONG and then I got sidetracked 30 seconds into the song because I WONDER IF I HAVE ANY PICTURES OF THAT PLACE IN ECUADOR?

Listen. By the time 1 o’clock rolled around I was just as frazzled as I could be – but I had not accomplished a single thing other than figuring out how to save a document into a folder in Pages. Oh, and I also opened a new pack of IceBreakers.

I’m not gonna lie. It was a low.

This afternoon ended up being much better (I fixed supper! And actually served hot food!), and tonight I had a little a-ha moment about something and am hoping that some of you can help me.

A couple of hours ago I walked into Alex’s room to tell him goodnight, and all of a sudden I realized that his bedroom doesn’t match him anymore. His bedroom is very much a little boy’s room – right down to the curtains that I had made for his nursery – and here’s some news: he is not a little boy anymore. In fact, he and I wear the same size shoe right now (seriously – he got some new Crocs last week, and they’re a 7 men’s / 9 women’s, and HOW EXACTLY DID THAT HAPPEN?).

Anyway, I stood in his room and looked around for a second, and it made me a little sad, really – not because he’s getting older (I seriously think it’s just about the coolest thing ever to see him slowly but surely becoming his own person), but because I want him to have a room that’s a better reflection of who he is and what he likes. And as it is right now, his room is NOT that space. He’s a ten year-old in a five year-old’s room, and I am of a mind to change that just as soon as I can make it happen.

So. Do any of you mamas / aunts / grandmothers have any suggestions for ways to update a boy’s room so that it’s a bit more age appropriate without spending a bunch of money? Keep in mind that I am a certified Stein Mart / TJMaxx / Assorted Discounted Retailers shopper, so I certainly don’t require anything fancy. I’d just like to update the stuff on his bookshelves, put up some new curtains, and maybe swap out his comforters. For approximately $19.99.

Oh, I’m totally kidding. I will spend upwards of $39.99 if necessary.

I promise that I was smiling when I typed that.

But here’s my big question: should I take him shopping with me and try to guide him in the process of picking out something even though he has a strong and pronounced aversion to stores that sell linens? Or should I just pick it all out and re-do his room when he’s not looking?

Also: is there a store I may not know about that carries really good stuff for boys?

And then there’s this option: should I just leave it all as-is until he develops some concern about / care for / general interest in what his room looks like? He is not bothered AT ALL by his room in its current state, but he’s also not bothered by wearing the same pair of basketball shorts for four days in a row. And I do think that, in the end, he would love a room that’s a little more “grown.”

Any ideas?

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  1. Oooooh! Project! :-)

  2. Cheryl Stanley says:

    Having a 9 year old boy myself I made him a little Pinterest Board… something you just couldn’t do in the 80s. He then spent 13 seconds saying yea or nay to the pictures and that gave me some direction. Direction also comes in the form of sale items and the perfect find… take your time.

    I also put some words on his wall. Stuff that I want him to read over and over for a long time and he can “still remember” when he is a 40 year old man with his own son.

    I put some spots that he can use, a shelf and space for treasures, trophies or whatever else he is proud of at the time. Buy the frames let him pick what goes inside.

    And stuff that isn’t in the boys section. Grown up, durable fabrics that can take a beating.

  3. I think whatever you do now will/could probably carry him all through high school if you keep it simple and not themed. Maybe let him choose some colors and go from there?

  4. There are folders in Pages? You just rocked my world! Thanks!

  5. Just some thoughts…
    My son turns 20 (how can that be…it means I am getting older :) my suggestion would be to do a plain comforter and plain curtains. I did have my son pick oit three colors he liked. Then you can switch out (you could even make them) pillows and things on the wall/s as his tastes will change a bit through middle school and high school.
    Boys do not seem to care about picking up their rooms or yes how many days in a row they can wear something. Our house finally came down to keep you door closed please until you pick up your room!
    Best of luck!

  6. We have an almost ten year old son as well, and his favorite colors are orange (not burnt orange, thankyouJesus!) and turquoise. He loves planes, military stuff, football, and Lego. I have made each of our three sons his own quilt, bought inexpensive pillows and frames at Ikea, found posters online of fighter jets, and gave him a bookshelf for Lego creations and his Calvin and Hobbes books. Since we are renting for the time being here in San Antonio (back to our Seattle home in 6 weeks!), I didn’t want to do too much stuff that required repainting, etc. He framed a picture of his new baby sister, put up Ninjago/whateverLegoisdoingthismonth posters on a bulletin board and seems to be happy.

  7. Susan B. says:

    I remember going through all the bedroom updates with my son. At this age, he still had a rocking horse wall paper border, so I thought it really needed updating. With this first update, he and I went to Lowe’s and I let him pick out new paint – with some guidance. Then we looked at Wal-Mart and Target for a new comforter and curtains. That was easier than going to Bed, Bath and Beyond at that age…and cheaper. We had one other update when he was about 15 or 16 that he really wanted to do. And it’s still that way…much more “mature.” Then when he went off to college, all of a sudden he wanted new furniture, paint, etc. But we sidetracked that idea. He’s going to be at college 75% of the time. All the money is going there, not on a new room! These changes are fun! Enjoy your boy!

  8. How about a new duvet cover over the existing comforter? I’m thinking denim (any color that grabs you, maybe an oatmeal color). It’s heavy-duty and washable. And maybe some matching drapery panels (similar to the ones they have at Pottery Barn). Then the room will be neutral and you can jazz it up with some pillows (or whatever) that are easily changed out.

    Happy hunting!

  9. Rebecca says:

    I agree with including your son in the process. While he may act like he doesn’t care, he does. My nearly 29 yr old son helped me chose his room decor when he was about 8 and it stayed there till I got sick of it and changed it out! : ) I even painted his chest of drawers to match the new colors and he thought that was amazing since Mama did it! : ) Hint, darker colors wear better and show less dirt! : ) I bought his comforters (he had twin beds) at JCPenny, my mother always told me they have the best linens and towels and I have to say for durability she is absolutely right. Have fun!

  10. When my girl was about that age, I became aware that the furniture in her room was an assortment of hand-me-downs, and I wanted her to have a place she could call her own. One mistake I made was making it a bit too “girlish,” which didn’t easily transition to the teen and college years which came all too quickly. I like the idea of a pinterest board – you could collect a few general scenarios and let your boy tell you with a quick glance what appeals to him. Sturdy fabrics will be key as he goes through the “having 2 or 6 stinky teen boys flopping over for pizza in his room” years – and you will miss those years when they’re gone!

  11. My boys share a room (17 and 14 now) and I re-did (is that even a word???) it a few summers ago. Because of the difference in ages, I let them pick a color (green) and picked all neutrals to go with it. Then we put up a bunch of shelves that could use for struff they are interested in. We also do a lot of water sports and received some antique water skis from his great-grandparents and put those up as well. (That’s my favorite part because their great-grandparents actually used them in the 50s and 60s). Have fun!

  12. Wow. Great suggestions so far. I let my son pick oir his own paint color at about that age and we both silently detested the swimming pool blue as the years rolled by. But he did love that we had one shelf on his wall (high enough not to get changed too much) and invested a huge amount of together time on decorating that.

  13. When our son was about that age we redid his room with mainly a new paint job and a new comforter. We painted the room three colors. Light blue for the lower walls then close to the ceiling we painted a stripe of red and a larger stripe of navy. We then purchased some poster frames that over time he has used to put different posters in as his likes change. We found a navy/blue/red plaid quilt at Target that is still on his bed. From that time until now, those elements have stayed the same and he has switched out stuff in the room. We also added some a much needed desk/bookshelf unit since the only furniture he had prior other than his bed was a toy box. It’s hard to do homework on a toy box.

    He’s 22 and last year I painted his room in the fraternity house at college. So you never stop making their room fit them.

  14. I think Pottery Barn Teen has some really cute stuff for boys that you could use for ideas. I know he’s not a teen…I bought my daughter’s bedding from there when she was 3 because I have a problem with being picky, lol. Anyway, they still send me a catalogue & I really like how they put rooms together for boys. Might be good place to start & then pick out linens at Target, JCPenney, etc.

  15. I saw on fb months ago, that Kristen Howerton was planning on framing some album artwork for Jafta’s room. I LOVED that idea. (And may steal it in the future.) Not sure if A would want that, but I think it would be so cool. And pretty darn cheap! Then you can get basics for the curtains and bedding.

  16. I was going to suggest a Pinterest board as well….pin some things that you like – incorporating his specific interests – and let him veto what he doesn’t like. Much less wasted time and effort that way.

  17. Let him help with ideas like fav colors, hobbies,interests, etc. Then tell him you’ll shop for him. That let’s you shop for things on sale and have final veto. Pottery Barn Teen is a great idea place, but not in my price range. Right before school starts you’ll see all the “dorm” stuff in Target & such. Might be a good source. Contact school or gym and see if they have lockers they are ready to retire for a fun piece. Haev fun.

  18. My boy, who is now 16, but was 8 at the time asked for blue walls. So, his walls are navy- it’s like a bat cave, but he loves it. I bought a striped quilt and a denim bed skirt. at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. His decor consists of framed pictures of him doing various activities, his trophies, school memorabilia, etc.

    I do love that he still wants very much for all his special children’s books, his Series of Unfortunate Events, and the Harry Potter books to remain in his room on his shelf. It’s very boyish, but also decorative. We live in a ranch style house- his room is across the hall from the bathroom, so it had to be something that was pleasing to company.

  19. I have zero ideas for a boy’s room, but I just bought my 12yo daughter a pair of size ELEVEN running shoes. Gulp. I wear a 10.

  20. When I have to shop for bedding, I usually start at Overstock.com–and I usually don’t have to look anywhere else. Great prices.

    In the past, when I felt it was time to “age up” a boy’s room (but the boy didn’t particularly care–his only input was “something green”), I just did the update myself and surprised him at the end. A friend of mine did something similar for her son while he was at summer camp. Kinda fun.

  21. I usually did the decorating in my son’s room (He’s now married, almost 23 and actually has opinions and a certain amount of flair when it comes to his own house — go figure!) Every now and then he’d express interest in a color — orange, for example — and I tried to work with that. Most of his pre-teen thru high school years we had khaki comforter, fairly neutral curtains and (as alot of folks suggested) “pops of color” with throw pillows. Guess what? Boys could care less about throw pillows! The only time everything was “pulled together” decor-wise is when we were expecting guests! Realistically, the decorating is more for “us” but I think they do appreciate having a nice, comfortable room. I know your boy loves books – I’d play that up with shelving — have you seen those bookshelves made out of books on pinterest? Good luck — and post before and afters! (Also, most of my stuff came from Target, TJ Maxx and even Wal-Mart! I probably did his whole room for $39.99! grin)

  22. Shelly J says:

    I agree with Overstock.com suggestion….huge selection, usually almost free shipping too and no tax to most states!

  23. Holly S. says:

    I have a 10 year old son that wanted his room less baby around the age of 7-8. He liked being involved in the choices which I helped guide and help narrowed down prior to showing him (mainly comforters). We kept it with no theme, so it would grow with him through the years. The things that he likes are shelves for Legos (or whatever he likes at the moment), bulletin board, and chalkboard (currently uses it as a scoreboard), and a wall hanging bookshelf. We also have some world maps framed as wall decor.

  24. My son is 16 and we re-did his room a few ago. He picked the wall color he liked (a shade of brown) and then I handed him a catalog and he marked the pages of everything he liked and I went looking for similar things from there. Pottery Barn Teen has some great options to pull ideas from. (If you have a PB outlet near you, they have great deals on last years’ bedding etc. I got a twin quilt there a few months ago for $30! and one of those iPhone/iPod desk radio/alarm thingies for $15!) Denim curtains, denim bedskirt (hello Kohl’s, with your frequent sales and 30% off coupons on top of that). Target has some great wall art pieces. We through in a desk we had from another room, some back-lit guitar wall mounts for the guitars his grandfather gave him (he hasn’t learned to play them yet), and a mini-fridge our neighbor was selling for $20 (he keeps water bottles in it, mini cokes, and protein shakes) — and now he thinks his room is the best thing ever. His friends do too!

    I say let him look through some catalogs, you’ll get an idea what colors and things he likes, then you start the sale hunting. He’ll be happy with whatever you pick out from there, I’m sure.

  25. Kimberly/OKC says:

    Ok, I read thru all the comments and no one has my suggestion so far. Sports theme! Y’all are sports fanatics so why not a room for either a specific team or several of y’all favorite teams. My son is a huge Oklahoma University fan (as are we all…Boomer!) so I did his room in everything OU. He was about 11 at the time and now he’s almost 18 and still loves it!! Ideas: I painted the wall to chair rail crimson. Put in a chair rail in black and painted the remainder of the wall in cream. (I have heard one needs to use some black in every room. It lends “sophistication” while never taking away from the color scheme). I hung OU curtains and have an OU rug along with an OU comforter. A large OU flag hangs flat on the ceiling. My husband put up a wide shelf (18″) the entire length of one wall where we place various sports trophies from my son’s younger days of playing, OU memorabilia that he’s collected, baseball cards, books, etc. The shelf is hung high maybe 24″ from ceiling (awesome bc no one can see the dust that accumulates up there). Under that shelf along the entire wall, dad hung several medium size hooks for baseball caps etc that boys always have (lifesaver!! Do this no matter what!!!) and here’s the thing my kiddo most loved…I painted a white strip from the white ceiling down 8-10″ and let my son decide what goes there as far as OU statistics. We have the years OU were the national champions, Bob Stoops record for end of each year, OU Heisman trophy winners. I free handed bc I’m decent at that but I guess one could use stencils. I still suggest someone free hand it tho, personal touch and all. The last thing I did, and this has nothing to do with room decor but underneath another small book shelf which hangs over the head end of his bed I wrote a little note in paint that he could look at every night (he used to be attached to me…waaahhh!) “Dear Jed, You are the best boy in the whole world and I love you soooo much!! Forever, Mommy” I don’t know if he still looks at it but he used to like it when he was younger. Ok, that’s it. Whatever you choose, it’ll look great!!

  26. When my son was 10 it was time to “upgrade” his room too. He was a gymnast and played every other sport too so he had a trophy case but other than that he didn’t care. So, we painted the room blue and got red and navy reversible comforters for his twin beds. I used off white curtains and sewed navy ric rack on the bottoms of them. That’s it and all were purchased at Target and Penney’s. Through the rest of his years he decorated the room with his latest obsession. One year it was patriotic and the bedspreads were turned to the red side. In high school, it was all about his football, wrestling and track. Since we are huge Gator fans the bedspreads were eventually turned to the blue side and we added lots of orange. As long as he had room for his desk, trophy case and a chair, TV area for his video games he was happy and actually made the beds every day – well he threw the comforters across them and called them made!!

  27. Posters are a very cheap and easily changeable way to make a kids room updated. (After you’ve changed the curtains and comforter to look more age appropriate).

    Sorry if someone’s already said this, I didn’t read through the posts.

  28. I have twin 17 year old boys. I did the exact same thing when they were A’s age. I completely agree with everyone who says pick linens that will last through high school. That part of my boys rooms have stayed exactly the same. From this stage forward they will be constantly evolving in their interests.

    The two best things I did:

    1.) I gave them a giant high quality pin up board. I got them at a office supply store and they are made of foamy stuff that lets you pin without leaving wholes. Worth the money!

    2.) At the same height as the top of their bedroom windows I put a shelf all around their room. Under the shelf is a wide trim board. The shelf is, well a shelf! Through the years it has changed and reflected who they are growing into, although there are many things from all life stages up there. On the wide trim board, every 12 inches or so we put in coat hooks. They hang all kinds of things from them. Ball caps, medals, lanyards from events like camp or sporting events.

    Oh…and every kids room needs a big map of the world hanging on the wall, too.

    Have fun!

  29. I laughed out loud when I saw what you wrote about HSM…my oldest son went through a phase when he LOVED those movies so all of the songs are buried deep in my brain.

    For our big boys’ room (they are bunked) we used madras plaid quilts from Pottery Barn Kids with navy furniture that can grow with them. I painted a long shelf the same color distressed navy to hold hats, trophies, etc and there are pennants from our favorite teams on the walls. They love their room and I figured I could change out their bedding easily if necessary. Even though it’s a bit pricier, PBK has great sales and their stuff lasts because it’s such great quality. I’m a bargain shopper too, but I didn’t want to have to keep changing stuff because it was worn out-just a thought.

  30. I recently bought a huge world map(under $100) to put up on one of the walls in my son’s room. It will pretty much take up the whole wall. My plan is to paint the other three walls a coordinating color, probably either a blue or a green, and then find linens that go with all of the above. I think the map is fun and educational and something he can grow into as a teenager. I’m also thinking he may want to put pins or stickers of some sort on the places where he’s visited and/or on the places where our compassion kids live. Now I just have to get motivated to do all of this!

  31. Jennifer says:

    In my best Frank (“Father of the Bride”) accent, “Here’s what I soojust…” Grab a copy of Land of Nod or PB Kids or PB Teen, throw it his way, and say, “Hey, do you think any of those rooms are cool?” You know, be all nonchalant about it, so he won’t get wind that you’re actually asking him to decorate.I bet he could at least help lead you in the right direction, and then you could go in search on your own to find the bargains.

    Also, that clip you posted is waaaay more entertaining if you watch it with the sound turned off. Then you can really focus in on their cheesy expressions. Lovely.

  32. I recently “re-did” my son’s room… a happy/sad moment no doubt!
    I loooove Pottery Barn Teen, but I do not loooove their prices! We got lots of great ideas from the catalogs, and then we went to Target! ;)
    We also shopped (a lot!) at IKEA. There’s not one close to us, but we have family in Atlanta, so we went while visiting them. Love IKEA! For everything from a bookshelf to a cool lamp and duvet covers…. at great prices.
    I got his opinions and ideas, and he chose some things, but then I did a “hidden” makeover with a big “reveal” when I finished. It was safe because he picked out the main things, but it was a good surprise, too!
    Have fun!! (It’s always a good excuse to shop!)

  33. Meredith says:

    Search Pinterest for some ideas, Pottery Barn Kids catalogue, etc. Show him some ideas and get his input. Likes, dislikes, bedding options. Then go shopping alone, buy stuff and I he doesn’t like it, you can always take it back. If you take him shopping, you’ll end up buying a bunch of stuff on impulse.

  34. I love you for posting that clip!

  35. I think most boys just don’t care. My son still has the magnolia wallpaper that was up when we moved into our 100 year old house., and he has no interest in changing it. I say just do what you want, maybe with solid “boyish” colors and let him add his own art and decorations. And, what are we feeding our kids nowadays? My daughter is 5′ 6″ and wears a size 11 shoe. She’s 11. We’re raising Amazon children here in the south.

  36. Land of Nod and The Company Store are two other choices for linens. Darlene over at Fieldstone Hill had a brilliant making the bed post not long ago- she uses a great fitted sheet and then finds a matching duvet cover with a year round lightweight duvet; it seemed like a great solution for helping kids make their beds. This is the link: http://www.fieldstonehilldesign.com/2013/03/how-to-make-a-luxury-bed.html

  37. Trisha : ) says:

    One thing we did that was requested at update time was to put up a hammock suspended from huge eye screws in the ceiling. Hubby had to go up into the attic to drill holes thru beams. It was fun for sleepovers – extra spare bed without losing floor space – and came in handy to “make things disappear” when it was time to clean up the room quickly….

  38. My son was around that age when we bought our house. He’s 17 now and his room has changed very little. We let him choose his wall color (colors actually – four walls, four colors – red, green, blue, orange). He also chose black furniture & bedding. Then he picked posters of things he likes. You can frame them and then switch the posters out as he grows. Boys don’t care too much about decorations or changing things up very often (or cleaning things up very often!). I would definitely find out what he would like it to be and give him some ownership of his area. Good luck and post pictures!

  39. You will never see my house on Pinterest, but when my son was about ten and we moved into a new house I just used an old quilt from my great aunt for his bedspread. I never asked him how he felt about that, but now as an adult he has hung that quilt on his wall by the kitchen. I guess he liked it.

  40. Here’s my thought on it, for what it’s worth: Remove anything that is overtly babyish and buy some lovely new throw pillows for the living room sofa. My son is 17. When he was tiny and moved out of the (adorable) nursery to make way for his sister, I splurged on a Pottery Barn fire truck rug and decorated his room around it, including painting a fire truck “headboard” behind his bed. He couldn’t have cared less. A few years later, I redid his room in a sports theme that much better reflected his more mature preteen self. Again, he sort of shrugged at it. It was fine, but it was fine the way it was before too. His current decorating theme is chaos and entropy with a hint of funky sneakers, and it suits him fine.

  41. (I’d like to add that I did NOT choose the current theme.)

  42. Brooke Shipley says:

    First look online with him to find a direction to begin. Try Pottery Barn teen and Company Kids.

  43. Christina says:

    I don’t think I’ve seen this mentioned yet, but check out the Houzz dot com website and click on the link to kids’ rooms. There are TONS of ideas. But I’m warning you now…it’s addictive.

  44. Terrie Cash says:

    I can’t add to the suggestions given, they are all great. Please post before and after pictures. You are always so much fun to be around here on your blog. :-)

  45. Joy Allmond says:

    I can’t add to anything either, but I will say that I am a fan of the Pottery Barn Teen. A few years ago, we faced the same issue with my stepsons (who are now 16 and 14). One of them has an NBA-themed room and the other has an NFL-themed room. They have the neatest quilts for their bed covers, and it looks youthful, yet they have kind of grown up with their rooms. Should be good to go until they leave for college.

    Wait a second… how about a Bulldog-themed room? Some Bulldog paraphernalia, some maroon with tan or gray…??

  46. We used the big free-standing Craftsman tool boxes for the boys’ bedside tables. Lots of drawers for treasures, they’re durable, they have wheels for easy repositioning, and they can take them with them when they’re grown.

  47. I have some time on this random Saturday morning and read through every comment. Now *I* want to re-do my boys’ room. Like, this weekend! In truth, they (14 & 9) have asked several times in the last year or so. . .and I thought I had done a “good” job years ago by buying what I thought were “neutral-grow-up-with” comforters and painted their room a neutral color so I would never have to touch the room again — ha! Glad they care. Really, I do. And this post and all the comments have given me great inspiration and motivation :) If I start on the boys’ room the girls will want a re-do too. . .and they just had one about 2 years ago. Glad summer is right around the corner! Summer=time
    Can’t wait to see what you come up with :)

  48. I did my boys’ room a few years back with denim curtains and denim comforters (spare linen in navy blue). I change bed cushions and wall art every year or so as they grow up – and I let them choose what the theme will be. So we’ve gone from Elmo to Lightning McQueen to Batman to footbal teams over the years but only in cushions and accent pieces so it’s not too busy. I keep an open shelf free for their favourite toy of the moment too – currently Lego masterpieces they’ve built.