Monday, May 7, 2018

31 Teen Boy Bedroom Workspace & DIY Shelf

Why is it that the middle of any room update is always the hardest? Maybe it is just me, but that is where I slow down and things seem to really lull. Maybe that is also why most of the rooms in our home are incomplete.



I always start out strong with big ambitions and ideas and then I get to the blank slate part and become a deer in headlights. You can see more of the blank slate photos of our son's room in this post here. It can be frustrating at times, but it is probably better that I allow myself to take these rooms at a snail's pace. I have never been one to pull off a room that I love with longevity if I race to the finish line.

In our son's room, I got stuck on such an odd detail, and that was the shelf to install over his new desk. I tried three options before I landed on the right one so I felt a lot of thankfulness for nice return policies! (In case you are curious about the shelves I checked out for the space, they were this one, this one, and this one.) After holding each one up and also asking my son to offer up his opinion, we decided that maybe we would be better off finding one that matched the stain in the nearby DIY wall map, which tends to be the main focus in the room.


Why was a shelf important? Well, my goal is to give my son a workspace that is easy to keep wide open and clear of clutter. He tends to be more productive and efficient when he is free of distractions and has simple organization. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!

So, a shelf not only would add a nice decorative touch to the space, it would also function as a place to toss some of those extra office supplies that tend to land on a desk. When the other shelves didn't feel right, I found these and used them as our inspiration to DIY something. We needed something that was a good depth for holding books and boxes, but not too deep that it felt heavy and out of place.

We already had a pair of the 7 1/2" EKBY shelf brackets from IKEA, so I thought it would be quick and easy to just head to the hardware store and grab a piece of standard lumbar to stain. I took the brackets with me only to realize that the common boards are generally a 3/4" thickness, and the brackets really needed something closer to an inch thick. I searched the store for something that would be a better fit, and then I remembered that I had used a stair tread with these types of brackets in the past. YES! Not what you might typically think of or go to, but it makes the perfect shelf option. Not only are they the correct thickness, they are also strong and sturdy and shouldn't bow easily.

The obvious solution may have been to pair and IKEA EKBY shelf with these EKBY brackets, but they didn't offer a finish that we were trying to achieve.


My favorite projects are ones that I can do quickly and easily with little to no help or money, and this one checked all of those boxes!

I began with the following supplies, many which I already had on hand from previous DIY projects.


The first step was to measure and cut the stair tread down to size. I opted to remove the rounded edge of the tread to square off the shelf completely and leave it the full 48" width.

After preconditioning the wood (I use this), I gave the board two coats of a dark walnut toned stain.


I also gave the shelf brackets a nice coat of flat black spray paint (this kind is my favorite).


The tread shelf is a nice and tight fit into the bracket, in fact, I ended up sanding it down just a smidge and using a rubber mallet to really secure the two together. Then it was as simple as using some drywall anchors and long black screws to install it on the wall.



As you can see, I also added some additional wall organization. He generally has some work-in-progress papers and reminders that I wanted to store in a wall pocket, so I dug out our old daily system pieces and spray painted them gray and black to better suit his room (I originally purchased them here years ago in the ivory finish, the two pieces used are this one and this one). The pockets hold his papers and Chromebook, while the adjoining piece coralls a few of his desk accessories and supplies.


On the shelf, I added an inexpensive box (which is a really great size for most shelves above a desk) with an adhesive label holder. Inside are all of his random homework supplies that he may need to reach for from time to time.



I know Letterboards are the new trendy chalkboard, but you guys, my teenage boy totally digs it! He loves looking up quotes and using it to express his current mood, and I love seeing how it changes and reflects his personality. I found his here for a great price and used a small tin to hold all of the extra letters.



He selected a soft swivel chair from our local Marshalls (similar), and the combination of it all has been many thumbs up by all of us.


The sliding closet door is our last big project for this room and we have been trying to come up with the best wood selection based on the larger size, but I think we have a pretty good plan and can't wait to get it done.


I am glad that we found our goldilocks of shelves, the small details in a room are what make it all come together in the end. And I always get discouraged when it takes me multiple tries to source something, especially basic items, but I really wanted to share because I know a lot of you have mentioned feeling the same way in the past. Decorating definitely comes easier to some than others, but keep at it and don't settle until your gut tells you it's right.


Oh! And this room has made me want to paint 100 more ceilings.



You know I love a good chit chat, so tell me, what is something that took you at least three times of trying before you found "the one".









You can catch up on the entire room update by checking out the closet plans here, how we patched the wall removal here, some nifty drawer dividers here, and the blank slate here.

31 comments:

  1. This looks great! His room is coming together so nicely, very streamlined and simple and looks amazing! I am like you when decorating, I tend to hold out for a long time until I find something just right. I'm sometimes tempted to get a "placeholder" in the meantime but I know that I will just have to replace it later so I usually don't bother. It's a fine line between waiting for the perfect item and just setting up an imperfect system in the meantime!

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    1. Definitely a fine line! Thank you Kaitlin!

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  2. Hi Jen! I'm a long time reader of your blog (I think I've been following it since I began uni so maybe 6 years ago) and I just wanted to drop by to thank you for all the great ideas, pictures and make-overs that you post. I'm not a great DIYer myself but, like you, I heart organizing (so soothing!), and I always enjoy reading your blog and following what you guys have been up to (can't believe your son is already a teenager!). Your blog kind of feels like "home" to me and it feels great to come by from time to time and read a nice long blog post (as opposed to the shorter Instagram posts I scroll through everyday). Love from Belgium xx

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    1. Love right back at you Helene! I sincerely appreciate you reading all these years! Time goes so fast!

      I am grateful my blog feels like home, I strive for that and love to have you stop by to hear our stories and talk organizing! πŸ’“ xoxo!!

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  3. I love the shelf selection!

    Thank you for posting this. I have currently hit a snag in setting up my new apartment because I don't know what to do with my TV. It currently sits on a small console table that I originally bought to showcase my plants. I have also been unhappy with all my options so far. But thanks for sharing your experience and for the encouragement! Must keep trying!

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    1. You will find it and your patience will pay off 🀞🏻. Sometimes those solutions pop up when you least expect it. Best of luck and thanks for sharing your story!

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  4. The room is turning out SO awesome!! I LOVE what you've done! I can so relate to it taking forever to get some things just right. And of course, I never factor that trial and error process into the project time frame, which only adds to my frustration. This weekend my husband and I carved out one whole day (which is so HARD to come by) to finally finish installing the wood floors in our powder bath AND paint the walls. Big goals, and I was SO excited at the prospect of making that much progress. The good news is that the floors turned out great! But the walls are SO AWFUL. After countless hours of thinking about and looking at colors online, going to the hardware store and ordering paint sample after paint sample . . . painting big swatches and hanging them everywhere, observing them in all different lights . . . this was my 6th color and I thought it was going to be AMAZING. But it looks like a baby boy's powder blue nursery. Yecch. And I bought really expensive $50/gallon paint, too. Sigh. 7th time's a charm??

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    1. Ahhh Kristin! I wish saying that I have been there would make it any better, but I know it doesn’t. I have done the same with paint a few times and what seems like a quick and inexpensive way to make a big impact can quickly become a pricey one! I am sorry that happened, blues can be suuuper tricky (I have always feared the baby blue effect as well). Good news is it is just paint and is fixable, and even better, congrats on getting those floors in!! I bet that alone felt amazing. You got this!! πŸ’“

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    2. Kirsten, don't despair. Maybe an accent piece or two will pull the baby out of your blues! Curtains or a shower curtain? A deeper blue trash can or hamper? Did you try different towels? Even pure white light bulbs or soft white bulbs can change the mood of your room and your heart. Don't paint over the walls too soon! My trees just leafed out and the kitchen has lost its stark, cold whiteness. Or maybe that was the snow??

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    3. Don't know what you're looking for exactly, but I get TONS of compliments on a pale blue paint in my bedroom (with white crown) that when I put it up was called "Wave Crest" by Behr, bought originally at Home Depot. They may call it something different now, and who knows what it will do in your light, but its luminescent in my bedroom, FWIW.

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  5. I have these same brackets sitting in our basement right now. I never rehung them with a shelf after our recent moved because it always bugged me how the shelf was too thin for the brackets. Now I know I need to buy a STAIR TREAD! Thanks for your great ideas, as always :)

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  6. Wow and wow! I have never considered a ceiling darker than the walls. This is so striking! I read your earlier blog about the sliding door and the lack of a jamb on the wall side. My gut agrees with your gut. It just needs a molding piece to say "door frame." Two comments I'm going to apologize for upfront. One, I am so tired of seeing sliding barn doors. Are you really sure? If you do, you will need a sturdy doorstop so it doesn't crash into the drywall. Two, I love the cabinet in the closet, so why's it going in the closet? (I haven't read all the bedroom makeover blog, so maybe you explained this already?) My suggestion is to put it out in the room, put double hung clothing rods in the closet and maybe double narrow slatted doors - the ones that look like shutters. They would offer air circulation, the double hung rods would hold summer and winter wardrobes with ease and all the neatly hung tshirts and jeans would prevent the teen stage I had to live through, of seeing the fruit of my loins dressing off the floor. Horrors!

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    1. Thank you for all of your suggestions!! We talked a lot through the beginning stages and plans in a couple previous posts linked at the bottom of this page. We are still adding double rods to the closet drawer unit shown, but he requested drawers in his closet because they are easier for him to maintain, he only hangs his dressier clothing. And his room is quite small so the unit just wouldn’t fit outside of the closet. I absolutely agree barn doors have been done to the moon and back, but I also think they can look really great and add a nice feature to a room. I especially love that they are space saving, and we are excited about the design we selected to build. ☺️ Thanks again and stay tuned as we put the finishing touches on this room.

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  7. I love how this room is turning out! I can’t wait to see how you tackle the sliding door. We are looking at putting one in our bedroom but I’m waiting to learn from you first!

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  8. Super random question but what books are on the shelf? I remember them from when I was a kid but can't recall what they are!

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    1. They are old Childcraft books. ☺️ Found a great set on eBay awhile back and they are fun to look at with the boys. Definitely a blast from the past!

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  9. I loooove the ceiling! And the map. With everything else this comes together so nicely. And I love that your boys seem to like their gorgeous rooms, too. In my experience Sports-Team-colors or "whatever there is already" wins way to often against a clean but fun design. Or gets buried in chaos anyway ;)

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  10. So. I just picked up the same brackets last week for our entry way... and planning the same color scheme for the shelf (black with midtone wood). So. Pinning this and thank you!

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  11. OHEMGEE, it looks so so good!!! Everything y'all touch is magic! And adore the letter board quote...S agrees. It's her main food group! ;)

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  12. Your posts always Inspire me to get to work on my own home - thanks for always sharing... I look forward to your posts and this looks so so great! πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ˜

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  13. Wow! Love how modern and clean this room is overall and how something like this cool shelving is going to (fingers-crossed) keep it looking clean and organized! That quote on the letterboard makes me so happy. Haha!

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  14. What is ceiling color in your sons room? I love it!

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    1. Thank you, Lynette! The colors are Benjamin Moore Blue Dusk for the ceiling and Sherwin Williams Nebulous Cloud on the walls. ☺️

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  15. I know this is off target but I absolutely love the painted ceilings. What a nice looking room.

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  16. hi, this room is amazing and i totally want to copy it for my 11 year old. what color/brand of gray paint did you use for the wall organizer? was it a spray paint? did you have to sand the ivory color off? just hoping for some tips!

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    1. I used the Rustoleum 2x Ultra Cover Paint + Primer in Stone Gray spray paint, just taped off the hardware with painter's tape and gave it a couple of light coats of the gray. I didn't sand it first, I did make sure to wipe it down so it was a clean finish. I find that when I use this particular spray in a satin or flat with the primer built it, that it sticks really well and doesn't drip. The higher the gloss, the more drip potential and that will determine if I need to rough up a piece with sandpaper first. :)

      Excited that you are looking to try this project for your kiddo! Keep me posted!

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    2. oh my gosh i am giddy you responded - you are like a celebrity in our home. i keep telling everyone i know how i want to grow up to be jennifer jones (i am 43 so you're younger, haha!) and my kids and husband just nod and say "yes yes from i heart organizing..." hahaha!! thanks for the tips!

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  17. What an awesome room! Can I ask what your ceiling height is? The house we are in the process of purchasing has a standard ceiling in the main living and dining areas and I’ve wondered if we paint them will it feel more open or even more claustrophobic.

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    1. Hi Tiffany! Our ceilings are 8 ft ceilings. I was worried that the darker color would make the room feel smaller or darker but it actually seems to have the opposite effect, especially when we added the crown moulding (and stuck with lighter walls). Congratulations on your new home!!

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