3 out of 5
5 out of 5
I’m always amazed by how much you can change a room in just a couple of hours — no painting walls or replacing linens required.
When my friend Lisa asked us to take a look at the bedroom of her eight-year-old daughter, Katie, I knew a few simple changes would have a huge impact. Katie is our son’s age (they even went to preschool together for two years), and was using a small desk that wasn’t large enough for her hand-me-down computer, keyboard and recording system. So we suggested building exactly the same two desks he has in his room right now — except his are used for his Lego collection.
We’ve built quite a few of these desks so far, actually. My handy husband whips up a simple frame out of 2x4s, which is then painted or stained. (For Katie’s room, we went with a crisp white — Picket Fence by Fusion Mineral Paint — so it didn’t clash with her pretty hardwood floors.)
Then he cuts a sheet of white melamine down the middle, trims the ends, and fits it on top — using a couple of brackets underneath to keep it in place. (My job is to take the long plastic edging strips and click them over the raw edges of the melamine. It’s sort of fun.)
Because we did two separate (identical) desks, instead of a huge L-shaped one, Katie will be able to move the desks into different configurations if she wants. Our son sometimes pushes his together to make a big rectangle, or puts them end-to-end so he has a full wall of Lego-playing surface.
We added height to Katie’s bedroom by building three stacking ledges — also painted Picket Fence white — to float over the main desk. They’re deep enough for potted plants, large books, photo frames, etc., but much airier than if we’d done a set of built-in shelves or a bookcase.
Now, if I’m doing skinny floating ledges in a room, I’ll use small L brackets hidden on the inside of the ledges — so you can’t seem them at all once they’re covered by a book or a piece of decor. But my handy husband is a stickler for safety, and he always insists that wider ledges are secured with ugly heavy-duty brackets underneath — to better support the weight. He can be a real stick-in-the-mud (but he’s right, I guess).
I pouted about this at first, but then I kind of fell in love with spray-painting the brackets a bright and shiny gold. If we have to see them, at least they’re pretty. (Now I want to spray more gold brackets to add as decorations on the corners of the desks!)
I had fun loading up Katie’s new ledges with accessories rounded up from around her bedroom, like brightly-coloured plant pots from Ikea, framed photos and some of her books.
She is an extremely tidy child and doesn’t have the masses of stuff that my own kids hoard, so I even had to borrow a few items from her sister’s room to fill them out.
I also repainted the neon letters that spelled out her name, since I felt the paint was a bit bright against her light blue walls and floral bedding. I used a soft yellow (Prairie Sunset by Fusion Mineral Paint) and it covered the neon easily.
I was so happy that Katie loved her new room. In less than three hours it went through a pretty dramatic change.
She now has more space to work, and I think the new ledges and desks will continue to suit her well into her teen years.
And if she ever gets bored with her desks being so clean and tidy, I know where she can find masses of Lego bricks, LOL Dolls, Barbie clothes, papers, puzzles, Pokemon cards, Shopkins and UNO cards to scatter all over them. I’d be happy to help her out with that.