Decorating the Girls’ Room

Steps to Decorating Your Daughters’ Room

1) Send oldest daughter away to camp — this cuts down on the protestations and tears when you declutter and throw away precious pieces of paper, scraps of ribbon, old toys and crafts made from beads and glitter glue.

Rachel sets off for camp

rachel's tipi

Rachel conceals her sadness at leaving her beloved family for a week behind a huge smile. She doesn’t look the least bit nervous or worried about camp. What an actress!

2) Take large plastic bin and several paper bags — fill containers with random toys and knick knacks, put everything else in the trash.

3) Trick rest of the children into helping in the finest tradition of Tom Sawyer — do this by saying things like “Maybe I’ll let you paint.” And “Well, I don’t know. It’s awfully hard to paint, we’d have to clean up all these toys first.” When I see how they enjoy painting, they remind me of the guys who do house painting in Lancaster.

4) Arm oldest boys with rollers and then stand back to watch the paint fly — it helps to fill their rollers for them the first dozen or so times (unless the ‘carpet splattered’ look is your goal).

daniel and joshua

joshua displays our blank wall

daniel puts on a coat of purple paint

Daniel and Joshua’s leisure time is in serious jeopardy now that I’ve discovered what amazing painters they are. I couldn’t believe how fast the room was completed. What room shall we do next, boys?

5) Hand out tiny rollers to youngest children — this is risky but pays off in raising future painters. Be sure they are dressed in attractive paint smocks. Be prepared to banish them from the room as wet paint begins to cover the walls, making even turning and walking around difficult.

sarah waits her turn

david paints

David and Sarah did a great job helping paint the walls.

6) Spend hours edging — this is a difficult step as the younger children are still eager to help and return to the room often. Putting their hands on the walls to peep inside, they ask, “Why are you STILL painting, Mommy? What’s taking you so long? I thought we were done.” At the same time this disturbance is going on, the older children have escaped out into the back yard for some dodge ball and aren’t available to scoot little ones OUT of the room. Continue working, despite interruptions. Don’t worry about things like dinner, laundry or dodge ball injuries.

7) After painting is completed, go shopping — at this point it is advisable to bring another girl along, preferably one who shares the newly painted bedroom. If she is still upset about being sent away while painting (see step 5), use shopping as consolation.

8) Visit at least two stores in search of curtains, shelves, bedding, decorations, coat racks, and inspiration. Check wallet and credit limit. At this point it might be determined that inspiration is too expensive. Be sure to return home with at least one or two purchases to justify outing.

ribbon curtains

Sarah and I found these curtains at Lowes. We also bought some wall stickers of flowers and hearts. Too cute!

9) Weigh the cost of a trip to Ikea, which involves gas, time and money spent on out-of-budget extras, against a quick spin over to Wal-Mart. Window shop online, as much as possible.

10) Convince oldest son to mount new curtain rod — hand him a power tool. Saying, “I wonder how this drill works?” usually grabs a boy’s attention. Challenge him to put together the cheap, Wal-Mart bookshelf in under 20 minutes. Using a stopwatch, offer to time him for extra motivation.

11) Beg, plead and bribe dear husband to mount shelves and new hooks in the painted room. This can also be a tricky step. It helps if you have chocolate and diet Coke on hand. If necessary (use with caution), remind him of his words, “Definitely you should paint the room. I think it’s a wonderful idea.” These statements imply support, assistance and some time with power tools.

coat rack, hats and plaque

This is the wall you see as you enter the girls’ room.

12) Place knick-knacks and toys back on desk and new shelves. Hang other decorations — be careful to declutter a second time as toys are returned to the room. Filling another bag of either trash or giveaways is recommended.

shelves and desk

Rachel’s desk by the window with animal hammock hanging from the ceiling and new shelves alongside.

13) Touch up spots on the ceiling — remind self to schedule training session with assistant painters before next paint job.

14) Pull old quilt out of closet and hang — don’t worry if the walls are busy and covered with other things. The point is to OVER decorate. Remember everything darling daughter has said over the years about this beloved quilt, made for her as a toddler, (even if the stitching is poor and the quality sub-par). Be amazed at how the colors of the quilt just “happen” to coordinate with the paint colors chosen by the girls.


wooden letters

Tim’s sister painted these beautiful letters for Rachel one year. Now, to convince her to do some for Sarah. Hint, hint.

15) Spend several minutes chortling with glee as you imagine the joy and surprise on dear daughter’s face when she sees her new room. Ponder her words, “Every summer you say we’re going to paint my room … but we never do it.” Cherish the opportunity to redeem yourself.

16) Stay up until 1 am (or later) using Publisher to create a photo collage of daughters’ friends and family. — be a perfectionist and work on each picture meticulously to crop, center and outline it.

photo collage

17) Complete finishing touches — hang collage, vacuum, take photos, write blog, etc.

sarah pie

Now, to convince Sarah to give the top bunk back to Rachel.

18) Rest.

There you have it — the steps of our little Breaking and Decorating in Rachel and Sarah’s room. Rachel returns from camp tomorrow. I’ll be sure to record her response (staged or otherwise) for the blog. Thanks for reading! We had fun. :)

Project 365 – Day 229

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23 thoughts on “Decorating the Girls’ Room”

  1. Ooohhh what fun to see the “new” room! Oh, the things that we do to redecorate…..When Greg sees the paintbrushes and paint come out he knows that he’s “mom” until the project is finished! It looks very cute and I hope Rachel loves it! Can’t wait to see her reaction – staged or not… ha! I don’t see any pictures of the GA canine cousins on that family wall – ha.ha. Of course, you still have to meet them (hint, hint).

    I had completely forgotten about those letters for Rachel. I would love to do a set for Sarah – what fun this will be!!! Any favorite colors or requests to put on the letters (ladybugs? butterflies? flowers?)

  2. Love it! You are so brave to do the ceiling!! I painted our daughters’ room while they were away as well! (And blogged about it, of course!) Room by Room

    I love the idea of the photo collage! I might have to copy it!

  3. WOWWOWOW!! The room is incredible. I love the way you blogged it, Katherine!! I esp. LOVE the free use of hooks. I love a place with hooks and can never understand why cabiny houses don’t have HOOKS.

    Can’t wait to see/hear of R.’s reaction to her new space.

    Love you kids, Aunt Kate

  4. What fun and the room looks great! Bessie is waiting for her major room redo, but first we need to finish Daniel’s room! It is always a domino effect in this house.

    Can’t wait to see her reaction.

  5. You are one brave woman. No way would I allow my kids to have a wet paint brush in their hand. I’d rather walk out of the church restroom with toilet paper stuck to my shoe and my skirt tucked into the back of my pantyhose.

    But I do the same covert decorating missions. When they are gone, they always come back to bedroom surprises!

  6. Wow!I can’t wait to see Rachel and Sarah’s room………I can’t wait to see Rachel as well! When is she coming home from Camp?

  7. Hey! Rachel and I have the same taste in paint colors!LOL It’s beautiful and I’m sure that she’s going to love all the work you all put into her and Sarah’s bedroom. Good Job!

  8. Posie – I am SO SORRY I didn’t put pictures of the Georgia cousins on the photo collage. What was I thinking??? I mainly picked pictures from this summer. I had to go back to April to grab some from the co-op and last summer to find one of Tina’s daughters. I should have picked up one of the cousins from your visit in March. Please forgive me!! No slight intended.

  9. Kathy, I wasn’t talking about the kids ( ie the GA canine cousins)…I was being funny about our dogs…… If you are like me, your picture collage was probably one of the last things you were doing (and late at night when you had some peace and quiet..) and you just wanted to finish it and get it hung up – ha! Don’t worry about – no offense taken!!!

  10. How cool! We did this when we first moved here, but my oldest was part of his room redo. We let him pick his paint color (neon green!) and theme – outer space. It was really fun! The younger set were stuck with Winnie-the-Pooh since we already had all the linens for that. We did paint their room Winnie-the-Pooh-yellow though. :-) When my youngest finally gets potty trained, we’ll redo in a train theme. That’s the big bribe. He’s not buying it yet! LOL

  11. Tracy – have you been quilting these days? I can’t believe you lived here all those years and I never spent any time studying quilting from you. Shame on me. You all could always move back!!

    You’re welcome to copy the design. I got it from one of those quilting cards. It seemed easy enough that I could actually do it. Ha! Maybe I’ll take up quilting again in my next life (ie after the children are done with school).

    Miss you!

  12. Gayle – come on, give those kiddos some paint rollers and send them on their way. Ha! Actually this was the first time EVER I let the kids help with painting. They’ve been begging to help for years but I just didn’t see any way that would turn out pleasantly. :) I figured a bedroom was a good place to get their feet (or rather rollers) wet and try their hand at painting. The little ones made me incredibly nervous but they did great. When my 6 year old started bumping in to walls and getting more and more paint on his smock, I knew it was time to excuse him from the room.

    Glad to have you stop by the blog!

  13. Cindy – my family all gathered to look at the great pictures on your blog. You did a fantastic job. LOVE, love, love those super bright colors.

    Any ideas on what to do for the boys’ room? I know you only have girls but surely you’ve got something for me in that creative mind of yours. Help me out here!!

  14. CUTE! We also have some painters here! It’s SO handy when the kids get old enough to be “serious” help! Ds even wired in some new wall sconses for me this week which I thought wouldn’t happen until the weekend when dh comes home again!

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