Designing a Big Boy Room


designing a big boy roomAs we prepped for baby #2, it became clear that it made the most sense to keep our older son’s room as the nursery and move him across the hall to what was currently the guest room. Since he was still just shy of two years old, it was important to think about how his needs would change in the next year or so, what would keep him safe, and how to make sure he was comfortable with the transition before baby brother arrived. There was a lot of thought put into designing a big boy room just for him.

Here are some of the biggest things I considered when putting this room together and the elements I decided were most important –

Color scheme I wanted something to grow with him, not something that would be too babyish in a year or two. I am not into paying for painters very often, so I will try to milk this setup for as long as I can. Not only that, but this room would be a PAIN to repaint from ceiling to floor. When we started the transition, the ceiling was goldenrod (previous owners’ choice, not mine), and the entire room was two shades of green, including all woodwork, which made the room feel very dark. I settled for repainting the ceiling and the top half of the walls above the wainscoting.

Staple items for style I took a minute to decide on rugs, artwork, and curtains. Luckily, we had enough neutral items to make that happen without buying much. The rug is recycled from the living room, the curtains are from his nursery, and I paid a high school classmate’s 13-year-old daughter to custom design the prints above Jack’s bed. The art is probably my favorite part of his big boy room! It’s a weird animal and truck mashup – pickup trucks with frogs, axolotls, and pangolins. I gave her the freedom to choose the vehicles and the animals, and she CRUSHED IT.

Bed transition  The toddler bed wasn’t originally part of the transition plan. We had gotten the second crib that did have the toddler bed kit but thought we were a little ways from that transition. Well, then he started climbing out of the pack-n-play when we were traveling, and we decided it was better to just rip the band-aid all the way off at once. We haven’t looked back! He was apparently ready, because he stays in his bed when we leave the room at night, and he doesn’t get out until someone comes upstairs to get him.


Access to clothes The Montessori-loving side of me wants to give him as much freedom as possible. Don’t worry, there is still a Happy Meals and premade baby food side of me too. Clothes seemed like an easy way to provide this freedom. Instead of removing some of the built-ins in the room and adding a traditional dresser, we just put some appropriately sized bins in the cabinets where Jack can reach his own clothes. I do still help him pick out his outfit of the day but usually just by giving him multiple options. He gets out his own PJs, too!

Reading nook  Again, access to books is something we’ve done since he was a baby and something we wanted to continue with in designing his big boy room. Now, the books are in one of the many cabinets, and he can choose to read in his lounge chair in one corner, his teepee gifted by his aunt in another corner, or in his bed. His teepee is a popular choice. He even takes a nap in it sometimes because it is, in his words, “SO COZY!”


Safety First and foremost, by giving Jack more freedom in his new big boy room with the toddler bed and accessible items, we wanted to make sure it was also safe. There are no dangerous objects on the bottom row of shelves, not even diaper creams or bins with other things inside that he could pull off. We have made sure all unused outlets are covered and used outlets are behind furniture or covered with an outlet protector. Loose items don’t stay on the floor… We learned after he tripped on a flashcard and broke his femur that even the most mundane things are dangerous if you hit them just right. The worst thing this child could do in his big boy room is pull the teepee over on himself, but it is very light weight, and we have a sound alert on his monitor.

The monitor stays on at all times and has video and audio, as well as multiple alerts for movement, noise level, and crying. Blind pulls are all tucked up to the top of the window so he cannot reach them, and there is nothing to climb on. If by some miracle he did manage to open the 120-year-old door to his bedroom, there is always a latched gate at the top of the stairs and access only to the other bedroom across the hall (the nursery, which is also baby-proofed). If you choose to implement no other parts of this big boy room plan, I would definitely recommend the safety features!!!

We made the swap about 2 months before my due date. This is mainly because big brother arrived 3 weeks early, and we wanted adjustment time even if this one arrived early as well. Good thing too, because baby brother was also early! So far, it has gone exceedingly well, and we will not take the full credit for that success as experiences will vary based on child and circumstances.

If you’re transitioning your child to a big boy room or big girl room, what have you done or what are you going to do? Share in the comments with us below!


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