GROWING UP & GLOWING UP // big sis’s room makeover

transitional pre-teen bedroom close up of bed

post contains some gifted items

It’s coming up to two years since we started out big house extension – at this point we had stuff EVERYWHERE as we attempted to figure out what our day-to-day essentials were, and pack the rest of our lives up into cardboard boxes to go into storage.

Poor Lil Sis, not comprehending just how long the renovations were going to take, accidentally packed up her favourite soft toy, and spent the next five months missing her terribly – so much so, when it came time to move our possessions back home, OH tore open the box while it was still in the moving van so that she didn’t have to go a moment longer without her beloved teddy.

There were a nail-biting few minutes as we all waited to see if the toy would be found, and we all cheered when it was triumphantly held aloft – Simba style.

Anyway, the point I’m long-windedly getting to is that, 18 months after completion, I have almost no regrets about the myriad design decisions we made. Almost. 

Big Sis’s room was a tricky one, right from the start. We were limited by the footprint of our plot and the awkward slope of the land, which meant her room wasn’t as spacious as we’d have liked it to be, but we made the best with every square inch we had.

With all the other rooms I had a really clear vision of how I wanted it to look, but with Big Sis’s we struggled to find the perfect concept. She was nine when the work started, turning 10 a couple of months after completion, so was wedged in that awkward age between being a Beanie-Boo-loving kid, and a Tik Tok-obsessed preteen.

After much deliberation between jungle, underwater and outer space, she decided on a space theme for her room, but she turned 11 this summer and started secondary school, and it just didn’t fit her anymore. She needed something more grown up, something stylish enough to see her through her teen years.

In an effort to maximise the limited space in the room we’d originally installed one of those ‘all-in-one’ units, made up of a high-sleeper bed with a desk and a wardrobe underneath it. It was a good solution at the time, but we’d since put a triple wardrobe in her room so she no longer needed the hanging space. The unit now seemed to overwhelm the space, and it was awkward to change the bedding.

By perfectly timed fate, the team at Noa & Nani got in touch to ask if we’d like to try one of their Eva day beds, in silk grey. I’d been putting off making a decision about the room, but realised this was my catalyst to get back in there and transform it into the perfect transitional pre-teen bedroom .

It was a bit sad saying goodbye to the space mural we’d put up 18 months earlier (which Big Sis LOVED), but I had the bigger picture firmly in mind as I pulled it down, while OH dismantled the high sleeper.

transitional pre-teen bedroom old mural

transitional pre-teen bedroom ripped off mural

cabin bed demolished

I didn’t want to repaint the entire room, so I looked on Pinterest for colours that would go well with the deep, dark blue we’d already used for the space theme. We already had some grey and white accessories, so I decided on dusky pink to add some contrast and lightness. Big Sis already had a gold monkey lamp that she absolutely adored, but it wasn’t quite gelling with the rest of the room, so I added a rich rose-gold to the colour palette, both to add warmth and to tie in the gold accessories.

The room is a very simple rectangle shape, so I wanted to add some interest with a geometric feature wall. I broke the wall into angular shards using painters’ frog tape (a tape that helps you create clean, sharp paint lines), and began to fill in each section with alternating pink and grey paint.

transitional pre-teen bedroom first paint section

transitional pre-teen bedroom painting feature wall

I took a paint break while OH put the main frame of the Noa & Nani Eva day bed together; even half finished the room already looked more airy and spacious. The silk grey went perfectly with the wall colours, and I loved that it could be used as a regular bed, or stacked with cushions and used like a plush sofa.

transitional pre-teen bedroom putting bed together

transitional pre-teen bedroom bed made up

putting together underbed storage

underbed storage completed

Next, I put together the storage unit that sits neatly under the bed frame, made up of six small drawers, an open cubby space (great for books) and a large roll-out storage drawer. This was what really sold me on the Eva daybed, as we were losing some storage when we dismantled the high sleeper unit, but this more than made up for it.

With the bed put together I could finally finish the feature wall; I removed the strips of frog tape I’d used to mark off each geometric section, then replaced the tape along either side of that it line left behind. Then I painted the strip inside with a burnished rose-gold, so it would blend better with the gold accessories Big Sis already had.

transitional pre-teen bedroom frog tape bronze lines

bedroom monkey lamp

transitional pre-teen bedroom close up

transitional pre-teen bedroom wide shot

close up under-bed storage

We already had the bedding, so I was able to make up Big Sis’s bed for the room reveal.

(FYI: the sparkly French bulldog is from Next, the gold monkey lamp is from Iconic Lights, the Luna print is from Desenio and I got the geometric cushions from a clearance sale at I paid for all the items, but have previously worked with Iconic Lights and Desenio.) 

Almost immediately there was a lighter, more airy feel to the room – we’d put in the high sleeper hoping to maximise every inch in the small room, but the height had actually done the opposite and overwhelmed the space. As well as looking more grown up and modern, the room now seemed bigger too.

Now it was a space where she could more easily invite her friends over to hang out, using the day bed like a sofa to sit on and listen to music, or make Tik-Tok videos, and converting to a comfy bed at night – the perfect transitional pre-teen bedroom, and we could even squeeze a blow-up mattress alongside for sleepovers.

I loved the fresh, contemporary look, the practicality and convenience of the under-bed storage, and the fact I could now change the bedding without having to balance precariously off a ladder (not easy, let me tell you!).

It’s a big thumbs up from all of us. 

• did you read about Lil Sis’s woodland themed bedroom




    • Thank you Stacey! There are still a few finishing touches to sort out, but Big Sis is really pleased with it so far. x

  1. That looks like such a cool room. Any tween and teen would love this xx

    • Aw thanks Susan!!! Am hoping this will tide her over now, for the next few years at least, haha! x

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