The New Kid in Town

By now, you probably know that I spent six days repainting my son’s room last week. Six days. You must think I’m a terrible, terrible painter for it to take me six days to repaint a bedroom. I would totally think that about me, too.

You have also probably figured out that I was here in my house alone for all that time. My husband took our son for a week up to his family’s lake cabin in Minnesota. I don’t do cabins, cold weather, or creatures, so I decided to stay behind and work on a huge surprise for Zack. I didn’t want to advertise it on the Internet, because, well, people are crazy and I didn’t need some freaky person trying to break in while I was painting, drinking wine, and listening to Top 40 radio.

When I was finished with the room (exactly one hour before I had to leave to go pick up my boys from the airport, I might add), I calculated the hours it took me to pull off this transformation. The answer? Forty-eight. It took me a total of 48 hours to repaint the room. And no, it wasn’t because of the wine.

Here is the before picture so you can see where I started.

It was because I have a bad habit of taking a simple task and turning it into an extreme.

I decided to do something more dramatic than simply painting his four walls a color different than our builder’s beige. He’s a fun and highly energetic three year old, and his room needed to match his personality. I took the concept from his bedding collection (which is the Hit the Road collection found at Target) and just ran with it.

Inspired by the lampshade in the collection, I transformed Zack’s room from builder’s brown to his very own town.

Zack is absolutely over the moon with his new room. He was so surprised when he walked in that all he could say was, “WOW” as his jaw hit the floor. He absolutely loves it, which makes all the hours and sore muscles totally worth it.

I probably spent about $150 total (well, and 48 hours of my life) on the transformation:

1. The paint is from Sherwin Williams (Resolute Blue, Gecko Green, and Storm Cloud) and went on the walls like a dream. I think I paid about $80 or so for paint (I bought the Duration line when it was on sale). It was my first time using Sherwin Williams paint, and I will definitely use it again.

2. I bought two LACK end tables ($7 each) from Ikea and turned them into a little table in the corner of his room.

3. The sunshine ceiling lamp ($20) replaced the builder’s mushroom light that was in his room; I cannot get over the terrific “rays” of light it casts on the ceiling. I just love it.

4. The flashing stoplight was about $18 at Walmart and is the perfect touch to complete his little town.

5. I was even able to find a spot for the two ugly $3 lamps I bought on clearance at Walmart a while back. I bought them for their shades, and I’m so glad to have found a place to put them. The green bases are an exact match to the green paint. I did have to buy two new shades ($4 each at Ikea) to replace the ones I “stole” from them originally!

There are still a few things I want to do in there — new window treatment, add a rug, and put knobs on his dresser and nightstand drawers — but I’m so pleased with the transformation! What do you think?

P.S. A huge THANK YOU goes out to my friend Kristi who kept me company this weekend and painted with me for a few hours. Kristi, as always, you rock! I appreciate you keeping me from carrying on the one-way conversations with my dogs. I was starting to get irritated with them for not talking back.

P.P.S. I’m also adding this to Kimba’s DIY Day Linky party over at A Soft Place to Land. This was a DIY challenge like none that I have ever experienced!

Filed Under: Create Your Decor, Paint Your Walls, Project Gallery

About Lindsay Ballard

Lindsay Ballard is a former college mascot turned political geek turned DIY fanatic who is conspiring to live in a Technicolor dream world. Her designs are bold and graphic, while her spirit is fun and full of color. Lindsay chronicles her projects and design ideas here at Makely, where she shares daily tutorials and inspiration. Lindsay lives outside of Austin, Texas with her husband (Tom), children (Zack and Emma) and dogs (Jack and Duke).


  1. I know he has gotta love that, and all the sweet love his mama put into it. What a fantastic job! Jackie

  2. Oh My! How cute is that? You did an absolutely wonderful job. So, so cute. What a fortunate little guy Zack is to have a mommy like you. Wow!

  3. Jaw dropped…words can't express the awesomeness Lindsay. You just rocked my world. Even my husband said "Wow that is cool." That is major for him to say…I LOVES IT!

  4. Lynn- That's where my little cleaning gnomes live!

    Just kidding – it's attic access. We have two of these "crawl" space access doors in our house. I thought it was totally weird when we bought the house, but now I love that I don't have to climb a ladder with boxes of Christmas decorations.

    Thanks everyone for the kind comments. It's nice to hear it after all that work. LOL

  5. WOW!!! I hope his new room keeps him busy. I only wish we had a picture of his face when he saw his new room! So so cute. :)

  6. Oh Wow! I am sooo impressed and super inspired! I am totally infatuated with what you accomplished and wondering if I ever could pull off such a feat for my little man's room!

  7. I would be dead on my back right now from exhaustion!! Love it and I bet he is in HEAVEN!! So incredibly fun!!

  8. amazing! absolutely amazing! where did you find the sunshine fixture? the whole room is great!

  9. holy crapola Lindsay! This is amazing! *bows down*

    I'm amazed it only took 48 hours! It would have taken me that many weeks! You rock girl!

  10. Wow, what a transformation! I love the stoplight in the room, it's the perfect touch.

  11. aww…what a great room for a little boy. No wonder it took you so long!! That's a lot of work…your an awesome painter!

  12. Will you be my mom? That is the coolest boys room that I have ever seen. I thought that your headboard was neat, but you just, I don't know what to say….I agree with Zack, WOW!

  13. Wow! Impressive! And what is that adorable little door by his Lack tables?! IS TAHT HIS CLOSET?!!

  14. Kendra@My Insanity says:

    You did great!!! I'm sure he is in heaven! What little boy wouldn't be? I love how you incorporated the stoplight into the mural! Now I just need someone to take my children away so I can do their rooms. Sounds like a fun, exhausting challenge!

  15. Are you freaking kidding me!!! That's amazing!!!! My son would never, ever leave a room like that! You're now the coolest mom on the block and I'm jealous! 😉

  16. That is FREAKIN" AWESOME!!!! Whoohoo you son must be so happy – so excited for you that all that hard work paid off. This room makes me so happy and I'm just looking at a picture.

  17. Wow! That room is awesome. I bet his reaction was priceless.

  18. Just Beachy says:

    You are my hero , what a lucky boy , he will remember this room forever .
    Well done.

  19. A-mazing! You did a WONDERFUL job!

  20. Oh my gosh.

    You realize we totally need a how-to on how you did the walls, right?!? Pretty please!

    LOVE this!

    And that headboard! You must have a how-to on that somewhere. I must dig.


  21. Wow! Years and years from now when your son is all grown up, he will remember and tell his friends about the room his Mom created for him. Just amazing!!

  22. WOWZERS!! That is sooo cool!

  23. A Home in Progress says:

    I can't imagine a room more perfect for a 3 year old boy!!!!!!! It's amazing!

  24. Missy in Texas says:

    What a cute room. You did a great job. I would never have the patience to do a project this involved.

  25. absolutely amazing, do you hire yourself out? =)
    I think you should win!!!

  26. What a wonderful room. It is sure to encourage his imagination. A very lucky boy. I have to do over my boys' room too, but there are three in there ranging from 11 months to 9 years. They are stuck until I finally move, and in this economy I am not in a hurry…. that is a wonderfully creative room!! :)

  27. Missie Krissie says:

    Holy Moly!! No wonder it took so long!! That's fantastic! I have a son the same age and I just know he'd love it! Congrats on such a great job!!

  28. O.M.G.

    It's amazing.

    Absolutely amazing. You are the queen of DIY.

    Oh and Resolute Blue is my kitchen wall color now – after I got hubby to paint over the no good very bad painter's choice yellow.

  29. This is like stepping into the pages of a story book! It turned out fantastic and I love how you incorporated the entire wall into the design with the blue and green. This rocks!

  30. Wow. WOW. WOOOOOW!!! So impressive! Do you have any idea how many little boys are going to be knocking down your door to come over and play in your son's cool new room?!! Awesome!

  31. Lindsay! That is so great! We have been looking online for inspiration to do Coop's room in a "transportation" theme and all I can find is that darn cars movie stuff! Thanks for the inspiration to do it myself.

  32. Ho. Lee. Cow. That is INCREDIBLE! Seriously, I'm impressed that you completed it with only 48 hours of work. It's gorgeous…

    And thanks so so so much for your advice on my blog. I definitely agree with you. It helped me a lot to read what you had to say. Thank you again!!

  33. wow! That is awesome. I am starting to work (in my head) on the redesign for my girls' room. Hope to do it later this month. This definately inspires me! Thanks!

  34. My boys have the same bedding! I feel like a slacker now! I don't think that I can do this, but it would be great for my 3 boys. You did a terrific job. I keep looking at these pictures over and over! As much as I want my boys to see this, I can't because the pressure would be on for me! Please show how you did the mural. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!

  35. This. IS. Awesome.

    Your little boy is very fortunate to have a mom like you. :)

  36. wow-za!! amazing! you got some paint skilz girl! way to go!


  37. So seriously, you win "Mother of the Year". My jaw dropped along with Zack's! That is every child's dream room! Lindsay, you could seriously go into business!!!!

  38. One question: What paints did you use for the cars and the trees and the landscape?

  39. Are you kidding me?!!! This is incredible! I have trouble painting a room one color. I HAVE to get me some wine…

  40. LOOKS GREAT!! What a lucky guy!! ;0) It's such a fun room, I especially love the (sun) light fixture, so cool! ;0) Great job!

  41. I just let my boys see the room and my 3 year old said this "Oh MY GOODNESS" it was a little dramatic! I can't stop looking at this room. And thanks for the quick response I rarely get one from other bloggers! Please don't be a stranger to my blog.

  42. OH MY WORD!! THAT IS SO STINKIN' ADORABLE! I'm sorry I yelled that, but that's what I did here! WOW!

  43. where, oh where, did you get that sun lamp? love it! the whole room is fantastic!

  44. knittingknirvana says:

    Oh my goodness!!! This is amazing!!! My 20 month old is very into cars and buses right now and I keep dreaming about what his "big boy bedroom" will look like. Zack's room is truly a dream come true for any little boy! What a lucky, lucky little boy he is!!!

  45. Great job! I love the light fixture too!

  46. What a good mom you are! I bet it was so much fun to watch his face when he saw his new room for the first time! Great job!

  47. WOW! That is amazing and looks wonderful. You did an awesome job!!

  48. That is absolutely fantastic! I love the sunshine light….and the painting – wow! :)

  49. thegypsymama says:

    Oh man, I now officially feel like the worst decorator mom ever! Wowzers – did you seriously, like, make up all those designs yourself from scratch or did you have some kind of stencil assistance?

  50. That is absolutely fantastic … what an amazing room!

  51. WOW!
    Amazing! We have those wall stickers from the same Target collection all around the room in my son's room. I haven't taken the plunge into the whole set yet.
    I bet your son loves that room, it is so cool!

  52. The Cherry Family says:

    Oh my gosh that room is AMAZING!!

  53. What an awesome mom you are!! That looks amazing!

  54. GeraldineMander says:

    This is so adorable!!!!

  55. YOUR ARE SOME PAINTER. pretty cool,and 48 hours is a great time for preping and drawing and painting and not just up and down painting, you painted a town! your could start a business.

  56. Holy cow, Lindsay that is FANTASTIC!!! I am continually in awe of you, girl.

  57. OMG, that is amazing. You did a AWESOME job.

  58. What a wonderful room. We love the Duration paint from Sherwin Williams as well, we've had it throughout most of our house for 4 years and it holds up wonderfully and cleans beautifully too.

  59. Journey of the George's says:

    That is a fantastic room! I am so impressed!

  60. ani @ kindness on her tongue says:

    that's AMAZING!

  61. Craig, Blair and Turbo Skousen says:

    HOLY COW. I despise painting because I have to tape stright lines. I need to stop complaining! You did a great job!

  62. Linds@ THAT'S SO CUEGLY says:

    SERIOUS? Yes I think you are. That's an amazing room!

    HEY, I passed the SHARE YOUR FLAIR AWARD to you! CONGRATS! Love your Blog! Post about your award and then award 3 other blogs you think SHARE THEIR FLAIR WORTHILY!

  63. Wow, that is a great room. I'd say it was definitely worth all your work. Great job!

  64. amazing! incredible job. i bet he is thrilled!

  65. Wow, you went all out on that room! I can see why your son loves it. It is adorable!!

  66. OMG, girl, you did a fabulous job! People would pay a lot of money for something like that!

  67. WOW! WOW! WOW! Great job!

  68. Beth@The Stories of A to Z says:

    I have two little boys and they wold be over-the-moon to have a room like this! You should be proud of yourself momma :). Nicely done.

  69. Can you come to my house?

    I don't need a little boy's magical transformation, but I sure could use your creativity.

  70. Love love love. I'm sure Zack is thrilled ! As long as the client's happy – the designer's happy. Well done !

  71. Just say Julie says:

    That is fantastic! Seriously, I thought I was doing good to get the hubs to paint the walls a solid color- I don't think I could get him to assist on a project like this though! Absolutely fabulous job!

  72. Wow! I am speachless!!! That is just amazing!!!

  73. OH! MY! GOSH! That is the coolest room ever. I was thinking 48 hrs. was kind of a long time. Now I'm amazed that you could make THAT in just 48 hours.

  74. Love the room. I think large scale murals are so much fun. I did a Curious George inspired jungle room from my baby –

  75. What an absolutely amazing job. I am sure your son is head over heels in love with this amazing room. What a special treat for him to come home to.


  76. Wow! You go girl! Can I get ya to come do my boys room! HA! I am thinking dino prints.

  77. I fell in love with your bed when you did it a couple of weeks ago. And now … oh MY goodness it is so amazing. I just absolutely love it. I can't imagine every painting over something like that. You'll just have to keep having little baby boys to enjoy it :)

  78. That looks awesome. I'm pretty sure you win mom of the year for this one. I don't think I have the patience…..

  79. WOWZIE! What an absolutely awesome room! Thanks so much for sharing it…sort of wishing my boy was back at an age I could do something like this:) (he is 14). I am headed to his room today while he is gone and do some 'shoveling out".
    I am glad I found your blog!
    Dancingly, Denise
    watch me as I scrapbook, decluteer and knit my way through 2009 at

  80. So cute! I love the table! I have walked by those tables in Ikea a hundred times but never thought of putting them together to make a children's table. Did you "attach" them somehow or just put them side by side? Thanks! :)

  81. If that is not a little boys dream room, I don't know what it. How fantastic. You did a wonderful job.

  82. LIndsay, this tops them all. I mean, really–you have outdone even your wonderful self this time. What a smile it must bring to your heart to look into that room and see Zack loving it! Congratulations on a FANTASTIC job.

  83. Misti of Studio M Designs says:

    You are a machine! That room is super duper fabulous! I am so ready to redo all of my boy's rooms. They are growing so fast! I know you are proud of yourself. Big pats on the back and some major high-fives to you, woman!


  84. Holy cow Lindsay! That is impressive!!

  85. Absolutely amazing. Puts anything that I have ever done to shame….hanging head….I have several walls to paint over the next few days…we'll see how that goes as I am out of wine!

  86. Simply Delightful says:

    Wow, that turned out great! That little boy must think he is in paradise.

  87. jskell911 says:

    That is absolutely amazing! I wish I had just a teeny fraction of your talent. Wonderful!

  88. Its So Very Cheri says:

    I hope you will come over to the Knock Off Knock Out party at my blog tomorrow to show off your masterpiece knock off from a pillow case.


  89. RootsAndWingsCo says:

    You are amazingly talented! Your son is fortunate to have you as his mother. This is just the cutest thing. Awesome, awesome, awesome!!


  90. Love your blog, love your creativity, CRAZY about this room! It's incredible! Well done :-) I just got the new IKEA catelog in the mail and saw this rug – it instantly made me think of this room.
    Great job, Lindsay!

  91. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. You are amazing. And what a lucky boy you have!

  92. Our Hummus Is Homemade. says:


    Wanted to stop by and say hi… and to say thank you for… well… 😉

    The transformation of your sons bedroom walls is extraordinary! The time and imagination… well… rocks. I love home decor and am so thankful you shared your blog link. I'll be lurking for sure!


  93. wow. my son would extremely jealous. he has the bedding (although i was dumb and bought the comforter. big mistake…. it now has a hole in from the washing machine! HOW do they expect a mom to be able to potty train with a comforter that doesn't survive one wash!? lol.) you really did create a little town for him! i bet he was overwhelmingly excited about it!

  94. My goodness, what a lucky little boy!

  95. That is ADORABLE, Lindsey! So cute!

  96. well no wonder it took you 48 hours…it looks AMAZING!!! you did an awesome job!! I am so jealous…i wish i had your talent!!

  97. Cynnamama's Cafe says:

    You are an amazing, creative artist with only 48 hours to do this alone! You do better than the designers on Trading Spaces… just kidding!
    It is darling and I bet your son couldn't sleep that night, for he must have been pinching and thinking to himself, is this really my room?!
    Excellent job, mom!

  98. I love, love what you did with the room it's beautiful. yes you are amazing. I'm new to your blog and I'm enjoying it very much, thanks Lindsay for your inspiration, you're wonderful.:)

  99. I am truly inspired. I am trying to figure out what to do for my son's new bedroom, and I love what you have done. Did you free hand the mural?

  100. I love the sun Light!!!

  101. I loved this when I saw you post it last year, and looking at it again still just makes me so happy. I really can’t imagine a space that could be more fun for a little boy. What a joy of a room! : )

  102. The room is very cute and you can just feel the energy from the murals (very nice job!), but what plans to you have for his room as he grows?