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Creative Mum’s £500 Kids' Room Makeover Gets Wild Child Back In His Own Bed

December 30, 2020, 9:30 AM
  • Louise Sprules, 31, created an incredible wildlife themed room to entice her bed-hopping son, Rome, to sleep in his own bed
  • The makeover was achieved in two days on a £500 budget with top buys from Wayfair and Etsy, plus some clever upcycling
  • She’s “ecstatic” with the new-look room and says that Rome now “falls asleep in supersonic time”

If you're a parent of a cuddly co-sleeping toddler, enticing him to sleep in his own bed, in his own room, is no mean feat. Of course, it helps if he has a room he adores.

It's exactly the approach that Louise Sprules, 31, decided to take with her youngest son Rome, who was regularly up and about at night with his bed-hopping antics. The childminder who lives with her husband Allan and three children – Kai, 10 and Ace, 9 and Rome, 2 – in Newbury, Berkshire, transformed the plain nursery into a wildlife-themed haven Rome would love. It took just two days to do, and it was achieved on a £500 budget.

“My son Rome is turning three in February, so I convinced my husband Allan that it was time to redecorate the nursery,” she told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk.

“Rome wasn’t sleeping in his own room and hadn’t done for a long time,” she says. “I took the co-sleeping approach when he was first born, but it clearly backfired. A bit further down the line, we found ourselves waking up all through the night with him to try and resettle him in his cot, so he ended up in our bed again.

“We were at the point where we’d put him to bed in his own room but he’d wake up and come into ours during the night. I think he developed separation anxiety when we first transferred him to his own room, so we had a big challenge to get him back into his own bed.”

When Louise was pregnant with Rome, the couple decided not to find out the gender so had decorated the nursery in neutral colours: grey and white with white furniture.

“We had added some colour with the cot linen and accessories, but it clearly wasn’t to Rome’s taste,” jokes Louise.

Redecorating was a chance to give Rome a room he would appreciate for years to come.

“Having two older boys meant we’d done the Marvel, Star Wars and Lego themes before,” says Louise. “We found that they were soon outgrown as their tastes changed so quickly. The boys are lucky to have a room each so I really wanted it to be a reflection of Rome’s personality.”

The idea for a wildlife themed room was an obvious choice.

“Rome is fascinated by animals and is completely fearless,” says Louise. “We found him petting a hedgehog in his sandbox last summer. He is definitely our wildest child and we quite often call him a cheeky monkey.”

An avid Pinterest fan, Louise had seen plenty of jungle and safari themed bedroom ideas to recreate, but there was a hitch in sourcing some of the items she really wanted.

“I found that most of the bespoke pieces of furniture and accessories were from America, and delivery wasn’t an option,” she says. “I scoured the internet to find something similar for a great price.”

Louise set about finding everything she needed and waited until it had all arrived to start the makeover. The biggest investment was the bed for £190.

“The room is small and Rome is getting older so his bed needed upgrading and he was desperate for more storage,” says Louise. A house bed with trundle drawers was the answer.

“I originally ordered a bed that had a similar design but unfortunately the company was unable to fulfill the order so I had another look and found this one from Wayfair. The design was actually better for his room. Plus, it came with two large drawers so it was perfect.”

It took two people to assemble so Allan stepped in to help, using a power tool to make the bed, put up the shelves and affix the hanging items. While this was being done, Louise started work on the decorative features.

“The wall art was created from transfers that I ordered from a Polish company on Etsy,” she reveals. “They came quickly and I’m all for supporting small businesses at a time like this. I gave the walls a fresh lick of white paint beforehand and then I had to individually cut each one out and stick it on.”

To make the job even more taxing, Louise found that the stickers weren’t taking as well to the coldest parts of the wall. Nevertheless, she persevered.

“After warming the room up for a few hours, I found they stuck better,” she says. “It was quite a fiddly job, as the leaves would curl back on themselves while I was removing them from the backing paper. It really tested my patience having to uncurl them without ripping them. It was the biggest job and by far the most challenging but I’m really pleased with the end result.”

Another key feature that catches the eye is the stuffed toy monkey swinging on the rope ladder that’s suspended from the ceiling.

“I wanted to keep the theme consistent throughout the room so the monkey on the ladder seemed like the perfect way to bring it all together,” she says. “I saw ideas for lions on branches and snakes wrapped around curtain poles, but I wanted to do something different.”

The standout for Louise, however, is the bespoke set of drawers featuring animal knobs made from old toys.

“The drawers were my biggest success,” she says. “I’ve always had my eye on the set for a while – the Ikea Hemnes chest of eight drawers – but my local store was out of stock for a very long time.

"I was forever searching in the hope that someone would be selling one off locally. As luck would have it, a seller contacted me to say she had the very same set available due to a no show. They were mint condition and less than half the original price.

“I bought the drawer screws from ebay and roped my husband into helping me by drilling smaller holes into the animals. I then threaded the screws through the bodies to create these unique drawer knobs.

"I had Gorilla Glue at the ready to make them extra secure, but I didn't need it in the end. Each one is different and it really adds to the theme. More importantly, Rome loves them.”

Louise is “ecstatic” with the end result.

“For a small room, there’s a lot going on but there’s a calming feel due to the soft colours and design,” she says. “Rome was very excited to see his completed room for the first time. Plus, he goes to bed amazingly well now. He falls asleep in supersonic time compared to before and he’s much less disturbed through the night.

“If he does wake he doesn’t seem so startled and upset, so we’re really pleased with the overall outcome. He’s a much happier and more content little boy.”

If you want to create a similar room on a budget Louise’s best advice is to rope in a buddy.

“I think projects or makeovers feel easier when you have a helping hand to do them,” she says. “Plus, don’t be afraid to buy second hand. Support small businesses and ensure you have everything ready before you start. Projects can remain unfinished unless they were well prepared for from the beginning.”

Tom Church, Co-Founder of LatestDeals.co.uk comments: “This is a dream room for any budding wildlife enthusiast.

“If you’re keeping an eye on the cost, think outside the box for creative ideas that can be done well on a budget. This is key for making a room look more styled.

“Upcycling a secondhand chest of drawers by adding your own knobs is a brilliant way to breathe new life into a piece of furniture for a fraction of the cost of buying new.”

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