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Project Big Boy Bedroom: A Nautical Camp Theme Inspiration and Some Before Pictures

Summer holidays are almost here and one of the main projects I am going to tackle this summer is decorating my oldest son’s big boy bedroom in a nautical camp theme style. My ‘big’ guy will attend his last day of Kindergarten this week. I could cry just writing this. I didn’t have a difficult time with the start of Kindergarten… but now that it is almost over I find it much harder. Somehow moving into Grade One seems like he is REALLY growing up now… and I can’t believe how quickly time seems to pass these days! To help me focus on this project I have put together a little inspiration board that includes many of the elements that I hope to include in his bedroom.

nautical camp theme boy's bedroom inspiration board at thehappyhousie

And now for a few before pictures of his room… keep in mind that I snapped these ‘real’ pictures just before going in to do a purge and clean with him… the Mario decorations were from his 5th birthday party and we were kind of in between his toddler room but hadn’t yet started on a ‘big boy’ room so he decided they should go up on his walls – that was last November. It is definitely time for a change.





Excuse the disgusting mess of a bedroom, but the worse the before pictures the better the after will look, right?

So you can see from the pictures that he is a bit of a hoarder. He gets it from his grandfather, I think (love you Dad). Anyways, storage solutions definitely need to be built into his new bedroom because there is a limit to what I am allowed to ‘purge’ (which is absolutely nothing if he gets his way). We are keeping his cute little handmade wooden bed (free, from a colleague of my husband’s) and the painted dresser (also free and then revamped – from another colleague of my husband’s). The bookshelf stays, and we have a free nightstand and a half-canoe shelf that will be part of his new room.

Now back to that pretty little inspiration board:

nautical camp theme boy's bedroom inspiration board at thehappyhousie

All these ideas can also be seen on my pinterest board Beauterrific Boy’s Stuff.

1) Blackout lined curtains from Target – I am working on a way to lengthen them…

2) Striped Rug from Ikea

3) Fabrics to be used on the bed and an upholstered seat for his desk chair. Premier Prints Trey Stripe Blue RedPremier Prints Willow Yellow, and Premier Prints Zigzag Lipstick White.

4) A layered bed, including a fleece version of the famous Canadian Hudson’s Bay Blanket.

5) A sisal rope wrapped lamp base.

6) DIY grainsack stripes on a (free hand-me-down) nightstand. I feel some chalk paint coming on…

7) Nautical/camp themed decorative elements like a skim board, some crafty buoys (these ones are from TT&J), and perhaps even some vintage waterskis…

8) A DIY Canadian Flag on old pallet wood

9) A vintage desk and chair…garage sale finds.

10) Some buntings… these ones are made from maps.

11) I’m going to hack some Pottery Barn Bulletin Board and Wall System storage/display ideas.

12) A large monogram (L for his name) possibly done in a chalkboard finish.

13) Painted rain gutter bookshelves (I will paint and reinstall the one we already have in the room).

14) Some crate storage for more books.

I also have some plans to changeup his bookshelf with a monogram design like this one.

I am totally excited for this project and have already been collecting and working on things for his room. He is involved and helping with many of the projects too, which makes it even more fun. We can’t wait for our summer holidays to officially begin!!

What projects do you have planned for this summer? Any room revamps?

Thanks for reading! And remember, my housie friends, HOME isn’t built in a day. Enjoy the journey!





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  1. The room is going to be AMAZING!!!! I sooooo need to finish Emanuelle’s bedroom so that I can someday start Gabrielle’s room.

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer… From Dream To Reality!

    1. Thank you Christine! I can’t wait to see what you do there!! Sometimes these projects can drag on… hope to get this one done fairly quickly so I am no worrying about it still in September!

    1. Hi Kelly! Yes, it arrives before you can believe it:) The half canoe is really cool… I bought it years ago now for our first house and have been looking for it’s new perfect spot ever since we moved out of that house. Glad it will be finding a special home again in the new bedroom design:)

  2. everything you added to the inspiration board looks really nice Krista 🙂
    I really love #8 a Canadian flag on pallet wood; beautiful and fun! I really can’t wait to see how you will prepare your son’s room! I’m sure it will be very nice Krista!
    We started working on Nate’s room but we never finished it; it’s small and I placed some furniture along the walls but for some reason I can’t figure out how to do anything there? We are also looking for a day bed but not sure about it! 🙂

    1. Hi Ingrid! I love the flag pallet too… should have that one posted ASAP (maybe even Canada Day:). It can be hard to make decisions about how to organize things in a small room… my younger son’s room is very small so it will be interesting when we move him from a crib to a bed how we rework all the furniture!

  3. Krista, his big boy room is going to be fabulous! I’m in love with the inspiration boards you’ve been whipping up. Keep it comin’! And, I’m sure you’re dad isn’t a ‘hoarder’ ;more like a “collector” perhaps?! 😉 Have a happy day my housie friend!
    Cheers to you and yours,

    1. Hi Therese! Definitely a ‘collector’… not a hoarder in the “Hoarders” sense of the word!! Lol! Thanks for your awesome comments! Have a great one…

  4. First, it’s going to look fabulous! Second, love the HBC Fleecy blanket & wooden Canadian Flag – I find our flag difficult to work into decor, so I am impressed! Third, on lengthening your Target Black Out Curtains … head to your nearest & favourite fabric store. Look for a heavy twill (in the suiting material section usually) in a mid grey/blue and then light grey blue. Ask for 2 meters of each fabric (this should be plenty!). Pick up the matching thread! (this is a step that I always forget, and end up traveling back to the store for) Measure the bottom of your black out curtain to floor length, divide in two. Now cut both materials to the appropriate lengths – leaving about 1.5 inches for seam allowances. Put the mid tone in between the real curtain and the light one. It will give a linear ombre look – masculine, yet pulled together. Obviously, this is just a suggestion – but I have seen it done, and it looks fabulous!

    1. Hi Ella!
      Thanks for your awesome suggestion! I was thinking of adding two more bands of colour… one thing and the next one a little thicker. I have some red I was thinking of using…but the ombre idea sounds awesome! Hmmmmmm now the wheels are turning!

    1. Thank you Holly!! It will be an ongoing project for a little while I think but I look forward to the changes… I think my ‘big’ guy does too! He is a big fan of boats and waterskis and all things campy nautical:)

  5. Hi Krista, I just love the mood board for your son’s big boy room. I know the feeling of child passing onto next stage my youngest son just graduated grade 8 on Thursday and now I have 2 children in high school. I still remember walking them into their kindergarten class like it was yesterday! The time passes so fast. I would love some of your wonderful decorating talents/help for my son/daughter’s rooms! My daughter is having her sweet 16 birthday in 3 weeks I would love to give her that special bedroom, thanks Sonya

    1. Hi Sonya!
      It feels like just yesterday he was born… can’t believe it is almost six years. I have a feeling I will be saying the same thing when he graduates high school:) I would love to help you in any way I can… though I have seen your work and think you have a ton of talent and skill and don’t need me!! If you do want any “outsider” ideas send me an email!! krista@thehappyhousie.com

  6. lovin’ your mood board Krista! Can’t wait to see all the progress. Speaking of boys, I have to finnish my boys bathroom this summer – it’s a project in the making for 2 years now!!!

    1. I know Danielle! I still remember your mood board for your little guys – totally fabulous too. I remember the bay blanket….found this fleece one through HBC online. Want to check it out in person at a Bay store though. Hope it looks great in real life, I certainly can’t afford the 2-400$ version!

    1. Hi Abby – yeah the ‘afters’ will definitely be better. How could they not be (lol)!! I think it will be cute once all done too… lots of projects ahead!! Have a great week too:)

  7. My son’s bedroom is Mario Brothers! He got the giant wall stickers for last Christmas and we did one full wall of a scene he designed. The window wall is a creamy popsicle orange along with the opposite wall (in which we took off the closet doors and made into a desk area) is also orange. I would love to do something different but at 11 years old, he knows what he wants!

    1. Hi Andrea! That sounds cute… the Mario pics were just printed cutouts that I had taped to his wall (leftover from his birthday) so not quite as pulled together as what you are describing! Orange is such a fun modern bright accent colour – I would love to see that! Definitely an eleven year old knows what he wants – though my almost six year old is certainly full of opinions too:)

  8. Oh yes! This is going to look great. I like the Canadiana-feel to it. Great mix of fabrics for the bed – colourful and masculine. I think this will “grow-up” with your son very well, too. I really like the map pennants. Adorable! You’ve got tons of summer projects to do here! happy last week of school!

    1. Hi Bronwyn! I thought it would be fun to add a little Canadiana… love the classic bay blanket but can’t afford the ‘real’ thing – hopefully this version in fleece will look goo. I think it will ‘grow up’ with him too, more then his favourite toy/theme of the moment. We all know how quickly that changes! Four days… yay!

  9. What great ideas! My son is the same age (just finishing his last week of kindergarden). I have been wanting to makeover his hodge-podge room for awhile. He has the Mario theme kinda going on right now. But he’s more into Lego Batman at the moment.
    He doesn’t want his room changed but I think it could look better and function better. He will like it once it’s done, but he’s so scared of change 😉

    1. I hear ya Sherry… we had discussions about Mario and Batman and Lego… I guess that my plan is to do the background more neutral and then put in a lot of bulletin board/display space so he can put up his own pictures and art work too… so I am sure that how it will look in my ‘reveal’ post is not exactly how it will look on a day to day basis once he gets all his stuff up!! Ah well, it has to be better then what we started with! My little guy is not always a fan of change either – especially not of letting go of things that he owns or has collected. Gotta pick your battles I guess:) Good luck!

  10. Hi Krista – looks like it’s going to be a cool room – looking forward to reveal! I am having to do my boy’s bedroom too (we’ve just bought a new home) and you’ve given me inspiration as D wants “blue” everywhere. I did the nautical look when he was younger so need to think outside the square (he’s 11 now). Yes, “home” wasn’t built in a day – I think I’ll copy your mantra ’cause I’m dying to do up my new place!!! 🙂

    1. Thank you Petra!! How exciting… a new home! We have been here two years now and I am still working on it… hmmm… maybe I will never really stop? Once the whole thing is ‘done’ I am sure I will want to start over somewhere! I can imagine an eleven year old is even more tricky to ‘decorate’ for then an almost six year old – though mine seems to have a few more opinions then I expected! Good luck with your projects:)

  11. Great inspiration Krista! I need to repaint and spruce up the kids rooms and a bathroom or two. My boys wold love this room 🙂

    xo, Tanya

    1. Thanks Tanya! Both boys rooms are starting to look a little sad… glad to get going on this project:) Hopefully I can get them both freshened up over the summer!!

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