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Dream rooms

Craft - inspired by Resene, from Little Treasures magazine

Our contest winners show off their imaginative makeovers.

Lucky Lucy’s New Room

Girlie touches of pink and a scattering of jewels make this room a peaceful paradise.

Lucy’s new bedroom is so calm and quiet with its view over the vegetable garden, you get the feeling Peter Rabbit might just pop by if you sit really still. There’s not a hint of the energy it took her parents to make over their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter’s bedroom in the Northcote, Auckland, home they moved into last year.

A girly kid's bedroom

Discovering she was a Resene winner broke a good news drought for Alison Richards and her partner Peter Francis who’d been having an awful year, including a redundancy, a bereavement and medical dramas. “When I found out I’d won, I thought – things are finally starting to pick up for us,” says Alison.

Luckily, with Christmas barely a month away, Alison already knew exactly what she wanted for Lucy’s room. As soon as she heard the good news, she started ordering the furniture and items to create the look she was after.

A green and white kids bedroom

Super storage: bookshelves from EziBuy; cane drawers and white drawers from TradeMe; and butterfly coat hook and shoe hanger from Freedom Furniture. Alison painted Lucy’s letters in Resene Classic Rose and Resene Alabaster before decorating them.

“I wanted something that would grow with Lucy and that would last. Nothing too girlie or babyish, and something I I could update quite fast if she outgrew it.” Alison and Peter painted two walls of the bedroom Resene Sherbert (a cool pastel green) and the other two walls Resene Black White. They used Resene Alabaster on the doors, door frames and skirting boards to create a fresh backdrop that would carry a range of different looks. But before they could start with the roller and brushes, the walls first had to be prepared.

“We had to remove two layers of wallpaper and found the gib underneath wasn’t in great shape so we had to have the walls skimmed,” says Alison.

Painted owl decorations

Picture frame wall in bedroom

Family photo

Owl decoration: Lucy plays with the wall art magnets.

Next they applied Resene Magnetic Magic to one wall. “This was actually our biggest challenge,” explains Alison. “The magnetic paint is thick, and you have to make sure it goes on evenly or else it leaves streaks that show up in the top coat.” After two top coats of the Resene Sherbert colour it looked fine.

Their effort paid off because Lucy now has one bedroom wall that is magically magnetic. For now it’s decorated with wall art of a tree, leaves and birds that Alison sourced from

Toy storage in kids bedroom

Painted owl decorations

Lucy and Emma visit the teddies under the bed.

Alison stuck some of the pieces on to Alison stuck some of the pieces on to magnetic backing so Lucy and her sister, Emma, 10 months, can move sister, Emma, 10 months, can move sister them around.

Given that Lucy is two, pink had to make an appearance. Alison chose a pink waterproof bean bag from Kidscapes for $75 and the fabric for the roman blind includes pink in the vertical stripe pattern. Although Alison is a keen sewer, it was the first time she’d made roman blinds. “I got a book out of the library and just went for it.”

She also made the duvet cover for Lucy’s bed, as well as pillow cases and a scatter cushion to match the roman blind.

“I didn’t want everything matching too much. I like contrasting patterns, so I found these fabrics at Spotlight and sewed the strips together, Peter helped with the press studs. It cost about $60.”

There are little touches all over Lucy’s room that personalise it. Wooden letters spelling out her name are bejewelled with sequins, crystals, ribbons and flowers from Spotlight. All are stuck on using Super Glue and her name is adhered to the wall with 3M’s Command Adhesive.

Around the light switch is a collection of Around the light switch is a collection of framed photos of family and friends as well as a mirror, all hung at Lucy-height, because she likes to look at her special people, as well as herself, from time to time.

Good storage is key to keeping the new surfaces clear, and Alison found some large plastic bins on TradeMe that fit under Lucy’s bed. The bins are now home to the soft toy collection and the girls enjoy endlessly packing and unpacking them as they play.

When asked what her favourite item is in Lucy’s new room, Alison’s quick to say the chandelier light fitting. It is complete with strands of crystals and large crystal drops and was an ugly duckling find on TradeMe. Once Alison worked out how to paint it white, it soon became the crowning glory of Lucy’s room.

Into the blue

Two shades of blue fill this bedroom with sea and sky.

Choosing a nautical theme for their son's bedroom felt right for beach-loving Nadine Clement and her partner Matthew McGlone, a skipper and marine engineer. The family's home is 10km outside Waipu and from six-month-old Joel's bedroom there's a view of Bream Bay sparkling in the Northland sunshine, which on some days is where Dad, Matt, is working.

A blue sea themed bedroom

Sea themed kids room

Boy in sea themed bedroom

Joel's turtle night light, far left, floats between sea and sky. Above, the converted alcove space includes shelves and a porthole that Joel can look through when he's older. Covered squabs and a change mat make this space ideal for curling up in at story time and the mirror wall at the rear reflects the light. Nadine and Joel, six months.

When Nadine found out about her success in the Resene bedroom makeover competition, she says the timing was perfect because the couple had just started painting the downstairs of their home. "It was the incentive we needed to finish painting so we could get started on Joel's room."

There's a lot about the room that Nadine loves, most of all though she's rapt with the wall colours that divide the room into above and below sea-level. "We chose Resene Viking for the sea and Resene Chetwode Blue for the sky. I also used Resene Deep Koamaru for the beams across the ceiling," she says.

A blue and purple sea themed bedroom

Nadine used the metallic Resene Silver Aluminium, as an accent colour and Resene Magnetic Magic to create a magnetic wall. It was her first time using both products and the silver paint was particularly important to completing her room design.

"Matt decided to do a porthole inside the room. We used an old drainage pipe and capped it using MDF, then painted it using Resene Silver Aluminium."

A sea mural
Nadine hand-painted the wall mural

The porthole shape and frame treatment are continued in a mirror that hangs on an adjacent wall and both help to give the room a real ship feel from hip-height upwards. By comparison, anything around floor level is under water and Joel's toy box rests like a treasure chest waiting to be discovered. One item works on both levels. "The turtle night light is really cute. At night it looks like it's bobbing on the surface," says Nadine.

The most functional change Nadine and Matt made to the room was to maximise the use of space by including a loft area that they turned into a wide alcove shelf. A mirror along the back wall brings in light, and squabs covered by Nadine's mother, Ann, make it a comfy place for Nadine and Joel to curl up together. Grandmother Ann also made the clown in the sailing boat and the mermaid clown.

Like all cost-aware decorators, Nadine turned to TradeMe where she found one or two treasures including a blue nylon mesh hanging unit that cost roughly $10. It looks like a fishing net and matches the child-sized bean bags from Spotlight almost perfectly.

Once the walls were painted Nadine was able to start work on the wall mural that brings her bedroom design to life. Including fish, seaweed and waves, the mural by his mum makes Joel's room a unique and loving environment. Nadine also made a new mobile for over Joel's cot."But when I came to hang it, I couldn't. He's had the planes since he was born and I just couldn't take them away."

Dinosaur style

A clever Waikato family create a dinosaur adventure room for their two busy boys.

William Ormsby was a man under pressure. “Can you make a set of bunks with lights that go on when the kids are quiet?” his wife Niki asked as she created her entry for the Resene Dream Room competition. “Sure,” he replied. Niki looks back and laughs. “He didn’t think I’d win!”

A dinosaur themed bedroom

William and Niki Ormsby with Edison, nearly 3, and Devon, 19 months.

When the news came through that Niki’s room was one of the chosen three, “I had to work out how to do it,” says William. Luckily, he’s a qualified electrical technician, so he managed to modify a kitset for a voice-operated CB radio system he bought from Jaycar.

The result – little lights that fade in and out, set in the shape of the Southern Cross on the underside of the top bunk. But they only turn on when Edison, who’s nearly only turn on when Edison, who’s nearly three, is quiet for 30 seconds or so. At the moment that’s a bit of a challenge says Niki, as Edison lies in bed loudly telling his mum to “ssshhh” so the lights will come on. The underside of the bunk is painted in a Resene Astronaut base and metallic Resene Super Sonic over the top to give it a sparkly night-time finish.

Dinosaur themed kids room

Niki went wild with a whole pile of Resene KidzColour shades to paint the dinosaur mural

The camo-painted bunk set was created in the backyard in pieces before being assembled in the room. Niki used Resene Woodland, Resene Frontier and Resene Waiouru to create the camouflage effect, which is repeated on the chest of drawers. William used his jigsaw to cut out the pieces in 18ml MDF, which are sturdily screwed to the original bunk frame. The design creates a safe top bunk with raised sides to prevent anyone falling out. The bonnet is a large toy box with lift-up lid. Hooked on the front are “headlights” – two round battery-operated lights that the boys can tum off and on. William crafted the wheels from an old space-saver tyre he sliced up.

The bunks are only one of the novel features in the Ormsby's dinosaur-themed room. At the moment, little brother Devon, 19 months, is still in a cot, but the long-term plan is to have the two boys sharing the bedroom.

Camo Jeep bunk-bed

Dinosaur mural

The boys are real dinosaur lovers, prompting Niki to select the dinosaur theme – although Edison vetoed her idea of a tyrannosaurus rex skeleton painted on the back of the door. "Too scary,"he said.

The Ormsby family home in the little Waikato settlement of Kihikihi is a do-up, that the couple are gradually renovating. It was completely uninsulated, so underfloor insulation was added, to help combat the chilly Waikato winters. When it came to the boys' room, insulation was added in the outside wall and new gib board was used over the top of old, keeping the room warmer and quieter. The fresh surface was then painted in Resene Sherbert.

Niki painted the dinosaur mural using heaps of colours from the Resene KidzColour range – Resene Splat and Resene Superhero for the T-Rex, Resene Smiles and Resene Yabbadabbadoo for the brontosaurus and Resene Zappo and Resene Bubblegum for the triceratops. The bottom half of the wall is undercoated in Resene Magnetic Magic paint, allowing the boys to play with the dinosaur magnets Niki made from a $3 packet of foam rubber dinosaurs a neighbour picked up at the supermarket."Our best score!"says Niki. Her other good buy was the dinosaur lightshade from Lighting Direct. Niki also bought a personalised dinosaur growth chart off TradeMe.

The boys' Aunty Gracey, who lives next door with William's parents, sewed the soft-toy flying pterodactyl that hangs from the ceiling, without using a pattern. She took apart a dinosaur beanbag and added panels of camouflage fabric, making one beanbag into two, so the boys have one each. She also made the curtains.

The boys are over the moon about their new room, which means a lot to Niki. "I love the fact that the boys love it and they were part of creating it," she said.

Tips and Tricks

There's more to decorating than just painting the walls. Here are a few ideas to inspire you.

Furniture facelift

An old piece of wooden furniture can be given a complete facelift with a fresh coat of paint. KidzColour shades Resene Sports Star, Resene Banana Split and Resene Crash Hot give this chest of drawers a bright and breezy look.

Furniture facelift

Blackboard paint

Stick em up

These gorgeous Nouvelles Images Home Stickers are a stylish and easy way to add some glitz to your child's walls. Available at Resene.

Gloss or sheen?  If you have a less than perfect surface, use a lower sheen paint. The lower the sheen the more imperfections the finish will hide.

Blackboard paint

You can add a built-in blackboard to your child's bedroom by applying Resene Blackboard Paint directly to the wall, or a door. A simple wooden frame in Resene Classic Rose from a hardware store, cut to the blackboards dimensions and screwed into place, is cheap, gives a good finish and stops little artists from being tempted to doodle on the walls.

Which colour?

When selecting colours, don't forget to factor in the gloss level. Most colour charts are produced using low sheen. If you use a gloss finish the colour will look brighter and cleaner; if you use a flat finish it will look darker and more intense, say the experts from Resene. Colours will also look more intense when they are painted on to a large area. Always use a testpot to confirm your colour choices in the area you are planning to paint. The light will affect the shade during different times of the day.

Curtain know-how

A little bit of curtain wizadry can conceal your bedroom's shortcomings.

Glad it's wrapped

Plastic cling film is surprisingly useful when you're painting. Use it to wrap brushes and rollers when you get called away and don't want to wash out your equipment. It can also be used to protect lampshades and phones etc, from paint splatters.


Created by Rosemary Barraclough and Vanessa Johnson. Photography by Stuart McKellar Basset, Stephen Barker, and Chris Miller.


Kid's Bedroom Decorating Ideas
View more decorating ideas for kids from Little Treasures magazine in the Resene kid's bedroom inspiration gallery.

More ideas


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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

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