The Bunk Room

This summer we focused on finishing bedroom No. 2 at the beach house.  This bedroom is the smallest of the three bedrooms, measuring  8 x 11 feet .  As with all the rooms, there are no architectural details, just one small window and a closet.  Thankfully, there are hardwood floors!   While the room is used by our 8 year old son,  it also has to serve adult guests from time to time.  Hence, the challenge  was to make it a room that was suitable for our son but not so childish that adults would feel out of place!


To maximize the sleeping capacity, we opted for built-in bunk beds.  Here’s the design we came up with:


We decided to put the build the ladder into the end of the beds where we had some extra space.  There was all additional space for a 20 inch wide floor to ceiling shelving unit.


Once Tom finished with the construction, I gave everything several coats of SW Extra White semi-gloss paint.  Next, for functionality and a nod to a nautical decor, we installed reading lights in each cubby.  They are actually outdoor lights from Home Depot.  Hubby retrofitted them so that they could be plugged in rather than hard wired as designed.  He also added toggle switches so they could be controlled from the beds rather than on a wall switch.


We also found the gold finished handles at Home Depot.  After a couple trial runs it was evident that kids needed something to hold onto while climbing up and down the ladder.


I already had most of the bedding, the result of thrifting (hoarding) over the years.  This is what dictated the largely red/white/blue color palette.  Sheet sets in good condition are really hard to find at thrift stores – especially when I needed two matching sets. So I purchased new sheet sets from Target. They are called “chambray metallic blue” and are more of a gray blue.  The color is muted but basically blends well with the other bedding I already had.  The quilts don’t match but they complement each other.  One is dark red which I bought probably 10 years ago.  The other is a thrifted Nautica quilt in red, white and blue plaid.


I found two matching striped Ralph Lauren pillow cases for $3 each at a local thrift store in Brick, NJ which were in like new condition.  I like the look of mismatched, layered bedding.

I sewed up two canvas sailing ship pillows from cruise ship tote bags I found at a thrift store.  It was super easy to just remove the straps and square them up by sewing a straight line across the bottom of the bags like this:


I have an obsession for pillows, primarily because they are such an easy way to update a room  I am constantly on the lookout for lone curtain panels or pieces of fabric that I can upcycle into inexpensive and unique pillow covers!

Let’s talk about the one small window in this room.  I already had the rattan shade which I had found at a thrift shop awhile back.  Woven shades are wonderful for adding texture to a room and I use them a lot.  However, unless they are lined, they are not private.  So I added a single curtain panel that can be pulled across the window for privacy. There is no room for a curtain panel on the right side of the window.


We hung the rod and curtain panel up against the ceiling to give the illusion of larger window.  This old decorator’s tip really works to make the window seem grander than it is!  I purchase the Ikea Merete curtain panels which have the grommet top.  The color is called “bleached white”.  For added interest and to bring some of the red color over to the left side of the room,  I cut the bottom third of the curtain off and sewed on a section of dark red fabric.


Besides the built in bunk beds and shelving unit, we added a dresser and a chair.  The dresser was a $10 yard sale find that looked like this when I found it:

I stripped the top of the dresser and refinished it using dark walnut stain and 3 coats of polyurethane.  For the body of the dresser, I lightly sanded it, primed it, and then applied 2 coats of SW Naval satin paint.  I love this color and can’t wait to use it again!


The nautical knobs are from Anthropologie and I love the rustic brass finish.  We are really happy with how this dresser turned out.


It was really fun thrifting the small accessories for this room – the bamboo shelving unit, the sea shells, the brass sailboat, the little red ship, the nautical books and even the magazine holder and lamp were all thrifted.   I may try covering the base of the lamp with some netting eventually but for now I am content with it being white.



The chair is one of a pair that were left here when we purchased the house.


Here’s what they looked like before I painted and reupholstered them:


They are super functional because of the wheels and we frequently roll then out to the living area when we need additional seating.  And it’s always nice to have a spare chair in the bedroom to serve as a luggage rack.


I found a whole roll of decorator grade blue and white woven fabric for just $3 at a thrift store!  At the time, I didn’t know what I would do with it but I thought it was really versatile and could go modern, country or even boho.

All of the wall art was thrifted as well – the convex mirror, the framed oil painting of a ship and the world map.  We added a strip of wood to the top and bottom of the map to give it a schoolhouse feel.


I am still playing with the built in shelving unit,  looking for just the right containers for the shelves. I need to store extra bedding and an assortment of board games and toys.  For now, I am trying out these affordable white woven plastic baskets from Target.   These baskets are the right size but I am not completely satisfied with them. Hubby suggested painting them.  I am also considering installing a curtain across the bookshelf as I still have one Ikea panel left over.  We’ll see ….



All in all I think we were able to achieve a room that works for a young boy and can also be pressed into service for older guests when needed.

Jack and his best Jersey friend, Daisy, love turning this room into one giant fort – draping blankets and sheets everywhere and then playing games and eating popcorn in their cozy space.   It makes me happy to see them enjoy this room and at the same time be able to put it back together quickly as all the sheets and blankets get stashed into the bins on the shelves … ready for weekend guests!










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