Introduction: Kids Room Remodel

About: I rather like "to make" than "to consume". I've been programming for iOs for a while just to see if I can. I love making cases and pouches for my gadgets, but currently it seems I'm running out of projects. Bu…

As I wrote in several other instructables already, our living space is somewhat restricted as we only own a condo.
But never the less, you can increase the space if you put in some brains and max out what you have.

This time we remodeled our daughter's room.

You can see in the first picture that we already had a bunk bed for her which we purchased while living in the US.
She was all crazy about the slide coming down from the bed. Having some space under the bed was great for play first and later, when she was too tall, it was great for storage.
But with every furniture which occupies space right on the floor, there is not much space left for a desk or some kind of living area.

Our little one is now 10 and having switched from elementary to secondary school, it was time for her to get her own real desk so she could work on her homework in her room instead of in the dining area of our living room. Also, with more friends coming over for visits and sleep overs, it was time to give her some "private space".

Step 1: Make a Concept

Projects of this proportion require a lot of front up planning.
These are not projects where you can just start at one end, pull through, and then finish off without having a concept and detailed plans later on. Once I had all parts available, it still took me about 5 days to put everything together, including removing the wallpaper and painting the walls.

The idea of a bunkbed was there first (well, this was obvious as we already had one). We thought about just having one that is higher so that our daughter could use the space beneath the bed better.
Also, by not including a slide any more, we would have some more space for other furniture available, too.
We also had the idea to place the desk space right under the bed, but this would have led to a dimly lit workspace eventually.

To get a good concept, we usually start out using MS PowerPoint to easily create a floor plan of the room we want to remodel.
Remember, you just use this for either an easy project or to get a concept started.
In this case, we wanted to see how furniture could be arranged within our daughter's room so we could maximize the space usage.

Start out by measuring your room and use PowerPoint to have a properly scaled floorplan of the room. You then can start drawing rectangles, circles, basically any shape PowerPoint offers and scale them properly. In this case, I also included the rooms door and window because I knew we had to be careful so we can still open them properly once we were finished.
You could also just cut out the needed shapes from paper, but using the computer is just much more convenient. For example, if you have a design you like, you can easily copy and paste the whole layout as a slide and then rearrange items or modify it with different ideas.

As you can see in the picture, the rectangles used to frame the blue colored mattress (in the middle) are all single rectangles, so I could just add a bigger mattress and adjust the frame parts accordingly. The layout you can see in the picture wasn't in our minds at the beginning, but after moving around a regular bunkbed (basically the shape of the bed including the frame in the picture below) within the rooms confinement, we didn't have enough room to either open the door or the window. And we wouldn't have had enough floor space to place a wardrobe or desk either.

This is where I started thinking about fixing the bed to the walls on either side of the room.
Then we thought about adding some kind of ladder so our daughter could get into the bed, and finally we ended up thinking about a staircase that doubles as cubic shaped shelf units.
As me and my wife think that our daughter will stay with us for at least another 8 years, we thought the desk should be similarly big as the desk I use at work. Once she will get a computer, there still needs to be enough space on it to work for school. So a kiddies desk wasn't an option.

There is plenty that needs to go into consideration what furniture you need to complete a room, whether or not you just go and buy some parts or even diy some of it.
In this case, all furniture is diy.

Once you finish your concept, you'll need to work out the details.
This is something where you have to ask yourself if MS PowerPoint will be up to the task or if you need other tools to get more specific.
For our kitchen remodel 3 years ago, PowerPoint did suffice (well, only drawing the front with the breakfast desk and the storage cupboards in 2D was ok).
For the kids room, PowerPoint was not powerful enough, as we were adding a 3rd dimension. So I started looking around for 3D modeling programs and eventually ended up using google's sketchup.
Using sketchup rather than PowerPoint also added the ability to directly measure parts within the 3D-Model so I didn't have to calculate the proportions of the parts needed via the scale I had used in PowerPoint.

A good point in visualizing your plans is to show it to the people who live with you.
In the beginning, it was hard for my wife to imagine what I had in mind.
She'd rather would have bought furniture to save me some work.
But I really love doing stuff like this, and after I went to the next step (working out the details of the plan), she started to like the idea, too. This was also the case when we remodeled the kitchen ;-)

Step 2: Work Out the Details of Your Concept

In the pictures accompanying this step, you can see pictures of the 3D-Model I created in Sketchup.
The door, window and desk chair were available to the program via download. So you can easily get models to furnish your room and get an impression on how it will look like later.

I wasn't quite sure if fixing the bed to either side wall of the room would suffice, so I added hollow legs to the bed. Part of this idea also came from the necessity to add some more electrical outlets. Initially, the room only had 2. After the remodel, we now have 10. All wiring is hidden within the legs or behind the floor molding.

If you do electrical work like this, I advise to get a certified electrician.
If you don't, consider that adding to much electrical equipment to the outlets may trip your fuses, or worse, heat up the electrical wires and lead to hazardous conditions. You need to be aware what and how much equipment you'll use in the room and how many electrical circuits you have available to increase the number of available outlets.

Using Sketchup I was able to get all dimensions of all the parts I needed by just measuring them within the program.
I could also make simple sketches for the parts that needed specific cutouts which I forgot considering before using Sketchup. Such a complex 3D-Model will just be too much for your brain to envision with only 2D-Sketches.

After I made a list of all the parts I needed, I hired a carpenter to make the parts.
I could have done this too, but it would have required to purchase or lend various powertools I don't own yet and which I won't use as often as I'd like. Also, living in a condo makes for restricted space and I would have to store all the newly acquired tools some where. So hiring someone to cut the parts and deliver them to my home seemed the best solution.

Step 3: Get All Parts and Start Building

The day after I painted the walls my carpenter brought the wooden parts.
I then went out to buy the hardware (screws, some more hand tools, cable, outlets) so I could start assembling the room.
Best is to make a list of everything you'll need. You may require some more hand tools, so think about everything that could go wrong (e.g. parts not fitting) and be prepared.

Otherwise, it's just as if you put together purchased furniture.
So I couldn't add pictures to this step.

Some hints to make working easier / more efficient:
  • Some of my ordered parts were too long when compared to the room width
    Actually, the parts were ok, but the walls had slight deviations in width, so I had to use files and a planer to get the parts fitting. For this, I got me the Stanley 5-21-122 Metal Body Surform Planer file. This one is really great as it cuts off the wood in multiples with each strike.
  • To get proper drill holes for the screws, I bought a "Dübelprofi kwb Dübel-Bohr-Lehre 7580-00" (this is just the name so you can google it as I don't know if I'm allowed to get the picture from them).
    It's some kind of a dowel jig and it made drilling all those holes a breeze, because I didn't have to mark all holes seperately and often I could just eyeball where a screw needs to go. The jig took care of the rest.
    I don't remember exactly how many screws I bought, but I think to remember that it was more than 200. And I predrilled all of the screw holes to ensure the wood doesn't splinter while inserting the screws.
  • As this is in my kids room, I used oil based varnish for the construction to seal the wooden parts. My wife had second thoughts that I wanted to only use the varnish on the outside surfaces, but my carpenter reassured me that one sided application is ok, as long as you don't soak the parts in the varnish. If applied properly, there is no warping of the wood.

Step 4: Finish

After everything was assembled, we attached color changing led stripes underneath the bed.
My daughter really loves using them, and if the color is turned to white, it's even bright enough to read a book.

She's really proud about what we made out of her room and her friends were really impressed and maybe even a little jealous.

As you can see, the room now looks much bigger than before.
We even added a much larger wardrobe. We just got 2 more wooden panels that go from floor to ceiling and installed shelfs between the 2 panels and a clothes rail between the 1st panel and the room's wall.

Step 5: Final Words

Projects like this really need some planning.

It required about a week, thinking about what I want to do and how I wanted it to do.
This also included making the basic plans in MS PowerPoint and letting my daughter move around the pieces of the puzzle to get the design we wanted.

Working out the details in sketchup took about 3 days.
Considering I never used sketchup before, I think this was fairly fast (and I also had to do my daytime job, so doing all the above took place on weekends and in the evenings during the week).

The hardest part was putting together all the pieces. Even though all parts were pre cut, it took me 4-5 days of assembling the room, including stripping the wallpaper and painting the walls.

But I think this was really worth it.

My daughter now has a room she loves and it will (hopefully) last as long as she's living at home.