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Design

My Nightstand Debate…What Do We Do For Birdie’s Room??

Well, Birdie’s room is coming along, and like her, it’s full of happiness and a lot of colorful energy. But I’ve been hung up on the furniture since day one and it hasn’t gotten easier. First off, I fear that the Facebook Marketplace bed is too busy and twee – it’s just a LOT going on in the room. So I will likely find and order a simpler upholstered bed to calm it down a bit. But that’s not even the biggest issue, let’s get into it.

Here’s what we have that we can’t change – the wallpaper, the carpet, the windows, and the location of the closet doors. While I LOVE those original windows, obviously, they are low thus creating quite the nightstand challenge. Furthermore, the closet door needs to be able to open so finding the right nightstands has been hard.

So while I was stumped I went into my vintage inventory and pulled everything out, placed them in the room, and played and played to see what felt right.

Option 1: Eclectic But Fun?

This configuration is technically balanced in color and we lived with this for a while. The closet door opened fine because the skirted wicker table was shoved a bit over. Is it quirky and fun? Sure. Do I love the idea of all of this vintage? Sure. But it felt like a different house and just needed to be more calmed down.

Because what you might be forgetting is that we found these incredible Art Deco shades at an antique mall and we really want to use them in this room. We had them flanking the bed, hanging in front of both windows for a long time and loved it, but they are so big that they are creating even more of a problem with the nightstands. Should they go really high? Maybe? Should they just be on the right side and staggered? Maybe (see further below).

If I had to prioritize what cuckoo vintage to keep in this room it would 100% be the hanging shades. I LOVE THEM. Sure, I love the wicker ghost table (from Shop Wilma in Portland) but I know that I can use that elsewhere. I also like that sweet dresser I got on Facebook Marketplace for $100 and I don’t mind it in front of the window, but again, it just feels like a totally different house. The bed isn’t helping (I tried to order this bed but it’s out of stock so I’m trying to figure out what other options we have).

Option 2: Painted And Cut Down?

Then I have these two tables that I’ve been hoarding, both vintage from Craiglist/Facebook Marketplace. Both could get painted but BOTH are too high so they’d need to get cut down from the bottom of their legs. Doable? Sure. Does it feel totally right? Nope. I LOVE the scalloped table so much and it’s narrow enough that it could go on the left side of the bed and the closet door could still open, but then what do I put on the right? Y’all, I LOVE SYMMETRY IN A BEDROOM. I think that’s where I struggling…

Option 3: Not This But Maybe?

Ok, so here we put the scalloped table on the left and then brought their costume trunk on the right (which fits really nicely in front of the window. Then I threw this vintage quilt top on top to envision reupholstering it (and it just got busier and busier). HMMM…staring at these photos a month later I’m realizing that these two are a great option if we were to reupholster the trunk in something simple and then paint the scallop table (once cut down a bit) a balanced color. And if you are wondering if I’ve thought about painting the bed, I SURE HAVE. Birdie is adamant not to and she says it’s “really grounding and pops off the wall well”. Y’all, hearing her learn from and totally parrot me is a secret joy that I don’t know how to express. So I want to honor her input, but would the bed be better if it were a lighter, more muted tone? Sure. But then maybe just a simple upholstered bed would be better anyway, and I could donate this bed to a neighbor pretty easily. So I don’t want to spend more time/money on a piece that maybe shouldn’t be in here in the first place.

Here I wanted us all to envision what the lamps would look like in here – because like I said, they are my #1 priority to make work. For months I was like, “Let’s just go for it, make it crazy AF, and just lean into eccentric English granddaughter”. But with the mess/stuff that her life brings in, the room just feels like A LOT. If I could go back in time and choose a less busy wallpaper I would (I love this paper, but it’s a LOT so we need to calm it down).

Option 3.5:

You can see the process of me losing my mind, in real time. Here is where I thought maybe I’d reupholster the bench on the right, bring in the skirted table back, hang BOTH lamps on the right (staggered), AND THEN to balance out the lamps bring in a standing colorful lamp to be the friend to the skirted table (which is now centered on the window). So far, this is our favorite “idea” but it’s certainly not there. Another thing you should know is that the lampshades are REAL BIG, and if they hang low they feel really huge next to any nightstand but if you hang them high they cover the prettiest parts of the window. Should I just forego them altogether and use them in the barn/playhouse I want to do for the kids for summer play? MAYBE. But they bring such a jolt of joy every time I see them…

Option 4: Symmetrical And Boring

I couldn’t not try some basic symmetrical nightstands. We brought these from LA and they are simple and fine but they look dumb and small over here. Do I like the symmetry in a bedroom? I SURE DO. But I want them to be wider, a bit lower, and still shallow as to not come in front of the closet. Like two low dressers (of which I’ve searched high and low for). But this is where I started considering replacing the bed with a simpler solid upholstered one. If it were a medium blue upholstered headboard (no footboard, I secretly don’t like a footboard) and then I had two custom-made low and wide dressers made, THEN you hang the lamps on both sides and it is still super fun, but calms it down. If I could snap my fingers that’s what I would do, but I also really just want to shoot this soon and get it out there.

I think long term I know where I’m headed, but in the short term, I want to show you what I can pull together with what we have on hand. After this shoot for this post I stared at the photos for hours, I had a thought to flip the room completely, put the bed on the opposite wall facing the windows, and put her bulletin board over here in between the windows with her round art table in the corner. And I JUST might!

For now, I’m working with what we have here (unless I find something else in town) because we are shooting this room this week and honestly I’m excited to see what we can pull together for now (knowing that I have more long term goals to add more modernity and symmetry in here). This week you’ll see what we did to the windows (which admittedly did NOT help to calm it down) so the crazy train has left the station, and we are excited to show you where we arrived on round one of Birdies room. WISH US LUCK. 🙂

*Photos by Kaitlin Green

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Wendy
5 months ago

Could the bed not go on the wall to the right, facing the closet doors? Then she could look out the window from her bed which I think is always nice.

Lulu
5 months ago
Reply to  Wendy

This is what I was thinking.

suzanne
5 months ago
Reply to  Lulu

You and everyone else!!!!!

Lynn
5 months ago
Reply to  Wendy

Agree. Looking out the window would be nice. Plus, It looks/feels a little busy on that wall with the windows (which EM doesn’t want to block because yes, they are beautiful), closet doors, lampshades and all the furniture. The bed, especially an upholstered one, would also breakup the wallpapered wall opposite the closet. The wallpaper is gorgeous and so fun for her daughter. Love that Birdie has strong feelings about her room.

Sheila
5 months ago
Reply to  Wendy

was going to suggest the same thing. then she can wake up, lie in bed and look at the sky through the windows.

Patty
5 months ago
Reply to  Sheila

Came to say the same thing………no worries about windows or window height or closet doors. Love this room and anxious to see what you do!!!!

Teresa
5 months ago
Reply to  Wendy

My thoughts exactly!

Emma
5 months ago
Reply to  Wendy

Agree. Love the room, hate a bed against a window.

Stacia
5 months ago
Reply to  Wendy

This would calm my activated reaction to my major dislike of beds in front of windows. A little sitting/reading area or art table in front of the windows would be my dream arrangement!

Lauren
5 months ago
Reply to  Wendy

Yes and then a desk moment between the windows with the two lamps amiright??

Kate
5 months ago
Reply to  Wendy

+1! Also assuming that our view is from or close to the door to the hallway (I could be wrong), then positioning the bed against the wall to the right with the foot of it facing the closet would adhere a bit more to feng shui principles: door is diagonal to the bed, door is not at the foot of the bed (I think it might currently be?), and bed is against a solid wall.

JG
5 months ago

I can’t wait to see how this plays out! Personally, I let my daughter’s room be colorful and A LOT even though the rest of my house is much more subdued/serene. She’s 7, so similar to Birdie, and she loves all the things. She has an elaborate gallery wall and colorful decor everywhere. The “extra” in kid rooms doesn’t bother me even though it doesn’t necessarily match out home. (Her twin brother’s room is also a lot.) That said, I think the wallpaper and bed both look great in there, and you can count me in the “more is more” camp for kid rooms. Bring on the hip eclectic grandma fabulousness!

Becky
5 months ago

The lampshades are so fun! And while they are large, they add a lot of character to the room. I really like the idea of them staggered on the right side over the reupholstered costume trunk and then adding a few throw pillows onto the trunk to make it a reading nook of sorts. You don’t always need 2 nightstands in a room. Putting a nightstand on the closet side seems like forcing something to work. I think that blank area will add necessary breathing room.

Melody
5 months ago

So fun! But my thought the whole way through is why not have the bed on the other wall and face the cupboards. Also could you put the fabulous lampshade(s) on a floor lamp? Or one on a floor lamp and one from the ceiling. Since you will likely something fabulous with the bedding maybe another upholstered piece might be too much? Very excited to see how this turns out.

Parse Lee
5 months ago
Reply to  Melody

Love the idea of the red as a lampshade! Maybe even of both of them.
Or: hanging the two from the ceiling over the bed.
or one over the bed, one as lampshade could be nice: coordinating, not match.
I also like maximalism for kids’ room. In my experience, they don’t need soothing blue walls and Japanese design to conk out instantly at bedtime.. 😉

Alli
5 months ago

I don’t think a kid needs two nightstands. I would do the cut down scalloped one on the right, nothing in front of the closet, and both pendants – maybe red on the L side because it’s bolder to balance out the lack of nightstand

Lulu
5 months ago
Reply to  Alli

Same, just one nightstand. You can even push one side of the bed to the wall, for a cozy feeling.

Sarah
5 months ago
Reply to  Alli

I was going to say the same thing – just use one nightstand and the problem is solved.

Lane
5 months ago
Reply to  Alli

I agree. One side could be a desk or bookshelf. That said, my kids have smaller bedrooms and I grew up in smaller bedrooms, and my preference is for kids’ beds to be against the wall on one side. Seems tucked in and safe. Also kids rooms are their rooms, where they can keep more of their toys etc and so a bed against the wall leaves out more open space for play. Having said all that, bigger houses mean bedrooms are too far away from the living area, and so there may be a preference kids don’t spend that much time alone in their rooms. It’s complicated.

Paula
5 months ago
Reply to  Lane

Heh, as a kid, I hated my bed up against the wall. It felt claustrophobic to me.

LKB
5 months ago
Reply to  Paula

I loved having my bed against the wall! I did my homework there, and it was kind of like a daybed then: I could sit in a variety of different positions, etc.

BUT, as a parent, I loathe beds against the wall. So much harder to change sheets! One of my kids still (!) doesn’t have a bed frame, so his mattress is on the floor and in a corner, and I procrastinate changing his sheets for an unreasonably long time…

Tiffanie
5 months ago
Reply to  Alli

My kid has two single drawer nightstands and both are filled with his items. I love the symmetry and he loves his stuff.

Reanna
5 months ago

I like seeing all of the options – it’s fun! And nice to know I’m not the only one who gets overwhelmed 🙂 I’m not clear on why Birdie must have two nightstands though. Why not just one, plus a cozy chair for reading on the other side? I’m with Birdie – love the bed with that wallpaper!

Emily
5 months ago
Reply to  Reanna

Bc she likes symmetry

Mary Evers
5 months ago

The low windows & the ability to open the closet doors seem to be your biggest issues.
If you can eliminate those problems by placing the bed on the opposite wall do it. I personally think cutting down the tables would make them look odd. I would add a box spring to the bed. That would allow the tables to be level with the bed. If you like more symmetry, paint the tables the same color.
I love the bed & mismatched tables. I think they’re perfect for a farmhouse. An upholstered bed seems to modern.

Kelly
5 months ago

I’d love to see what the disco ball and the two lamp shades look like together hung at different heights. It seems like they are belong together somewhere…..

Jen A
5 months ago
Reply to  Kelly

Agree! Then you have “three” hanging, too, so an odd number, which looks nicer. I love the juxtaposition of that era with the disco ball. Screams tween to me.

Susan
5 months ago

I’m sure you figured it out, but why do the colorful lampshades need to be in front of the windows at all? Can’t they be in a different spot in the room? Maybe I just don’t understand the room layout because only this shot facing the windows is being used…

Lucy
5 months ago

Please keep the bed in this room! It is beautiful pair! I don’t get the two tables option as it is for one little person. As a kid I would love upholstered bench and scalloped table option, so romantic! 🙂

Lisa Carnochan
5 months ago
Reply to  Lucy

I love the bed so much

R
5 months ago

I love the direction of 3.5 and also the bed is so beautiful in there as-is. The tone of the wood is so perfect, and it’s hard to imagine a new upholstered bed bringing the same depth and charm. It also doesn’t seem too tragic to put the lamps in front of one window since it’s not the only one (and since their curvy shapes won’t block it completely).

Catherine
5 months ago

I love option #1!

Julie
5 months ago

I agree with Birdie about the bed. It would be a shame to get rid of it for a boring upholstered bed. Those shades seem like they want to be the stars of the show – can you use them as the central/main light in the middle of the room? Divas gotta shine!

Rachel
5 months ago
Reply to  Julie

I adore the bed with the wallpaper, either left as is or painted it brings so much character to the room. Also if Birdie loves it and thinks it’s a good design decision it would be such a shame to take it away!

Erin
5 months ago

Wood purists will hate me, but I honestly think that all you need to do is paint the bed white and decisions will become a lot more straightforward, because it won’t be competing with the lamps and the tables, and you won’t have to factor in that cherry-red colour.

Renee
5 months ago
Reply to  Erin

Came here to say something similar. I would love to see the bed painted blue. I painted a blue Jenny Lind bed for my son’s room and loved the look.

MBJ
5 months ago
Reply to  Erin

Yes, and I am often one of those wood purists. An upholstered bed is really no fun, but the wood tone of this one is tricky to pair with everything else in the room! Tbh I think the small wood nightstands would be fine if the bed was painted, then they can have all the kooky lighting/accessories they want. And I don’t even think the bed needs to be painted white, you could paint it a dark neutral so it still pops off the wall but becomes easier to pair with other woods.

5 months ago

Just bribe Birdie with a new pony and paint the bed! so much more interesting than a new upholstered one, in my opinion.

Sarah
5 months ago

My two cents about the bed: It’s Birdie’s room. If she likes the bed, keep the bed. Especially since she is showing an interest in design and thinking about the room as a whole! It’s okay, even desirable, for kids’ rooms to feel different than the rest of the house.

Colleen
5 months ago
Reply to  Sarah

I love the spindle bed and agree with Sarah and other posters who say to keep it. I don’t think it needs to be painted, either–the wood is in nice shape. But I also agree with posters who advocate for moving the bed to a different wall. It doesn’t really fit between those two windows.

A
5 months ago

just wondering—does she need two nightstands? What about having one on the closet side and just the lamps on the other? growing up I only ever had one nightstand, first with a twin bed and then on my sleeping side of a queen.

Ali
5 months ago

Can you put the bed on the wall across from the closets and use the space between the windows for a small desk or dresser?

Elizabeth
5 months ago

Can’t you turn the bed to fade the closet?

Holly
5 months ago

It’s a charming room and I can’t wait to see how Em pulls it all together! In the meantime, can you share a link for that disco ball? I’ve been searching high and low for one that size and keep coming up short! Thank you!

DC
5 months ago
Reply to  Holly

Try the “American DJ M-1616 Lightweight Real Glass 16 inch Wall Hanging Disco Mirror Ball” from Bed Bath and Beyond.

KellyJo
5 months ago
Reply to  DC

That one mentioned from BB and B is smaller than what Emily is holding. I see a 20 inch on Amazon that might be similar to what Emily has? https://www.amazon.com/Eliminator-Lighting-inch-Disco-Mirror/dp/B071R6KM2K/ref=psdc_11974281_t1_B071QWN5RB?th=1

DC
5 months ago
Reply to  KellyJo

I don’t think so, look at pics in the reviews. 20 inches in diameter is gigantic!

IMG_4383
Jeanne
5 months ago

You’ll come up with the best option, I’m sure. Do you really NEED a table on the side by the closet? Or have you ever thought about putting the bed on the wall opposite the closet, instead of in front of the windows? Plenty of space for bedside tables then.

Bex
5 months ago

I think Birdie is right about the bed! Also, does she need two tables? It could be a sweet corner if you did one table/nightstand and the two hanging shades opposite the closet door and maybe a standing lamp on the other side so the closet door has room to swing? Everything about the base of the room is symmetrical, maybe the styling could lean a little asymmetrical!

Beth
5 months ago

And why not even try something assymetrical? This room is calling for that, in my opinion. Like Birdie, I like this bed against the wallpaper.

5 months ago

This room is sparking joy!!! I want to keep all the elements… Pardon my ramble & grammatical errors below 🙂 Can the bed go on the wall to the right? And the scalloped table go with a mirror between the windows? And do kids need nightstands really? If the bed doesn’t work on the wall to the right… a low bookshelf could fit under both windows couldn’t it? And double as window seat for cozy reading and stuffy seating? I really wanna lean into English grand-daughter and keep those lampshades, keep the bed as is (SO CLASSIC)… I have never really considered that the kids room aesthetic NEEDS to match the vibe of the house… But also not a professional designer or content creator like yourself!

5 months ago

The only option I liked was the one that you called boring. I liked the smaller nightstands. They seemed to fit the scale of the room a bit better than trying to fill up all the space. Maybe it feels different in person.

Megan
5 months ago

I really struggle with finding low nightstands as well. I have a platform bed that is really low to the ground and everything is too high and looks weird next to it. I’ve also thought about buying something and shortening them but I haven’t found the right thing yet. I would go more simple on the nightstands. They should look nice but be functional and prioritize the fun with the lights and the bedding. I think once you have a different bed that will help.

JinFL
5 months ago

I think Birdie’s right and the bed needs to stay. It’s perfect. However, I think it would make a lot more sense to put the bed on the other wall, so the foot of the bed is near the closet doors. I also think she doesn’t need two nightstands. I’ve never had two nightstands in my daughters room, mostly just because of space issues, but it’s never been a problem for her having only one. I’m not a fan of most of the nightstand options you showed because they look more like tables or dressers, not night stands. It feels to me like they are all too large in scale and are competing with the bed. I actually like the smaller ones the best (the last ones you showed), but only use one. Use one small nightstand and paint it magenta or green, one of the colors pulled from the wallpaper. I remember you saying that you and Birdie were going to do a furniture painting project together. I think painting a nightstand would be a really fun project that she would remember forever.

Julie S
5 months ago

It’s a lot for sure! If the door can be closed on it, I don’t think a mom has to agonize too much over such a thing when the kiddo likes it. I know shooting it for work brings in a whole different angle, though.
How about covering 2/3 of that wild wallpaper with some painted wood paneling? I know that is like money burned on the lower 2/3 of the expensive paper but sometimes it’s worth a little sanity!

Mary Kubart
5 months ago

Does Birdie need two night stands? It seems using one in the right side (when facing) the bed would be enough. Such an adorable room!

Marie
5 months ago

I, too, agree with Birdie about the bed and I agree with you about symmetrical nightstands. I think the mismatched options make the room busier, so instead I would suggest simple white (or built in white painted) nightstands that look a bit sleek and modern, to offset the busy bed frame and wallpaper. Love the idea of flipping the room layout — wouldn’t having the bed opposite the closets give you more room for nightstands and the lamps not blocking the pretty windows? it’s going to be fabulous, whatever you two decide!

LouAnn
5 months ago

I don’t get why you can’t have the bed on tall opposite the closet? More room for nightstands. And then an upholstered storage bench under the window would be a lovely spot to draw and read. I’d follow Birdie’s views on this as much as possible. It’s her room. And while not indulging expensive demands, you can let her decide how much is too much for her.

Jen A
5 months ago

Team Birdie for keeping the bed!! It’s fabulous (and grounding!). Anyone can have a run of the mill upholstery bed. Also it feels very farmhouse to me where an upholstered bed less so. The wallpaper will calm down once you have things hanging on the walls. Wallpaper always seems busier until you get curtains and pictures and the stuff into the space. Can’t wait to see where this goes!

Kat
5 months ago

Why not have the two shades strung together into a single fixture to hang over the bed from the center of the ceiling. The scale seems more appropriate for that.

Lucy
5 months ago

KEEP THE BED! Birdie is absolutely right and you need some wood in there. It looks awesome!

Abby
5 months ago

There are a lot of great comments here so I’ll try not to repeat too much! Yes to: try the bed against the wall facing the closet, keep the bed, don’t need two nightstands for a kid. Another thing to think about: all of this is designing for Birdie the young girl. By the time she’s 16 (my oldest daughter) she will likely have completely changed her style and her room at least four times. They change so rapidly starting at about 11, it’s like you have to start all over every year! So I wouldn’t stress too much about every decision and if there’s something you don’t love that she loves, let her have it. She’s developing her own style, which might not be the same as yours. In a year or two she will want something different!

priscilla
5 months ago

I am not a designer, or decorator or a stylist. That said, here’s what I would try if I were given these elements:
1. hang loud, high curtains between the windows
2. hang a mirror on the wall between the curtains
3. keep the bed
4. ditch the bedside tables
5. definitely upholster the bench, but put it at the foot of the bed
6. hang the green and red shades over the head of the bed, staggering the height to work with the curtains
7. Bob’s your uncle!

Kat
5 months ago

The nighstands you had seemed perfect. Simple bedding. Let the shades have their moment on some ceiling fixture, ta da

A.B.
5 months ago

maybe too many stars here? need tables to be supporting actors with the lamps and wallpaper and bed? lucky birdie!

Kirby Powell
5 months ago

I LOVE this bed frame in here. In my dream world, I’d probably have long & low symmetrical painted nightstands, with the two lampshades at staggered height in the right corner.

Sarah
5 months ago

One

Patricia
5 months ago

I’m on team move the bed opposite the closets and put a reading chair near the window. Also on team only one nightstand. I’m with Birdie on not painting the bed. It’s a classic spool bed.

Lane
5 months ago

I like the quilt and I like the painted version (white or a lighter toned down color from the paper. The wallpaper is not my favorite (sorry) because of the strong pattern and contrast in the colors. The contrast between colors makes it look really busy in the photos and so any additional wood color makes the room less calm. This is how I perceived this and so it may not be how you all feel in that bedroom.Everyone will be different in what they like and need in a bedroom. To me all those additional floor lamps and nightlights make it even more busy. They are too small considering the wallpaper. So I’d use painted nightstands or table of the same size and color (off white would work nicely) The white and red quit is great too because of the amount of white, which is calming, The quilt would work in the bed or made into pillows. The two bold lamp shades work well as a pair. You could use both on both sides of the bed. They are in a strong color, but they match the paper and offer to be a focal point of sorts. Two are… Read more »

5 months ago

Why does the bed have to go against the wall with windows? It could against the wall opposite the closet doors.

5 months ago

It is difficult to get right with two different bedlamps that are both a focal point, but I am sure Emily will manage.
In theory, from the door you should see the foot of the bed

Ali
5 months ago

The bed is SO great. I like the look of flanking the bed with the white scalloped desk and the wavy wood dresser. It is eclectic and works. The lampshades would be great in barn / playhouse!

Amy
5 months ago
Reply to  Ali

I agree, the lampshades would be great in the barn/playhouse. I just don’t love them in this room. Maybe one used as a floor lamp shade next to a reading chair as someone else suggested?

Amy
5 months ago

Another enthusiastic vote for Birdie keeping the bed as is!It has so much more character than any upholstered bed would and is so lovely with the original farmhouse windows. I also think you should try the bed facing the closet with only one nightstand. I love the white scalloped one if it would fit between the bed and the window on the other wall.

Rachel
5 months ago

I like option 1 best. I think the natural wood bed and dresser look great in this room. I don’t love the upside-down basket as the other nightstand though. I disagree with others who say bed should be moved to the wall on the right, I like the symmetry of the bed between the windows and its more inviting to the have bed face the room’s entrance.

Kerri
5 months ago

I would move the bed to the wall without windows and use these nightstands:
https://www.crateandbarrel.ca/bodie-blue-wood-kids-nightstand-with-drawer/s304872

And then add a more traditional dresser and fun mirror between the windows!

Julia Miller
5 months ago

I don’t know why she needs two nightstands for a twin bed. Kill the one by the closet. And put a desk in the corner that can double as a nightstand and hang the cool lights above it. Then do a long colorful runner on the other side of the bed for balance.

5 months ago

I think I would hang the lights at staggered heights directly over the bed. Then they’re not blocking the windows, which are beautiful. Can’t wait to see the finished room!