How This Designer Created a Bright and Playful Paradise For a Child's Bedroom

Bright gray and orange kids' bedroom.

Design: Karen Wolf Interiors; Photo: Christian Garibaldi

If there’s something we never get tired of seeing, it’s a great makeover. Whether it’s transforming a retro bathroom into a modern oasis or giving a lackluster bedroom a fresh look, pros perform these design miracles all the time.

To give designers a chance to showcase their favorite makeovers—and to bring you plenty of inspiration for your own home—we’re sharing the best before and afters we’ve seen in our series, Makeover of the Week. Take notes for your next renovation.

“My clients love pattern, color, and whimsy, so my design goal was to incorporate their aesthetic into their child’s bedroom while creating a work, sleep, and play space,” interior designer Karen Wolf says.

Meet the Expert

Interior designer Karen Wolf is the owner of Karen Wolf Interiors in Short Hills, New Jersey. She believes every project deserves a little sparkle along with layers of color, pattern, and texture. 

Before:

Before picture of outdated bedroom.

Courtesy of Karen Wolf

“This bedroom had good bones, but the décor needed updating—it had Granny wallpaper, orange-stained wood floors, heavy window treatments, and poor lighting. It basically needed a lot of cosmetic refreshing,” Wolf shares. “It also had some underutilized space I wanted to tap into.”

After:

Gray kids bedroom with orange accent chandelier.

Design: Karen Wolf Interiors; Photo: Christian Garibaldi

“I took a nook on a long dormered wall and incorporated an extended desk and a custom bookshelf to create a utility area that would otherwise have been empty space,” Wolf shares. “I then used pattern and pops of orange to make the room feel cozier and livelier, including colorful urban street art, a fun Sputnik ceiling fixture, and a cool graphic wallpaper.”

What Changed:

  • Color Theme: Orange, gray, and white work together to create a lively space.  
  • Desk and Chair: A custom maple desk is paired with an orange faux cashmere chair, making use of the space below the window. 
  • Bed: A low platform bed gives the room a contemporary feel and makes it easy for small kids to get in and out of bed. 
  • Bedding: An orange and white diamond blanket along with orange, black, and white pillows, bounce off the white quilt. 
  • Wallpaper: The graphic wallpaper on the wall behind the bed and on the back of the bookshelves has a modern feel while the small gray print on the secondary wallpaper balances the energy in the room.
  • Window treatments: A bright hexagon-shaped Roman shade fabric pops against the recessed windows. 
  • Floors: The original pine floors went from orange to brown for a warmer feel. 
  • Rug: The chevron pattern on the rug complements the graphic X design on the wallpaper.
  • Desk lamp: The midcentury globe lamp on the nightstand provides light for night reading.
  • Window seat: A nook creates additional seating and storage space; the gray cushion includes a colored band to pull the orange hue forward.   
  • Wall art: Colorful street art, framed in black, ties together all the colors in the room.  
  • Lighting: An orange midcentury Sputnik pendant adds both light and fun to the space. 
  • Shelving: Underutilized space is filled with shelves that hold photos, art décor, and a laundry basket. 
  • Seating: A black patterned pouf provides a comfy spot to read, while a gray slouchy bean bag chair is ideal for gaming.

Shop the Look:

Nook of kids' bedroom with beanbag chair and shelving.

Design: Karen Wolf Interiors; Photo: Christian Garibaldi

Saarinen Executive Side Chair
Eternity Modern Saarinen Executive Side Chair $689
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“This upholstered bed works in any style room from traditional to contemporary and can be customized—from the fabric to the leg size to the finish,” Wolf notes.

Bento Bed
EQ3 Bento Bed $949
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“This upholstered bed works in any style room from traditional to contemporary and can be customized—from the fabric to the leg size to the finish,” Wolf notes.

Ramie Cotton Fabric Folding Laundry Hamper
Sea Team Ramie Cotton Fabric Folding Laundry Hamper $8
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“This super affordable basket comes with a waterproof liner and can be used to corral everything from dirty laundry to toys,” Wolf adds.

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