Repurposed Shelves in My Daughter’s Room…and Realizing I Need To Start Acting More Like My Mother.

Remember my little DIY Coffee Bar we made a couple years ago? (By the way, how was that TWO YEARS AGO??)

DIY coffee bar

I loved that thing.

But as all things seem to do in this house, the dining room evolved and I rearranged and things changed…I bought a mug rack that I ADORE for that spot:

dropcloth curtains

And so, as all things seem to do in this house, the shelves went to the place all things go until I repurpose or sell them or donate them: The Dungeon Laundry Room. It’s a show in there, let me tell you. I mean, think of how often I switch things up – you can imagine what it looks like – yikes.

Anywho, I knew I’d get them out again. Didn’t know where, didn’t know when, but they were here to stay.

That day came recently when my daughter had asked me for some shelves in her room. Speaking of evolving, her room has changed up recently – all her idea. She asked me a couple weeks ago if we could rearrange her room – she drew up a sketch, and had it all worked out. And it reminded me so much of myself as a kid. I was ALWAYS moving my furniture around – I was hammering nails and switching up artwork as far back as I can remember – and my mom never minded one bit. She was always completely fine when I said I wanted to change my room up again (for the 853rd time) and I swear I wouldn’t be the person I am today if she’d have talked me down or not been so supportive. She loves to decorate herself, and I’m sure she preferred my room with the bed here and the dresser there, but never once did she express that. She let me have all the creative reigns I wanted and well, the rest is history.

So when my 8 year old asked me about changing up her room, we did. I wasn’t sure I’d love the setup, but I thought about my mom, and I went for it. Turns out, it’s pretty darn cute this way;) And as for the shelves she wanted so badly for her sports trophies, etc – I knew just what we could do.

I pulled the coffee bar shelves out of the laundry room. I thought we could spray paint the black brackets, and give the wood a distressed white painted finish.

She was SO excited and asked if she could help.

And as Mom would do, I let her.

diy shelves

(I didn’t tape up the whole thing because I knew we’d be painting the wood.)

DIY shelves

diy shelves

Once they were good and dry, I brought them inside and painted them. I never put any poly or anything over the stain when I made them a couple years ago, so it was a nice flat finish – a sample of any white I could find in my stash would do the trick.

When that paint was dry, I took my hand sander to the shelves just a bit, to give the edges a worn out look, and see the wood stain underneath.

Put ’em up and here we are!



She helped me style them, and loves that her things have a place. I taught her about height and groupings and we had a fun time. It was really sweet.

I decided to give the brackets a few brushes of white paint when I was painting the wood part – and then sanded them down so the black shows through. Thought it would make them more interesting, and I’m happy with that decision!

diy shelves

And here’s a shot of the painted and sanded wood:


We also moved some things around on her walls – and deconstructed her Gallery Wall – (I’ll show you what we’ve done on that wall when it’s finished!). We thought two of the frames that were there would look cute on the little wall space to the right of her shelves – but the bright pink frames were too much. I suggested painting them white and she loved that idea and asked if she could do it. So she did! And was in her absolute glory, I can’t even tell you. It was quite a lesson for me. Could they look better if I did it, and not an 8 year old? Probably. But I would rob her of the joy and pride every time she looks at them and knows SHE did that. And that Mommy believed in her. I’ll take the less than perfect frames anyday.

DIY shelves

You know, we see these amazing photos in the magazines, and the ‘after’ shots on tv shows – and they are breathtaking, don’t get me wrong. But when you let your kids put their own stamp on their spaces, and encourage them to help you design it (if they want to, that is;), that really means a lot to them. And it makes it THEIR room, not some room you see in a decorating book that could belong to anyone. Things like fish tanks, plastic fairy gardens, chalkboards, bulletin boards full of photos and drawings and movie ticket stubs – those are the things that I cherished as a kid, and made my room a place I loved and was proud of. The fact that I was able to get creative and share my favorite things in the open for all to see really set the stage for the rest of my life. I wonder if Naptime Decorator would be here had I not had that as a child….

diy shelves

And I think another one just might be in the making…;)

Thanks, Mom.


  1. Love them! Looks so beautiful. And it is fun to have kids in on the decorating scene. I try to get my girls to do the same. 🙂

  2. Anne Lepczyk says:

    So sweet! You’re the best mom, Liz! You’ve filled your Mom’s shoes just fine 😉
    Love ya, Anne

  3. Lynn Haag says:

    Oh my gosh I loved reading this post! My almost 12 year old is creative and as you mentioned, we have to let them do their thing and embrace their decorating ideas, even if we think we can do it better. Great job – both of you. Btw, I just returned home from 4 days in your beautiful state of Maryland after a wonderful “girls weekend” in Manchester, MD. 5 minutes of snow yesterday but I’ll take it!!

  4. Liz, I loved this blog. Thanks for all the positive comments. It’s nice to hear that what I en-couraged was really the right thing. I do think that Reagan will be the next Naptime Decorator. As always, you are amazing. xoxo Mom

  5. Hi,
    My 11 year old has same soul (mommy )…love the positivity and trust you gave…keep it up!!

  6. Sherri S. says:

    They look great I there!


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