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Modern life and design in our historical American Foursquare home

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Ceiling fans, curtains and shades… oh my!

By on August 7, 2014


We’ve got less than a month before the new baby arrives, so every weekend has been a mad dash of DIY projects, furniture assembly, and naps (mostly for me!). But we’re slowly and steadily making progress on the toddler’s and baby’s bedrooms. Today we wanted to share our first tasks in these two rooms – putting up new window treatments and installing ceiling fans.

Let’s start with the toddler’s bedroom – here’s the moodboard I made to illustrate the design direction we wanted to follow.

Moodboard for Toddler's Bedroom | Rather Square

A. Round Fillsta orange lamp from Ikea
B. Billy bookcase with DIY fabric backboard (similar to our previous fabric panel project)
C. Wall paint color is Urban Nature by Benjamin Moore
D. Owl prints that we bought when she was born
E. A new extendable toddler/twin bed
F. Her favorite multi-color circle rug
G. Orange blanket for her new bed

We’re working within the room’s current color palette of greens and oranges, with mostly dark wood furniture. But first, the old window treatments and light fixture (left by the previous owner) had to go.

Updating Curtains and Light Fixtures in a Kid's Bedroom | Rather Square

The single window in this room came with teal mini-blinds, and soon after we moved in, we hung a green curtain that we had lying around over those as a stopgap measure. We lived with this strange combination for over a year, knowing it was temporary and that obviously the entire window needed a new look.

Painting Kid's Bedroom | Rather Square

Since we’re committed to staying within a strict budget for these two bedroom redos, cost was a big factor when choosing new window treatments. We looked at options such as faux-wood blinds, but ultimately we found inexpensive blackout shades at Ikea that could be trimmed to fit specific window widths. In our experience, blackout window coverings have proved to be essential in helping the toddler sleep at naptime and at night. And at around $15 each, these fit our budget too.

John carefully measured the window frame and cut the shade to fit before installing it.

Customizing Blackout Shades for a Kid's Bedroom | Rather Square

Customizing Blackout Shades for a Kid's Bedroom | Rather Square

With the blackout shades installed, I looked around for curtains that would work with the colors in the toddler’s moodboard, and found these dark-orange ones at Bed Bath and Beyond. The fabric feels high-quality and substantial, the color provides a good contrast to the light-green walls and fits with the room’s decor, and the subtle texture has some tactile dimension without overpowering the other patterns in the room. In other words, we really like these curtains! To hang them, we used simple black Ikea curtain rods and finials.

Updating Curtains in a Kid's Bedroom | Rather Square

Updating Curtains in a Kid's Bedroom | Rather Square

As for the existing pink glass light fixture in this room, John hated it from the moment we moved in. But it didn’t really bother me at first – it had a vintage-y vibe that seemed to fit the house (although I don’t think it was actually vintage). It did look a little weird with these giant CFL light bulbs poking out from the top. And while I tried to figure out a way to make it work in this room, I eventually decided that it just wasn’t the right design fit.

Old Light Fixture in a Kid's Bedroom | Rather Square

In fact, I started realizing that this bedroom (and the baby’s room) would really benefit from a ceiling fan. Since our 92-year-old house doesn’t have the best insulation and the bedrooms are all on the second floor, proper air circulation is important for temperature regulation and air flow, no matter what season we’re in. So instead of a fun design-forward drum shade or a chandelier, I turned my search efforts toward a more functional light/fan combo that would still be aesthetically pleasing but not super expensive.

We knew we wanted a white fan to blend in with the ceiling so that it wouldn’t be the main visual focus of the room. Something on the small side with clean lines and not a lot of fussy details, with a single light fixture instead of multiple ones. We’d be getting two fans (one for each bedroom), so cost was a factor – we looked for fans that were under $100. It was hard to find a lot of options out there – most ceiling fans in our price range are just plain ugly. But we did find a few that we thought might work.

White Ceiling Fans | Rather Square

A. Watson 34-inch 5-blade fan by Hunter ($89)
B. Wengue 30-inch 3-blade fan by Westinghouse ($80)
C. Turbo Swirl 30-inch 6-blade fan by Westinghouse ($96)

We ended up going with the Westinghouse Wengue fan for $80. The 30-inch size and three blades seemed like a good fit for these small bedrooms, and the light fixture design was simple and modern. And the low cost was a major bonus! After the fans were ordered and delivered, John was able to install them both in an afternoon, and so far they look and work great. The toddler’s bedroom has stayed nice and cool since we put it in.

White Ceiling Fan in a Kid's Bedroom | Rather Square

Moving over to the baby’s room, here’s the moodboard I put together for our “is-it-a-boy-or-a-girl” second child. The room is painted in a muted blue-gray, and we’re incorporating a bold orange and yellow color palette with contrasting dark and neutral furniture.

Moodboard for Baby's Bedroom | Rather Square

A. Crib from the toddler’s room (we’ll be transitioning her to a “big kid bed”)
B. Wall paint color is Nimbus Gray by Benjamin Moore
C. Billy bookcase with DIY fabric backboard
D. Our gray La-Z-Boy rocker recliner
E. Yellow chevron crib sheets
F. A fun and bright orange area rug

In here, the new ceiling fan replaced this old light fixture. It had a similar look as the toddler’s, but with ivory glass instead of pink glass.

Old Light Fixture in a Nursery | Rather Square

White Ceiling Fan in a Nursery | Rather Square

As for window treatments in this room, the previous owner left some dingy off-white mini blinds on the two windows. We put some old brown curtains onto the existing rods as a temporary fix when we moved in, but it was definitely an unattractive look.

Updating Curtains in a Nursery | Rather Square

So we finally took down the blinds, and installed the same blackout shades from Ikea that we used in the toddler’s room. For curtains, I looked for something light and neutral to balance the room’s brighter colors and also to contrast a little with the walls. I got these dove-gray curtains at TJ Maxx, and we put them up on the windows along with the same black Ikea curtain rods and finials we used in the toddler’s room.

Updating Curtains in a Nursery | Rather Square

They’re a lighter hue than the wall color and have a linen-like texture. With two windows in this room, I didn’t want anything too bright or loud, and these give the room a bit of softness and gentleness. The dove gray color complements the black furniture and gray rocker, and won’t distract from the orange and yellow accents.

Updating Curtains in a Nursery | Rather Square

So we’ve got a good start on both of these bedrooms – but there’s a lot more to do. I’ll report back on some further updates we’re currently working on, but we’ll probably wait to share the final room reveals until after the baby is born, since we’ll be getting things ready up until the last minute!

What do you think of the window treatments and ceiling fans/lights we’ve chosen?

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August 7, 2014

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