This Couple Shopped IKEA’s Storage Section to Create Their Son’s Custom Art Station

This Couple Shopped IKEA’s Storage Section to Create Their Son’s Custom Art Station

Content creator Sara Le and her fiancé, Ryan Thepbanthao, became avid DIYers when they bought their Minnesota home back in 2015. “We were constantly changing up every single room,” Le admits. However, she recalls a moment two years ago when she “really tuned into what I liked and stopped looking at what other people were doing.” With her personal style clearly in focus, Le went back to the drawing board on almost every space, infusing them all with a mid-century modern meets traditional vibe cast in a neutral-dominated palette. Yet one room still wasn’t quite living up to Le’s standards. 

She had decorated five-year-old son Roman’s bedroom several times before she began considering one more reinvention. “Both my kids have grown up around us designing and DIYing all the time, so they always want updates to their own rooms as our house changes,” she says. When Roman kept falling out of his twin bed in his sleep, it sparked the couple to give the room another makeover. 

Turkish Coffee Paint, Sherwin-Williams; Pole-Wrap, Home Depot; Upgraded Beige Hateya Platform Bed by Winston Porter, Wayfair; Nature Bedding Set in Dark Green, Throw Blanket in Dark Olive, and Brass Plug-In Wall Sconce, Amazon; Ivory Alphabet Rug, Rugs USA.

The new design centered on a full-sized bed to replace the twin, but a basic frame wouldn’t do. Instead, Le and Thepbanthao upgraded a simple platform bed with a custom arched plywood headboard that she covered in foam and a boucle-like fabric. Even the frame’s interior slats were altered so that Roman could sleep closer to the ground, thereby minimizing the fall out from any midnight thrashing. But to give the bed a dramatic backdrop, they relied on one of the most Instagram-famous decor elements you can find at the hardware store: Pole-Wrap.

Le discovered the flexible sheets of grooved wood, designed to wind around unsightly support posts, when refreshing her kitchen and has since added it to several places throughout her home. Working within the room’s existing board and batten paneling, she cut squares of Pole-Wrap to fit into the openings and give the space depth and texture while catering to her junior designer’s desire for detail (Roman had been asking for wainscoting for his room for months). Before installing the fluted wood panels using Liquid Nails, she coated the wrap with a dark walnut stain and painted the board and batten in a deep brown to match.

To balance the statement-making wall behind the bed, Le and Thepbanthao built a dresser into the opposite wall, reconfiguring the baseboard molding to wrap around the dresser’s base. Over top, Thepbanthao built an arched hutch to hold Roman’s toys, lining the back with more Pole-Wrap and painting all the wood the same color as the board and batten for a uniform look.

Le considered both off-the-shelf and bespoke options for a desk where Roman could create art but she ended up going with a hybrid approach, using two IKEA storage units topped with a custom desktop. Brass-toned kitchen rails hold supplies and match the existing light fixtures. “Roman loves gold necklaces and anything that looks ‘fancy,’” Le laughs. Thepbanthao put his carpentry skills to work one last time to build a child-size seat inspired by the iconic Pierre Jeanneret chair.

The result feels surprisingly grown-up for a kindergartener, but Le insists, “My son is the average five-year-old kid!” And while it aligns with the couple’s aesthetic, that doesn’t mean it won’t get another reinvention in a few years’ time. “Our style is always evolving,” Le says.

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