The Secret Garden at Night Bedroom: One Room Challenge Week 1

It’s back! I can’t believe I’m embarking on my fourth One Room Challenge!  If you aren’t familiar, the ORC (as the cool kids and lazy typists are calling it) is a twice-yearly event for home decor bloggers and enthusiasts to take on one room in their home and transform it over six weeks.

This spring it’s eight due to the pandemic, but traditionally it’s six… I’ll take that extra two weeks and run with it because sourcing is obviously looking a lot different these days!

This round, I’m tackling my girls’ shared bedroom. The result might be a little less editorial than usual, but I’m 100% ok with that! I want my kids to have tons of input into how we decorate their room.

We batted around a few concepts — one involved an undersea theme with giant blue whales eating artwork and rainbow-colored tiger sharks puking candy whilst being ridden by a dabbing unicorn — but we ultimately landed on “The Secret Garden at Night.”

What the heck does that even mean? I guess we’ll find out together 🙂

My Past One Room Challenge Projects

Let’s quickly recap:

After that last reveal, my kids were deeply jealous. They wanted a designed room too! I don’t blame them. Take a look at this nonsense:

Shared girls bedroom: before

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Why This?

OK, so why The Secret Garden at night? Well, Josie loves movies. To get more specific, Josie loves watching the same movies over, and over, and over, and over…

Around the time Annabelle and I decided weird rave under the sea wasn’t exciting us IRL, Josie became enamored with the 1993 release of The Secret Garden. It’s a beautiful movie. I recommend it highly!

Once she realized that our first idea didn’t hold water, Josie suggested we make their room into a secret garden, but at night. Because they love things that are a little magical with a side of creepy.

Have I mentioned my kids are awesome?

I was completely bought into the first idea, but I’m positively giddy over this one. I really feel like this concept can grow with the girls and there are so many opportunities to have some fun and get weird.

The Secret Garden (at Night) Inspiration

My number one goal aesthetically is to not skew too cute. Yes, yes, they’re little girls but cute isn’t really their vibe. Or mine, ha. I think we’ll all be happier with quirky.

I’m looking to high-end window displays for some initial inspiration. Big, bold, surreal AF:

Credit: @anthro_burlington

But Then COVID Happened

A few months ago I was planning to invest a few thousand into this room (reasonable considering they didn’t even have beds), but then the world upended and our budget contracted significantly.

I was lucky I’d purchased the beds months ago, but there’s still so much to do. I considered dropping out for a hot second, but then I reflected on the spirit of the event and decided to do what I could with the resources I had.

I’m going to get more creative and crafty than you’ve ever seen me! Tapping into that 10 year-old me with a fistful of markers and a dream.

My goal is under $1000. Hopefully significantly under.

I’m not even bothering with a mood board this time, because I know it will change daily. My plan is to invent as I go, use what I have, and see what’s on sale and currently available.

A Loose Plan For the Shared Girls’ Bedroom

I’ve rambled enough. Let’s cut to the chase:


Originally, their beds were as close as possible due to nighttime fears. Either foot-to-foot or side-by-side. Sadly, that made for a terrible room layout. Now that they’re not so afraid of the dark (hello, secret garden AT NIGHT), we’re going to improve it.


As in, we need a lot of it. I need curtains for the windows, curtains for the canopy beds, bed linens, and fabric for the bench (more on that). Fabric costs soooo much and we’re on a tight budget. This should be an interesting creative and deal-finding challenge.


Need one to add that cozy and finish factor but like the fabric, can be very expensive. I plan to scour Etsy for something amazing. They never disappoint!


Since we’re trying to stick to a tight budget, we’ll need to reuse things we might have otherwise donated. A few years ago, I bought two very affordable storage units to put the kids’ clothes in. Since they were going in the closet, I went super economical with the units and also bought the cheapest fabric cubes I could find. They’re super functional and great in a closet!

But to fix the layout, I plan to pull them out of the closet and to the foot of their beds. No question: these need to be revamped for general viewing. I’ll share more once I figure it out!


Now that the closet is empty, I have a whole entire nook to work with! Obviously I have to make a super secret chill-out zone. They told me to, ha.

Look, I know it’s been done a million times before, but it’s a great idea! I’m planning to put on my builder hat and make a floating upholstered bench using inexpensive wood, repurposed batting, and an IKEA throw I already have.

Also? Think giant paper flowers surrounding the doorway and DIY’d battery operated pendant lights.

Oh yeah. I’m going there.


They want the same color as our room and hey, we have an unopened gallon of paint. However, I’m planning to use that on the ceiling and paint some glow-in-the-dark stars up there so they can feel like they’re actually outside. I haven’t decided if that color will also wrap the walls or if I’ll transition it to a different color in some way.


There’s also a random wall, a possible secondary seating area, and, of course, the artwork to deal with. But I’ll figure that out as I go! It’s all about prioritizing.

So That’s the Plan!

Fortunately, I have a well-stocked craft room, a dad with tools I can borrow, and loads of ideas. I’m excited to see what this twist will bring. Stay tuned!

One Room Challenge