Abe’s Colorful, Modern National Parks Room: The Reveal

Preschooler's National Parks inspired bedroom

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2016 is the National Parks Service’s 100th birthday (and, in fact, the actual birthday is August–this very month!) and we’ve been celebrating all year by decorating a National Parks inspired room for our three year old, Abe. We didn’t really mean to keep the celebration going quite THIS long, but….these things happen.

But it’s finally all finished, and I could not be happier with how it’s turned out. So much whimsy! But not TOO much (for me, anyway). Oh, and Abe really likes it, too. I’ve talked all about the inspiration for the room (it all started, way back LAST summer, with that Hudson Bay blanket and those cowboy bookends) a million times, so today I’ll just get right into the (many) photos and tell you where everything came from. Well, okay, first let’s go back to the moodboard from back in June of 2015, because it’s kind of fun to see where things started and where we ended up:



You’ll notice as we go along that that white bison is nowhere to be found in the room, even though I already had him when we started. That’s because one of his feet broke off. And I need to glue it back on. So he may still show up at some point. Also, I still desperately want that rug from West Elm, but it just wasn’t in the budget. Maybe someday! Like when the yucky carpet gets replaced with hardwood and an extra few hundred dollars seems like nothing!

But overall I think the basic feel I was going for back when I made the moodboard is where we ended up.

Here’s the obligatory shot from the doorway:


Green is Abe’s favorite color (or at least it was the week we picked out paint), so we went with Benjamin Moore’s Bunker Hill Green for the walls.

As you can see from the moodboard, I originally pictured a Jenny Lind bed in here. But those proved cost prohibitive/hard to find on Craigslist, so we ended up with this metal bed from the Novogratz collection at Walmart (insert some sort of #yesthatwalmart hashtag here) that still has the vintage look I was going for. I can’t really speak highly enough of this bed. It was around $120 (looks like it’s right at $100 as I’m writing this), we’ve had it for more than a year now, and we have no complaints whatsoever. It was easy to put together, it’s very sturdy, and it’s adorable. It adjusts to two different heights; we started Abe out on the ridiculously close to the floor level, since he was just 2 1/2 when he started sleeping on it, but we switched it over to the higher level to make more room to store toys underneath, and now it looks like a real bed! I talk about getting the bed here. The mattress is this Signature Sleep mattress I found on Amazon; it’s not the most luxurious mattress in the world, but it’s pretty comfortable (no complaints from Abe, and grownups have been known to fall asleep on it from time to time as well), it was only $100, and it came in one of those impossibly small boxes that you get to open up and watch your mattress expand like magic.

I picked up the blanket on ebay. I think it’s a knock off and not an authentic Hudson Bay blanket.  The sheets are Threshold ikat sheets from Target (no longer available). The black/gray triangle stitch blanket is from Target’s Pillowfort collection, which Target was thoughtful enough to debut exactly when I needed it. The “A” monogram pillow is another Pillowfort find. The bear pillow is also from Target (no longer available).


The bear is named Fred Bear, and he came from the Great Smoky Mountains. We got the ranger doll on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but it’s also available online.

The “hello” bear rug is also Pillowfort, along with the canvas box at the end of the bed.


We bought said canvas box not only because it had our friend the Hello Bear on it, but because we needed somewhere to keep Abe’s “S’more the Merrier” Campfire set:

npsroom18s npsroom24s


Above the bed is a trio of Matt Brass prints from the Creative Action Network’s See America project and the super simple banner we made out of See America postcards.

See America posters in Abe's room


Rounding the corner…..


The little mid-century dresser was a thrift find from way back; I’d originally planned to paint it, but then I realized that there wasn’t any other natural wood in the room, and I like for there to always be at least a bit (it’s not really natural wood; it’s laminate. But close enough). Also I didn’t feel like painting it.

The print above the dresser is “Watercolor Buffalo” by Ben Gordon from World Market.


The book ledges are about the only the only thing that made the transition over from his old room. We made them out of Ikea Ribba picture ledges. The overflow baskets below are from Target (no longer available, as far as I can tell).


The top of the dresser was the perfect place for the vintage Little People castle, because you don’t want it hiding away in the closet. The the queen wouldn’t have much of a view to show Mr. Hooper and Big Bird:

little people castle vintage

And here’s the other side of the dresser:


Those vintage cowboy bookends were a thrifted find from way back before we started the room. The faux succulents are from Target. And that’s an Abe Lincoln Vinylmation that we picked up at Disney World when Abe was a few months old (I just looked him up, and apparently he’s supposed to be holding a cane. I don’t remember ours ever having a cane. But that’s probably why he falls over all the time). There are quite a few Lincoln-centric NPS sites, so it fits the theme in addition to being the guy we named our kid after.


Other side of the room….


The chair is the Ellis accent chair from Sauder. I got the vintage school map on ebay (and we still need to repair that tear somehow). We made the NPS arrowhead logo-inspsired chalkboard. You can read more about the gallery wall, see close-up photos, and get the sources for the printables we used in this post.


The lamp was on clearance at Target, and I just checked, and it’s still available on the website for $17 (!), so if you hurry you can get an amazingly cheap and cute lamp. The campaign chest is thrifted, and I repainted it Behr’s “Indigo Ink.”

We’re going to skip right over a current view of the closet, because it usually doesn’t look like it did in this picture, when we first built shelves for it. But it’s still an essential storage space for Abe’s relatively small room, and you can read about the custom shelving in this post.


Last corner!

npsroom07s npsroom27s

(There’s a trick here; I added a couple of more things to the wall after I took most of the photos, because I had forgotten about that little needlepoint turtle that was hidden away in a drawer, so I went back and took one more photo).

Here we have one of the first and one of the last projects from Abe’s room. I stenciled those bison curtains nearly a year ago (curtains are from Ikea, stencil is from etsy) and then I just changed out the fabric in the back of his bookcase a couple of weeks ago.

npsroom17s npsroom08s

And we’re done! I’ve had so much fun working on this room; thanks for taking the tour!

All the posts, since the very beginning:

Moodboard and planning

Novogratz Bed

Dresser Decisions

Closet shelving

Remote Light Switch

Bison print

Stenciled curtains

Hudson Bay blanket

New sheets and throw pillow choices


Campaign Chest Makeover

Progress report

DIY chalkboard

See America banner

See America prints

Bookcase makeover

Tour this colorful, modern National Parks inspired kid's room

Linking with:

Tatertots and Jello

Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before and After









Abe’s Colorful, Modern National Parks Room: The Reveal — 23 Comments

  1. Bears! and bison! The bears make me happy every time I see them. Must get some of my own.
    This whole room is delightful, and I love the campfire. (I should probably get one to put in my stove during the summer.)

  2. The room is completely fantastic. It is one of my favorite kids rooms I have ever seen and honestly makes me want to start redoing my son’s room just because kids rooms are so fun. Love it!

    • Thanks so much, Carrie! Kid rooms are my favorite….I’m running out of chances to do them, too. I guess there’s always the hope of grandkids who like to visit….

  3. Loooooooove this so much. I love the bed area but the bison curtains and large artwork, I think I love them even more. So well done.

    I need you to come and help me finish up Henry’s room. Or like, you know, hang something on the walls. 😉 I’m not sure what to do.

    Also – I love that you unveiled the full room on the month of the national parks’ birthday. You are so organized.

  4. Love his room so much! The little people kill me every time because I have such fond memories of them. They weren’t sold in Germany when I was a kid but I had them because my parents friends would bring them from the US for me. They are the best

  5. I love this! That green wall color is awesome, and I’m not much of a green person so that’s saying something. 🙂 Those IKEA book ledges are great – we have the same in my daughter’s room and playroom as well. Makes it so much easier to see the books! It’s such a fun room – I’m sure your son loves it. 🙂

  6. My “little ones” are now 50 but this is one of the best children’s room I have seen as I search for ideas for my grandchildren!!! Just fantastic…

  7. I would love details on the under bed storage containers. I didn’t see them mentioned in either post, but maybe I missed it.

    • We just bought a bunch of containers from Ikea for under there. I just went and looked on Ikea’s website, and I can’t find them, so it’s possible they’re not making the same ones anymore…but I’m sure they still have some that are similar and would work well!

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