Whitney Zeller shares the transformation of her son’s cookie-cutter bedroom into an adorable camping-themed space.
By Courtney Runn, Photos courtesy of Whitney Zeller
After moving to Austin in 2017, Whitney Zeller faced a common dilemma: The only houses in her budget were of the cookie-cutter variety, beige and deep in the suburbs.
“There was nothing different from one home to the next home and, in fact, along the way, I had cried,” she says. “I had said, ‘Oh, I don’t want to live in any of these houses.’ ”
Her husband suggested choosing a neighborhood and layout they loved, picking the most affordable option then redesigning the space themselves. The couple found a house in Round Rock, Texas, that had been on the market for more than a year. Crayon marked the door, weeds covered the yard and it smelled, but Zeller knew with a little DIYing, it could become a home.
“We like to always make our kids feel comfy first because they’re the ones that have to go through the biggest changes,” Zeller says.
To include her kids in the process, Zeller painted and picked décor with them. Her argument-saving tip to other parents in similar situations is to offer kids specific choices. Instead of giving them their choice of all the paint colors, she let them choose between a few preapproved picks.
For her 4-year-old son’s room, Zeller chose a “camping eclectic theme.” With whimsical wallpaper, nature-themed bedding and an area rug, the room is now the perfect little-boy space. And that boring beige is long gone. She slowly collected and pieced together the room herself, even hand-folding the lustrous paper airplanes that decorate his walls in a 3D collage above the closet.
“A beautiful home doesn’t mean a million dollars,” Zeller says. “It’s a space that has been well-thought-out and crafted to fit the family that lives there.”
Follow Zeller’s home renovations on Instagram at @creatinghomewithwhit.
Whitney Zeller’s DIY Tips
Her favorite shopping spots: Target, Facebook Marketplace, Pottery Barn Kids, Anthropologie, Ikea
When to hire help: Whitney Zeller suggests hiring help for the projects that could be costly—or dangerous—to mess up, like wiring or tiling.
How she quickly transforms a boring space: paint, curtains, rugs and plants
Her decorating advice: “I have some great friends in my neighborhood and so many of them are afraid to decorate their homes or [are] intimidated. My big thing is just pick one room, pick one spot and even if you just do one wall, don’t be afraid. Anyone can decorate. You know what you love. You know what you like and that’s what your home should be a reflection of.”
Get the Look
Bed: teepee bed frame in twin size from ThePinnedPurveyor Etsy shop
Comforter: Katie Vernon Wilderness Map Kids Quilt from Anthropologie
Curtains: Pom Tassel Curtains from Anthropologie
Wallpaper: Mr Fox Wallpaper from Anewall
Rug: Abby vintage oriental medallion rug from Well Woven
Star decal: diamond starburst wall decals from AshandOliveCo Etsy shop
Organizer: six-cube organizer shelf from Target
Sky poster: Your Star Map from The Night Sky