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Divine Design Candice Olson



Left: Before, this room served as a storage area and guest bedroom. Right: After, This former guest space in an attic received a whimsical treatment for two girls.  SHNS photos courtesy of HGTV

Garden Fairy Paradise
Attic transformed into an imaginative bedroom for sisters

Tara and Scott live in a charming house with their two young daughters, Talia and Eliana. To save on space, mom, dad and Eliana shared the master bedroom, and Talia occupied a smaller second bedroom.

The cramped accommodations weren’t ideal, and Tara and Scott were ready to reclaim their bedroom and give their girls a new space to share. So I summoned my inner child to see if I could turn the family’s underused attic/guest space into a fun and fabulous bedroom for the two girls, while providing mom and dad a little privacy.

The room needed to please the whole family. It had to accommodate the sisters, who would be bunking down together for the first time, and delight mom and dad, who didn’t want a traditional pink and frilly girly space but a room that was as warm and creative as their daughters. My challenges were to create a communal space that would allow each girl her individuality and make it inviting and inventive enough to fuel both their imaginations.

The room’s biggest asset was its view of a magnificent magnolia tree and back yard. This became my design inspiration, and I decided to bring natural elements inside and create a whimsical, garden-inspired space for the girls — and any wandering garden fairies who happened to be present.

To start the transformation, I decided on a color scheme of soft apple greens, funky pinks and light creams. I painted the walls light green and covered parts of it with amazing floral wallpaper that looks like a painted mural. I then hand-painted flowers and butterflies on the walls, floors and ceiling.

For the fabrics, I stuck to smart stripes and box- stitched polished cotton, mixed with pretty laces and roses. For the windows, I used small blackout blinds, covered by faux Roman blinds raised high above the short window to make it look longer. I added a gorgeous scalloped valance and framed it with iridescent side panels trimmed with rosette lace. I also chose a rose pattern for the soft coverlets on the girls’ beds.

For the floors, I used a unique system of replaceable carpet tiles in various colors and patterns I assembled into an area-type rug and stuck onto the existing hardwood floor.

Since there wasn’t much light to speak of in this attic-like space and only one junction box, I decided on a simple halogen track- lighting system to give the room the brightness it needed. In addition, I threw in a magical, little glass chandelier for atmosphere.

Then it was time to undertake the room’s organization. I designated one side of the room for Talia and the other for Eliana and nestled their beds under the room’s oddly angled eaves. I also designed an activity center for them to share along one wall with bookshelves above and two chalkboard painted storage cubes below. I set up a child-sized table and chairs and toy box along the other wall for play.

To finish the room, I tossed in tiny touches to transform this space into a garden fairy’s paradise, such as toys, pictures, pillows, feathers and flowers .

With a fanciful face-lift, this once-underutilized guest space is now a unique girls’ bedroom perfect for tea parties, bedtime stories and fairy-inspired make-believe. How divine.

Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of HGTV’s “Divine Design.” For more ideas, information and show times, visit or

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