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Natalie’s Modern Fairy Tale Room

April 1, 2022

At the heart of this project, we had a pretty big design challenge—and it was about more than just the bed! Our goal was to create a storage system to show off Natalie’s playful side.

Natalie's room is all organic arches and pale pink princess accents in this modern fairy tale

It’s finally time for the big reveal! If you’ve been following me on Instagram, then you’ve been seeing glimpses of Natalie’s new room since November. This modern fairy tale has taken its time to tell, especially since we took on this project over the holidays. It’s been a lot of fun, but I’m SO glad we’re finally done—and that Natalie now has her own, magical room, with a few key storage improvements that will make more space for imagination. 

The last time you guys saw this room, we were in a “style-triage” kind of moment at the Yokota Household. Emily had just moved out of their shared space and into the Desert Den, and we had finally ditched the old bunk bed, which left Natalie sleeping on her mattress on the floor. We did a little style upgrade with Jungalow over the summer to help disguise the fact that there was no bed frame, but we always knew this was a temporary fix.  

Sidebar: do you remember the bunk bed?! Back in the day, the girls used to fight over who got to sleep in the top bunk. Then they got older and started fighting over who could sleep in the bottom bunk. 😂  No one misses that piece of furniture.

Natalie, laying on her new bed in this modern fairy tale space!

With Rachel and Emily both settled in their own rooms, it was time to help this shared space go solo! We really wanted Natalie to express her creativity in the redesign process. For me, the challenge lies in creating opportunities for the room to mature as she does. The final design balances all the joy of a little girl’s room with some modern pieces that will stand the test of time. 

The WHY Behind this Modern Fairy Tale

At the heart of this project, we had a pretty big design challenge—and it was about more than just the bed! Natalie is eight, and she has tons of toys and not enough storage. I’m dying to Kondo Method her toy collection, but they all spark joy for her! Believe it or not, she really plays with all of them. I would know: they’re always all over the floor. 

The shelves meet the wall paneling in this modern fairy tale

Natalie is such an imaginative little person, and with that creativity comes the inevitable mess. She leaves her legos, polly pockets, and LOL dolls in curated scenes, and she doesn’t want you to touch them! I wanted to incorporate shelving to use as toy storage, creating room for her play scenarios, like little exhibits. Kind of like a giant dollhouse that she can decorate as she pleases! This also provides clear boundaries for her to play without everything ending up on the floor. 

Once we had a clear approach to contain the madness, I talked to Natalie about the styling. She wanted her room to be very princess-themed, but I didn’t want to go too far down the Disney rabbit hole. Leaning too far into her interests today means we could end up with a look she’ll outgrow in a few short years. Together, we landed on an “enchanted forest” theme. This way, the room will feel like a fairy tale, while still leaving room to evolve.  

Cane detailing on the desk lends a lush vibe to this modern fairy tale

Natalie especially wanted a canopy bed, just like the one in Sleeping Beauty. I loved the rounded elements and archways in her inspiration. So when I discovered Leanne Ford’s arched canopy bed from Crate & Barrel, I knew we had a winner! Both the vanity + chair are from the same Canyon Collection. The cane details on the vanity give it the lush forest vibe we were going for. Meanwhile, the modern shapes keep everything feeling fun and light. Just look at the fun angle of the chair’s legs! 

The DIY Behind the Design

When it finally came time to create the shelves, I wasn’t sure how we were going to incorporate the arches without spending the big bucks. Enter Jenny Komenda and her Ikea DIY Arched Bookshelves for the most ingenious IKEA hack! Her version uses four bookcases, and I’ve seen other versions that feature doors. For our design, we went with two bookcases in the classic BILLY style on either side of the bed. 

The arched canopy bed, framed by arched bookcases for a modern fairy tale

I would definitely call this one a more advanced DIY, since it makes use of a router + requires clean, precise cuts. I’m grateful for my Home Therapy crew, who helped us with the wood working using MDF. The arches turned out perfectly, and I love the way the shape of the bed is highlighted here! 

Of course, we extended the detail around the room with another wall paneling project. You guys know that I’m obsessed with this technique—it really elevates any room, and it’s so easy to do! We used the same style of paneling as our Board and Batten, but we only went half way up the wall to help create a more open space. 

a half-way paneling project for the modern fairy tale

Finally, we painted everything! Can you believe that Natalie picked the colors? I was so surprised with her choices. As the youngest, Natalie is so direct and intuitive. She instantly knew, “I want this.” I was expecting to have to walk her back from fuchsia, but we were completely aligned with Sherwin Williams Pewter Green. So, I loved getting to say YES! Her palette is spot-on, and that forest green is super on-trend. The light pink gives the room such a sweet hint of femininity, and looks so nice together with the green. 

The Final Enchanted Touches

We polished the room with touches of rattan and organic texture to really bring out that forest feel. I found some amazing macrame baskets on Amazon to help organize her art supplies, and they look especially nice beside the natural wood of the vanity. We also styled the space with some sweet scandi toys—just look at this cute rainbow abacus that matches the architectural details we brought to the space! 

Rattan texture for jungle vibes

Now that we’ve tackled the design challenge, Travis and I are in for a parenting challenge. We’ve set up the structure, the follow-up is to make sure she’s actually using the organizational system! Even though we have the shelves and storage system, we’ll need to keep her accountable to clean up every day. Honestly, this transformation is so exciting because where we started was pretty gnarly. 

Throughout this entire project, I was so impressed by Natalie’s creativity and her decisive nature. I got to know her so much more deeply as a person throughout the process, and I can’t wait to learn even more. At the end of our project together, I even got her a little gift: an activity journal called 1000 Things You Don’t Know About Me. I hope she’s having as much fun discovering herself as I am. 

The diary on Natalie's new desk!

It’s funny, I originally thought Natalie would be sad her sister moved out, or that she’d be afraid of being alone in the dark. One of my initial motivations in redesigning the room was to help her feel safe and cozy in her new space. But NOPE! She’s just as thrilled to have her own room as the older girls are. 😂  Each of our daughters is so different, and this design project only brought us closer. 

This glow up has been amazing to bring to life! I’m looking forward to watching the space continue to evolve as Natalie gets older, but I’m not ready for my youngest to grow up quite yet!

Happy Day,


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