While taking a break from mask making, I found myself sitting on the zebra print upholstered chair in the safari theme bedroom.
As I sat there decompressing (the dang sewing machine jammed again), it occured to me that I had never showed you any of the upstairs rooms.
We still refer to the safari theme bedroom as my youngest son’s — even though he graduated from college and moved to Philly years ago. Now it’s one of two guest bedrooms. We converted the nursery into a home office long ago; which is where I’ve set up my mask making operation.
The bedroom has been decorated in a safari theme for most of the thirty-plus years we’ve lived here. But, it’s evolved over time as our youngest grew up. When he was a toddler, it was decorated with zoo and circus decor in bright primary colors. As he aged, the room’s African safari theme reflected his love of nature and animals.
Today, the British Empire style guest bedroom awaits his next visit home. Something I hope is in the not-so-distant future.
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When our youngest son aged out of the nursery, we moved him next door into what was then a guest bedroom.
From the onset, I decorated it with a safari theme. That’s because — even by age two — my son was crazy in love with wild animals.
D declared early on that he intended to be a zoo keeper (and later a vet).
When everyone else’s child wanted a pony, D wanted an elephant — and he fully expected to get one! He’d sit on Santa’s lap and ask for one year after year.
There were zoo, circus and safari theme birthday parties. D never tired of it.
He loved seeing elephants at zoos and when the circus came to Pittsburgh each year. Once, we took the boys to watch the Ringling Brothers Circus elephants parade from train cars to the city arena. Another time, they rode an elephant at the Cincinnati Zoo.
One of D’s favorite books was, Where the Wild Things Are. I’ve called him my Wild Thing ever since.
Safari Theme Bedroom 2.0
So, I went all in by decorating my son’s bedroom with an animal safari theme. You know me, ever the queen of theme lol! And, I’ve always been partial myself to faux animal prints in my wardrobe and accessories. In fact, I’m wearing a long-sleeve, tiger stripe shirt right now!
The bedroom is located at the end of the upstairs hall. Light reflected in the beveled mirror helps brighten the windowless hallway. It also serves as a handy dressing room mirror. Usually the door is fully open, but I wanted to hide my reflection while taking this picture.
See the long walking stick hanging on the narrow space between the wall and closet door? It’s shaped and painted like a green snake. We found it while on vacation in Arizona, but I’m not sure how we got it home on the plane?
Behind the door is a cute bulletin board covered in a leopard print. It usually holds a calendar, ticket stubs, newspaper clippings and photos.
I’m a big hat person and have all kinds of them stored in various closets on all three floors of the house.
But, from some odd reason, I use the vintage case to store out-of-season scarves. Go figure!
You’ve seen the leather hat box used twice before as a My Favorite Things Party decoration.
DIY Flooring, Trim & Paint
When my son was growing up, the floor had a deep blue carpet that went with the bright primary color palette of green, yellow and reds decorating his childhood space.
When D went off to college, my husband replaced the carpet with tigerwood flooring. He also added crown and baseboard moldings. All the walls were painted taupe with a flat finish.
But, in the winter months hardwood floors can be a little cold on the feet. So I added an zebra print rug adjacent to the bed. Did you notice the elephant and Africa books on the nightstand?
Big Game Storage
Taking up most of the left hand wall of the bedroom are two double-size closets. One primarily holds my out-of-season hanging clothes with some of my son’s keepsakes.
It’s also home to his cello, which is too big to store in his Philadelphia condo. D performed with his high school orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York City — but that’s a story for another day.
I carried the safari theme into the closets too! That includes storage boxes and organizers containing hats, purses, shoes, and more.
Padded hangers and even a guest bathrobe are decorated in various animal prints.
Positioned underneath is a large giraffe print laundry hamper.
In the corner by the nightstand is a six-foot tall giraffe carved from wood. You got a peek of him earlier, from the hallway.
I love how he adds a little height and interest to the safari theme bedroom. Plus, the giraffe’s slender shape fits nicely in the narrow space between the corner and nightstand.
Inside the nightstand drawer are a number of handy items for visitors. They include a list of security system codes and Internet passwords, as well as a pen, reading light, small flashlight, and travel-size box of tissues.
On the nightstand is a safari theme lamp I came across while looking for Monkey Decor Adds Impact to Small Powder Room.
The base of the brass lamp is a monkey holding onto a palm tree. I especially love the unique velvet, animal print shade. It’s safari theme decor and lighting all in one fixture!
Curious George was a favorite character of D’s when he was young. We had many of the books in the popular series. Others were borrowed regularly from the library.
George was brought from his home in Africa by The Man with The Yellow Hat. They are best friends and live together.
And, that little monkey was always getting into some kind of mischief or trouble!
Hubby would patiently re-read the stories to our son night after night after night! Some they had memorized by heart, and I think that’s part of what appealed to D.
When the boys were small, I was a member of a group that raised funds and secured live performances for elementary-aged children in school auditoriums around Pittsburgh. We also hosted a large, city-wide annual children’s festival.
One major benefit of volunteering, was that our children had the opportunity to attend an after party with the performers. D was over the moon when he and his brother got to meet Curious George and the Man with the Yellow Hat.
New Furnishing & Bedding
When hubby and I moved into the house as newlyweds, this was our primary guest room. The white spindle headboard had been mine, and previously belonged to my great-grandmother. I picked the original blue carpet to compliment the beautiful quilt my mother had made us as a wedding present.
For my son’s safari theme bedroom, I painted the antique headboard flat black. Then, I hung a full-size, tan-color mosquito net from the ceiling over the bed. We’d cuddle up under the “tent” and read books before bed. He loved it!
When D left home after college, I redecorated the space as a guest room. But, I wanted it to still feel like his whenever he was back home on a visit or for the holidays.
Animal print sheets, pillow shams, coverlet, decorative pillow, and and a fur throw decorate the safari theme bed. Last fall, we also got a new set of mattresses for the queen-size bed. Boy was that an ordeal! When did buying mattresses get so complicated?
Anyway, the new mattress sits on a reclining platform. You can see the controls hanging on the right hand side of the headboard.
Since our son took his bedroom furnishing with him to Philly, I replaced them with bamboo and rattan furniture in a dark coffee stain. It was quite reasonably priced, and transformed the safari theme room into a more sophisticated, British Colonial look.
At the end of the bed is a bench that does double-duty as a handy luggage rack. It also holds magazines and books on either side. Other odds and ends — like light bulbs and batteries — are kept in the drawer.
Where the Wild Things Are
On top of the bench is a giraffe print basket. Most of the time, it holds four stuffed animals. No, they aren’t my son’s, but yours truly!
Regular followers of Debbee’s Buzz know I have a thing for anything black and white. While my son developed a lifelong love of elephants, for me it was pandas. I was an adolescent when China gave the first pair of pandas to the National Zoo, and I was absolutely smitten!
As a teen, I had an enormous stuffed panda bear. These two little guys came for supporting the World Wildlife Fund.
Both the giraffe and tiger were crocheted by my mother. Aren’t they sweet? Tigers were my high school mascot, and I drew and painted pictures of them all the time.
Over the bed is a favorite collectible print by Charles Frace called, Black Panther. It was one of the first nice piece of home decor I purchased after graduating from college.
Normally sitting on the floor adjacent to the bed is a basket full of safari-theme guest towels, tissues, and water bottles. I place it on the bed before guests arrive.
Also included in the basket is an extra power strip for charging phones and computers.
Extra Storage & Display Space
Here you can see the fringed bed skirt that allows me to hide/store lots of stuff under the bed. Many items are in animal print cases, just like those in the closet. Once I have a theme, I can’t bee stopped lol!
Strong sunlight coming in from the windows has faded the bed skirt. On the closet side of the bed, it’s still a deep chocolate brown shade.
Rather than add a second nightstand, I elected to place a tiered open shelf in the corner. It provides space for displaying safari theme decor collected over the years, along with pictures and books. And, like the giraffe, the furniture piece adds some height interest to the room.
On the floor behind the shelving unit is a canned spotlight. It uplights the wall and brightens what would be a dark corner at night. A little elephant fixture serves as a soft night light.
Well, I’ll have to share the other half of the bedroom in another post. See Sophisticated Safari Decor in Guest Bedroom to continue the tour for window treatments, lamps and more furnishings. Gotta get back to wrestling with that sewing machine!
Have you decorated any of bedrooms with a theme to reflect the personality or interests of the occupant? Or maybe to display a collection of favorite things?
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