Riverside Retreat Bunk Room Design

Are you ready for the wildest room at the Riverside Retreat?! We’re not holding back with the design of the “bunk room”—a bonus area just off the living room:

We decided to turn this space into a multi-purpose lounge, media room, and sleeping area for four, bringing the house’s total occupancy to ten. Because the Riverside Retreat is geared towards small groups and families, we figured this will be the cool spot the kids will want to hang out in. It’s close enough for parents to keep an eye on, but can also feel private with sliding doors to close it off from the living room:

The rest of the house is pretty eclectic with an “earthy, jungle, tropical boho” vibe that leans more sophisticated for the most part, but for this room we’re letting loose and just having fun with the design. It will be the statement-making Instagram worthy photo op part of the home—the space that will make it stand out from the rest. Every good vacation rental needs that wow factor, right?

Once upon a time, the Bunk Room was a single car garage that was later converted into a long, narrow room that didn’t seem to serve a purpose…

We replaced the tile with durable Pergo laminate, added a window and built a huge custom reading nook:

Then just last month, we DIY’d a loft bed on the other side of the room:

And that brings us to today! We’re waiting on a few more pieces and expect the room to be done by the end of the month, but let’s talk about the star of the show—the green wall! I teamed up with Afloral after searching far and wide for the perfect lush greenery to cover a large space. Their faux fern mat was the perfect solution:

Each mat is a 19.5″ square and they lock together, creating a seamless ivy wall effect. You’ve seen these before in fancy hotels, restaurants and weddings—they make for awesome photo backdrops and I know our guests will have a lot of fun with it!

There are many different ways to use these mats, but we decided to go with a more permanent installation and secure them directly to the wall (we have no plans to ‘redecorate’ anytime soon!) Here’s how we did it:


Fern mats (we needed approx 50 to cover ~160 square feet)

Self drilling drywall anchors

Self drilling stud anchors (for plaster part of the wall)

#8 Fender Washers

Concrete Screws



Hammer drill (for concrete part of our wall)

Impact driver (for Tapcons on concrete part of wall)

Tape measure


The sheets are designed for a simple installation, with a plastic mesh backing that the greenery is attached to.

Each sheet has little tabs which lock together:

For a perfect fit around objects, the plastic mesh is easy to cut down to the exact size you need.

To attach the sheets to the wall, we used anchors and washers to hold the mesh in place. Our wall was a little tricky because it’s a mix of plaster (original house wall), drywall (where the previous owners blocked in an interior door), and concrete (it used to be a garage so the bottom two feet are solid concrete). We had to use a different type of fastener on each section:

Concrete: concrete screws

Drywall: self drilling drywall anchors

Plaster: self drilling zinc drywall/stud anchors (the plastic version doesn’t make it through the plaster without breaking)

Lucas captured a time lapse of the install which you can watch in my Instagram stories—starting from the top left corner to allow gravity to help:

The first step is to mark and install the anchors in the wall. He used two anchors on each sheet for the top row. With the sheet held in place, he secured the screw and washer on top of the mesh to pull it tight.

This step was repeated for each sheet across the top, attaching them together with the locking tabs.

For the second row, the anchors were attached where the mats overlapped, then the washer pulled all four pieces tight to the wall. This process was continued from left to right and top to bottom for the whole wall.

When working around obstacles, it’s as simple as cutting the mesh backing to the size/shape you need. He had to be careful to use the side of the mesh with the correct tabs to attach to the piece next to it.

Once the sheets are all installed, you have to fluff the pieces so the lines between sheets blend in. At this stage in this picture, you can see the top had been fluffed, but the bottom hadn’t yet:

It is an easy beginner level install, but it does take time. For our 13.5’w x 12’h wall, it took Lucas about 7 hours over two days.

Definitely something you don’t see every day!

Here’s how it looks now…

But it’s not finished yet! The focal point of this room will be a neon sign centered on the wall. I enlisted the help of Amped & Co and worked with them on a custom design, which we’re finalizing now…

Can you picture it??

In the meantime, we’ve been pulling together the rest of the elements for this room, like our floating TV stand, round jute rug, and live edge table set.

One of the most important pieces we had to select was the sleeper sofa. It had to be small enough to fit inside the nook under our loft bed, in a durable kid-friendly fabric, and (most importantly) comfortable for our guests to sleep in. After a ton of searching to find one that ticked all the boxes, I decided on the Oneira ‘Deep Sea Blue’ sofa from Article:

I’ve worked with Article before and was impressed with the quality of their furniture, so I knew I could rely them again with a sofa that had had to be just as functional as it was stylish. The memory foam mattress was a big selling point for me, as we want to ensure all of our guests get a good night’s sleep (even if they’re on the sofa!)

We have velvet fabric all throughout the house (living room sofa, dining room chairs, twin beds, curtains) so it fits right in with the rest of our decor, and the neutral gray-blue doesn’t compete with the green focal wall.

Because the Bunk Room is so narrow and there’s not a lot of space for seating, we had to get creative. I found these inexpensive patterned ottomans on Amazon which will tuck underneath the floating TV stand when not in use.


I also couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add this hanging chair I found for under $50… is it really a jungle room unless you can swing from ropes? I think not.

Lucas spent some time in the attic reinforcing the joists and installing heavy duty eye hooks to knot the rope around. The weight capacity is rated at 265 lbs and this baby isn’t going anywhere!

To take it a step further, I picked up a couple of these fern and eucalyptus garlands from Afloral and secured them to the ropes.

Now it’s a jungle party!

Last but not least… we’ve got something special planned for this empty wall. It’s the first thing you see when you enter the room, and visible from the living room/front door:

Originally the plan was to turn it into a giant chalkboard with ‘Welcome to the Riverside Retreat’, but we decided that could get pretty messy and we’d risk our text getting scribbled over/erased. Instead, I tracked down one of the most talented local mural artists here in Tampa to paint the design, and this is the mockup he sent:

Pretty cool, right? He’s scheduled to start next week and I’ll be sharing updates on my Instagram if you want to follow along!

Just waiting on a few more pieces and finishing touches before the big reveal, and in the meantime we’re still working on pulling together the Tropical Oasis bedroom, the third and final bedroom, replacing the old doors, updating some of the electrical, and a few exterior updates. I’ll be sharing everything here on the blog over the next month so don’t go anywhere!



16 thoughts on “Riverside Retreat Bunk Room Design

  1. Ok I have been popping over most weeks since your journey in Florida so I feel like I should say “hello” haha and thank you for all the inspiration! We purchased a rehab home in 2017 and I have to say your cottage flip was such a huge inspiration for me! Loving following along for your build and STR property. This bunk room design is definitely fun and crazy! Love it! I’m from CA, but live in Texas and love to visit Florida from time to time so maybe we will get a chance to stay at your Jungle vacay rental. We turned our first house into long term rental. And have wanted to get into STR’s for a couple years now. at the point where we need to jump in there and do it. Hope to hear more about property investing this year :). Thanks again for sharing and inspiring!

    1. Hi Kimberly, thanks for saying hello! Glad you’ve been able to get some inspiration from my blog over the years! STR’s are a whole different ball game than long term but we’re having a lot of fun learning 🙂 We would love to host you once it’s up and running! <3

  2. This is so awesome! Since you permanently installed it, I doubt you can remove the ferns to rinse off dust down the line. Here’s a tip: Put a nylon stocking over vacuum hose and then you can vacuum the wall periodically without suctioning off the greenery! With the addition of the neon sign and wall graphic, no one will ever forget the experience of staying in such a cool place (not to mention the rest of the house!).

  3. I love your blog, so please don’t chop my head off…. The room would look lovely without either of the words on the two walls. The greenery is a focal point in itself, I wouldn’t want to take a picture in front of it with neon words behind me. I also the think the Riverside Retreat sign is a little tacky, it would look better framed on the front porch.

    1. Love love love love love everything you do to Jenna Sue! But I sorta agree about the Riverside Retreat sign. Maybe it could be all black or the font updated to be a little less whimsical? By the way, I still can’t believe all that you are doing as a new mom!! 🙋🏻‍♀️

    2. Also, maybe you could still do the chalkboard idea.. but with a permanent white marker? So excited to see the finished version. You got this!

  4. Can’t wait to see the finished product but first, can we talk about that gorgeous little girl? So stinkin’ cute and a total scene stealer!

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