Add a Fat Lady portrait to the doorway of your child's Hogwarts bedroom.

How to Make a Room Like the Hogwarts Dormitories

by Benna Crawford

Wave your wand -- or your paintbrush -- over that boring bedroom and transport your Potter fan into the Gryffindor dorms. Hogwarts, the magical castle in the Harry Potter novels, is a bit Gothic and grim, but it does have its charms. A shared room may seem less crowded when the young witches and wizards who occupy it have space for their robes and owls. The Gryffindor boys' dorm, the one most depicted in the books, was Harry's home-away-from-home.


A faux paint job turns ordinary plaster walls into the rough stones of the Gryffindor tower. Hogwarts is a castle, so aim for indestructible, hand-hewn and chilly gray as you block out and paint the stone walls. Use several shades of gray, from charcoal to pale dove, white highlights where the sun comes in the window and falls across the stone, and edges defined by painted "grout" and dark shadows to give the stones dimension. If painting the whole room into stones seems too dark, pile them on around the bed frame and the windows and fill in the rest of the walls in flat medium gray.

Curtained and Clutter-Free

Hogwarts beds are heavy four-posters with dark ruby velvet drapes. Hunt for dated, wooden four-poster beds at thrift stores or flea markets, strip and stain them dark walnut or sand lightly and paint them ebony or dark brown. Hang velvet drapes with gold braided tie-backs from the canopy rails and outfit the beds with plain white or solid-color sheets and pillowcases. Over the headboards, suspend red-and-gold Gryffindor pennants. Set an old wood trunk at the foot of each bed for spare wands, Remembralls and Quidditch gear. Attach a broom horizontally to the wall for each child, with nails for hanging robes, hats and other daily wizarding attire.

Wizard Window Seat

An arched, leaded window with a deep seat for reading and dreaming is essential for keeping track of your owl and searching for dark marks in the sky. Cover window glass in stick-on film that resembles medieval leaded glass. Build a window seat flanked on both sides by bookshelves -- paint these in the same faux stone you used on the rest of the room's walls. Sew a fat, faded velvet cushion to fit the window seat and cram the bookshelves with Harry Potter books and fake covers: "Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit"; "Ancient Runes Made Easy"; "Guide to Advanced Transfiguration"; "Magical Me" by Gilderoy Lockhart; "Hogwarts, A History; The Standard Book of Spells Grade 1" by Miranda Goshawk; "The Monster Book of Monsters"; and others. Place a telescope on a tripod by the window for late-night astronomy homework.

More Magic

Art and furnishings scattered around Hogwarts might be especially helpful or enchanting to Harry's fan-friends when collected in their Gryffindor-style dorm room. Cover the exterior of the bedroom door with a painting of the Fat Lady, surrounded by an ornate gilt frame. Use a blowup of any old-fashioned, portly female portrait if your skills don't extend to copying a Harry Potter movie still or a page from your college art history tome. Hang a large, plain, full-length mirror on the wall and surround it with a painted frame to create a Mirror of Erised. Don't forget to paint the letters of the name backwards. Perch a stuffed owl on the footboard of the bed.


About the Author

Benna Crawford has been a journalist and New York-based writer since 1997. Her work has appeared in USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and in professional journals and trade publications. Crawford has a degree in theater, is a certified Prana Yoga instructor, and writes about fitness, performing and decorative arts, culture, sports, business and education .

Photo Credits

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