I gave my son’s room a Super Mario makeover — here’s how I did it

A wide shot of a Mario-themed nursery
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When setting up a nursery for a newborn (especially if it’s your first), you have a lot of decisions to make. Since you’ll be spending so much time in there changing diapers and rocking your little one to sleep, you want a room that both you and your child will be comfortable in with one of the best baby monitors to keep a watchful eye over them.

As you don’t know what your future child will be like, a lot of parents stick to very general nursery themes like a jungle, a forest, outer space, clouds or the ocean. Likewise, you can go in the complete opposite direction and decorate your child’s room with characters and other items from one of your favorite pop culture franchises — which is what I did.

I chose a Super Mario theme for my son’s room for two reasons: he wouldn’t grow out of it too quickly and the Super Mario Bros Movie was set to release the following year. Now that Illumination’s take on the Mushroom Kingdom has finally made its way to the big screen, I figured now would be the perfect time to show you how I gave my son’s room a Super Mario makeover, just in case your kids end up asking for something similar after seeing the film.

Creating the accent wall

The accent wall painted light blue

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Before I even got started building the crib, I knew my son’s room needed an accent wall. What better way to show that this was a Super Mario-themed room than by having Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad and even Bowser displayed prominently on his wall?

As I certainly don’t know how to paint a room like a pro, I enlisted the help of my wife’s cousin who has a real artistic side to him. Sure, he mainly does tattoos, but I thought this might be a good chance for him to branch off into something different. 

The original plan was simple: first we would paint the wall a light blue like you often see in the levels of the best Mario games on Switch and then he would come back and paint a mural with all of the characters. Something fairly simple and cute so that my son would know who’s who in the Mushroom Kingdom before he even picked up a controller.

Unfortunately, after painting the undercoat, he left me high and dry and never came back to paint the mural. With my son due at the end of the month, I needed to finish the accent wall fast with enough time left to build his crib and changing station. I thought about using a projector to display an image on the wall and tracing it but I didn’t want to make a mistake and have to repaint the wall.

With time running out, I decided decals might be my only option. Fortunately, I found some Super Mario Build a Scene decals ($18, Amazon) online that looked straight out of the original Super Mario Bros. I loved their retro look but in order to cover the entire wall, I ended up having to buy three packs.

A Super Mario accent wall made with blue paint and decals

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With the decals in hand, I started placing brick blocks on the wall and building my own Super Mario level like in Super Mario Maker 2. As I had several jumping Mario decals, I designed the accent wall to look like Nintendo’s iconic plumber was making his way through a level starting at the floor and working his way to the ceiling.

A closeup of the Mario decals showing a warp pipe coming out of an AC outlet

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Although it’s now blocked by a cube organizer ($40, Amazon) I use to hold all of my son’s clothes, I’m particularly proud of how there’s a warp pipe with a piranha plant that looks like it’s coming out of the wall’s power outlet.

Adding a few more Mario touches

Mario-themed Amiibos displayed on a floating shelf

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With the accent wall finished, I then began decorating the other parts of my son’s room with Mario toys and collectibles I’ve picked up over the years. Although you can scan Amiibo on the Nintendo Switch, not nearly enough of the best Nintendo Switch games make use of this feature. For this reason, I decided to use them to decorate my son’s room.

On either side of his crib, I put up a floating shelf to hold several Amiibo, though my favorite remains the pink Yoshi from Yoshi’s Wooly World. During our baby shower, we also got not one but two Mario-themed mobiles for my son’s crib. I thought about swapping between them but I like the look of the crocheted one and the felt one so much that I actually hung them both up together.

Mario Kart Hot Wheels toys displayed on floating cloud shelves

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Another gift that several of our family members got for us were Hot Wheels Mario Kart Toys ($24, Amazon). Since it will be a while before my son can play with them, I decided to display them inside of some cloud-shaped wall shelves on the wall opposite of the accent wall.

In for a big surprise

My son is now fourteen months old and while he’s since taken a liking to Toy Story, Luca and some other popular Disney films, he still doesn’t know who Super Mario and the other characters in the Mario franchise are. However, that’s all about to change this weekend when we go see the Super Mario Bros Movie.

This will be his first time at an actual movie theater — don’t worry, we plan on going midday on Saturday and bringing plenty of toys and snacks to keep him occupied. He’ll watch a movie on and off at home but I’m not sure he will be able to last through the one hour and 44 minute runtime of the Super Mario Bros Movie. Still, I’m more excited about his reaction when we get home.

My son has grown up surrounded by Super Mario toys and even a few paintings hung up in our game room. I wonder if it will finally click for him once he sees the Super Mario Bros Movie. Even if that isn’t the case, I had a great time giving his room a Super Mario makeover and it’s my favorite room to walk past in our entire house.

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Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.