Decorating Children’s Rooms Inexpensively

by Frugal Brian

childrens room

This particular frugal article will concentrate on decorating/furnishing your kid’s bedroom in an inexpensive manner.  Keep in mind that it is preferable to begin with a bare room. Provided you’re starting with a bare room, you’ll want to paint the walls before you bring everything else in. There are several ways to go with this.

Method #1: Do you want to use a durable, washable paint that resists stains and can be washed clean of crayons, markers, etc (i.e. Home Depot’s Behr Paints and Stains)? You’ll spend more on this type of paint but hopefully its durability will pay for itself.

Method #2- Just paint inexpensively with a discount paint and keep extra on hand to cover stains and drawings.

Personally, I would more likely than not go with Method #2 due to the fact that no matter how durable a paint manufacturer may say their product is; the unpredictability can be costly. Once you’ve decided on the overall paint method you can begin decorating the walls, if desired. Stencils are fun and there are many to choose from; and can be done in accent colors to incorporate later in the process. Wall hangings actually painted by the child, on cheap or used canvas will not only encourage the little artist in your child but can be something for him to be proud of regarding the decorating choices of his room. I would put money on the bet that your child puts out a better painting on that cheap or old canvas than are some hanging in some Foo Foo art galleries today. Not for nothing; I’m just saying. 

Buying decals and stickers for the wall in cartoon or movie themes is great, but we’re trying to stay on the more inexpensive side. Tell your kid to paint a Sponge Bob on the canvas you got him.  Now for the floor. There are going to be spills because the no food or drink in your bedroom rule was apparently meant to be broken; as with most rules. So once again, you either want to go durable with some type of stain resistance for easily cleanable; or paint (again keep extra for touch up’s), tile (don’t return or throw away unused pieces, you’ll need them for replacements) or hardwood with cheap throw rugs or large carpet remnants which can be cheaply purchased from dealers.

We’ve got the walls and floor done; now it’s time to furnish. Number one rule, stay away from sets.  Even designers and manufacturers these days are making sets look less like sets and more like individual pieces. In past articles I’ve discussed breathing new life into old furniture and I really don’t want to reiterate in this particular article. Suffice it to say that a fresh coat of paint on an old beat up piece of decently made wood furniture does wonders. You can even paint with two different colors to coordinate the color scheme of the bedroom. This is where stickers and decals can come in handy if you’re going with a cartoon or favorite things theme. The details you will need for this will be far smaller and less expensive than the large decals you would’ve needed for the walls.

If you went with the old canvas painted by your child idea for him to hang on the walls, this can also be incorporated onto the furniture. Give each piece a decent base coat and accent those pieces with a tube of cheap, 97¢/tube hobby paint. Give the kid a picture of his favorite bug, animal or cartoon character, and let the madness begin. It would be nice if your child could tie that picture into the canvas picture(s) that he painted, to reinforce the theme you two have picked for the room. If painting dressers doesn’t exactly trip your trigger, colored stackable milk crates or the stackable, plastic bread trays/crates things you see in bakeries, work well for organizing clothes and other items. 

Hanging organizers (at a level that your child can reach) and shelves are another good way to avoid dressers.  If a large desk is something you don’t have room for, the money for or the desire for; sometimes at auctions, flea markets or other types of resale stores you can find an old fashioned school desk (the kind with storage under the desktop and/or under the seat) for a decent price. As far as the bed goes as much fun as a race car or spaceship may be, we are once again going frugal. A day bed is a good way to go because when it’s not a bed, it’s a couch.  Your child can have friends over and not have to sit on his bed in order to play, draw, trade cards or what have you. Rummage sales, flea markets and thrift stores are great for not only furniture pieces for you to resurrect, but for used for discontinued bed sheets. Of course you’ll need some for the bed, but if there’s a window in your child’s room decorative sheets make great curtains. Remember; don’t spend a bundle on these because that will defeat the purpose.  Used, discontinued, hand me down cartoon or other themed bed sheets is what I’m talking about here for the curtains. Sometimes you can find bed sets that are irregular or flawed for ridiculously low prices.

This brings us to lighting. Cheap lamps purchased at the same place that you got the sheets can be refreshed and revitalized by several methods. Recovering a lampshade is a great way to spruce up an old lamp. Painting the existing lampshade is a fun and easy way to be creative in your decorating. Add some water to some old water based paints. You can either spray paint a lampshade or do it by hand as I was just describing. I saw the most amazing lampshade made by allowing paint to drip down the outside of the shade from along the top edge using different colors. Not only was it creatively imaginative it was a heck of a great looking lamp shade. As far as the base goes, spray paint or an old can of paint that you have sitting around should suffice. Decals or stickers are optional. So there you have it.  We have not only redone and refurnished your kids bedroom, but redecorated it as well.

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