When we had our first child, Cadence, we knew that it was very important to us that her room always be hers. Growing up my husband and I were both raised in homes where money was tight and bedrooms were furnished with acquired odds and ends.
There was nothing wrong with living like this as we both completely understood then (and now) that having clean, functional items was good enough and was all that was manageable. As a child, though, it was sometimes hard to stomp on the green envy monster that would show up when visiting a friends home who had a fantasy bedroom.
Call it living vicariously if you want, but we really wanted to give our daughter that dream room on two conditions: we did not want to break the bank and we wanted to do it without acquiring any debt. So when Cadence turned 16 months old, we moved her into the spare bedroom in our home and slowly started turning her nursery into an amazing big girl room with hopes that she would be moved into it by age two.
How We Did It
We salvaged. My daughter’s twin size bed was given to us by my parents. The dressers were mine when I was a child. My husband made the bedside table and the headboard was purchased off Craigslist for $15.
We did the work ourselves. My husband did all of the renovations and furniture refinishing himself. He installed a new closet system and doors. He sanded, painted, and varnished all the furniture. He painted the room, made all the trim, and replaced the floors. We saved thousands by not hiring a contractor.
We asked for help. For our daughter’s first birthday, we let the family know what bedroom set we had chosen for Cady and made a Target registry with all the pieces we needed. Instead of receiving a lot of toys and clothes that she really didn’t need, Cady received almost every bedroom item as a gift for her birthday.
We got creative. We checked websites and chose craft items that we thought would make a huge difference in the room and set out to make them ourselves. I sewed stuffed owls and made a mobile from branches. We painted $1 birdhouses from the craft store to match the room scheme and used them as 3D decoration throughout the room and my husband whittled drawer pulls for the dressers he refinished.
We only bought supplies on sale or with coupons. Paint was purchased with coupons and rebates and flooring was purchased from an outlet store for $0.69 a square foot.
After all our labor, the end result was a gorgeous Magical Forest bedroom fit for a princess that was finished in plenty of time and well within budget (less than $2000). A renovation like the one we did would have cost nearly 10k if we had used outside labor. Cady moved into her new room and started sleeping in a big girl bed at 21 months old and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome!
Megan Carlisle is a homemaker and mommy to one little girl (and another baby due in January 2012.) She is married to David and they live happily ever after in rural Pennsylvania! In her spare time, she enjoys couponing, the show Criminal Minds, and that amazing feeling you get when all your laundry and dishes all done (for the moment!).
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