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5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Style a Kids Bedroom; Before & After

By 08/30/2021August 14th, 202230 Comments

Today I’m sharing some budget-friendly ways to help you style a kids bedroom. When you pull together good styling with the right accessories and colour palette, it’s easy to create a beautiful bedroom no matter what you spend. 

A decorative box and brass acorn to store little treasures!

This newly separated Dad of two sweet kids, a boy and a girl, moved into a one-bedroom apartment and needed a bunkbed ASAP. I love being a decorating fairy and helping others pull a room together with accessories and styling. So I helped them create this budget-friendly kids room in just one day!

Here are some budget-friendly ways to style a child’s bedroom sprinkled with some of my favourite styling tips. 

1. It’s easy to be thrifty with kids furniture and accessories

Kids beds are easy to find on Craigslist or Marketplace

I found one on Marketplace with storage underneath for $400. It had only been used for sleepovers at Grandmas house so it was happily, like new! If you need a bunk bed, you can find lots of gently-used versions out there. And you’ll discover that many bunk beds are a steal because when you’re done with a bunk bed, you want it GONE, especially if you’re re-decorating the room.

In case I haven’t mentioned this in a while (and I haven’t) you really can’t make money off used furniture. But if you’re creative, you can definitely find a lot of deals! 

Read more: Kiss Your Old Furniture Bye Bye!

My delivery guys picked it up and re-installed it in the room and here it is before:

IKEA is a great place to find off-the-shelf curtains and bedding all in one place

IKEA usually has a great selection of curtains and bedding. Although there were a lot of items that were sold out (like everywhere, but these are unusual times) we managed to pull off a blue, white and red colour scheme with our finds.

I chose burgundy accents (yes it’s back as a trending colour) because it relates visually to the cherry wood. This way the colour of the bunk bed doesn’t stick out as being the only cherry item in the room.

Read more: Colour Trend Forecast for 2021

2. Paint the walls the same colour as the carpet and make sure you repeat the colour

The walls were already painted a green beige complex cream so I picked up some accent pillows and a fuzzy throw in the same colour. Keeping the walls neutral and bringing in colour with accessories is an easy compromise when decorating apartments and rentals.

And here’s the after:

I found little shelves (from HomeSense) on the walls to give each child a space for their special toys, water, etc.

Decorative shelves


3. Sconce or wall lighting in kids rooms is underrated 

I specifically chose wall lights that came with a glass shade because it’s much prettier at night than lights that have an opaque shade that simply gives you a spotlight (below).


Lights with opaque shades have their place, but I would prefer to layer them in with lighting that’s already in your room, such as with regular lampshades that glow.

Pale coloured or white lampshades are what will distribute atmosphere in the room. It’s a much prettier effect than spotlights.

IKEA (available in store not online)  | West Elm

After our visit to IKEA the day we decorated this room, we stopped into HomeSense where I found the white end table, accessories and white table lamp to finish the room and create a focal point. 

Wayfair (comes in 10 more colours)

Here’s the room with the lights on:

Notice that just on this one side of the room there are a total of four lamps. 

Read more: 5 Lamps Every Home Needs


4. Install curtain rods correctly to maximize the light and make windows appear larger

Curtain rods should be installed a minimum of 10 inches past the window on each side. This allows for the curtains or drapes to hang alongside the window without covering much of the light up. It also helps make the windows and room feel much bigger. 

How to Measure for a Curtain Rod

The curtains that came with the apartment were hanging in front of the windows, which not only covers up the light but makes your windows look smaller.

Decorator Tip: Stay away from IKEA curtain rods. They are either too skinny which looks cheap or the brackets look bad. I found these at HomeSense.

One more thing! Always buy a minimum of two pairs of curtain panels. Since there was only one set of panels left that matched the pillows we bought, I purchased a pair of sheers as well!

Here’s another before photo:


5. Display existing collections in store-bought frames

You don’t have to purchase expensive artwork for kids’ bedrooms. Take something they already love and simply add a frame. 

Vinyl record cover picture frame  

My client loves music. He was a DJ in the past so he had a lot of records. So, we displayed a few of his favourites on his side of the bedroom (below):

It’s taken me many years to be able to choose the right decor and accessories to create this kind of transformation in just one day – no matter what the budget is. And I don’t get to do enough of it! I truly enjoy being a decorating fairy! 

You can have a very expensively decorated room that still falls flat without proper styling.

If you have a room that needs some styling magic and you’re located in the lower mainland, please contact me here.

Learn how to become a better decorator!

And, if you want to learn my system for identifying and choosing colour, enroll here. Because when you have a SYSTEM, you can begin to make CONFIDENT colour choices and ultimately become a better decorator as a result.

Save your seat TODAY so we can get your Killam Colour System kit in the mail ASAP! It’s filled with everything you need for choosing colours to create a home you’ll love!

See all dates and times here !


Related posts:

The Best Reason to Paint Old Furniture

Three Steps to Make More Money Selling Furniture on Craigslist

The Best Way to Update Oak Furniture; Before & After

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  • Fran W. says:

    You ARE the decorating fairy!!! Such an amazing transformation, and on a budget to boot! What a lovely way to bring happiness into the lives of this dad and his two kids.

  • M says:

    Oh wow, very nice, so pulled together and like the color palette. Enthusiastic YES to each having own sconce. Who doesn’t like to do reading or homework in bed now and then! Those are really pretty too and agree about the shades.
    Window treatment much better, what a difference!

    I don’t get the odd wavy mirror though. Now it’s partially covered by the curtains. Can it be moved or is it part of the bed?

    Always love the before and afters, thanks for sharing Maria!

    • Maria Killam says:

      Since the room was already painted, taking down the existing mirror would have left holes in the wall that we didn’t have paint to patch up so I left it! Thanks for your comment! Maria

  • Alex says:

    Bravo, Maria! Absolutely charming!

  • Tina says:

    Wow amazing transformation. Love the colors

  • Bette says:

    What a beautiful room. Having been in this situation, though — single parent with two young children, suddenly in a one-bedroom apartment — I strongly recommend the father buy a sleeper sofa and make the living room his place. Everyone needs a little privacy, especially the adult.

    • Maria Killam says:

      In this case he works nights so he can take care of the kids during the day so the kids are only officially at his place every second weekend, Mom lives in the same building! Maria

  • Stacy says:

    I love framing things that have meaning instead of just pretty pictures you can buy. I framed a very old cardboard puzzle of the USA from my childhood. One of my favorite pictures! Or frame posters from places you’ve been and the memories come with it. Another thing I did was cut out plane and train shapes from my son’s baby clothes and glued them onto a canvas. You don’t have to be a great artist to do that! But one thing I am not a fan of is hanging the curtain rods really high. I can’t stand to see a big gap of wall above the window frame and below the rod. I prefer to put curtain rods about 5″ above the window, but I agree on going wide on the sides. That’s just my preference.

  • Dona says:

    A question about the placement of the curtain rods… You mentioned extending them on either side of the window at least 10 in. I have three windows in my bedroom and each one is no more than an inch or two away from the corner wall. Since I couldn’t stack the curtains off the window I put up sheers. Is there ever an occasion where it would be appropriate to extend the curtain rod just on one side of the window?

  • Mita says:

    Very sweet room, Maria. I love how you’ve brought the burgundy accent in. And I like the mirror. Nicely hidden, partially by the curtains, but it reflects light and gives a little dimension to the room.

  • Linda Gail Trammel says:

    I love the way this room turned out. I just finished redoing a little bedroom I have above my garage. It has had no change in about 18 years so it was time. I changed up the bedding for two twin beds, painted the walls white, bought a white marble end table with gold legs small lamp for it, a transparent or clear armless chair (I really love this chair) with gold legs and a round golden mirror that I already had. There is also a pole lamp with several lamps and different color shades with that I spray painted matte white. Also I got a rattan basket to put a couple of throws in. The only thing I would like to do is change the color of the beds to a lighter color. Right now they are a dark brown. By the way I have owned these twin beds since my sons were living at home, about 30 years ago. The brand is Cargo and boy do they last! I love the way Maria has encouraged me to do little projects just like my little bedroom. If I knew how to send a picture I would!! ha

  • Janice says:

    Perfect for this family at a time when they probably need something nice! Real life decorating! As usual, you’re amazing!

    • Joan says:

      My thoughts exactly. A soothing, beautiful contribution during a challenging time for this little family.

  • Carolynne says:

    Beautiful transformation. I would, however, be afraid of placing anything with glass (sconces) or sharp corners (like shelves) within the sleeping area, where thrashing sleepers or pillow fights could result in injury.

    • Maria Killam says:

      IKEA has scones with paper shades too! And the bunk bed was a few inches away from the wall to accommodate the small shelves. Maria

  • Robin says:

    Just curious, it looks like there is an electric baseboard heater under the window where the curtains hang? I have them in my house (previous owner installed) and they get so hot I would be afraid of starting the curtains on fire. Everything I’ve ever read says that curtains should be at a minimum 12 inches above and nothing 12 inches in front of those heaters for fire safety.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Hmmm. . . I have always hung curtains in front of radiators and never had a problem. Maria

      • Robin says:

        Oh, those must be different than what is found here in the Midwest USA. I take it there is hot water pipes to them? Mine have an electric heating element inside and get so hot it will burn your hand if you touch the top. When I first turn them on in the fall you can smell the dust burning off the elements. My parents have them in their house too so maybe it’s a 1950-1970’s house issue.

  • Barb says:

    I love seeing before and afters! This is a great post! Well done. It’s so nice to see how you can work magic on an Ikea budget.

  • Barb says:

    Thanks for doing a room on a budget which illustrates that it can be done in a charming manner. I love to be able to change a room based on the season, trends or a whim. Your story shows that decorating successfully is not always based on lots of money. Well done.

  • Margaret says:

    Thanks for the Window Measurement Worksheet. I’ve printed it for future reference. Love the bright colors in this cheerful bedroom. I’m confused by the plant near the Dad’s bed, though. I’ve checked all the photos repeatedly and can’t figure out what is supporting it. Another shelf?

  • Holly says:

    A question about curtains, if you are to install the rods 10″ past the window on each side and you’re trying to center a painting on a wall, then you would use the edge of the wall to where the curtains end 10″ past the window to find your center for picture hanging? The lighting had me at hello. 🙂

  • Benesse says:

    Well…an improvement but no home run. If only there was a substitute color for the red/burgundy that seems to take all the fun out of the room in especially because of the medium dark wood furniture. Like say, green or yellow or navy?

    This feels like a safe seasonal rental.

    • Diane says:

      Burgundy relates to the cherry color of the bunk beds, as she mentioned. It makes the room have a color scheme.

  • Brooke says:

    Amazing as usual! You are so kind to give them your fairy treatment and give us helpful hints. Thank you Maria

    • Benesse says:

      I read that, I know that was the intention…it’s just that it feels a bit heavy for young children. If you look at other color schemes incorporating dark wood furniture as in Ralph Lauren and Bunny Williams’ interiors, you realize there are brighter, more fun options with color and prints. This is of course subjective but it was my first impression, nothing more.

  • Maureen says:

    I love the way this turned out. It’s inviting and beautiful and also very personal. Your way of framing the records is ingenious. And never knew how much difference sconce lighting could make. The main thing is — the kids are going to feel very loved in this space. And you did it on a budget!!!

  • Janet Antonio says:

    Fantastic example of how to make things work in real life…my only comment would be is that an acorn or a peanut?

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