Designer Tricks for Decorating your Bedroom on a Budget

A tight decorating budget isn’t a deterrent; it’s a challenge. Your bedroom may be more of a wreck than a retreat, but with a little designer savvy and do-it-yourself elbow grease, that tight budget will go a long way.

Make a plan

Projects tend to go more smoothly if you start with a clear vision and direction. Create a budget for the makeover and use detailed estimates for each part of the project. For example, a gallon of paint costs approximately 30 dollars and you estimate you need two gallons of paint for the walls and another for the trim. You also need paint supplies. Your paint budget, then, is approximately 100 dollars.

As you envision each change you want to make to the room, make a note of the cost. By breaking down the project, you get a more realistic idea of the actual cost. You can then adjust costs as needed.

Assess your assets

If you can repaint or add new stain to a dresser, night stand, or bed frame and headboard you’ll save yourself some money. Assess each piece carefully. If it has ‘good bones’, consider refurbishing it. This includes a new coat of paint or a new color stain, and adding new handles and hardware.

If you have the skills, consider altering the piece. For example, you may alter the shape of the headboard or replace the mirror on the low-boy dresser. These types of fixes give new life to old pieces and are considerably less expensive than replacing them.

Invest in the long-term elements

Redecorating a bedroom is more than just painting the walls and making the dresser look nice again. You need to invest in the elements in the room that give the room visual structure. These include window treatments, lighting and flooring.

Replacing flooring is a large expense. Opt for a large area rug, one that ‘anchors’ the bed in the space, that is, is large enough to extend beyond the ends of the bed at the footboard and to each side. Select a neutral shade from your color palette so you don’t need to replace this rather expensive item the next time you want to spruce up the space. This brightens up the existing flooring without you having to replace it.

If possible, install overhead can lights controlled by dimmer switches or remote control. Position these so the only lamps you need in the room are bedside lamps.

Invest in window treatments that coordinate with the area rug. Like the rug, window treatments anchor the space and give structure to the room. They can also be expensive. Choose a window treatment that is versatile enough to endure the next two to three room makeovers.

Focus on the bed

If your bed frame is in good shape and you just need new mattresses, look for ‘mismatched mattresses’ sales to reduce the cost. If your box spring doesn’t match your mattress, no one will notice, because you’ll cover the bed in linens and pillows.

Buy quality sheet sets and two quality coverlets. You can then alternate the coverlets to keep the look of the bed fresh. Purchase inexpensive throw pillows that you don’t mind replacing when you tire of the color or they lose their shape. Select pillows with lots of colors and patterns, so the eye is immediately drawn to the focal point of the room.

Hang a good piece of artwork over the bed, one that reflects intimacy and serenity. It needn’t be an expensive piece, but it should be a good work of art that adds to the visual structure of the room.

Stay on budget

While you shop for your project, consider each investment carefully. Just because that expensive dresser would look great in the space doesn’t mean it’s the only dresser that would look great in the space. If you disregard your initial budget and spend a large portion of your funds on one piece, the rest of the room suffers.

When you developed your estimate, you allocated funding for specific elements and tasks within the project. Each element and task contributes to achieving your vision. Don’t fall into the trap of having one good piece and then surrounding it with low quality stuff. Make a plan and stay on budget, and your bedroom will be the retreat of your dreams.