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7 Kids' Bedroom Decor Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

Take an economical approach to decorating your child’s room with these DIY ideas

kid bedroom decor wallpaper
Photo credit: Lauren Liess Interiors, original photo on Houzz

This summer, I saw my grandma’s $17 hospital receipt from when she gave birth to my mom in 1938. A lot of things were simpler — and less expensive — back then. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost of raising a child born in 2013 to age 18 is $245,340.

Between paying for braces, band instruments, sports and all the food that disappears whenever a kid is around, parenting can deliver a hit to your wallet.

Though you don’t want your kiddo’s bedroom to be a boring white box, spending more than you can afford on room decor isn’t an appealing option either. To help ease the load, here are DIY ideas both fresh and familiar for sprucing up your child’s bedroom on a budget.

1. Wallpaper collages

Wallpaper has made a comeback in recent years, and the price of rolls has risen as well. You can save by making a collage of leftover wallpaper pieces to prettify a dull wall, sliding closet door or bookshelf. The colors, pattern and layout are up to you.

You can also buy single rolls of end-of-run danglers from wallpaper retailers at steeply reduced prices. And sometimes discontinued wallpaper sample books can be found at no cost.

Here, designer Lauren Liess turned a closet-door snore into a roar by cutting out a lion shape from vintage wallpaper and placing it atop a “hill” made with chalk paint.

kid decor washi tape
Photo credit: Abaca Interiors, original photo on Houzz

2. Washi tape

You’ve probably heard how easy it can be to use washi tape to create colorful wall designs. But its amazingness cannot be overstated. Just take a look at this room, in which Abaca Interiors taped various sizes and colors of wide washi tape on white walls to create a delightfully modern look.

The design incorporates rolls of washi tape called Mt. Casa that are 50 millimeters, or 2 inches, wide ($13.50 per 10-meter roll); 100 millimeters, or 4 inches, wide ($25.50); and 200 millimeters, or 8 inches, wide ($44), but you can select sizes and variations based on your budget.

Washi tape is renewable, recyclable and removable. It doesn’t leave a sticky mess like duct tape, either. Washi tape is typically made from things like tree bark, paper mulberry, bamboo, hemp, rice and wheat.

kid decor fabric art
Photo credit: Jeanette Lunde, original photo on Houzz

3. Fabric artwork

If you’re hankering for something a little different from posters and prints, but you’re not confident in your painting or drawing abilities, try making your own wall art by wrapping and stapling a favorite fabric around a wooden frame.

Using wood embroidery hoops as a frame is an even easier option and a great way to use leftover fabric. You don’t even have to embroider it; a patterned fabric can look great on its own.

Fabric pennant garlands are cute and easy to put up, either on a wall, like this example, or crisscrossing the bedroom. Premade pennants are available online for around $20.

4. Painted furniture

Paint is the most flexible and economical decorating go-to out there. While the common application is on the walls, try sprucing up a vintage family furniture piece stashed away in the attic. It can make all the difference between grubby and glorious.

5. Wall decals

Decals are bold and flexible, and they can add a big punch of energy for relatively little cost, particularly ones that are wall-size. They’re especially good for rentals that have lease limitations on decorating. Unless you’re artistic or you have the budget to hire an artist, decals might be your best route for adding pattern to your child’s walls.

Most decals are removable and don’t leave adhesive residue. Some can even be moved around, but be sure to check, especially if you’re considering a large decal that is in a challenging location, such as an angled wall. Decals tend to not work well on textured surfaces, so if your walls don’t have a completely smooth finish, consider placing them on a door instead. Most decals run between $15 and $120, depending on the size, design and manufacturer.

kid decor wall decals
Photo credit: Shannon Berrey Design, original photo on Houzz

6. Repurpose

Think creatively about ways to reuse things you already own. These jungle animal figurines, for example, might have gone unused at the bottom of a toy box. With some ingenuity, they became playful drawer pulls.

Designer Shannon Berrey used a set of vintage 1960s paper dolls to create a stunning art display in this little girl’s room. Group a collection like this so it reads as a series instead of scattering the elements throughout the space. Also use the same frame profile or coordinating frames for consistency. Custom frames can be pricey, so stick to standard-size frames.

This example shows an antique printer’s tray used as a jewelry organizer. Unusual finds from flea markets and garage sales can make memorable and useful additions to your child’s bedroom.

7. Window decor

A simple and low-cost way to freshen window decor is to add a scarf valance, or loose swag valance. This type of valance is a relaxed window treatment made of one long piece of fabric pulled through decorative side sconces or lightly wrapped over a rod. It visually softens harsh corners on window frames and is an easy, affordable way to add pattern to a room.

It’s also a cinch to switch out if you want a change down the road. There’s no right or wrong way to hang a swag, and the length of the sides, or tails, is up to you. In this tween’s bedroom, designer Alicia Paley used a vibrant Indian silk sari as a scarf valance.

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