5 Bedroom Decorating Ideas on a Budget

Paint is  a cheap and easy way to completely transform a bedroom.
Paint is a cheap and easy way to completely transform a bedroom.

Americans on average spend more than a third of their lives in bed. So why not make your bedroom into a space that reflects who you are and helps you unwind? If you're living on a budget, the thought of redoing any room can be a bit overwhelming, but with a little bit of DIY ingenuity and some thrifty know-how, you can transform your bedroom without breaking the bank.

It's tempting to head to Target or Wal-Mart for cheap decor options, but those low-quality goods can end up costing you more in the end, since you'll have to keep replacing them as they break. The real trick to budget decorating is finding pieces that will last or working with what you have to give a fresh look.


When you start redoing your bedroom, it's important to have a theme or at least a color scheme in mind. One of the easiest ways to decide on your colors is to head to a home improvement store and start looking at paint chips. Some paint companies also offer paint color selection tools online that can help you envision how your paint color choices will change your room's mood.

Before you drop a dime on supplies, also try looking for inspiration online or in magazines. Do you want to go with cool blues or an ocean theme? Focus on Earth tones? Do you prefer a more modern bedroom or something shabby chic? Once you know the aesthetic you're going for and have a color palette picked out, you're ready to get started! We've got five great tips for sprucing up your bedroom on a dime. First, we'll show you how to paint your room like a pro.


A Splash of Color

It's amazing how a fresh coat of paint can change the tone of an entire room. In fact, certain wall colors correlate strongly with mood, so choose your bedroom wall color carefully! Opt for warm, soothing tones like blues, greens, or even white rather than more energetic colors like red or orange. If you're not sure, some home improvement stores will sell you a small sample of paint, so that you can do a test spot in your room before you commit to an entire gallon.

Does painting a whole room seem a bit overwhelming? You can save time and even more money by painting just a single accent wall, instead of the whole room.


Tape off the ceiling, floor boards, and around windows and doorways, and make sure that you have a drop cloth under the area where you're working. It's fastest to paint each wall in three- to four -foot (91 to 122 centimeter) sections. Use your edging tool to get a clean line around windows and against the ceiling and floorboards; then follow up with a roller, making sure to even out the grain that the edging tool will sometimes leave behind.

When the room or wall is done, go back with your brush and roller to touch up any areas that are looking bare. Depending on what color you use, it may take more than one coat. A good rule of thumb is that cooler colors, like blues and greens, take fewer coats than warmer colors like yellows. Of course, if you're painting a light color over a darker one, you'll need some extra coats so that the old wall color doesn't peek through.

Up next, we'll complement your freshly-painted walls with some inexpensive fabric accents.


Fabric Accents

Building bookshelves from scratch or welding metal might be out of your skill set, but it doesn't take too much crafty skill to make some bedroom decor yourself.

The simplest way to add some panache to your bedroom is with a fresh set of curtains. You can make curtains from thrift store linens or store-bought fabric and use Stitch Witchery, an iron-on permanent fabric adhesive, to hem -- no sewing required! You can find Stitch Witchery at most fabric stores.


For more adept seamstresses, try whipping up a runner for the end of the bed. Choose a fabric that you love, cut it to 25 to 30 inches (63.5 to 76.2 centimeters) wide and the length of your bed, plus about two feet, then hem it using blanket binding in a coordinating or contrasting color.

New sheets can change the whole tone of your room, but they can also be expensive. Instead of dropping a bundle on a new set, try freshening up your existing sheets by dyeing them with fabric dye.

Another fun accent that you can sew yourself is a set of simple, custom throw pillows to give your bedroom character and a pop of color on the cheap. To make a very simple pillow, cut two rectangles of fabric to any size you like, then iron and pin them wrong sides together. Sew around the edge of the fabric, leaving a 1/8-inch (3.2 millimeter) seam, and a 3-inch (7.6 centimeter) opening, so that you can flip your pillow right-side out again. Once it's flipped, stuff it with polyfill, then hand sew that opening closed.

After you've sewn your accent pieces, you can whip yourself up a customized headboard to add a focal point for the room.


A Custom Headboard

You can create a headboard out of almost anything.
You can create a headboard out of almost anything.

A headboard can be a beautiful statement piece in your bedroom, but nice headboards can also be pretty costly. Pull out some tools and make your own for a unique twist.

With a little bit of imagination, you can turn all sorts of found objects into a headboard. Paint old wooden shutters and mount them on the wall for a rustic look; place a tall shelving unit behind the bed to create a headboard with bonus storage space, or use a room divider as a headboard. You can also do a faux headboard with paint -- just tape off the space where your headboard will be, grab your roller, and go! Here are a more headboard ideas to get you going:


  • Feeling handy? Build a fun, DIY headboard from recycled wood. All that you need are the wood, a few simple tools and a vision.
  • If woodworking isn't your thing, you can create a focal point out of fabric instead. A string of pennants draped above the bed makes a beautiful faux headboard. You can save even more by using scrap fabric, vintage linens you find at the thrift store, or even paper to create your bunting.
  • For an even simpler project, use wallpaper to create a DIY headboard very inexpensively. Shop around for some pretty, modern wallpaper in your color scheme, then cut it to size and carefully glue it to the wall behind your bed.

Now that you've put some work into revamping your bedroom, it's time to make sure it looks neat and tidy.


Clean it Out

Simply cleaning up your space will make it seem bigger and nicer.
Simply cleaning up your space will make it seem bigger and nicer.
Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock

Clutter makes any room look smaller, and the bedroom is no exception. Spend an afternoon pulling everything out of the closets and drawers and off of your shelves, and get rid of anything you haven't worn or used in a year.

It's important that you look at your collected knick-knacks with a critical eye and ask yourself: do they really fit in the space? Keeping some decorative pieces is fine, but you'll probably end up with some extra pieces. Once you've decided what to keep and what needs to go, it's time to organize a bit more!


There will most likely be a few items from your purge that are in bad shape, and those go in the trash pile. Some things might work well in other rooms of the house, so put those in their own pile. You'll also want a pile of items that you don't want to keep but are still usable. You can donate that last batch at your local thrift store. At tax time, you can write off those donations, so this step doesn't just help you stay within your budget; you'll actually save on your tax return!

Once you've gotten rid of all of that clutter, make sure that everything left in your room has a place to live.

Now that you have your wall color chosen, the cloth accents and headboard are up, and everything is tidy, it's time to finish your room off with some art!


All About Art

Plain colored tiles glued to a wall can make an interesting art piece.
Plain colored tiles glued to a wall can make an interesting art piece.

Wall art doesn't have to be expensive, nor does it take a ton of artistic talent to create your own, custom pieces. All you need are the right tools and a little bit of creativity. Whether you hit the craft store for supplies or make your art out of found objects, there are lots of fun ways to dress up your bedroom with some homemade artwork.

Did you make a custom, fabric headboard or throw pillows? Grab a bit of that scrap fabric to make a simple, tasteful piece of art. Just cut it to size, iron it well, and put it in a frame for a simple piece of art that's perfect for your bedroom.


If fabric isn't your thing, head to the craft store to pick up an inexpensive blank canvas and some acrylic paints. Use masking tape or stencils to create a custom design, then paint an original art piece that's 100 percent you.

Art isn't all about looks -- it can be functional, too. Save up and clean some tin cans. Use orange oil to get the sticky labels off, and mount them on the wall to store some of your smaller knick knacks and create an eye-catching silvery art piece at the same time.

If you're a renter and not allowed to paint or hang things on the wall, you can dress up your walls with wall decals. These are large, removable stickers that add some oomph to your walls with no nails or paint. You can find wall decals online or even make your own with contact paper.


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