Almost free. This phrase reminds me of bartering at markets when you ask “how much is this?” and the answer is “almost free”. There are definitely things we bought and paid for in our Master Bedroom. Even things that we purchased at regular retail stores and not at thrift stores or garage sales. But a lot of the big items in the room were, in fact, free. Here are some details to help you create a bedroom you love on a budget.
If you can’t find what you like, make it!
Making an upholstered headboard was a fairly easy process. I have no pictures of us creating ours as it was a few years ago now, but there are many good tutorials available online. We used plywood, foam, some batting, fabric, and a staple gun. We attached the headboard to the wall by attaching an angle cut 2×4 to the back of it, and then attaching the opposite angled 2×4 to the wall (so that the headboard 2×4 nestles nicely into the wall 2X4). The fabric was purchased from ebay for $30 and there was enough to do the headboard and to create a faux matching bedskirt. For the faux bedskirt I simply cut straight lengths of fabric, including smaller sections to act as the corners. I then hemmed all edges with no-sew iron on hem tape, and then duct taped the skirt to the bedframe underneath the mattress. It now looks like we have a custom made fully upholstered bed and the whole project cost well under $100. There are a ton of other fun DIY headboard ideas out there – just do a search on Pinterest and you will have more ideas than you could have imagined.
Accept Hand-me-Downs and Upcycle Them
If friends or family or neighbours are getting rid of furniture, give it a chance! The big ol’ black dresser used to be a super high gloss dark dark brown pine. We stripped the top and refinished it with stain and varathane, then painted the base black and added matching handles.
Keep your eye open when you are driving (But of course still watch the road!)
We picked up our nightstands for free on the side of the road. Look for “shape” when you are looking at old furniture – if you love the shape, don’t worry about the finish. Our nightstands aren’t even solid wood, but with a coat of primer and some leftover red paint they now tie in perfectly with our headboard.
Shop at Thrift Stores, Garage Sales, Markets, and Clearance sections
The blue lamp was purchased at a thrift shop for $5. It used to be an ugly browny gold color that didn’t pay homage to it’s truly beautiful shape. With some primer, craft paint, and a top coat of varathane it is transformed. (Tip: make sure 2nd hand lamps are in working order before purchasing). The shade was picked up for $5 on clearance at Walmart.
The white star was picked up at a Vintage shop and painted white, and the seagull print was purchased at our neighbours moving sale. The window frame was found in the garage at our first house when we moved in, and we painted it and replaced the glass with mirror.
I also picked up the bamboo ladder at the same market. It used to live in my son’s nursery but has been repurposed in our bedroom to display a white matelassé.
Shop Big Box and Retail: but only buy things you LOVE
Don’t be afraid of big box! Just because you are buying something at a retail or big box store (like Walmart, Canadian Superstore, IKEA, or my favourite, Home Sense) doesn’t mean that it can’t be beautiful. But only buy something if you LOVE it. I have picked up cute little accessories, art, and bedding at these stores and successfully mixed them with other thrifted/DIYed/retail pieces to create a look that we love. The art in both these pictures (including the birds) was bought at Walmart. The lamps and the blue and green floral pillows are from Home Sense. And the baskets and white bedding is from Canadian Superstore. These pieces are mixed in with our upcycled furniture and accessories, DIY upholstered bed, Coombs market purchases and my homemade red chevron pillow. The key is to not go out and purchase everything at once from a retail or big box store. Give yourself time and let your look and style evolve as you find and make things you love.
Find an Inspiration Piece Use Paint/Fabric/Art to your room together
Begin with or search out an inspiration piece that creates a scheme.
It could be a piece of art, a fabric, cushions or a throw. Use this as an anchor to tie together the rest of the pieces in your room. In our Master Bedroom our anchor piece is the throw at the bottom of our bed. I bought it at a nearby country market. I love how it ties together all the colours in the room and helps connect the master bedroom with the darker teal in the attached Ensuite Bathroom.
Remember that paint is your best friend!
I used paint, and lots of it in our bedroom revamp. I painted quite a few things in our room to give them the look that I wanted (dressers, nightstands, lamp, vase, frames, ladder) and to tie them together with the colour scheme of the room.
Free / Thrifted/ DIY or homemade items:
- both dressers (given to us by friends and family)
- the bedside tables (found on the side of the road)
- the blue lamp (thrift store)
- the window frame turned mirror (found in the garage at our first house)
- the seagull print (a neighbours moving sale)
- white star on wall (used to be black) picked up at a vintage shop
- DIY upholstered headboard and matching bedskirt ($30 fabric bought off ebay)
- Red chevron bolster pillow made by me with fabric from Fabric.com
Items we purchased retail:
- the bed and bedframe
- the bedding
- Pillows: blue and green floral pillows are from Homesense,
- the silver and green lamps on the nightstands are from Homesense
- accessories on dresser were picked up at various stores over the years
Update: We have since made a few changes in our Master Bedroom: Check out Summer Master Bedroom: Gallery Wall and Mixing Pattern on the Bed to see how it looks right now…
Remember, my housie friends, HOME wasn’t built in a day. Enjoy the journey!
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