Decorating kids' rooms on a budget can be challenging, to say the least. However, there are plenty of ways to create that dream domain for your little (or big) one, without sacrificing the college fund.
My first suggestion when decorating for children is don't do it without them. So many parents decorate for the way they envision the perfect room, only to have it backfire on them during the unveiling. Let the child become part of the process, and they will not only love the room they helped to create, but also they will have learned some valuable life tools as a bonus.
The next step is to organize. Kids are much more likely to keep their rooms picked up if there is a little bit of order. Cardboard boxes covered with contact paper, fabric drawstring bags made from scrap fabric, and zipper style bags (not with babies or toddlers) can all go a long way toward keeping things in their place. It's also not a bad idea to label drawers and storage areas for the little ones. It helps them to remember what goes where. If they are too young for reading, draw pictures.
To start the decorating process, the first thing to do is to come up with a theme. Even if it is just a color scheme (although with kids, it seldom is), it gives you a blueprint. Remember to ask for your children's ideas here. Give them your guidelines, and then let their imaginations flow. You can then narrow it down to two selections, and help them decide which is best. Some great themes for kids' rooms include garden, jungle, space, cowboy, trucks and trains, fairies, teddies, favorite animal, letters and numbers, cityscape, farmyard. Okay, I could be here all day. You get the idea, try to use your child's natural personality to direct you.
How to do this all on a budget? Apply your chosen theme, then try these ideas:
A word about teen rooms. This is one of the most common questions I hear from parents, "How do I decorate a teen's room?" The answer is simple. However they want within reason. I still feel parents should place conditions on how a room is decorated. It is your house, after all. For instance, my rule was no black walls. (And no permanent anything without approval!) But the fact of the matter is that teens either want a very adult room or a room that is totally not what any adult would want. And they won't be happy with anything less. So, within reason, let them call the shots. Just make sure you can close the door when company arrives.
Finally, remember that you are making memories for your kids, not the neighbors. Bedrooms should be very personal affairs, so let your child feel his/her hearts desire in their special place, and not have to worry about what people will say if it's not the Barbie or Hot Wheels room like the kid down the street. Enjoy yourself, and give them the fantasy room of their dreams with your heart, not your wallet.
Kathleen Wilson is an author, national columnist, and editor of The Budget Decorator. For more free decorating ideas on a budget, visit her at www.TheBudgetDecorator.com. Don't forget to sign up for her free email newsletter while you're there!
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