Ok, I admit it, I can be a real spoiled brat! And “cheap and cheerful” is not usually a mantra I subscribe to. Cheap does not make me cheerful — in fact, it can make me downright cranky! My hands get itchy when I touch fabrics that are too high in polyester content. I have a real thing about hotels that don’t have all of their stars — as in, I would rather stay home than stay at them! And I am the worst shopper when it comes to discount stores like Century 21 and Daffy’s. I am not the person who can find a gem in a haystack — I just find needles! And unfortunately for me (and some of my clients!), I am not an expert at designing on a dime. It’s just not my thing.
Now I’m not going to blame my parents, but have you met my mother? I am missing the bargain-hunter gene, and I wasn’t raised in a way that allowed my to hone these skills over the years. But in my line of work, it is possible and sometimes very necessary to make rooms look great without mortgaging the house!
I am most often asked to be conservative with budget and selections when it comes to designing children’s rooms and family rooms. And being a mother myself, I completely get it. We don’t want to have to worry about expensive pieces getting ruined when our child does an arts and crafts project in her room. And we don’t want to have made an enormous investment in the event that our child decides to exercise some independence and wants a room re-do in a few years.
I am currently in the process of exercising my cheap-and-cheerful muscles while decorating my own kids’ bedrooms. So far I am actually quite pleased with myself and with the results. I started each daughter’s room with a colorful floral wallpaper which I installed on one wall only — the bed wall — which you see when you walk into the room. An accent wall of this type is not typical of the way I decorate. I generally prefer when the paper wraps all four walls and envelops the room. But I honestly cheaped out in my own kids’ rooms and went for the accent wall — I spent less on paper as well as on installation, and I got a chance to coordinate the paper with a great paint color on the other three walls.
While my preference in bedrooms is always wall-to-wall carpet for the sheer cozy-comfort factor, I saved a bundle by doing fun area rugs from Home Decorators instead. A few hundred dollars later and my girls have bold, colorful shag rugs on their floors that I won’t mind throwing away in a few years when they tire of them or stain them, whichever comes first.
I used one of my favorite less expensive furniture vendors, Worlds Away, for bedside dressers in both rooms. Worlds Away has well-made, sturdy pieces at great prices, and they are so full of style. They are a go-to resource for me when designing kids’ rooms (and sometimes guest rooms too when clients want to save).
Both of my girls got lucky with their chandeliers. I had so many great vintage fixtures from my old apartment and their rooms were the perfect places to hang them. While I have many great resources for new lights, there is nothing like a vintage fixture when you want to hang a little functional jewelry in your room.
I still have a ways to go with the decorating of these bedrooms, but I have made a good start and still have money in the bank! And I feel pretty damn cheerful about that!