Back-to-school season is the perfect opportunity for a fresh start – a new wardrobe and outlook to go along with the new school year. Help your kids enjoy this time of new beginnings with a bedroom makeover on a budget. Simple upgrades such as a fresh paint color on a dresser, new drawer hardware or even a custom area rug gives their bedroom a brand new look. Out with the old, in with the bold!
1. Ombre Upgrade
Hand-me-down dressers: so uncool, but sometimes, so necessary. It’s time to update that intensely ugly dresser with some fresh paint, ombre style. Be sure to paint in colors that not even your tween can resist.
- Pick one main color for the dresser – let your kids pick out their favorite– then go ombre for the drawer fronts. Simple, stylish and far better than its old look.
- First things first, gently sand the dresser and wipe off all of the dust.
- Next up, prime the dresser with a primer made for plastic or laminates if the dresser is not wood. If it is wood, you won’t need primer.
- Remove the drawers and get to painting the dresser, then paint the drawer fronts with the ombre paint shades.
Pro tip: customize your paint shades.
- Buy the darkest (or brightest) paint shade in a durable interior latex paint, then buy white in the same type and brand.
- If the dresser has four drawers, get three empty paint trays or plastic containers. (You won’t need a fourth since you won’t have to mix the darkest color.)
- Pour some of the original dark/bright shade into each container, then add a measured small amount of white paint into the first container.
- Use a small amount of paint at first, then stir it up and make sure you like the color.
- In the second container, add twice as much white, and so on. This way all the colors are in the same color family and look great next to one another.
- Paint each drawer in a successively darker or lighter shade and you’ve got a fun, funky new dresser.
2. DIY Drawer Pulls
Now that you’ve dapper-ed up the dresser, the drawer hardware just doesn’t do it justice. Replace the hardware with some you’ve made yourself – from toys. Hard plastic dinosaurs, sturdy Barbie-sized skateboards or even generic action figures can be upcycled into fun, functional pulls for a dresser or desk drawer. Golf balls also make great pulls, in place of toys. The best part about golf balls is they can be painted to look like any round sports ball.
- Cart all the drawer-pull materials outdoors and spray paint them a matching color – gold, neon green, whatever suits the style of the room.
- Afterwards, epoxy the painted elements onto flat knob bases that already have a bolt through them to attach them to the drawer. (Hardware stores and craft stores often carry these.)
If toys and sports gear aren’t quite your kid’s style, polished river rocks and semi-precious stones also make interesting drawer pulls.
3. Go Wild with Washi
White bedroom walls and doors: could they be any more boring? If your kids are desperate for a way to add some color to upgrade their room, washi tape is a dream come true, even for renters. Give the bedroom door or closet doors a fruit-striped upgrade with different colors of washi tape applied within the raised door panels. Washi tape adds an instant color upgrade for drawer fronts or table and chair legs, and it can be used to make faux picture frames for photos hung on the walls.
4. Rave About This DIY Rug
You could spend endless amounts of time searching for an area rug that suits a teen or tween’s interests. Another, more customizable option for picky teens is to make your own, complete with a custom design or pattern, from two or more inexpensive rugs. The basic idea: the largest rug or remnant becomes the main rug background; the second color is used to make inlays in the main piece.
- Flip the main rug over and use a marker (or a template made from a design drawn on paper) to plot the pattern or shape on the rug or remnant backing.
- Place the rug (still face down) on a sheet of corrugated cardboard and cut your chosen shapes out with a sharp utility knife.
- Trace the cutout rug shapes (or the paper templates) face down on the back of the second carpet color, and then cut the pieces out.
- Insert these inlays into the main rug piece, then seal the deal with press-on carpet seaming tape.
Pro tip: A zebra-print rug can be fairly hectic, but a simpler design with a large inlay of heart shapes, lightning bolt or headphones can be constructed just as easily.
If you use a carpet remnant for the outer rug shape, press-on carpet binding tape creates a nice, finished edge for your rug.
5. Say It With String Art
They say that fashion and decor styles repeat themselves, and string art is no exception – but this time around it is much more colorful and creative. Turn your child’s name, favorite sport or hobby into a colorful string-art creation for the wall. Better yet, show them how and let them do it themselves!
- Create the base for your art out of several layers of cork sheeting by stacking and gluing them together.
- Sketch your word or design out on a large roll of paper, cut it out, and then temporarily tape your design to the base with painter’s tape.
- Tack 11/16″ decorative nails around the perimeter of the paper design, spacing the nails 1/2-inch apart. Any type of decorative nail with a head on it will do, provided it’s in the 5/8″-11/16″ length range.
- Tie a piece of embroidery floss to one of the nails, then weave the floss back and forth around the nails to create the design.
- Use slightly different colors to make an ombre design, or go all out with a full spectrum of color.