How to Girly Up a Bedroom
Dear Mom and Dad,
From picking up (and probably stepping on) hundreds of building blocks to that time I told you I wanted to play the drums, randomly decided to play the flute instead and then never played it, you’ve always entertained my often fleeting interests. You even let me paint my room that way-too-dark midnight blue and only screamed once when I came home from college with a pet rat. You put up with a lot, and for that I thank you. Love, Jessica
Not pictured: Me, being uncooperative.
As anyone with a little girl knows, a bedroom is her place to dream and forge her own identity, which my parents so indulgently allowed me to do. And design is a great way to express that identity. Ready to inspire your daughter or granddaughter’s creativity? Read on to get easy, stylish ideas for anything they’re into – even if it’s just for a week.
If She’s a Bookworm
Girl's Purple Bedroom is Contemporary, Chic
The lavender walls set the stage for a fun and colorful space in this girl's bedroom. A lavender and purple rug complements the wall color and adds texture to the room. A contemporary round table and two chairs provide space for working, playing and being creative. A tall mounted bookshelf allows for easy, clutter-free stacking with a floating shelf appearance.
She’s had her head in a book ever since she learned how to read – just add a bookcase, shelves and a lamp to create a cozy reading nook. The designers behind this whimsical bedroom even included a small table to make this space double as a homework station.
If She's in Tune with Nature
Invite the outdoors into your daughter's bedroom. One reader used this dandelion decal as a low-cost headboard, which served as inspiration for the rest of the room's design. Consider adding a potted plant or making a terrarium for girls developing green thumbs.
Designer Kara Paslay made this headboard from a thin piece of stained luan for this small bedroom. She adorned the luan with spray-painted painter's tape in a geometric motif. The look is great for dorm rooms or guest bedrooms.
A do-it-yourself headboard is the best way to get a one-of-a-kind look without the cost. Designer Maureen Toribio used some wood, chalkboard paint, primer and a handmade stencil to create this whimsical headboard. The silhouette adds a youthful touch and the chalkboard allows for fun and creativity. Silhouette image courtesy of Susie Harrington of Petite Prints
A Little Corkiness
What better way to display your child's art than a corkboard? Cork is a versatile material that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Designer Kara Paslay recommends using cork flooring material because it is less costly than buying cork tiles.
Adding sparkle and texture to your bedroom doesn't have to be costly. This shining headboard was made from corrugated metal usually used for roofing purposes, and it only cost about $30. Design by Kara Paslay.
Window of Opportunity
When looking for items to decorate your bedroom, designer Jessica McKay suggests looking for pieces you already own and transforming them into something new. This headboard is made from an old paned-glass window from a barn door. It was too small for a standup mirror, but it works great as a budget-friendly headboard.
A great, simple way to personalize a standard white headboard is by using vintage textiles. In this bedroom, designer Jennifer Jones used a kilim rug down the center of the headboard to add pattern and to reference the client's love of travel.
Use a padded headboard to create a warm, comfortable feel in your bedroom. To get the look without the price, find two large cushions from a discount store and attach them to a piece of plywood covered in grass wallpaper. It has the look of luxury but won't empty your wallet. Design by Shoshana Gosselin.
Designer Layla Palmer created an impressive cottage-style headboard using shutters, paint and sandpaper. The weathered look is easily created by wiping some of the paint off the brush before applying it to the shutters.
A headboard doesn't have to span the entire width of the bed. Designer Melaine Thompson painted an old round frame to match the four-poster bed then painted a piece of wood with chalkboard paint. This budget-friendly headboard allows the mind to be creative by being able to write different messages.
Designer Nicole Potter uses a two-tone, oversize plywood headboard as an inexpensive way to create warmth and drama in this room. The darker wood frames the headboard giving it a defined look. The recessed light creates a calming effect.
Give an ordinary headboard an extra flair with a little wallpaper, paint and glaze. Designer Kara Paslay used a roll of paintable wallpaper along with hanging wall decor to create this unique, inexpensive look.
White Tile Headboard
Reusing materials in unexpected ways can add a creative and budget-friendly design element to any space. Designer Nicole Potter used reclaimed tiles set in metal frames to give a checkerboard effect. Bright pillows with black bedding will help offset the cold tiles.
If She’s an Aspiring Artist
Go ahead — let her draw on the walls. A few coats of chalkboard paint turn any wall into an oversized sketchpad.
Your Turn: Make a Chalkboard Wall in an Afternoon
If She Loves to Pretend
One minute she's a princess, the next she's trailblazing the Wild West. She's also got big plans to explore the cosmos...after her nap.
A dress-up station is a perfect solution for the child with a wild imagination. Try removing a couple of the drawers from an old dresser, give it a fresh coat of paint and then install a curtain rod to create a cute storage space for costumes.
Tools and Materials
To make a costume display, you’ll need: pre-cut strip of 1x6 primed MDF (medium-density fiberboard) trim, stud finder, quart of semigloss paint, 2” angled paintbrush, 8” diameter wooden discs, 8’x4’ sheet of 3/4”-thick paint-grade plywood, jigsaw, drill with a 1” paddle bit and a 1/8” drill bit, compass, 2” stainless- steel wood screws, 1/2” stainless steel wood screws, 1x12” threaded galvanized metal pipes (one per outfit), 1” galvanized metal elbow (one per outfit), galvanized metal flanges (two per outfit), measuring tape, speed square, pencil and a calculator.
Measure and Mark Distance Between Hanging Rods
Each costume will hang on a rod made of threaded galvanized metal pipe, elbows and flanges. To make sure you have the proper amount of clearance for each outfit to hang side by side without overcrowding, measure the average span of jackets, capes or cloaks. A distance of 14 to 18 inches between each rod works best. Use a tape measure to mark the position of each rod onto the primed MDF. Start from the center and work toward each end.
If you want the costume station to blend seamlessly with the room, paint the pre-cut, primed MDF in the same color as the wall. For a clean look, pre-install the flanges by centering each flange on the drawn line. Use a 1/8” drill bit to create pilot holes for each of the four screws needed to secure the flange to the MDF.
Fasten Flanges and MDF to Wall
Use a stud finder to locate the studs within the wall. Based on the stud locations, hold the MDF up in place and fasten the MDF through the wall and into studs. Insert 2” stainless steel wood screws through the holes of each flange and into the pre-drilled holes of the MDF.
If She's a Daydreamer
Free spirits will enjoy weaving dreamcatchers to send good vibes flowing through their bedrooms. The best part? You can make them out of practically anything – fabric remnants, old scarves, ribbon. I made these using an embroidery hoop, thread and scraps of lace (for the large one) and children’s bangle bracelets and necklaces (for the small one).
The inner-weave can be a little intimidating at first: Start from the outside, creating wide loops around the frame of your dreamcatcher – use your fingers to keep the spacing even if you're having trouble. Remember that there doesn't have to be any rhyme or reason; the more of these you make, the easier the process gets.