Refreshing Your Bedroom on the Cheap

I have a confession: I love hotels. I love the feeling you get when you crawl into a big, plush bed. I love pulling back the drapes and filling the room with light. I love feeling like I’ve found a quiet corner of the world to unwind.

In our home, our bedroom is anything but quiet. It’s really more of a gathering place of sorts for our little family. The nightstands are usually covered in children’s books we read together before turning out the lights. With Eli on the way, we’ll add a crib to the corner and create a handy station for late-night diaper changes and nursing sessions. When we set out to refresh this room, which had been painted a deep brown with textured walls, I wanted the vibe to be welcoming, light and peaceful for our entire family. I wanted a big, cozy rocker where I could rock my babies and I wanted the space to be cheerful. I’m still working on the other details but today I’m going to share the bed wall.


When I saw this photo from a Pottery Barn catalog, I found my inspiration. Creamy, white bed. Red, cheerful bedding. Warm, welcoming hues. It’s the sort of room where you enjoy extra snuggles on a Saturday morning then move lazily to the kitchen for pancakes.

And with some elbow grease and frugal shopping, here’s our transformed space:


The biggest challenge was removing the textured boxes from the walls. My husband used a rotary sander to smooth the walls and though it took several hours (and a lot of elbow grease) it came out great. My father-in-law painted the room for us and after painting the kitchen, the guest bath, laundry room, living room and Ada’s room since moving in this last July, I was deeply grateful to be pregnant and sit this room out!

My big project was refinishing our sleigh bed, which we purchased five years ago at Furniture Liquidators in Frankfort, KY. The bed is not solid wood but I was able to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White to paint it without having to prime or sand. This is the same color I painted my top kitchen cabinets. Typically with laminate-style furniture, you have to prime it with Kilz or Zinser before paint will stick. The only thing I did to prep this bed was dust it off! After two coats, I lightly distressed the edges to give it a natural, aged look then I waxed the entire bed with Annie Sloan Clear Wax. It distressed beautifully in all of the right places!

I repainted the nightstands with homemade chalk paint to save money. These tables have seriously been painted every color at this point to match my changing decorating styles. I bought these when we were first married for $40 for the set at our local flea market. I’ve been known to swap out hardware on these tables, too. I love to shop Hobby Lobby when they have hardware half-off because it’s a simple and inexpensive way to transform a piece with little effort.

In the past, I’ve disguised the box spring (which is visible even when I use a king size quilt to dress the queen size bed) with a fitted sheet. While that is a cheap and easy way to cover the box spring, I wanted something a little more tailored. I used a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby to buy burlap and upholstered the box spring. I also added nail-head trim to finish the look.

Of course, I’m not entirely finished with the room but here’s a breakdown of the accessories I’ve used to decorate this space. Most of these items were purchased over time and not in one shopping trip.

Ready to refresh your room? Here’s some tips:

-Don’t be afraid of painting tired furniture but do invest in quality paint. I’m all about saving money and making my own chalk paint for smaller furniture but it’s worth the extra cost to buy good quality paint, like Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, for a larger piece. One quart of chalk paint is about $35 but you mix the paint with water as you work, making it stretch. I’ve found with Old White that I have to use more to get the look I want so this project took nearly an entire quart. With a color, like Duck Egg Blue, one quart covered my bottom kitchen cabinets, two large pieces of furniture, a few signs and several smaller projects. If you choose latex paint, make sure you use a great primer first like Zinser or Kilz.

-I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Know what you like! When you get the Pottery Barn catalog and fall in love with a bedroom design, make a list of all of the details as if you were an editor planning a photo shoot. My inspiration photo included a cream-colored bed, creamy quilt, red duvet and wicker trunk. Luckily, I had all of those things on hand, which is probably what struck me about the photo. I knew I could make that look happen! But even if you don’t have the elements in your dream bedroom photo, you can shop for less expensive versions of those items if you have a handy list ready. The key is to shop for treasures as you find them on sale. If you go out and buy everything at once, you’ll spend more money.

-My trick for plush, hotel-style bedding? Shop Ebay. I have purchased beautiful Pottery Barn duvets for a fraction of the original cost. This particular duvet and pillow cover set is from Ralph Lauren’s Belle Harbor collection and I purchased it new in an online auction for $75 with free shipping. The quilt was an extra cheap score from Kohl’s. I also like to watch T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s for cheap designer bedding.

-You can save money on buying Euro pillows, which are usually about $24.99 each, by watching the clearance section at Kohl’s, T.J. Maxx or Marshall’s for large throw pillows. I bought these pillows for $8 each and they are the exact measurements of a Euro pillow. I covered them with red, ticking stripe Euro covers I bought on Ebay for $10.

-Don’t be afraid to get creative with wall art for over the bed. I snagged this vintage window-turned quilt frame for just $40 at our local flea market and dressed it up a bit with a boxwood wreath from Kroger Marketplace. A simple banner with the word “Hush” adds a little charm.

-Add some natural elements to make the room breathe. While I’d love real plants, my life is too hectic for all of that so I shop for authentic-looking pieces that will add texture and interest to my space. Watch Michael’s for discounted seasonal pieces and of course, I am a big fan of Kroger’s Marketplace for buying boxwood wreaths. I have three.

-If you’re willing to be flexible, you can always trade your decor out and up. Live with your dresser, save up or sell it eventually and buy what you really want. My house is always in transition as I weed out the decor I like for decor I love.

Do you have a bedroom decorating dilemma? Tell me about it and maybe we can work through it together!

6 Responses to “Refreshing Your Bedroom on the Cheap”

  1. Christina February 21, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    Hi, Amanda. I have been waiting for this post! It’s delightful! How did you get the distressed look? I am assuming I can get the chalk paint at lows along with the wax? Thanks!

    • amanda February 21, 2014 at 10:33 am #

      The beautiful thing about chalk paint is that it gives you a rich, old-world hue. As you’re painting, the color is beautiful but when you begin to wax, it transforms and is nothing short of sexy. Yes, furniture can be sexy in Amandaland 😉 To get the distressed look, I lightly sanded the edges. I don’t like to be aggressive while sanding because I’m not a fan of heavily-distressed furniture. I try to sand only where you’d have natural wear and tear over the years. After I distress the piece, I use Annie Sloan Clear Wax and an Annie Sloan Wax Brush (which is worth the investment) to seal the paint and give it a nice protective finish. It takes about 30 days to cure, and you can use the furniture during that time. Though the wax is soft as you apply it, it will eventually harden. I did two coats of wax on this bed.

      • amanda February 21, 2014 at 10:36 am #

        Sorry…forgot to answer where you can get the paint because I got wrapped up in sexy-distressing and such. You can only buy the paint at an Annie Sloan Stockist. We are lucky enough to have one here locally but I occasionally order from Robyn Story Designs online. They are based in Tampa but offer flat rate shipping and I love using them because they are super fast. You could order today and probably have your paint by Tuesday or Wednesday.

        I haven’t yet played with Decoart’s Chalky Paint but you can order that through Home Depot and it’s quite a bit cheaper.

  2. Kayla Anderson February 21, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    oh my! Gorgeous as always!! I LOVE it. You nailed it, girlfriend. Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: PLEASE do a post telling us about wax and why to use it, when to use it and HOW to use it!! I’ve heard people using it all over but have no idea where I’d get it and what I’d do with it! Give us your wisdom!! :)

    • amanda February 21, 2014 at 10:27 am #

      Thanks, Friend! Yes, I have a piece waiting in my garage that needs to be refinsihed once the weather gets a little better here and I can go out without 10 layers to paint. I’ll do a full tutorial on the chalk paint and waxing :)

  3. Mom February 21, 2014 at 10:57 am #


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