When I was expecting my second baby, I was eager to transform my older son’s nursery into a toddler room. I had finished the baby’s nursery and felt ready to tackle another decorating project. Although I enjoy reading home decor magazines, browsing on Pinterest for ideas and shopping at Home Goods for unique finds, I’m obviously not an interior decorator or handy with DIY construction projects. My method of decorating involves coming up with a general concept/theme, shopping on-line to scout the big ticket items, and making a couple of trips to local stores for the finishing touches. As a busy working mom with limited time and energy, I try to not obsess over the tiny details. Here are 8 tips for furnishing and decorating a toddler’s room on a budget.
1. Don’t buy a toddler bed
My kids are two years apart so I was considering buying a toddler bed for my then two-year-old son (because toddler beds are so cute and cozy looking). Our nanny at the time recommended buying a full size bed instead because it will last longer than a toddler bed. We ended up buying a twin mattress without the box spring and placed the mattress directly on the floor. By doing that, we didn’t have to buy guard rails or worry about him rolling off the bed because the “bed” is so close to the ground.
If you don’t need to use the crib for a new baby, you can remove one wall of the crib and use it like a toddler bed until it’s time to switch to a larger bed.
2. Look for a well-made bed that will last through the teenage years
When my son turned three, I started the hunt for a bed frame for his mattress. I was looking for a quality bed that would be durable enough to last until he goes off to college. By chance, I wandered into Pottery Barn Kids with my son on their opening weekend and everything was 10% off on top of the sale prices. My son liked the idea of getting a big boy bed because he didn’t want his little brother to be able to climb onto his bed. I ended up buying the Kendall bed that day for a great deal ($399 plus 10% off). I’ve seen it on sale a few times since for about the same price so keep checking back for sales if you’re interested in purchasing the same bed. It’s currently on sale for $319!
The bed is crafted with mortise-and-tenon and tongue-and-groove joinery and the hardwood frame is kiln-dried to prevent warping or bowing. It actually looks a lot better in person than the picture I snapped below.
Here’s a professional picture from the Pottery Barn Kids website:
3. Personalize the room with affordable wall art
4. Have a small table and chair set for art projects and “tea time”
5. Use affordable wall mounted shelves to display books
These forward facing book shelves above are actually affordable photo ledges from Ikea.
The collector shelves below are from Pottery Barn Kids and they keep books and artwork within easy reach and add some visual interest to bare walls.
6. Personalize the room with favorite characters
We had a Curious George themed first birthday party for my son and he still sleeps with Curious George every night.
7. Create a cozy reading nook to snuggle and read bedtime stories
8. Add ample lighting for reading and general ambience
This is our reading corner with the Ikea Arstid wall lamp (under $15) and another smaller photo ledge to hold books. My son was obsessed with Kipper the Dog from Amazon Prime Videos so I bought a Kipper the Dog book and tore pages out to serve as the artwork. The frames were inexpensive white photo frames from Ikea (under $10) which I spray painted orange.
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