Monday, September 9

Creating a beautiful bedroom on a small budget

When I needed to furnish the guest room at our mountain condo, my budget wasn't so much "small" as it was non-existent. I chose to purchase a new mattress and box springs, and that purchase meant that there was very little left over for other furniture and accessories. But I'm really pleased with how the room turned out.

The key to the room was a serendipitous find at my local fabric store: a beautiful, upholstery weight decorator fabric on sale for $5.00 per yard. I'm a sucker for houndstooth and I liked the colors, so I scooped up five yards.

Making a simple upholstered headboard is a really easy DIY project. For my queen-sized bed, I bought a 4x8 sheet of 3/4" plywood (less than $20) at my local Home Depot store. Since a queen-size bed is 60" wide, I had a kind employee cut the 8' side of the plywood down to 61 inches. That way the headboard would be just slightly wider than the bed.

When I got home, I used a dinner plate as a pattern to mark off a curve in the top two corners of the plywood.

Then I hot-glued an old mattress topper to the plywood to form a padded back. As you can see, my piece of foam didn't cover the entire piece of plywood, but that doesn't matter; the unpadded part will be at the bottom of the headboard. I cut the sides of the foam topper to fit the plywood using an electric knife.

Then I laid a piece of my fabric down on the ground, placed the foam side of the plywood on top, and pulled the fabric taut around all sides, using a staple gun to secure the fabric to the back of the plywood. See this post for detailed instructions. The cording around the perimeter of the headboard is made from an inexpensive fabric that I bought to coordinate with the houndstooth.

The headboard isn't attached to anything. The weight of the bed holds it in place against the wall. Since the plywood goes all the way to the floor, you could certainly screw the bedframe to the headboard if you like.

After making the headboard, I still had a good bit of fabric left over, so I made a few other accessories for the room.

I found a spray paint to match the houndstooth fabric (Secluded Garden by Valspar). I spray painted an old chair I had stashed in my attic, then recovered the seat. Since I already had the chair and the fabric, all I had to buy was a couple of cans of spray paint.

I found matching nightstands for just a few dollars at a local consignment store. They were nice cherry tables, but their tops were damaged (hence the small price tag), so I spray-painted them with Restoleum's Heirloom White and then lightly distressed them.

I found two matching metal lamps at TJMaxx for about $20 each. I didn't like the metal, but I liked the price, so I spray painted them with the Valspar Secluded Garden as well.

I found a cute little table at the same consignment store for $50. I thought it would make a good dressing table, and I found a stool on clearance at Bed Bath and Beyond that was just the right height to slide under the table. The taupe upholstery on the stool wasn't very pretty, but it was a good match for my houndstooth fabric, so I just hot-glued a strip of my houndstooth fabric around the base of the stool. I folded and pressed the fabric to be the right size, hot glued it in place at the top, used a staple gun to fasten the fabric securely underneath, then stapled on a bit of cording I had left over from the headboard project. I also sprayed the legs with the Valspar Secluded Garden. Now it's a sassy little perch, I think.

And I like the way it looks with the table:

The mirror shows the artwork I found for the room: six vintage-looking bird prints I ordered from Decor Steals. Have you ever ordered from If you register for an account, they'll send daily emails with decor items for sale. I like the fact that shipping is always $5.00. (No affiliation; I just like the service!) You could achieve the same look with free printables or pages from a vintage book. But I was glad to find this set, since the prints were already framed and ready to go. And I used my own picture-hanging tip to hang these so they never get knocked askew.

The last two touches are the most expensive and cheapest parts of the decor. I had enough fabric left over to make a custom dust ruffle to match the headboard, but I knew that this project was beyond my meager sewing skills. So I had a local shop make it for me, using a wide band of the same fabric that the cording around the headboard is made from.

I paid over $100 for the bedskirt, but I think it was worth the cost for the level of detail it adds.

And the decorative pillows cost me nothing, so that helps to make up for the cost of the bedskirt.

I used some fabric from my stash to make the simple knife-edge pillows for the bed (tutorial here), then I used the last of the teal fabric to make a new-sew bolster pillow (tutorial here). The bedspread, by the way, was once a king-size coverlet. It had shrunk so badly that it could never again be used on a king-sized bed, but I liked the coverlet so much I kept it. I washed it in hot water and dried in on high heat to get it to shrink a bit more, and now it's a great size for this queen-size bed!

I'm tickled with the way this room turned out, and all the guests who have stayed in it have commented on what a lovely retreat it is. Isn't it nice that with some ingenuity and a few hours' time, you can create a beautiful space on a small budget?

I'm joining these parties:


  1. What an awesome job on the guest bedroom! Don't you just love it when it all comes together. The bedskirt is a winner and really draws it altogether.

    1. Thank you so much, Sandy! I loved the bedskirt--the work of a professional seamstress!--and I was glad to be able to DIY some projects to go with it.

  2. Richella, your guest room came together nicely. I especially like the matching bed skirt, it makes it look like an upholstered bed from Ballard Designs.

    1. Thank you so much, Kiki! I really do like the bed skirt. I'll take the comparison to Ballard Designs any day! :)

  3. That really looks great! Saving your tutorial on how to do that headboard. Did you just glue the cording on the top?

  4. Thanks, Anne! You certainly could glue the cording on, but I stapled it on with a staple gun (the cording was made with a flap of fabric off to the side, and I stapled that onto the back of the headboard).


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