Toddler Room on a Budget

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When we moved into our house last year, my daughter was 10 months. We created a nursery for her and since we had an extra bedroom, a separate playroom. We knew that when we eventually had Baby #2, the playroom would become her big girl toddler room. I kept that in mind when we put the playroom together and decorated. Well, fast forward to that we are expecting Baby #2 in December, and the time had come to convert the playroom into a toddler room. The playroom walls had been painted a bright aqua color and I wanted her room to be cozy, fun and colorful! I still planned to keep a lot of her toys from the playroom in her room for now, so I also had to integrate them. Here are some key pieces of her room and how I put it together fairly inexpensively.

Fairfield County Moms Blog | Toddler Room on a Budget

Theme: The theme for her room became “fun and bright.” We picked a theme that would go with the current wall color, as well as a theme that wouldn’t force us to buy branded merchandise, such as if we did a Minnie Mouse or Minion theme. I’m sure she would have loved it if we shaped her room around one of her favorite characters, but I think that she would get bored with them quickly and then we’d find ourselves changing the room to her next favorite character. I wanted to create a timeless look that could be easily changed with minor adjustments.

Fairfield County Moms Blog | Toddler Room on a BudgetBed: Since we knew we were going to keep the crib in the nursery and not covert it to a toddler bed, we had to find her a bed. My husband’s aunt had given us a beautiful painted twin bed from her daughter, which we will definitely use once she is a little bigger, but we tried it out for a few nights and it was too intimidating {and I had nightmares of her falling out of bed, despite the bed guards that we had bought}. I scoured my local Facebook Tag Sale Sites and found a great bed and mattress for $30. We didn’t paint it because I liked the natural wood look, but it could have been easily {and inexpensively} sanded and painted to fit any color that we wanted. I didn’t want to spend a lot on a toddler bed, because she might decide tomorrow that she wants to switch to her twin bed, so this was a great find. She took to the toddler bed immediately!

Sheets & Blanket: I bought her sheets and blanket as a birthday present, so I admit that I did splurge a little on this  beautiful Pottery Barn quilt. However, I did wait to order it until they had one of the great 20% off entire purchase coupons, so I did get a deal on it. I got her some sheets, which came down to about $15 a pair with the coupon. She uses a million blankets on her bed so it ends up getting buried, but I absolutely  love it and it was my gift to her for being such a big girl and transitioning out of the crib so smoothly.

Dresser: We decided to go with the Ikea Hemnes 8-drawer dresser ($249) in white stain. We were surprised thatFairfield County Moms Blog | Toddler Room on a Budget it’s actually solid wood, considering that it looks great and was very inexpensive. It is bright, classic enough to match in any room, and the 8 drawers were plenty of room to not only store her clothes, but also things such as hair items, diapers, and wipes. Plus, we didn’t spend a fortune on it so if she goes crazy one day and draws all over it, we aren’t going to cry over it. We plan to get the same dresser for the nursery, because although I love the antique dresser we had in there, it is hard to open the drawers and it doesn’t have as much room. It is perfect for a nursery because you can put a changing pad and basket with diapers and wipes on top, and still have room left for a lamp or anything else you want handy. Facebook Tag Sale sites are also great places to find dressers, but I fell in love with this one first. I decorated the top of the dresser with various things we’ve collected since before she was born plus gifts we’ve received.

Fairfield County Moms Blog | Toddler Room on a Budget

Closet: A tip to make extra storage in a closet is putting a bookcase in the bottom, especially since baby and kid clothes take up so little space vertically. My daughter’s daycare was getting new furniture and they were giving away all of their old bookcases, so we had gotten one for free that we used in her playroom for books and toys. We moved this into the closet and it will be the perfect place for winter gear, shoes, jackets, or extra toys. Again, use the Facebook Tag Sale sites or find businesses that are getting rid of their old furniture for free or at a deep discount. You could also easily make shelves if you are handy.

Fairfield County Moms Blog | Toddler Room on a BudgetToy Storage: When I had my first apartment, I had bought an Ikea Kallax Shelving Unit ($65) and we ended up putting it in the playroom when we bought our house. We decided to keep it in her room because it was great for toy storage. It was black-brown color, so I bought some new Ikea Drona boxes (regularly $5.99, but they were on sale for $4.99 when we got them) in pink and turquoise to brighten it up to go along with the theme of the room. It’s the perfect place to stash all of those mismatched toys when having guests over!

Book Storage: I got this idea from Pinterest and it was actually as easy as it sounded to put into action. We bought Fairfield County Moms Blog | Toddler Room on a Budget3 white Ikea Ribba Picture Ledges ($14.99 each) and hung them to the wall to create bookshelves. My husband brought heavy duty anchors at Home Depot to make sure that they would be safe in case she decided she was a monkey and wanted to hang from them. We hung them on the wall at a height that my daughter can reach at least the first 2 shelves now, so that she can pick books out on her own. Make sure to test out the book heights before you screw them into the wall, to make sure that they are far enough apart to fit tall books. I can’t wait to switch out books for each season and holiday! I think this is my favorite part of her room. We put them near a corner, so it would create a “book nook” and I put a few of her chairs and bigger toys by the shelves. I also utilized a basket to hold any overzied books or books that needed to be put away. It is really cozy! We were also really lucky to have 2 built-in bookshelves in the room already, which I use for extra books and decorations.

Fairfield County Moms Blog | Toddler Room on a BudgetStuffed Animal Storage: If your child is anything like mine, then they have a million stuffed animals. They drove me nutty because they didn’t really have a home, so they ended up on her bed every night, and it quickly got very crowded in there. I bought the Ikea Raskog Utility Cart ($30) because I loved the color and the look, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it. I thought I might put art supplies in it, before I realized that having them out in plain view might end up with finger painting at midnight, which I definitely was not prepared to deal with. I think the cart’s use will evolve as she gets older, but for now, I used it to store her stuffed animals next to her bed and it is perfect for exactly that. She can easily see all of them and pick which ones she wants to sleep with, as well as she can easily reach to put them away herself when it’s clean up time.

 

Wall Decor: For wall decor, I picked out a few inexpensive bright colored canvases from Home Goods. She has an Fairfield County Moms Blog | Toddler Room on a BudgetABC one and another that says “you are my sunshine.” I never hung anything up on her playroom walls because I could never find the right ones, so I’m glad I waited until these came along. With wall decorations, I don’t like to rush into buying anything just to have it, but rather I prefer to buy it when it jumps out at me.

Rug: The room was already carpeted, but I strongly believe that the right area rug can really pull a room together. We had bought the Tastrup Multicolor Button Rug ($50) when we put her playroom together and since it went with the “fun and bright” theme, we kept it, and I think it really makes the room look finished. Again, I bought an inexpensive rug so I don’t have to be upset if she spills something on it or accidentally paints it. But, I actually have come to love this rug, so I might be a little upset. Good thing that I have great carpet cleaner!

Other: As far as other decorations, I utilized things from her nursery or gifts we’ve received to decorate the top of her dresser and bookshelves. I also search Michael’s or Home Goods for inexpensive decor items to add those final touches. I tried not to overdecorate so that if I find something I really like, I can add to the room.

Fairfield County Moms Blog | Toddler Room on a Budget

I think that’s it! I love to re-purpose furniture or decorations that we already have. You’ll also notice that I got a lot from Ikea and that’s because they have great prices, plus there are a lot of different uses for them. You have to be able to hunt out the great things. For example, my husband has a lot of plaques that he is going to display with the Ikea picture ledges.

Do you have any other tips for creating an inexpensive, yet great, toddler room? Where have you found the best deals when decorating a room?

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Aarika Friend
Aarika is a full-time working mom who moved to Trumbull in May 2014 with her husband Kris, two daughters, Emmy {July 2013} and Ruby {December 2015}, and Shiba Inu furbaby, Meiko. She has lived in Fairfield County since 2010, but is originally from Ulster County, NY. Aarika and Kris fell in love at a UConn football game in October of 2005, married in June of 2012 and expanded their duo to a threesome in July of 2013. In addition to being a mom, she is a CPA by day, as well as enjoys being an amateur chef and baker and binge watching TV series.

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