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Almost Free: Create a Bedroom You Love on a Budget

Master Bedroom with DIY upholstered headboard at thehappyhousie


Almost free.  This phrase reminds me of bartering at markets when you ask “how much is this?” and the answer is “almost free”. There are definitely things we bought and paid for in our Master Bedroom. Even things that we purchased at regular retail stores and not at thrift stores or garage sales. But a lot of the big items in the room were, in fact, free. Here are some details to help you create a bedroom you love on a budget.



If you can’t find what you like, make it! 

Master Bedroom with DIY Upholstered headboard and matching bedskirt at thehappyhousie

Making an upholstered headboard was a fairly easy process. I have no pictures of us creating ours as it was a few years ago now, but there are many good tutorials available online. We used plywood, foam, some batting, fabric, and a staple gun. We attached the headboard to the wall by attaching an angle cut 2×4 to the back of it, and then attaching the opposite angled 2×4 to the wall (so that the headboard 2×4 nestles nicely into the wall 2X4). The fabric was purchased from ebay for $30 and there was enough to do the headboard and to create a faux matching bedskirt. For the faux bedskirt I simply cut straight lengths of fabric, including smaller sections to act as the corners. I then hemmed all edges with no-sew iron on hem tape, and then duct taped the skirt to the bedframe underneath the mattress. It now looks like we have a custom made fully upholstered bed and the whole project cost well under $100. There are a ton of other fun DIY headboard ideas out there – just do a search on Pinterest and you will have more ideas than you could have imagined.


Accept Hand-me-Downs and Upcycle Them

Master Bedroom with upcycled free dresser at thehappyhousie

If friends or family or neighbours are getting rid of furniture, give it a chance! The big ol’ black dresser used to be a super high gloss dark dark brown pine. We stripped the top and refinished it with stain and varathane, then painted the base black and added matching handles.


Keep your eye open when you are driving (But of course still watch the road!)

master bedroom at thehappyhousie

 We picked up our nightstands for free on the side of the road. Look for “shape” when you are looking at old furniture – if you love the shape, don’t worry about the finish. Our nightstands aren’t even solid wood, but with a coat of primer and some leftover red paint they now tie in perfectly with our headboard.


Shop at Thrift Stores, Garage Sales, Markets, and Clearance sections

leaning gallery on dresser in Master Bedroom at thehappyhousie

The blue lamp was purchased at a thrift shop for $5. It used to be an ugly browny gold color that didn’t pay homage to it’s truly beautiful shape. With some primer, craft paint, and a top coat of varathane it is transformed. (Tip: make sure 2nd hand lamps are in working order before purchasing). The shade was picked up for $5 on clearance at Walmart.

The white star was picked up at a Vintage shop and painted white, and the seagull print was purchased at our neighbours moving sale. The window frame was found in the garage at our first house when we moved in, and we painted it and replaced the glass with mirror.

leaning old window mirror on dresser in Master Bedroom at thehappyhousie


Master Bedroom with 3D birds on wall and ladder blanket display at thehappyhousieI also picked up the bamboo ladder at the same market. It used to live in my son’s nursery but has been repurposed in our bedroom to display a white matelassé.


Shop Big Box and Retail: but only buy things you LOVE

Master Bedroom with DIY upholstered headboard at thehappyhousie

Don’t be afraid of big box! Just because you are buying something at a retail or big box store (like Walmart, Canadian Superstore, IKEA, or my favourite, Home Sense) doesn’t mean that it can’t be beautiful. But only buy something if you LOVE it. I have picked up cute little accessories, art, and bedding at these stores and successfully mixed them with other thrifted/DIYed/retail pieces to create a look that we love. The art in both these pictures (including the birds) was bought at Walmart. The lamps and the blue and green floral pillows are from Home Sense. And the baskets and white bedding is from Canadian Superstore. These pieces are mixed in with our upcycled furniture and accessories, DIY upholstered bed, Coombs market purchases and my homemade red chevron pillow. The key is to not go out and purchase everything at once from a retail or big box store. Give yourself time and let your look and style evolve as you find and make things you love.


Find an Inspiration Piece Use Paint/Fabric/Art to your room together

Master Bedroom view from hallway at thehappyhousie

Begin with or search out an inspiration piece that creates a scheme.

It could be a piece of art, a fabric, cushions or a throw. Use this as an anchor to tie together the rest of the pieces in your room. In our Master Bedroom our anchor piece is the throw at the bottom of our bed. I bought it at a nearby country market. I love how it ties together all the colours in the room and helps connect the master bedroom with the darker teal in the attached Ensuite Bathroom.

Remember that paint is your best friend!

I used paint, and lots of it in our bedroom revamp. I painted quite a few things in our room to give them the look that I wanted (dressers, nightstands, lamp, vase, frames, ladder) and to tie them together with the colour scheme of the room.

Master Bedroom before and progress at thehappyhousie


 Free / Thrifted/ DIY or homemade items:

  • both dressers (given to us by friends and family)
  • the bedside tables (found on the side of the road)
  • the blue lamp (thrift store)
  • the window frame turned mirror (found in the garage at our first house)
  • the seagull print (a neighbours moving sale)
  • white star on wall (used to be black) picked up at a vintage shop
  • DIY upholstered headboard and matching bedskirt ($30 fabric bought off ebay)
  • Red chevron bolster pillow made by me with fabric from Fabric.com

Items we purchased retail:

  • the bed and bedframe
  • the bedding
  • Pillows: blue and green floral pillows are from Homesense,
  • the silver and green lamps on the nightstands are from Homesense
  • accessories on dresser were picked up at various stores over the years

Update: We have since made a few changes in our Master Bedroom: Check out Summer Master Bedroom: Gallery Wall and Mixing Pattern on the Bed  to see how it looks right now…

master bedroom for summer new gallery wall over dresser at thehappyhousiemaster bedroom for summer bed with ikat bedding large envelope cushions at thehappyhousie











Remember, my housie friends, HOME wasn’t built in a day. Enjoy the journey!






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  1. I’m in love with BOTH these color schemes, it looks excellent and it’s very inspiring to know you did it all on a budget 🙂

  2. Amazing bedroom! You are a creative and wise woman. All those recycled and low-cost pieces of furniture are beautiful and elegant. I am speechless with your budgeting skill. The room turned out so neat and stylish. And those pillows are astonishing!

    1. Hi Brittany! I got the quilted throw at a local market that sells international finds… though I have seen some similar ones online at Wayfair before. Good luck with the search – and thanks for your visit!

  3. Beautiful room. I love how all the colors work together. I have an inspiration piece for my daughter’s room, taking my time finding thrifting and buying all the right coordinating items. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Sarah!
      I used to want to just ‘get it all done’… but now I so much more enjoy taking my time and collecting, searching, making, and upcycling. The room feels so much more personal that way:)

  4. Looks great! I love the pillows and the wall color. What paint color did you use on the bedroom walls?

    1. Hi Paige! It is called Blue Bow by CIL – just purchased at Walmart after my Benjamin Moore color pick was an epic fail and my husband and I could hardly sleep in the room because it was so florescent!! This blue is soft and pretty but still quite blue:) I love living in it!

  5. Your before and after picture says it all. Wow. What a difference.
    I am featuring this post, Krista, on Ducks ‘n a Row’s blog hop this week.
    We go live at 7pm EDT. Tell your friends and stop by!

    Ducks ‘n a Row

  6. Thank you SO MUCH for this post! WE have an IKEA bead that we have loved for ever but now I think it is just time for somthing new. We got new dresers and have just felt the bed was wrong for us. You have given me so much to think about. Seriously I will be up all night thinking of what to do to up date my bed! LOL

    I am new to your blog but so glad to have found it! Fallowing you now 🙂

    1. Hi Kasey,
      I am glad I gave you some things to think about! So glad you found me too, am thrilled to have you following! Nice to meet you:)

    1. Thank you Val! The pillows are one of my favourite parts too… They really help tie the whole room together. Thanks so much for your visit!!

  7. Gorgeous room Krista! I love the colors…and this is right up my alley. 😉 My house if full of thrifts, hand me downs, etc. It’s amazing what you can do, and how inexpensively you can decorate a home! 🙂 I LOVE it!!
    I’m so glad you shared it on the Project Inspire{d} party this week. 🙂

    1. Thanks Nancy! I love to decorate that way as well… plus then you can do so much more when you are creative and not spending a lot while doing it:) Thanks for hosting, I love your party!

  8. I LOVE your makeover! So pretty! I color all the fun colors you brought in. I also really like that saying in the one picture. So neat! Thanks so much for sharing at Thursday’s Temptation. Your link got the most views so I will be featuring it tonight at this weeks link party!

  9. I love that you duct taped your bed skirt on!! My is seriously wonky right now and I was thinking I would have to take it off to sew… I may just get out the tape :o)

  10. Everything goes really great together! I love the pillow colors, the window mirror, and the awesome subway art sign! Great tips too 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing with us at Weekend Wonder! Hope you’re having a lovely day!

  11. Oh my gosh the fake bedskirt is BRILLIANT! I just finished a tufted headboard this weekend and didn’t even think about adding the same fabric as the bedskirt to make it look like one whole, cohesive piece!

    So glad I saw this! Back to the fabric store I go!! 🙂


  12. The bedroom looks absolutely PERFECT Krista!

    Thanks sooo much for partying with me! Can’t wait to see what you link up at The DIY Dreamer… From Dream To Reality tomorrow evening!

    1. Hi Lora,
      The ladder was natural bamboo but I painted it white – I love the lightness and texture it adds to the room. Thanks so much for your visit and comments!!

    1. Thank you Gretchen. It was easy! Just a little duct tape to attach the no-sew fabric strips to the boxspring. I look forward to seeing how yours turns out!

    1. Hi Christy! Thank you. The seagull print was bought at our neighbours ‘moving sale’ when they sold their house, and the little white birdies are from Walmart (shhhhh)…. but I have seen similar ones at Urban Barn. Thanks for your visit!

    1. Thank you! I love the white birds against the blue walls – feels so summery:) I will hop over to your party – thanks for the invite:)

  13. Your room is lovely and so colorful! I always advise people to decorate with items that you truly love and that have personal meaning. What could be more meaningful than something you made yourself or found on fun thrifting day…and who can resist the high of getting a bargain! 🙂

    1. Hi Julie,
      Okay… I am going to admit (with only a tinge of embarrassment) that it is from Walmart. I know… but good find, right? I LOVED the colours and the saying… so I got over the big box storeness of it… just like I was talking about in the post:) Thanks so much for your visit!

  14. Wowwwww Amazing Job Krista! I looks so Homey now! Lovely!

    Thank you so much for sharing, so many great ideas!

    Cami @ TitiCrafty blogspot

    1. Hi Crystelle,
      I got the ladder from a local area market called The Coombs Country Market. They have lots of super cool fun import stuff. It used to be natural bamboo colour, so of course I had to paint it:) Maybe they would be available at import stores. Or an old vintage ladder would be a great blanket hanger too.

  15. Love what you did, especially on a budget. I’m in the need of a bed-skirt for my guest bedroom redo, I’m think I’m going to just try and make my own after seeing how nice yours turned out. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Hi Christina,
      Thanks…the bedskirt was easy and looks really high-end in person. I would highly recommend trying it! Thank you so much for your visit and your kind comments:-)

    1. Hi Amanda,
      So thrilled to have you following along!! I will definitely hop over and check out your party, thank you for the invite. See you again soon!

  16. Wow!! I LOVE the difference in your before and after pictures!! GORGEOUS room!! I’m very jealous:) These are all great tips! Thanks for sharing them! I came over from Mom on Time Out.

  17. Love your room and those pillows! Our bedroom is also mostly free – hand-me-downs, curbside finds, DIY and yard sales. All great places to find treasures. 🙂

    1. Hi Anu! It is more fun to collect it that way, isn’t it… then when you look around at it all you remember it’s story. I love when things in our home have a little secret story to tell 🙂 Thanks so much for your comments!!

    1. Thanks Melissa, I always feel calm and contented looking around our room when I go to bed at night… that is the whole point of decorating it I guess:) Thanks for your visit!

    1. Thanks Abby! Everything is done on a budget around here… like to save for other things too (like our children’s education fund, lol).

  18. Great job on fixing up your bedroom on such a sweet budget! I love re-purposing garbage and fixing up furniture.
    Saw you sharing at Whimsy Wednesdays
    Debbie 🙂

    1. Hi Debbie,
      So thrilled you came by! I LOVE fixing up stuff that other people saw as garbage too… feels so good to complete a transformation like that, doesn’t it? Thanks so much for your visit!

    1. Hi Steph,
      Thanks… I love the color and the print of the pillows… they make the task of making my bed in the morning fun!! Thanks so much for your visit and comments!

  19. I love the colors in your room and I especially love your faux bedskirt. I really would like a bedskirt, but they are so expensive and often not quite right, but your idea sounds so easy. Thanks.

    1. Hi PJ,
      Thanks for your visit! It really was easy… I encourage anyone to try it. It doesn’t take a ton of fabric, or you could probably even do it using a sheet cut to size, hemmed (or no-sew hemmed) and duct taped to the box spring.

    1. Thanks Kelly, it was a simple and inexpensive solution and the bedskirt looks custom to the bed. I am so thrilled that you came to visit!!

    1. Hi Carol,
      Thank you… and thanks so much for coming by! I think you can turn most things around with a little creativity and elbow grease:)

  20. Thanks for stopping by! Love the bedroom! Almost free is awesome, huh? I love what you said… “if you can’t find what you like, make it”! Totally agree! Hope you have a fabulous week.

    1. Hi Anne,
      I definitely love a room with some colour and pattern in it… not everyone’s taste but it cheers my day:)
      Thank you for coming by!

    1. It is calm and quiet in the evening but sunny and happy in the day… the perfect combination for a bedroom. Thank you for coming by!!

  21. What a colorful and happy room! I love all your ideas! Great inspiration! Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog. Made my day!

    1. Hi Leah,
      So glad you came by to visit as well! I love the cottagey look you have going in your kitchen… I want to add a little of the colourful happy we have in other rooms of the house to our kitchen soon:)

    1. Thank you Tina!
      I am certainly not afraid of colour and pattern and of mixing them up… you know it is ‘right’ when it feels calming, not jarring, despite the number of disparate elements you have included… Thanks so much for your comments,

  22. all these are very good tips you have provided Krista! 🙂 The tip I loved the most was about: to give ourselves time, find the things we love and let your look and style evolve! I agree with you 100% on this one, I’ve made the mistake of buying everything from the same place, thinking it looks good and then after living in that space you realize some accessories or furniture doesn’t make any sense or it’s not even something you like or ever liked but it looked great in the store! Thanks again Krista for all the tips and inspiration! Ingrid

    1. I know Ingrid, I was in such a ‘rush’ at first to get my house decorated (our first house 12 years ago) that I don’t think I always made the best decisions… I have learned a lot since then. Letting things change and evolve over time is the fun part. After all, what would I do if it were actually “done”???

    1. Thank you Selene,
      There is kind of a (hopefully subtle) bird theme going on… maybe it is not so subtle after all:) Thanks so much for coming by and commenting!

    1. Hi Kelly,
      Thanks… it does feel pretty peaceful and relaxing in there at night. I love the pale blue walls – in the evening they feel restful and in the morning they feel energizing. Thanks for your comments!

  23. Krista – you had me coming a-running over to you when I saw the words “almost-free”! Your bedroom is gorgeous! I love the use of colour and your accent pillows are to die! Are those Fabric.com fabrics?

    Either or, amazing job! I would love to own this bedroom!

    1. Hi Tara,
      The two blue large scale flower pillows and the smaller green woven pillow are from Home Sense. The red chevron is homemade with Fabric.com fabric. I think you could recreate the larger ones using a large scale Suzani print like the one put out by Premier Prints (like the one I used for our laundry curtains).

      Aside from a few major things there really was a lot of “free” or very cheap things that went into creating this room. Thanks so much for your comments!

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