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Trash to Treasure Decorating {in the Boys’ Bedroom}

Trash to Treasure Decorating. What is it? Why do it? What does it have to do with our boys’ bedroom? Well…

Decorating can be expensive. Really expensive. Pulling together a whole bedroom can cost an arm and a leg…

I love ogling over the beautifully designed kid’s rooms in the Pottery Barn catalogue but could never afford to just order it all.

And, truly, I wouldn’t want to.

There is something super satisfying about hunting and searching and collecting your accessories…. pulling them together over time. It also gives your room a little bit of a unique edge – by having things that you have found and collected just to suit your space it doesn’t look like you just dialed a 1-800 number to order in your entire room scheme. Finding things that are destined for the landfill that you can rescue and redeem.

So that is I tried to do with the boys’ room. It has been a LOOONG time in the works- and that has it’s advantages. I collected all through last year’s garage sale season. And now all those trash to treasure decorating items are helping finish off the room exactly as I was hoping.

Trash to treasure finds for decorating the boys' room at the happy housie resized


Let’s start with one of my favourite finds in the room – this old crate. I got it at a garage sale for FREE. Literally… it cost me nothing. Some may say that they probably paid me to haul this thing away, but I love the old, rustic, look of it. And it already had a hole cut in the top so I just plopped a mesh basket inside and we use it as the boys’ laundry hamper. I love that it still has part of an original label on it- I wonder what it would have been used for. If you look closely you can see it says “Vancouver” and “Made in Japan”. Hmm…. I love pieces that are so unique and really make you wonder about their history.

trash to treasure old crate laundry basket at the happy housie


Another favourite is this old tool box that I picked up at a garage sale for $1. I gave it a good cleanup and used it to hold books on the boys’ bookshelf. I love the old, rustic feel of it – and it is super practical. All their little books and board books fit perfectly inside and are easy to find and put away. Can’t beat that.

trash to treasure tool box book display at the happy housie

In fact, many of the ‘accesories’ in the room were hunted down at garage sales or thrift shops:

Trash to treasure finds for bookcase decorating boys room at the happy housie R

The white horse on the top right used to be an ugly 70s brownish color but was quickly and thriftily changed up with a few coats of white spray paint. That one was actually my oldest son’s pick (he gets $2 of his own each time we go garage saling).

The old prop (part of a boat’s propeller) was picked up at a garage sale- the guy wanted $10 but when I told him it was just for decoration in my sons’ room he let me have it for $5. I didn’t paint it or clean it up much but you could give it a fresh coat of spray paint for a more modern look.

All the Junior Classics books on the top two shelves were picked up for $2 for the box full at a garage sale. They have a great vintage look and may even make fun stories to read (one day down the road).

The little cross stitched ocean scene was in the free bin at a garage sale- it had a dark brown frame that I fixed up with some more white spray paint.

The mini wagon that Mario is hanging out in was bought at our school’s Santa Shop last year (kind of like a big garage sale before Christmas where kids can buy gifts for their family). I think it cost $0.50.

Trash to Treasure Decorating in the boys' bedroom at The Happy Housie tall

So all in all, trash to treasure can be a great way to decorate. If you have a room plan in mind then keep your eye out over a period of time and you never know what kind of scores may arrive. It’s all part of that idea that HOME isn’t built in a day. Enjoy the journey.

It pays off in more way then one.

This Sunday is the Get Your DIY On Challenge: Trash to Treasure.


Now for a little more Trash to Treasure Inspiration – head over to check out what my cohosts rescued from the brink of the landfill.


Goodwill Tray Transformation by Mandy at The Hankful House

Stenciled Chair Makeover by Abby at Just a Girl and Her Blog

Painted Garage Sale Stool by April at House by Hoff

Pretty Stool for Her from a Men’s Valet Stand by Christy at Confessions of a Serial DIY-er

 We hope to see you back this Sunday to share your Trash to Treasure Projects!! The Party goes live at 7pm EST.

Thanks for reading. And remember my housie friends, HOME isn’t built in a day. Enjoy the journey.



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    1. Hi Katie- I love the toolbox too, though the crate looks much better in real life as well… wish I could have managed a good picture of it!

  1. My favourite is the tool box full of books. I never would have thought to use one in that way. I can’t wait for garage sale season to start up again. Thanks for the good ideas!

  2. Love it–and it gives me some ideas for my son’s room…although he would dump the books out of the tool box and play Handy Manny almost immediately. 😉 Have you also thought of using the crate to hold balls or stuffed animals? It looks like it was made for it!

  3. Can you tell me where you got the blue chevron paper lining the back of the bookcases?! I must have it. 🙂

    1. Hi Christina! It is actually just wrapping paper that I picked up at Home Sense (Home Goods in the US) – it is quite a thick and nice quality paper and works great as a backdrop on the bookshelf. I only used loops of tape to hold it up and it seems to be staying perfectly!!

  4. I love all your garage sale finds!!!! Of course anything that is yard sale is awesome in my eyes. I can’t wait for yard sale season to start here again. I am going through withdrawal. 🙂

  5. I love your blog and your ideas. It gives me some inspiration to see what all you do with someone elses castoffs. I am going to be moving into a bigger home and am looking for things to decorate with. You are giving me some great ideas. Please keep them coming 🙂

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