Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Birthday Bedroom Reveal (Redoing a Room on a Zero Budget)

Well, despite having to blow my nose about once every three seconds yesterday and having a son home sick, I put together his new room for him.  Mainly because we are expecting guests for his actual birthday later in the week and I didn't want to feel pressured to do too much at one time.  This also allows him to get used to the room before he has to deal with guests too.  So far he loves his new room, so score one for me ;).

So, first here's the room that I had to deal with before...

The shelf above, by the way is actually a toddler bench I got on Amazon for 10.00 when my son was really tiny (like 6 months old or so) in preparation of getting a house so we could give him his own room.  Unfortunately the bench didn't get much use as by the time we found a house and moved to our new place, my son was just too darn big for the bench anymore.  So my husband converted the bench into a shelf for the wall (and yes, it's straight in case you are wondering in later pictures.  I kept taking the photo of the shelf at an angle, so it looks wonky.  Sorry).

The wooden bedside table needed to go.  It's sturdy and we love it to pieces, but my son spent most of his time standing on it to pull all of the trucks my husband put up on his shelf down on top of his head, so it was time for a changing on the proverbial guard there.  There are some things missing from these photos too.  I pulled a gigantic rocking horse out of the bedroom and put it into storage that my husband had made a couple of years ago and I took a huge car race track thingy that my son spent most of his time standing on and put it into storage too.  So, the room wasn't QUITE as sparse as the photos make it appear.

Please excuse the very dirty mirror in the photo.  I was in a hurry and was also sick, so I just left the effort to clean the mirror until after I was done setting up the room.

And now for the after pics!  I'm quite proud of this room.  Considering the ONLY money I spent out of pocket was for 7.00 for some quilt binding for the quilt and 1.00 (that I dug out of spare change we had around here to pay for) for a shelf, I thought I did pretty darned well.

My son LOVES cars (all those moving parts you know), so I went with car racing as the theme for his room.  Formula One racing to be more exact :).


 When you first enter the room you see this.  I got this car mat at a used store for 1.00 probably about six years ago.  We've had it in the kid's rooms on and off throughout the years, but my son for the longest time liked to sleep on the floor and since he sucked on a bottle...well there was always a lot of milk and mess on the mat and I finally just threw it into storage because I got tired of cleaning it on TOP of the carpet underneath it.  I pulled it back out of storage, ran the carpet cleaner over it a ton of times to clean it up and now the kiddos have a place to play cars.

Here's the quilt I made for him.  The black quilt binding is where the 7.00 I was talking about went.  The blue border material was a very nice quality twin sheet I picked up at a used store a while ago. When I cut the material up to make the quilt I then used some of the left over material to make a matching pillow sham. 
I then embroidered this design on the pillow sham.  I thought I did pretty well for a gal who is usually pretty inept at drawing machines.
I made a racing themed bunting for the one big wall (it's the only really BIG expanse of wall without anything like closets, windows or shelves interrupting the space).  I used scrap material and ribbon I already had.  My inspiration was all the different flags used in racing (green for go, white and black for the checkered flag, red for warning, yellow for caution).  I thought it turned out pretty cool myself especially since I eyeballed the spacing on the flags as I was sewing along.

The prints on the wall were from the good ol' internet.  I was looking for Formula One types of vintage posters to print off and I ran into these Cars 2 promotional posters.  I loved them, printed two of them off (there are four in the series) and put them in frames that I had in the house already.  And voila!  Formula One themed prints :).

If interested you can find the prints here.  Just page down to the gallery and look for the prints in the mess of photos.  They're pretty cool!

I hope to dig up a couple of more frames at the used stores or hiding around here somewhere so I can print off the other two prints, maybe for Christmas for my son and put them in other areas of his room.

Here's a view of the shelves on the other side of his bed.  The wire shelf was from the used store for 1.00.  There were two shelves there and I had two dollars in pocket change and immediately bought them both.  The picture doesn't really do the shelves justice.  They are pretty well built.  The other shelf I put in my bathroom to put things on to replace the shelf I had taken out of it for my daughter's room.

The other wooden shelf has moved with us since we moved into our previous home (another hold over from the previous owners).  It's rotated around.  Most recently it housed my limited collection of Pyrex casseroles in my kitchen, but I cleaned it off and put it in here instead. 

On top of the shelf I put these.  I had bought some all natural hand made wooden cars at a used store for .25 a piece a long while ago and placed them in the "gifts to be" pile.  They were so cheap because they had pen graffiti from the previous owners (read: doodles) all over them.  I used some acrylic paints I already had around the house from previous projects, looked up Formula One color schemes that would match the colors I had (with a bit of help from my husband) and I ended up with two Formula One cars in American blue and British green.  I think they turned out really nice myself.

And here is the new beside table, of which I'm extremely proud of having come up with this idea.  I had an old barrel that my husband's grandfather gave us years ago.  Originally the two barrels we brought back housed dishes to give to my mother-in-law.  We gave her the dishes but kept the barrels.  This is the bigger of the two.  It originally had a vintage type of wallpaper on the outside of it that had seen MUCH better days.  The paper was flaking off the sides bad and the top of the barrel was rusting.  It had been sitting in the garage taking up space and so I figured I could use it for a new bedside table. 

I wrapped the barrel in white drawing paper (the kind that comes on the roll) and then printed the Mobil logo onto photo paper off of the internet.  I then wrapped as much as I could of the barrel in laminating paper to stop my son from hopefully causing much liquid damage on it.  I tried to match a vintage looking oil drum as much as possible.  My husband thinks I did a pretty good job, so that's good enough for me.

Then came the lid.  I took sand paper my husband had and sanded all of the rust off of the lid.  I then took a can of silver spray paint my husband had and gave the lid a couple of coats (it's a rust resistant paint too, which is a good thing as the lid is going to take abuse I'm sure).

This is probably my son's favorite part of his new room thus far.  Because the barrel is empty he can hit the lid and it's essentially like a big drum.  He LOVES the noise *laugh*.

Next to the "oil drum" is an empty five gallon bucket or "waste oil" container that is currently housing dirty laundry.  Total coincidence that it worked out the bucket would go with the theme, but I'll take it ;).

And above the bedside oil drum is the new contents of his shelf.  I had empty coffee cans that I hated to just throw away.  I looked at them and thought they'd make cool old oil cans if I could find labels to put on them.  I thought I would have to try and draw them by hand, but the internet wowed me again when I found this template and tutorial.  I only printed off the automotive oil labels and only printed off three of them (seeing as how I had three cans).  I put the labels on with packaging tape (once again for protection to the paper to help save them from abuse by my paper eating son).  My husband loves these.  I think it's his favorite part of the decor. 

I then put some of my son's books on auto racing and machines on the shelf and placed his little rubber band run race car on the shelf too.  This gives him less motivation to get into things on the shelf as his trucks are now more on his level in the room below.  He checked out the shelf for a few minutes and then shrugged and went back to playing on his bed. 

On top is his Speed Racer Mach 5 nightlight my husband found at a used store ages ago and a gasoline truck coin bank my brother-in-law gave to my son for Christmas, I think it was last year. 

Over by his closet didn't change much (thus the lack of pics of that wall).  All I did there was take down all of the old and outdated artwork I had hanging up of his and put this piece up of his I had framed.  I always thought it was really cool splatter painting and it reflects the colors of the space well.  So, I hung it up in his room instead of in my stairway.

I always try to incorporate pictures the kids have made themselves into the house and their spaces.  Sometimes the best artwork is the artwork you do yourself :).

Overall, for a non-budget makeover, I thought I did pretty decent.  And my son loves the new room, so double bonus there.

Lesson here folks?  NEVER let being broke dissuade you from at least trying to do something.  Sometimes you might just surprise yourself.


  1. It looks great Erika! I love the prints and labels you found to carry on the racing/automotive theme. The artwork made me think of a project we do in the library sometimes, if our theme is cars or transportation or we want to explore creating with unexpected tools. We set out shallow paper plates with a little paint and toy car in each color of paint. The kids "paint" with the cars by dipping the car wheels in the paint and then driving them over their paper. If you use complementary colors they will mix nicely and it's a really cool project. We only use cheap plastic cars we pick up at the dollar store and I imagine you could find some neat stuff at the thrift store that you might not feel too bad about dipping into paint.

  2. That's a great idea, Laura! Thank you! I'll have to keep my eye out for some cheap cars at the used store to do that with :).

  3. I love the bedroom make-over.Your son must adore his new quilt and pillow did a great job.

  4. Wow, you did a super job! Your embroidery skills are impressive : )
    So glad your son loves it - that's the most important part.

  5. Great job! I especially love the embroidery and the oils cans. The Hess truck made me smile. My first job out of college was with Amerada Hess and we got one of the trucks each year for Christmas. It was a fun gift especially given how very formal the company was. :).

  6. You did a great job! I am amazed at your creativity!