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Ask An Expert: Decorating Your Bedroom On A Budget

Toni Nulton (credit, TLN INteriors

Toni Nulton
TLN Interiors
Elk Grove, CA 95757
(916) 531-6195

TLN Interiors' owner Toni Nulton has a wall full of awards backing up the stellar reputation she has earned in the Sacramento region. The list includes eight Contractor of the Year awards from prestigious NARI, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. In addition to creating designs for high-end properties and offering project management and consultation services, Nulton has worked with many people who have limited budgets. High quality designs and gorgeous, stylish interiors do not have to carry a hefty price tag; Nulton often uses supporting pieces she finds in consignment shops or thrift stores. She also helps do-it-yourselfers create a plan of action for color schemes, layering in details and overall getting a road-map for how to make their dream home a reality.

Make a kid's bedroom fun and functional without breaking the piggy bank.

"These days," says Nulton, "there are so many easy ways" to create budget-friendly bedrooms for children. Inexpensive peel-and-stick wall decals featuring fun colors and characters are available in many stores and are easy to remove. As the kids grow, new decals can be used to update the bedroom's style without much effort or expense. For safety and functionality, consider wall-mounted lighting, as it cannot be knocked over and it does not use up valuable surface space. Nulton likes the wide selection and low prices in IKEA's lighting department, and uses miniature, hanging chalkboards from craft supply stores to label shelves where kids can put away their clothes, toys and books.

Related: Ask A Sacramento Expert: Tips For Hosting A Baby Shower

Make the most of college dorm rooms by going vertical.

In addition to offering very little space, dorms require that no permanent marks or nail holes be made in the walls. Nulton again suggests removable decals, such as the large tree decal she put around a window in her daughter's dorm room. "A post-card collage creates vertical décor without damaging walls," she adds, explaining that post cards or greeting cards attached to a ribbon can be hung from an adhesive hook with a no-damage release tab. Pillows and bedding from Ikea are "beautiful, graphic and cheap."

Plan ahead and take your time.

"Decide on an overall theme before you start to shop," says Nulton, suggesting hanging pictures from design magazines or Pinterest on the walls as you plan. Figure out your style from a long list that includes country rustic, industrial, contemporary, coastal or mid-century modern. Then instead of buying expensive custom furniture, purchase basic pieces and "dress" yourself. Nulton scours flea markets and consignment stores for pieces that will look like a million dollars once a little time is invested. She recalls paying $5 for a battered nightstand at a thrift store. She scraped off the old finish, repainted it and added a basket to the bottom for storage – voila, a gorgeous piece of furniture for almost nothing.

Get eclectic.

Although many prefer to keep the room simple and restful, there is no rule stating that your bedroom décor has to match or be monochromatic. Inexpensive throw pillows can pull together a look that is otherwise more eclectic, and going DIY can keep the costs way down. Consignment and thrift stores, estate sales and low-cost import shops can offer cool décor, and mixing pieces can create a unique look. Nulton likes to use reclaimed wood from recycling centers to make one-of-a-kind pieces for bedrooms. She painted one headboard with a base color, and then ran a wide, dry bristle brush over it to add texture.

Change up your basics with less expensive accessories.

Redecorating can be pricing, especially if you like to change up the look more often. Nulton suggests using basic colors and designs for most bedroom furniture, then accessorizing with inexpensive lamps, bedding, throw pillows or accent pieces. When you are ready for a change, accessories can be updated as you find new ones in different colors or designs. Basic pieces can also be repainted or texturized, resulting in a brand new look for the room.

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Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people.
Her work can be found at

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