• MJ

Polka Ballerina Bedroom

DIY girl's bedroom on a budget

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This whole project cost me a total of GBP72/EUR80, or just under US$90!!!

Miss E was just turning 4 when she moved into this room. She was really into music and ballet at the time. So with that in mind, and a tight budget, I set to work.

I started by scouring Pinterest and Instagram for ideas and inspiration. A great way to define your ideas for your project is to create your very own Pinterest Mood Board, containing pictures, colours, textures, materials and whatever else excites you. Keep going back to this to gradually build up your design.

I looked online at a lot of sites and pinned and pasted anything that inspired me on my Mood Board: girl's bedrooms, ballet/ballerinas, shapes, patterns, colour swatches ... This helped me paint a picture of what I wanted the room to look like. I've copied some of my Mood Board below.

I wanted a quiet room for her. Muted colours came to mind first and then I decided on a cool grey and pink to go with the white wall. We lived in the tropics at that time and it was always hot and humid outside!

The Wall

The bed was my first concern. It had no headboard! So I chose the least complicated option I could think of. I used removable wall decals to fill the area where a headboard would be.

Wall decals are especially useful for kids' rooms since (mark my word) you’ll want to redecorate in 2 years time time if not sooner. It's also a good option if you rent your place, as more and more of us do. They are inexpensive, you can do it yourself, and they won’t ruin the wall when you move house.

Dots fascinate me. They are so versatile and would instantly cheer up the room. I came across this shop on Etsy on my quest for the perfect dots. The owner has made some lovely fabric decals. Yes, she did polka dots and hers came with a watercolour effect! She also kindly customised the size of my dots which were in pretty pink and silvery grey.

The Curtains

Our plain grey curtains would have been perfect for the room but they were just a bit ...well ... plain for a little girl. Looking back to my Mood Board, I thought those ballerina pink sateen ribbons would look marvellous with the grey.

So off I went to get some pink cotton fabric. I cut them into strips, sewed them along the middle of the top fold with gaps between the strips and added two big bows at each end. They look rather cheerful now, n'est-ce pas?

The Bedding and Floor Rugs

Beds and rugs are also important parts of your overall design. I left this part for later but in the end I never got round to it. My idea was to line the top of the bed blanket with the same design as the curtains, but as it needed more careful and neat sewing, I thought I should leave it to mum. Bummer, she didn't want to do it.

I took the photo below after adding a few things. I thought that the polka wall, the pink bedside table/chair and the doll house around the bed had already given colours and textures to balance the otherwise plain bedding. What do you think?

Other Fixtures

To hold the dollhouse I used a clear acrylic side table that I'd bought years back at Muji . We also had two old style chairs from our previous place that needed a home so I painted them in powder pink (the curtains and bedding are already dominantly grey) and put one for the night table and another at the foot of the bed.

Another fixture I wanted to change was the wardrobe door handles which were old and somewhat rusty. They just nagged to be replaced. They looked better after swapping in a mix of white, silver and pink door knobs.

A basket was needed to keep clutter out of sight. I hate clutter! IKEA’s FLADIS fits that purpose, the only problem being was that it was also a bit plain. Miss E pointed out that the basket would look great with pompoms. We strung three of them together, attached silvery ribbons on either side and tied them on the basket handles. Et voilà!

Next we painted an old IKEA BEKVAM spice rack in white and attached it upside down over the bed to house some relegated toys and such. You can see it in the photo below with a nice caricature of Miss E done by a street artist in Semarang, Indonesia.

The Lamp

Finally, something to make it ‘pop’. A centrepiece! But what? I decided that it would be the overhead lighting.

I saw a rice paper lampshade at IKEA that gave a nice soft light but it wasn't covered at the bottom. I really liked it but there'd be too much glare. So I went online for inspiration using this particular shade. I saw many great ideas but none covered the exposed part at the bottom. Just by chance, around the same time I was looking for a DIY birthday card design for a good friend of Miss E and I saw a pop-up card design with a hot air balloon.

That gave me an idea! I carried on googling and voilà….it's been done before...not exactly what I had in mind, but some good ideas of how to do it using materials I already had. I repurposed an old IKEA basket, some unwanted teddies, leftover buttons and some pink ribbons. You can see the result below. Impressed?

The Bedroom Door

Last to do was something for the door. We hung a small picture that Miss E's teacher took during one of her art shows. A pound shop (dollar store) frame, some leftover ribbons and wrapping paper, a 3M removable hanger and I had the door sign I wanted.

Apart from my time, that I thoroughly enjoyed, the project cost us about GBP70 (EUR80/USD90). And our dear Miss E really liked it!

On the same theme, see Miss E's 5th birthday post here for more inspiration.

If you're interested in this type of project, get in touch with me. Let me know on the form what you're looking to do, what inspiration you're lacking and let's see how I can help. You'll stay in the loop for updates, upcoming events, competitions and giveaways.

Hope to see you next time!


P.S. Here's some work in progress for Miss E's latest bedroom in our new place. Read all about it in future posts.