Outfitting and decorating children’s spaces can cost a small fortune…but it doesn’t have to! Today I have rounded up inspiring photos of real kids rooms put together with more style and creativity than cash. These families have used cool vintage furniture and hand-me-downs to great effect, and are masters at the art of finding new uses for old things. Let’s take a look…
This room in Swedish photographer Mari Eriksson’s home is a great example of what can be accomplished with a little resourcefulness. Small tables and chairs can often be found at yard sales and vintage shops: if it’s a tacky color, just paint it! In fact, if you end up getting a bunch of mismatched little pieces of wood furniture, just set aside a day to have a painting party and paint everything the same color. Cheery tin canisters like the ones on top of the cabinet can often be had for mere pennies at junk shops, and they are perfect for storing toys with small pieces or for crafting supplies. And notice the art hung on the wall? It’s a string simply pinned to the wall with clothespins to hang the artwork.
As an alternative to the string, you could use something like Tracy did: it’s a cable system (you can get a similar one from IKEA) that you attach to your wall. I like how she has hung several rows on a blank wall to create a mini art gallery
Old wooden crates like the one Mari has used on the bottom shelf here are easy to find, and they make fantastic containers for bigger toys like blocks, train sets, and legos.
In Esther’s home in the Netherlands, an old trunk becomes a table perfect for tea parties and drawing, and has the bonus of providing ample storage space inside. The gondola was also a vintage find (love that!).
Later, Esther turned the same trunk on its side, filled it with soft pillows and blankets and turned it into a cozy reading nook/hideout – total genius! If I were doing this with younger kids in the house, I would remove the trunk lid so little fingers and heads don’t get bonked.
Danish blogger, potter, and children’s clothes designer Mette has used a small IKEA table in lieu of a traditional changing table, with a comfy changing pad on top and diapers and wipes in little baskets below. Also, if you look to the top of the big white cabinet, you will notice two little birdcages: filled with white twinkle lights, each one becomes a soothing nightlight. Mette and her children call them “fireflies”!
This sturdy vintage high chair has found new life as a doll’s high chair in the play kitchen of Nathalie Bearben’s daughter Kennedy.
The ever-inspiring Amanda Soule of Soule Mama found this armoire on the side of the road! She used vintage fabric to cover the missing panes (just tacked to the inside), and now it hides a wealth of arts & crafts supplies behind those doors.
In another corner of Amanda’s home, she used a bit more of the same vintage fabric to dress up an old pin-board.
Crafter and Blogger Melissa used a “Bob the Builder” play tent as a pattern, and constructed this one from a fabric she loved.
I love this idea from Amanda Soule for its utter simplicity: take scraps of pretty fabric, clamp into old embroidery hoops, and hang in a cluster for instant wall art with homespun charm.
Not sure where to put that? Get a basket! Amanda once again shows us how it’s done (photos above and below). Baskets for books, baskets for play food. One for pillows and blankies, one to cart out to the yard. Well-crafted baskets can be pricey, but they last forever and they’re endlessly useful. Alternatively, there are lots of good options at stores like IKEA, and they turn up often at thrift stores and yard sales as well.
To recap, here are some tips & tricks to help you pull together a warm, inviting child’s space without breaking the bank:
1. Pick up mismatched children’s furniture at yard sales and vintage shops, and paint it all the same color to create a cohesive look.
2. Cheerful vintage canisters and tins make excellent storage for small toys & art supplies.
3. String up your own art wire to make a rotating gallery instead of spending money on frames.
4. Look at old things with new eyes: Can that trunk be turned into a table? Can you save that fruit crate and use it to store blocks?
5. Freshen things up with fabric you love: Cover a boring corkboard, rescue a vintage armoire with missing panes, or create inexpensive wall art.
6. When in doubt, get a basket
All photos in this article © the individuals cited in this post, and were found via Cookie Magazine’s Nesting Blog