We Made Over a Rental Bedroom With $200

published Apr 3, 2018
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The $200 Bedroom Refresh

Redecorating can be a bit overwhelming. You might get stuck deciding on what style is right for you or even just anxious about how much it’ll all cost. Eventually it can get stressful to the point where it just feels easier to avoid altogether and live with what you’ve got.

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Which got me chatting recently with a few fellow editors about what a good “budget” price point would be for a quick room refresh. Sure, I could make $500 stretch pretty far, especially in a small space. It would afford me some new furniture, maybe some fun wallpaper and art, but frankly, it just seemed like too much. Coming up with that kind of money isn’t exactly easy for most of us.

So my next dollar amount was $100, and while the idea of redecorating for that little money seemed exciting (and challenging), I didn’t think it was truly realistic. Which leads me to where we landed: $200. How far could we stretch it based purely on purchases (a.k.a. no DIY)? Taylor, an Audience Development Associate here at Apartment Therapy, generously offered up her own bedroom to us to see what we could do.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Here’s where we started. The room was a good, neutral foundation, and after talking to Taylor about what look she wanted — lots of white, touches of glam and tons of texture — and what she was looking to swap out for new (her bedding), I knew the transformation would be subtle. With the exception of some storage issues and not a ton of light, she kind of already seemed to have the style she was after, it just needed some polish. Which is good, because I knew $200 wouldn’t exactly get us any new furniture (and frankly, Taylor liked what she had already; she was looking for some new decor to spruce things up).

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Based on the dimensions of the room, there wasn’t much that could be done with furniture placement. Everything seemed to be where it fit best, which made my job easy! On the checklist would be new linens and pillows, some more art to jazz up the blank walls, a few new storage solutions and more lighting.

(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

Here’s the “after”. Once Taylor’s tables were cleared off (she already had under-the-bed storage, so most of the loose items she didn’t use often were relocated there), I set out to deliver the “white with touches of glam” bedroom she desired. Her previous duvet was too large for her bed (which is a full, but she was using a queen), so a properly sized cover automatically cleans things up.

The colorful pillow was a “must stay,” as it harkened back to her Jersey roots, but she got a new set of Euro shams (the larger size works particularly well on a metal frame bed and gives a “hotel” vibe), a playful faux sheepskin throw pillow, and a long and luxe velvet lumbar pillow.

(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

Taylor was hoping to bring in some more art, so we found room in the budget to download and print moody flower prints from Etsy (this is one of my favorite tips for budget-friendly art), using frames from another room in her apartment to save where we could.

(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

Another fun trick I love to use in bedrooms and bathrooms? Lazy Susans! They’re awesome for storing/displaying some of your favorite beauty products that you can easily access by just spinning the plate. This one is marble to go with Taylor’s glam aesthetic. A new lamp from Target brings in more light to this vanity area, which is also reflected in the mirror above it (bouncing light in a small room is always a good idea!), while a brass basket (because every room needs a touch of brass IMHO) holds an extra blanket and Taylor’s go-to handbag.

(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)
(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

And finally, another request from Taylor: “Please get me a new bedside lamp.” Knowing her nightstand was pretty small, a sconce was a must to give her as much room on her furniture as possible. As a renter, she couldn’t have anything hardwired, but there are so many great plug-in versions on the market today (we found this one on Amazon).

That’s it! Here’s exactly how we spent our $200 to give Taylor a room she was really excited about (items we purchased during a sale noted):

Total: $200.62

So there you have it! Check out the video of Taylor’s refreshed room come together below, and let us know what you think in the comments!