Decorating a toddler room…on a budget!

That old saying: “where’s there’s a house, there’s a home”. Is it a big fat lie? Houses can be lived in, whether or not they’re homely is an entirely different matter. We took our house on two years ago this December. It had no radiators, no electricity, no plug sockets or doors. It really was a project in the making and with only four months before I was due to give birth, we got stuck in and made it a home.

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We were on a time limit so everything was plastered and painted in time to get the carpets in. Now Isaiah is pushing two, I look around the house and hate almost everything about it. Now I’ve LIVED in it I can see what works and what doesn’t work and things that aren’t done properly. I have some sort of OCD where all I want to do is re-arrange furniture and redecorate every few months. My husband absolutely hates this. Our house is on three floors plus the basement. Elijah and Isaiah’s bedrooms were always on the top floor. Pete and I were underneath and the guest room was opposite our bedroom. Each room has an ensuite so we weren’t tied with putting the babies near to the toilet come potty training time. We put Isaiah in his own room pretty much from birth, and would go up and feed him at 11pm as was the routine. He would be hungry and sometimes start to cry around this time. Desperate for Elijah not to be disturbed, we moved him into the guest room opposite our room; and that’s the way it has stuck! Until Isaiah gets a little bit older and they can share a room, he’s at the top and Elijah is on the middle floor.

About a month ago Elijah started to get “night terrors”. Not in the sense he’d wake up after a bad dream but at bedtime he was convinced he could see ghosts and he didn’t settle too well. This obviously disturbed me, so I googled “night terrors”; it came back with the following; move the position of the bed, re-arrange the room, re-decorate, change the room to a different room…

That was my excuse to decorate! I am saving for an Aga at the moment so wanted to do it on a budget. We allowed £200 for the project, this had to include wallpaper, paint, a wardrobe and some toy storage and other bits to make it “homely”.

I went to http://www.diy.com and bought the wallpaper after checking it out online. It was £9.98 a roll, and we decided to do just two walls so we could use magnolia to keep the room bright and welcome in the light.

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I then needed an undercoat as the walls were blue, and then a magnolia to cover the undercoat. This is where it became interesting. The undercoat was £8.98 for 15 litres. Really good value, it was the B&Q own range, and to cover blue paint it did the trick.

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Then I wanted magnolia to go on top. Again the B&Q range came up cheaper, however, it’s a false economy to do it that way. I went for five litres of magnolia from http://www.Dulux.co.uk for £13.98.

This is for two reasons; number one it is a better quality and number two it isn’t so thin. So rather than use three coats of economy paint, I can use just one of premium. Be aware that B&Q do have a members card; you can join in store, there’s no credit check and works like a Clubcard works from most supermarkets. On certain weekends you can get 20% off anything in store. I went on one of these days but forgot my card, and the chap printed one off there and then and I got a huge saving.

I then went onto Ikea. My obsession with Ikea is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Aside from stealing handfuls of pencils which are always good when the builders are here, I stacked up on tea lights and, of course, drinking glasses. I headed to the children’s department and found some storage. I bought a Trofast uni for £20 and the draws were £1 and £1.50 each.

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In every Ikea there’s a bargain corner full of chipped, scratched, boxless or already erected bit and pieces. I had a look for a wardrobe and saw one for £75. It was ideal for Elijah’s room, and only had a tiny chip on the side which I could cover with a dressing gown hook. I asked the chap if I could have it and he said he had one “out back”. He went to get it and when he brought it out it was perfect. It also didn’t have a price tag on so he put one on for £50, which was fantastic.

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The corner shelves were £2 and £4 from B&Q, again their economy range, and the fairy lights were £2 a string from eBay. The lamp was £4 from Ikea.

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The various pictures on the walls tend to be beautiful wrapping paper, framed. We have tractors and seagulls and they look wonderful and cost a fraction of the price. If you’re on http://www.freecycle.org keep an eye out for frames going for free!

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Luckily for me my father-in-law is a decorator, so we didn’t have to pay for someone to come and hang the wallpaper. While it isn’t super hard, it is important that the strips line up, especially if it’s patterned paper. Make sure you measure accordingly to allow for this, and do everything else and pay for a decorator, if only for a day; you don’t want to be lay in bed staring at a piece of paper that wasn’t pasted down properly! ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS haggle. Some shops like Curry’s allow you to do so in store, especially if you’re buying multiple items. Join the Ikea family card group, you’ll get savings everytime you shop, and you can join in store on one of their touch screens (you can also print out a temporary card should you forget yours). Remember, Ikea have started delivering using couriers, so visit their site and get a postage quote, if you’re two hours away like I am it may save you fuel!

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