How to Decorate Your Bedroom on a Budget

You've got your own unique style. And you want to express it! Here's how to add colour, texture, and light to your bedroom without blowing your budget.
By Nadine Araksi · December 12, 2023 · 7 minutes read
Black teen girl sits on floor next to bed with yellow pillows and artwork saying "inspiration" in background

It’s time to put away those stuffies, pack up the LEGO, and upgrade from a single bed. You’re ready to transform your room into a personal paradise. You’ve been scouring TikTok and Pinterest for ideas that will better reflect who you are now. You’re aware it’s going to take effort and money to realize your big vision for your space, so how can you make your room dreams a reality without breaking the bank? 

We’ve got you! In this article, we’ll take you step-by-step through nine budget-friendly decorating tips that will help you create a cozy and stylish space where you can unwind, chill, and express yourself. 

1. Start with a blank canvas

Having a blank canvas to work with when planning a bedroom redecoration project helps you see what could fit and what needs to go. It’s hard to know what you’re working with when you can barely see your floor or the inside of your closet. 

Start by decluttering, A.K.A. clearing out your room. Resist organizing when you start, and don’t get lost re-reading your old favourite books. Make it fun! Put on a favourite playlist and consider inviting a friend or rope an adult into helping you out. Create four piles: keep, toss, donate, and sell. 

Once your piles are sorted, toss out anything you no longer need and donate those old toys. Put anything in your keep pile that you don’t need immediately in storage and put away your regular-use items like clothes. Photograph anything you’d like to sell for posting on buy-and-sell groups or apps or consider taking them to a thrifting consignment store. Bonus: Any money made by selling your gently used items can go towards funding your new room!

Black teen boy leaning back in decorated bedroom at his desk with wall art in the background

2. Make a plan 

Now that you’ve got “a blank space, baby,” and a sense of what your furniture/storage needs are, start your planning phase. Make sure to measure first (you can use the measuring app on your smartphone) and jot down the measurements someplace so you won’t lose them. Then, use graph paper or a free design layout app to play with the placement of bigger items like a bed or a desk.

Watch some “teen bedroom decor” transformations on TikTok for inspo. Create a mood board on Pinterest to get a sense of your aesthetic. Follow hashtags like #room-decor and #teen-rooms, then layer in your obsessions to get the right vibe. Are you a maximalist or a minimalist, a sports, plant or cat lover? Do you have favourite bands or artists? Do stuffies get to stay, and which ones?

3. Create a budget 

Set a budget based on how much you have saved and how much you can potentially earn or from an allowance or your part-time job.Make a list of your must-haves vs. nice-to-have. Do you need new furniture, or can you update your existing bed or dresser with some DIY hacks? Make sure you have the consent of your parents or caregivers before you buy any big-ticket items, commit to changing wall colours, or begin any construction project. 

What needs to be completed first before you move on to the finer details? Build out your project plan to reflect your budget and how much time each renovation or redecorating task will take.

Teen girl lying on pallet bed in her bedroom with string lights in the background

4. Play with lighting

Getting lighting right can be the difference between blah and vibes. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a fortune to create an enchanting atmosphere. Consider adding some inexpensive options like second-hand lamps, your parents’ old lava lamp, or go wild with flexible LED strip lights, which come in various colours and can easily attach to your walls, around your bed frame, or even behind your desk. Don’t forget to consider task lighting like lamps if you read or do homework in your room.

5. Add greenery 

Plants are a great way to breathe life into your space. Whether you opt for real or fake plants, they add a touch of nature and calm to your room. If you’re not sure about taking care of real plants, you can choose low-maintenance ones like succulents. Fake vines and dried flowers can also bring a pop of nature without the need for daily watering. Save money by asking friends and family for clippings or repottings of their overgrown houseplants.

Beautiful teen bedroom with bed, and wall art gallery in the background

Gallery walls are a budget-friendly way to showcase your personality and passions. Find posters, prints, or even postcards that resonate with your style. Scour garage sales and thrift shops to save money on frames, which are typically expensive. Arrange your chosen pieces into a gallery wall that tells a story about you and your interests.

One of the best ways to add a personal touch to your room without spending a fortune is by creating your own artwork. You don’t need to be a professional artist to make something beautiful. Try your hand at painting, sketching, or even digital art. Canva, a free online tool, offers numerous templates and design ideas. Express your interests, favourite quotes, or even create a mural that represents your personality.

7. Hang wallpaper

When it comes to personalizing your space, wallpaper can be a game-changer. You don’t need to cover every wall; a single accent wall can make a bold statement. Look for peel-and-stick or removable wallpaper options that allow you to change up your room’s look without a major commitment. Ask around for leftovers from other people’s past wallpaper projects or visit a construction remnants store, like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, for inexpensive rolls. 

Light and airy teen bedroom with pink and orange accessories

8. Add texture

Texture can make your room cozier and more inviting. Smooth textures like silks and satins create a sleek feel, while chunkier textures promote warmth. Consider adding pillows, throws, and accessories that reflect your personality and the vibe you want to create. If you have a plain headboard, you can DIY it by adding fabric, paint, or even some LED lights. You can also find unique lampshades that add a touch of elegance to your space without breaking the bank. 

9. Thrift for retro accessories 

Thrift stores and garage sales are goldmines for finding retro or vintage accessories that add character to your room. You can discover unique items like old records, vintage mirrors, or quirky lamps that make your space truly one-of-a-kind. Thrifting is not only budget-friendly but also a sustainable way to decorate. Sometimes, one unique find that speaks to you can help anchor your entire design project.

Homemade bedroom decoration gold star strung up with cotton ball clouds

10. DIY decor

TikTok, Pinterest, and YouTube overflow with fantastic DIY ideas that can add a personal touch to your room. The big-ticket item you’re coveting might be achievable for a fraction of the cost with a trip to the craft or hardware store. 

Here are some popular crafts to consider:

Glass Music Plaque

Consider creating a Glass Music Plaque using an inexpensive dollar-store 8 x 10 frame (preferably with clear plastic vs. glass) and your home printer. Select your favourite song and save a screenshot of the album cover with the music app buttons. Then, you can simply replace the album cover with a chosen pic while using the song title and app button printout. Or go further and place the printout under the glass and trace over the buttons and title with a white oil-based paint pen for that floating look.

DIY Rain Cloud

Bring the outside inside by creating a DIY rain cloud light. Using a paper lantern lamp, some cotton batting or synthetic snow, and your glue gun, create a fluffy cloud. Some DIYers go the extra mile by creating bead strings or adding fairy lights to look like rain.

Mossy Fairy Mirror

Get an inexpensive mirror, plus some moss, fake or dry flowers, air-dry clay and acrylic paint from the craft store. Spend a rainy day sculpting mushrooms out of the clay, then paint as you wish when dry. (Or skip this step and paint the mushrooms directly on the mirror.) Hot glue moss around the mirror, then add on flowers and mini mushrooms or other items that suit your personal Fairycore aesthetic.

Remember that creating a space that reflects your style doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. With a little creativity, planning, and setting a budget, you can transform your room into your dream space. Now that you’ve got the knowledge and inspiration, it’s time to put your plans into action. 

With Mydoh, you can manage your money, save for your goals, and make smart financial decisions. Your room transformation is just the beginning of your journey toward financial independence and an exciting future.

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This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.

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Written by Nadine Araksi
Nadine Araksi is a writer, alignment coach and parent to two teens. She has written for Maclean's, Chatelaine, Today’s Parent, and Canadian Geographic. The best financial advice she ever got was, "Make sure you have a Freedom Fund."

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