Design on Her Dime

While we were counting up our final savings for our road trip, my daughter realized that savings can really add up. She remarked, "Next I want to save up to redecorate my room!"  It's amazing how empowering success can be. Part of me wanted to say, "No, your room is fine.  We don't need to spend money on that...or time...and it will take a LONG time to save for that."

But she's incredible.  She's growing up, and she's ready for taking on greater challenges.  Sometimes I'm the only one that stands in the way of her becoming the young woman God has designed her to be.

This was also a challenging project for me.  I'm a strong and opinionated mother.  How do I let her spread her wings, when she might want to go a different direction than I would?

Tween bedroom

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She's an ambitious thing and I wanted her to succeed, but I also wanted to help her realize what the reality of the cost of a bedroom might look like.  We're not extravagant decorators, but even so, the little things can add up quickly.

Here was her initial budget:

  • $50 for 2 cans of paint
  • $50 for a new comforter
  • $40 for lamps
  • $100 for a desk
  • $50 for a headboard (she quickly commissioned her daddy to make her one...she offered to pay for the materials)

She had bedside tables and a couple of bookshelves to round out her design.

She quickly got a measuring tape and went to town space planning.  I watched her dream and wondered if she would be able to save enough to accomplish her dream before she lost interest, or before she became discouraged.

Facilitating Success

While I didn't want to rescue her from an opportunity to do a hard thing, I also knew she's only 11. There are limitations to her money making ability.

But I could help.

She had a couple of opportunities to babysit for one of my good friends, but I wasn't ready to let her go alone.  I would take my laptop over to the house with her and camp out and work while she took care of the kids.  I didn't rescue her from the hard times of babysitting, but I got to be blessed by seeing my girl step up and manage four young people with grace.  She was really good with them!  After a couple of babysitting jobs, the money started adding up, and I started to gain hope that she might just be able to pull this off!

Even though her budget looked good, I knew that there are always surprises...things always cost a bit more than expected. So I looked for ways to trim the budget.

Trimming the Budget

We worked through her space plan, and I talked her out of a desk in her room.  As much as I want her to be independent in her schooling, I love having her near so that I can help if she needs it.  Plus, she didn't really have space in her room.  That saves $100 right off the bat.

Even though I wanted her to have the ability to express her own design style, I still could recommend and suggest things.  I noticed that she liked antique wood, and I remembered that we were storing my mother's old headboard in the garage.  When she saw it, she fell in love!

antique headboard in a modern tween design

Although, while trimming the budget, new ideas came about a bench?!

The Christmas Blessing

Around Christmas, Grace had saved around $240, which promised to be enough, but I still feared things would cost more than she anticipated.  Grandma blessed her with a comforter, bedside lamps, and a couple of throw pillows.

We also had the blessing of a quiet week between Christmas and New Years.  This was important because we had serious purging to do in order to have a grown up room.  With a clean room, things came together quickly!

design on her dime tween bedroom2


Her expenses:

  • $78 at Lowes for supplies (minus a $50 gift card we gave her for Christmas)
  • $55 for a bench we found at an antique mall
  • $30 for vanity accessories
  • $35 for throw pillows
  • $20 for organizing containers
  • $30 for wall art

Grand total = $198

tween bedroom wall art

She did come up with some cute ideas for her daddy to make, like the wood sign above.  She had seen this on Pinterest and loved it!  He made it from slats from the antique bed.  I painted the words that she loved from a favorite hymn and prayed that this sweet young lady's heart would be bound to the Lord.

She also wanted him to make her a place to hang some pictures on the wall, so he made here these cute wooden slats with wire hung across to pin up her black and white photos.

design on her dime bedroom for tween girls


Overall, I love how the room turned out!  She did a beautiful job blending old and new.  I also love that I got to see her succeed in saving, as well as express herself.  It's so hard as a mother to allow your children to grow up.  But it was pretty wonderful letting her design her room on her dime!

She also inspired other cleaning up and redesigning around the house...which led to reclaiming our school room!

Homeschool Room Rearranged



  1. Leila on February 10, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Super neat! She did a great job and that is a great price for an entire room! She can come do my house next!! And good for her for savings enough to do it!

    • Betsy on February 10, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      Thanks Leila! She’s not available to do anyone else’s house right now, because I need her to help me with mine!! 🙂

  2. Samantha on February 10, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    That’s super awesome! She did a great job and so did you by teaching her and giving her the opportunity to save and remodel! I hope I will be that type of Mom too when my little one is a tween 🙂

    • Betsy on February 10, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you Samantha! I made it through the tween stage effortlessly with my son, but it’s taken more work to get through with my daughter. Activities like this go a long way to building the relationship I want to have with her in the future!

  3. Alyssa from The Sparkly Life on February 10, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    OMG. i LOVE the idea of giving your kids a budget and letting them redecorate. Can’t wait to try this with my daughter in a few years!

    • Betsy on February 10, 2016 at 4:24 pm

      Thanks Alyssa! It was so fun to watch her make decisions within her budget!

  4. Hil on February 10, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I love that picture display so cute!

    • Betsy on February 10, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      Thanks! I was so impressed with how it turned out. I was going to get pictures developed for her to put on there, but she said she liked the look of black and white pictures printed on printer paper! The other was too glossy. 🙂

  5. Stephanie on February 10, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    I think this is a wonderful way of letting your child show their personality through their decor.

  6. Virginia on February 11, 2016 at 12:01 am

    Wow! The room looks great! Love it!

  7. on February 12, 2016 at 8:35 am

    It turned out great!! You found some great pieces! Love the way you hung those photos! Also that they are B&W so cool!

  8. Stefanie / The Momarch Mommy on February 12, 2016 at 11:01 am

    I love that you’re in the house you grew up in! Your daughter’s room looks great!

  9. Kimberly on February 12, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    She did a really great job. So awesome to see a young lady eager to save for things she wants. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Kristin @ MOMentous Moms on February 13, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    She did such a great job, you must be so proud! This is a great lesson for her, especially at her age when she is just starting to come into her own. The way she hung the photos is adorable and I bet she could not be happier!

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