MADE in Lake County: Bedroom Decorating from Tot to Tween using Re-purposed Furniture

MADE is a paid partnership with Little Lake County

Welcome to MADE in Lake County! MADE introduces you to the people and stories behind local Lake County businesses. We introduced you to local shop owner Juliet Abeille of Loverly Cottage.  Today she is has put together a guide of tips for using re-purposed furniture to decorate children’s rooms.

using re-purposed furniture to decorate children's rooms

Using Re-Purposed Furniture to Decorate Children’s Rooms

As children transition out of their cribs, parents wonder how to maximize their budget while providing a fun bedroom that can grow with their child. Utilizing re purposed furniture and a little bit of paint is a great way to create a one of a kind look.

You will want to start with a theme for the bedroom to make it cohesive. Pick furniture pieces with a common style. A few fun ideas are:

  • Farmhouse – accented with woodland animals
  • Mid-century modern – in bold pops of color
  • French Cottage – for a modern princess

Once you have your theme set, it is time to pick the right pieces. One option is to use what you already have. I am not suggesting that you paint Antique Chippendale Bedroom set. Unfortunately, most of us have not inherited the type of furniture that appears on Antiques Roadshow. We all wish that highboy turns out to be Early American handcrafted and worth 10 thousand dollars, but the chance of that happening is quite small. If you are unsure of the value of a piece of furniture, check the hallmarks and take the time to learn about it. There are many ways to check the history. Start with the family you inherited it from, ask them stories about the furniture’s history. Google is also a great resource. If all else fails, talk to an antique dealer. Remember that value is a relative term when it comes to vintage and antique furniture. Many people will give you their opinion about painting furniture. In the end, if the piece has more value to you painted, then paint it.

using re-purposed furniture to decorate children rooms
photo provided by Juliet Abielle

Another popular option is to find thrifted pieces. Hit the garage sales, antique malls and thrift stores. Many of them have fabulous pieces that a coat of paint will perk right up.

Now that you are on the hunt, here are a few tips to get you started:

Start with a good foundation. Make sure that each item is solid or easily repaired. If the item requires major repairs, it is at risk of sitting in the garage until your child graduates from college. If it needs a lot of work, move on to the next piece. There are plenty of furniture options available that needs a new home.

No smell zone. Open the drawers and take a whiff. Antique and vintage furniture may have odors. Sometimes a bit of dust just needs cleanup. However, if grandpa loved to smoke cigars, make sure to check for cigarette smoke. If you smell mold or mildew, leave them. No matter how good of a deal that piece of furniture is, you do not want to put something that could make your child sick in their bedroom.

using re-purposed furniture to decorate children room
photo provided by Juliet Abielle

Chipping paint. Chippy paint is all the rage for the worn vintage style home, but is not a good idea for your child’s bedroom. Check that paint. If you acquired the furniture painted, make sure you KNOW what type of paint was used. If you are unsure, lead test kits are available at most hardware stores. Be safe and make sure that the item does not contain lead paint.

Bed frames, dressers, nightstands, bookcases, chairs and desks, oh my! You have found the perfect pieces, now what?

Choose the right paint. Loverly Cottage carries Fusion Mineral Paint. It is available in a variety of beautiful colors and there is even a collection for kids, called Tones for Tots. Fusion Mineral Paint is an eco-friendly, zero VOC paint with a built in top coat. The top coat makes it water proof once it cures ( hello easy clean up!) and UV protected so the color won’t fade. Chalk based paints are on the down trend because they require a top coat of wax or polycrylic. Most polycrylic contains VOC’s. When it comes to your children, you will want to keep the furniture restyle as low maintenance and as eco-friendly as possible.

Preparing your furniture to paint is very important. No matter what paint you chose to use, even if it says NO PREP, make sure you prep! Give the entire piece a good cleaning with hot soapy water and let it dry. Let it dry in the sun, if possible. Then, create a good base for the paint to stick to. Use a fine grit sand paper to scuff the surface and create texture so the paint adheres properly. Wipe everything down to get all your dust off and get ready to paint.

Choose a good quality paint brush, make sure you have clothes that can get paint on them and have fun. Take your time while you learn the right brush stroke and coverage of the paint. It will take a couple coats and the first coat will most certainly look terrible. Your first coat is the best time to involve your kids if you are up to it. If you have mini assistants, make sure that the area you are painting in is properly protected. Remember paint covers a multitude of sins. If you make a mistake or don’t like the color, sand if necessary and paint it again.

using re-purposed furniture to decorate children's rooms
photo provided by Juliet Abeille

After you are done painting, and you can sit back and look at the beautiful new bedroom for your child but there is one last thing that is important to remember, safety. Safety applies to all your furniture around the house, but especially in your child’s room. Dressers [and large furniture pieces] are tipping hazards for curious climbing toddlers and little ones. Make sure to purchase dresser straps to attach furniture to the walls to keep your kids safe.

Should your growing child decide to change their bedroom style, it is a simple change. If you started with a good foundation, you can always paint the furniture again.

If you need a little guidance, you can attend one of the workshops offered at Loverly Cottage in Lake Bluff. However, if you find that painting furniture is a bit more involved than you thought, or want to forgo the challenge altogether, we specialize in painting furniture at Loverly Cottage. You can bring us pieces that you already own or choose from items in our warehouse.


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Loverly Cottage
5 Skokie Valley Rd., Lake Bluff, IL 60044 | (847) 918-6888
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Disclosure: Loverly Cottage is our featured Business of the Month. This series is part of a paid promotion partnership with Little Lake County. All thoughts and opinions belong to the writer of the story. If you are interested in featuring your own locally-owned business in our series please contact the sales team.

About Melissa Haak 626 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

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