Real Costs: Here's how much a mum spent on her son's bedroom rainbow mural

One thrifty mum totally transformed her little boy's room on a tight budget using the power of paint.

kids' bedroom with rainbow mural
(Image credit: @awholenewbuild)

Welcome to our new Real Costs series, where we're diving into people's remodels to unveil exactly what they spend on their makeovers – big and small. Don't pretend you're not curious to know if you're saving and splashing the cash in the right places, whether those tiles could have come cheaper or if people actually choose custom made designs... 

The most important thing to remember with kids' bedrooms is to design for the future. You spend months designing the perfect nursery ahead of your baby's arrival, then you blink and your child is ten. 

If you're considering different kids' bedroom design ideas that can be achieved on a budget, try keeping costs down with the creative use of paint. The transformative power of a tester pot (or seven) can never be underestimated - as one thrifty mum has proven with this fun and vibrant rainbow mural in her son, Max's bedroom.


boy's bedroom before a makeover

(Image credit: @awholenewbuild)

The inspiration for the rainbow room came directly from Mel's little boy, who had recently outgrown his younger bed and nursery colour scheme. 'For his fifth birthday, we said he could have his room decorated and a new bed,' Mel tells us. 

'I don't know if he was influenced by seeing rainbows everywhere to support the NHS during lockdown, or if he loved the idea of bright colours, but he specifically said he wanted "rainbow stripes."'

Having listened carefully to her son's design brief, Mel got to work looking for wall paint ideas on Pinterest. A lightbulb moment came when she decided to create a mural going up the wall and across the whole ceiling, making it feel like you're sleeping under a real rainbow. 


kids' bedroom with rainbow mural

(Image credit: @awholenewbuild)

Mel used Leyland Brilliant White paint on the walls to make the rainbow colours stand out, and seven tester pots from Decorating Centre Online, £56. She also used rolls of Pro Dec decorating tape, £3 per roll.

'I measured the space where I wanted the rainbow to sit, in line with our window and radiator,' Mel says. 'I then split the measurement into seven, taking into account the width of six strips of decorators tape to separate each of the colours.'

Next, she used the tester pots to paint each of the colours, giving each stripe two coats. The savvy mum then removed the tape while the paint was still wet to ensure the tape didn't take any of the paint with it.

She also gave the bedroom furniture a refresh, with a new bed from Argos, £139, plus a new wardrobe, Trofast toy storage, and accessories all from IKEA for £200. The bookshelf was old but they upcycled it using vinyl from Get Kooky, £23. This brings the total makeover cost to £421.

kids' bedroom with rainbow mural and yellow bedframe

(Image credit: @awholenewbuild)

What a transformation! You can take a look at Mel's other projects over on her Instagram account, @awholenewbuild. She started her Instagram account in October 2020 to document her home renovations, smash the stereotype of new-builds being boxy and boring, and to inspire others to add more colour to their lives.

Millie joined Real Homes in early 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.