How one mom created a Pinterest-worthy little girl's room for just $400

This kid's room got a night-and-day transformation, and thanks to the design-savvy mom behind it, the price tag was oh-so affordable

Children's room
(Image credit: Heather Cooke, Interior Swag)

Children's rooms are some of the most fun spaces to decorate in our homes, but they can also pose a challenge because little ones change so rapidly. Meaning, just as you finally finish decorating that adorable nursery, it's pretty much time for a toddler bed. Such was the case for Interior Swag blogger Heather Cooke, whose three-year-old daughter had outgrown her nursery. 

An avid thrifter, the challenge was compounded by the pandemic, leaving Cooke without her usual furniture sources, so she turned to Facebook Marketplace to source furniture for the "big girl room" on the cheap. With a little creativity and a lot of paint, the end result only cost $400, and the room is not only delightful, but poised to grow with her toddler. 

The before

Children's Room

(Image credit: Heather Cooke, Interior Swag)

Heather Cooke's little one was two-and-a-half when it became clear her nursery needed an upgrade. The space was suited to her baby needs—with a crib, rocker, dresser, an armoire for clothes, and not much else. Now, Cooke's daughter was ready for a big-girl bed, reading nook, storage she could access herself, and an overall inspiring space for creativity. 

The vision

Children's Room

(Image credit: Heather Cooke, Interior Swag)

"Give your child a say in their space," Cooke stresses, who together with her daughter dreamt up this modern traditional girl's room. Contemporary brass sconces flank a grown-up bed (with a mattress and box spring sourced on Facebook Marketplace for $100), which features a large rainbow mural instead of a headboard. 

The DIY

Children's Room

(Image credit: Heather Cooke, Interior Swag)

Though many would've overlooked the aging piece, Cooke saw big potential when she spotted this French-style dresser on Facebook Marketplace. She was able to nab it for just $30. The style complemented an existing armoire and vanity, but it needed an upgrade.

"I simply gave it a good cleaning and used my go-to, all-in-one paint by Fusion Mineral in 'Damask,'" she notes. It's pretty amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do, and the result feels modern, feminine, and in line with Cooke's original inspiration board. 

The finished results

Children's Room

(Image credit: Heather Cooke, Interior Swag)

The finished space is poised to last, with a vanity/dressing area, big girl bed, and reading nook. For children's rooms, Cooke says to "keep it simple" by choosing flexible furnishings that will grow with your little one. Also important? "Open shelving and cubby storage so that they can pull out toys, play, and put them away independently," she adds.

This room in particular had some unique alcoves, which the designer used to her advantage. "I love having an alcove in kids spaces to use for reading nooks, or even a window seat," she says. "In ours, this is our reading corner as well as where the play baby crib is under the window."

How to source vintage children's room furniture

Children's Room

(Image credit: Heather Cooke, Interior Swag)

Cooke thought ahead when she chose a vintage vanity and armoire that would grow with her daughter. When the nursery was ready to transform into a big-girl room, she needed to source a "new" side table and dresser, so she turned to Facebook Marketplace once again, to save money and source vintage pieces online

Of course, this took a little extra patience. To use the platform, the designer says it's important to plan ahead and use the notification feature for alerts when an item you're looking for is listed. She also suggests trying alternate search terms. "Sometimes people don't know when they have an antique and might just list as 'old mirror,'" Cooke notes, adding, "Don't be afraid to offer less, especially if you are traveling to pick up the item or using a third party to pick it up and bring it to you." 

Ann Loynd Burton
Ann Loynd Burton

After serving as an editor for luxury publications for nearly a decade, Ann Loynd Burton struck out on her own as a freelance writer covering design and lifestyle. Along with her work highlighting decor trends for Real Homes, Loynd Burton has covered interiors for such publications as Apartment TherapyAspireCottages & Gardens, and Galerie