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Frugal Living & Freebies

Creative Kids' Rooms on a Budget
by Kimberly Danger
Decorating your child's room can be loads of fun. It's the one room in the house that you can get away with taking more risks, using color creatively and showcasing your child's special interests. You want their room to be a reflection of their personality -- a place they can truly call their own. With a little imagination and a touch of whimsy, and you can create a custom-made room for your child without spending much money. Here's how:

Wall Mural
Your friend just forked out $500 to have her child's wall painted by a professional? She ain't got nothin' on you, Mom! Impress your friends by doing it yourself - just don't tell them how easy it was!

Even if you don't possess an ounce of artistic talent, you can do this with the help of an overhead projector that you can rent at an office supply store or your hubby's office. Have a transparency made from your favorite art, then trace onto your wall with a pencil. Fill in with paint you get at a craft supply store, and you're good to go. Choose a design that will stand the test of time as your child grows older.

Custom Rug
Creating a custom rug out of carpet remnants is easier than you might think. Choose colors that match your child's room and cut the pieces in various shapes patchwork-style and attach them with carpet tape. Attach the entire piece to a rubber rug grip with silicone glue and more carpet tape. Ideas include: A flower-shaped rug with different colored petals, a highway-inspired rug that doubles as a play mat, or a simple checkerboard.

Channel the Inner Artist
Have your child, however young she or he may be, create their own wall art. Purchase inexpensive art canvas at Michael's or another craft store, and paints that coordinate with the room's color scheme. Let your child express herself and create a fun keepsake at the same time.

Flight of Fancy
Don't forget the ceiling! An inexpensive kite can add a lot of color to a child's room. Just hang it on the wall or from the ceiling. Add ribbons in coordinating colors on the tail to enhance the look. You can also use your son's lightweight model airplanes to achieve the same effect.

Out of the Closet
Don't you hate it when your kids outgrow the little outfits you adored so much? Your favorite pieces can be used as a cute wall decoration using twine and wooden clothespins. Secure both ends of the twine against a wall, in the style of an old-fashioned clothesline. Pin articles of clothing on the twine using the clothespins. You can even paint trees on the wall as a mural on which to hang your clothesline.

Temporary Wall Art
A cute look for your walls can be created using inexpensive fabric and liquid starch. Purchase fabric with the characters or pattern that matches your décor, and cut out the shapes you want to use. Mix 2 teaspoons starch and one cup of water. Soak the fabric in the starch solution, then place anywhere you want on the walls. When you move or get tired of the characters, simply take them off. No mess or stains! This is great for apartment-dwellers.

About the Author:
Kimberly Danger is the owner/publisher of Mommysavers.com, an online resource for parents interested in saving time and money. She is the author of 1000 Best Baby Bargains. Ms. Danger lives in Southern Minnesota with her husband and two kids.

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