Thrifty & Chic: Penelope’s Bedroom


IT IS FINISHED!! I’m finally done decorating Penelope’s room. Well, done until we move (likely soon). I’m very excited to share these photos with you! While I felt like I splurged a lot on Penelope’s room, I did manage to score some great deals along the way.

Here’s the breakdown. If you don’t see it listed here, I had it on-hand already.

  • rug – Urban Outfitters – $45
  • table – DI – $2
  • chairs – Ikea – $30
  • yellow box – DI – $1
  • yellow basket – DI – $1
  • paper for garlands – Robert’s – $2
  • paint for nightstand, desk & crib – WalMart – $25
  • lampshade – Target – $17
  • lamp – WalMart – $12
  • yellow frame – DI – $1
  • watering can – DI – $1
  • white wooden shelf – $3
  • fabric for chevron pillow – DI – $2
  • frame for LOVE poster – Ikea – $22
  • trash bins for toys – Ikea – $50
  • faux Eames rocker – Caitlyn Creer – $90
  • TOTAL – $304

If I could have had my own way with this space, Penelope would have white walls, teal scalloped border with teal ceiling & white hardwood floors. Lemme just daydream about this for a minute. SIGH. I actually hate this disgusting tan wall color. Any house that I actually own will never, ever have tan/taupe/beige walls. Ever. Besides that, I really love Penelope’s room. It’s fun & bright. The white furniture definitely opens up the small 8’x10′ space.

Let’s talk details. Penelope has never had her own room before, she’s only ever had a closet. Not much to decorate there. When we moved to our little house, we were given a few pieces of furniture from family members to help us get started. My mom gave us her desk & nightstand from her childhood. I’ve always loved these pieces & was incredibly, incredibly excited to use them for Penelope’s room. They have such fabulous feminine details! The two pieces were slightly mis-matched, so I painted the wood white & fixtures yellow to modernize the furniture a bit more. I think they turned out gorgeous!!

Chris’s parents kindly handed down their crib. THE crib that they used on all six of the Esplin kidlets. THE CRIB. Can I tell you how utterly sweet it is to be able to use such beautiful, sentimental furniture?!? I love it. The crib was in need of a little facelift; I thought so at least. Chris was very resistant. I had built up this image in my head of a freshly painted white crib with matching white furniture, so it was very difficult for me to let that go. Just before I did, Chris kindly relented on the condition that I did all the painting. I’m really happy with the end result (see first pic)!

The Eames rocker was a great deal. Caitlin Creer, interior designer + blogger, hooked me up with the rocker and came over to my house to help me rearrange the furniture in the room. So awesome. The furniture configuration is a lot more open, thanks to her! Sometimes it’s so necessary to have a second opinion on stuff like this.

The toy bins were also the brain child of Caitlin. I was thinking of making some sort of toybox using her old crib, but that would’ve required a lot of time and mind-grapes on my part. At Caitlin’s suggestion, I headed over to ikea & coughed up $50 for the cans. I seriously don’t spend that kind of money on containers. Perhaps if I had been diligent enough with my thrifting, I could’ve found something similar for $4-15, but I was impatient & my aunt had given me a giftcard to use on something as frivolous as trash bins.

The artwork & dress above the trash bins were also hand-me-downs from my mom. My sisters & I wore that dress & Penelope wore it too. The artwork is a cross-stitch of a bunch of teddybears in tutus. AW. My mom made that back when we were little. Between my sentiments & Penelope’s love for dance, I thought I could find the perfect place in Penelope’s room to hang it.

The chairs were also another Ikea splurge, but they’re so darn cute I couldn’t pass them up! Isn’t Penelope so sweet playing lunch with her baby? Also, I didn’t mention it before. . . I love the rug I found for Penelope’s room. Well, I didn’t find it. Deb over at Fresh Nest did. I emailed her asking where I could find an inexpensive, bright, non-cheesy rug for Penelope’s room and she responded with a great article on resources for awesome kid’s rugs.

So, there you have it. I did Penelope’s room in just over $300. Not the best deal ever, but not bad. Right?


Here are a few links to see the 8 month journey of Penelope’s room & more info on the details I didn’t mention above:

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    1. Elaine says:

      I LOVE IT. You did such an amazing job!!!!!!!!

    2. Angie says:

      Love the room! So sweet and fresh.

    3. Kersey says:

      Freakin’ adorable! Well done.

    4. Oh it turned out SO GOOD! Also, I might steal the lampshade next time I am over, so keep an eye on me. And that LOVE print. Too Cute!

    5. Stephanie says:

      I love the sentimental crib! Your story made me think of this recent happening: My boyfriend is 1 of 5 kids and with each child his Mom collected a new rocking chair. I recently watched as my boyfriend held his baby niece/the 1st grandchild in HIS old rocker. It was so sweet (and of course I am already imagining that same rocker in a nursery some day:)

    6. Trisha says:

      I spy Liberty of London!

    7. Kami says:

      Darling, Melissa! I love the rocker!

    8. Emily says:

      What a lovely room! I hope you get to make her room turquoise and white some day. I love the Liberty lampshade and Penelope’s little dress.

    9. I love it! It looks amazing, you did a great job!!!

    10. andrea says:

      OMG it’s so full of light and happiness! I love it! I particularly like how you chose to use a very bright shade of yellow. I’ve always said no to yellow in rooms (basically because mine was that colour for years), but you really made it work!

    11. Vickie says:

      Looove the room!

      Question: How do you like the UO rug? Is it easy to keep clean? I was thinking about getting one for my living room, but was affraid that every little dust would show. Thanks!

    12. this is so cute! I can’t wait to do alice’s little girl room. :)

    13. Julia says:

      I kind of wish it was my room. Those colors are my absolute favorite.

      What color walls would you have?

      I have an enormous house that we’re about to paint, so I’d love our ideas! :)

    14. CK says:

      Ahhhhh! WOWZERS… that is my initial reaction. Now I’m going to read the post ;)

    15. Kathryn C says:

      Amazing!! I love it! What did you use to create the scalloped border? Is it paint or some kind of decal?

    16. Moe says:

      I absolutely love the yellow pulls on the dresser! and the shades of yellow & orange rock my socks. Such a cute room :)

    17. Deb says:

      I LOVE it, Melissa. It’s so beautiful!! {And I think $300 is amazing!!}

    18. stacy says:

      it looks awesome! the colors are beautiful, it seems like a happy place :)

    19. could not be more lovely! well done

    20. Linda says:

      In the weeks before Chris was born, I carefully stacked his new clothes and diapers and blankets in one end of the new crib. Yes, it is THE CRIB. I sometimes stood next to it and wondered what it would be like to actually have a baby in that lovely crib, and how it was going feel to feed him and dress him and put him to sleep in it. I still remember those tender feelings of anticipation. Now the crib looks fresh and new again, and it’s filled with Penelope’s things. It makes me happy. Linda Esplin

    21. Diana Smith says:

      Gorgeous room! I love the colors and its soo bright. You did a really good job and you are extremely creative!

    22. Kristina says:

      You have such a great eye for design and color!

    23. Dear Evie says:

      Penelope’s room is so beautiful and inspiring. I love your blog!

    24. That is so sweet! I love the colours, I bought the yellow ‘LOVE’ print too for my nursery Im currently setting up (not sure what Im having) and the same little chairs from Ikea too! Well done on a cute and thrifty nursery!

    25. Sarah says:

      The room is absolutely fabulous. It’s perfect for a pretty little girl named Penelope. You did such a great job!

    26. this is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I love it! Drooling all over the place! I know you’re not crazy about the beige, but it looks fab and it helps everything pop. Fab fab fab! Great job, you GO GIRL!

    27. mrsjaxies says:

      melissa (and also i guess vicki, from above)
      i have that UO rug in my living room. it can get dirty/downtrodden pretty easily, BUT since it has no backing whatsoever you can put the entire thing in the washing machine. it fluffs it right back up to awesome rug status.
      (i’ve washed mine like five times since i bought it and it’s still holding strong)

      • Melissa says:

        I agree, mrsjaxies!

        I think the rug would likely do better on a wood floor or a low-pile carpet. It shows every footprint. It’s hard to keep clean because I have a messy daughter who likes to spill her sippy cup of milk all over it, but it DOES clean up awesomely. It was a huge selling point to me that I could just throw it into the wash. No need for dry cleaning or expensive upholstery cleaners!

    28. Hannah says:

      I just discovered your blog and

      a) this room is adorable and you have a wonderful sense of style
      b) you used the term “mind-grapes”

      I’m hooked!

    29. Heather says:

      Very cute! I love the (faux) Eames chair – when I was at your house I was going to ask where you got it. I love mid-century modern furniture. I made the loopy-loo garland for Cadence’s baby blessing and it was so cute that I hung it above her closet and I love it. It looks really cute over your windows! Great job!

    30. Melissa Henderson says:

      I looooove this room so much. I have a little 4 year old Isabella who’s favorite colour is yellow. You have done an amazing job! I’m going to try to find a rug like yours (in Australia).

    31. jenni says:

      her room looks so sweet, i just love it. You need to come help me finish Tay’s room.

    32. b.a. says:

      oh my! this is adoooorable. yellow is so cheery in a child’s room. we actually have a scalloped border and pink ceiling in our girls’ room!

      fantastic job! makes me want to take an impromptu trip to ikea!

    33. Katie says:

      I love it! especially the mobile over her crib… such a lovely color pallet.

    34. Ooooh this is an amazing roooom!! I love it! But really, the true star is that little girl. Penelope is soooooo cute!

    35. […] Penelope’s bedroom is so sweet. I love all of the happy yellow! […]

    36. Jessica says:

      Love this room! So fabulous … darling Penelope. I love the colors and the modern feel. Not the typical lame kids room. You’ve done a wonderful job! XOXO

    37. Katie H says:

      BEAUTIFUL! I have been looking for something to inspire me for our little-girl-December-arrival, and everything is just too girly. This is perfect. Awesome.

    38. Pencils says:

      Love it! I know you don’t like the wall color, and I’d never paint that color either, but you’ve done an amazing job creating a fun, colorful room without painting. Great color choices. I have a few pieces of that Target Liberty pattern in my daughter’s room too, just not the lampshade (hers are embroidered ones from IKEA.)

      And can I say I love the name Penelope? About a year after my daughter was born, I had a dream that I had second baby girl, and we named her Penelope. If it does happen (and I’m not holding my breath) I’m voting for Penelope!

    39. caitlin says:

      SO so adorable! I need to come see it in person!

      Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you, I have been a crazy lady!

      It looks so precious and I love that it was all done on a budget.

      Can I post about this on my blog?

    40. Dianne says:

      The combination of white and yellow is perfect, and that lamp is awesome! If I could do this in my apartment room, it would totally be done. ;D

    41. jdzjane says:

      What is DI? I love the room.

      • Melissa says:


        DI stands for Deseret Industries. It’s very similar to Goodwill. It’s a non-profit organization that’s affiliated with the Mormon church. Many of the donated items (clothing, prescription glasses, shoes, etc) go to aid those in need in third world countries. I’m completely addicted to this store because it stands for a lot of good, their prices are awesome & there’s practically one on every street corner here in Salt Lake!

        Hope that helps.

    42. Emily Jones says:

      This might the most perfect little girls room Ive ever seen. I am in love with it and saving it for inspiration someday! Thanks for this!

    43. Mandy Ford says:

      SO adorable! This makes me want to have a girl :)

    44. Emily A says:

      I absoluetly love her room, it is adorable and so happy.

    45. Jen Ramos says:

      I LOVE the entire space & our LOVE CANDY PRINT In Lemon looks super cute!! :)
      Thanks for sharing the space oxoxo!

    46. Camille says:

      i am in love! The bright colors, the vintage style, and the subtle femininity. Do you hire out?? :)

    47. Rikke says:

      How great is this – I love it!!
      And love you`re blog:)

    48. designstiles says:

      This has got to be the cutest nursery I’ve ever seen. I absolutely LOVE everything about it. Great job!

    49. tirzah says:

      I just stumbled across your blog via Oh dee doh….love the room and your blog! :)
      Maybe I’m missing it, but what brand/color is the paint? I’m looking for a nice tan color for our nursery (we also have white furniture) and I love how this looks.
      thanks and keep up the great posts! ;)

    50. How clever are you! I love it! Will blog about this for sure :)

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