How to Give a Basic Toddler Bed a Designer Look

Some simple do-it-yourself tricks can take toddler beds and bedding from basic to stunning, designer-caliber showstoppers.

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When it comes to toddler beds and the bedding with which to dress them, there is not a wide variety of choice in styles. Most big-box retailers carry toddler beds limited to primary colors, white and heavy wood tones, usually branded with characters from popular children's TV shows, books or movies. As far as bedding is concerned, most stores stock sheets and pillows in gender-specific hues such as blues and browns for boys, and pinks and yellows for girls. But this doesn't mean one-of-a-kind toddler beds and bedding are out of reach for parents. Some simple do-it-yourself tricks can take beds and bedding from basic to stunning, designer-caliber showstoppers.

Opting for a white toddler bed in a classic style offers a blank canvas with which to create something bolder and customizable with paint. Since toddlers are so active, proper paint application and finish are key. By renting an HVLP (high-volume, low-pressure) sprayer and choosing low-VOC paint in hardy finishes such as high-gloss or porch and deck grade, basic beds can be given looks that are both designer-grade and durable.

To put a sophisticated spin on toddler bedding, stick with solid-color sheets, duvets and pillows rather than branded or thematic styles that sport busy patterns. Solids can easily be dressed up and customized with the addition of decorative trim. As far as colors are concerned, white is an excellent option since it mixes well with everything and is gender-neutral. Another less-expected color for toddler bed ensembles is plum, which can be given masculine appeal when paired with brown or bronze, or given a feminine touch with white and violet. All of these ideas are on display in the sleeping area of two-year-old Madeline's room. For step-by-step instructions on how to give basic toddler furnishings a high-end, custom look, take some cues from this pint-sized decorista.

Materials Needed:

  • duvet
  • duvet insert
  • standard pillow
  • standard pillow sham
  • basic white toddler bed
  • iron
  • iron-on adhesive tape
  • glue sticks
  • glue gun
  • sewing machine
  • thread
  • pins
  • scissors
  • tailor's tape measure
  • HVLP sprayer
  • high-gloss porch and deck paint

Customized Toddler Bed

Two-year-old Madeline sleeps in what appears to be a one-of-a-kind, designer-caliber bedding ensemble; however, the bed and bedding are big-box store purchases upgraded with simple do-it-yourself tricks. A durable paint finish on the bed plus decorative trim on the duvet and pillows instantly give tailor-made updates to basic, big-box toddler bedroom furnishings. Opting for ceiling-mounted pendant lights centered over nightstands and kept out of a toddler's reach is another way to bring a high-design look to basic store-bought pieces.

Assemble and Spray Toddler Bed

Choose a classic style of toddler bed in a white finish. Fully assemble the bed, then place it in a spacious, well-ventilated area where it can be sprayed. Use an HVLP paint sprayer to add two coats of glossy porch and deck paint to the bed. Tip: HVLP (high-volume, low-pressure) sprayers are rented for an average of $65 per day at most home improvement stores.

Examine Paint Finish

Once two coats of paint have dried, carefully examine the bed to ensure the overall finish is even and that there are no signs of overspray.

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