Jody Kerzman

I knew this day was coming.

Still, a few weeks ago it hit me like a ton of bricks: my oldest daughter is growing up. There are the obvious signs:

* She doesn't play Barbies anymore.

* We have adult conversations.

* She is six feet tall.

But for some reason, I thought she'd like to hold on to her little girl bedroom for a few more years.


Opening deer weekend, while half the family was gone, she talked me into redecorating her room.

I agreed, under one condition: We spend less than $100.

The whole room -- paint, curtains, bedding, accessories -- for less than $100.

Lexi must have really wanted to update, because she accepted the challenge.

I realized there was no backing out now, so I put out a Facebook plea for leftover paint, and my Facebook friends came to the rescue. We collected a rainbow of paint colors.

Lexi picked four of the brightest colors: turquoise, Minnesota Viking yellow, lime green, and blue. We painted each wall a different color and left the chalk wall (that was a fairly recent improvement, and she still thinks it's cool.) I am truly amazed at how much paint people were willing to give us. I suppose the joke is on me, but I am grateful, nonetheless.

A few other friends caught wind of our project and went through their house for fun stuff they weren't using. We collected a side table, a mirror, a chair, some fun wall clips, a bean bag and throw pillows. Not everything made it into the room (like the bean bag ... the dog claimed that right away), but it was fun having so many choices, and we'll use the leftovers (minus the bean bag) for our next project.

Once we finished painting and scavenging, we started sewing. $15 worth of fabric, two clearance sheet sets and some ribbon, and Lexi created some funky throw pillows, a chair cushion and recovered her old comforter.

We love the clearance rack, and that's where we found one huge black panel curtain. We cut it in half, hemmed it and added bright colored ribbons to the top. This unique window treatment cost less than $15.

Also in the clearance section: two CD racks. Lexi put them together by herself and repurposed them into shelves for her books and pictures.

Lexi made a few other personal touches: She modge-podged pictures of her friends to the glass of the side table (to match her desk she did a few years ago), moved her dresser to the closet to make more space the room and created a one-of-a-kind calendar with paint samples and an old frame (a cool project straight from Pinterest).

Her Las Vegas style sign we made -- and her friends autographed -- for her 13th birthday was the finishing touch to this super cool teenage room.

I have to admit, the room is pretty darn cool.

We ended up over-budget by $16.44, but I'm surprisingly OK with that. Sticking to a budget is hard. You've got to be creative, or you'll quickly go over budget. This project could have easily escalated to $500 or more -- we had to think outside the box (in this case, the paint can) to stay even close to our $100 budget.

But money aside, I would tackle a project like this again in a heartbeat.

Because not only did my first-born daughter (who I still think is growing up too fast) get a cool new room that she's excited to show her friends, I got to spend an entire weekend with her.

And that's something I can't put a price tag on.

Jody is married to Brad, and they have four super-busy kids. When she isn't at one of their events, she's probably driving them somewhere.