How to Create Your Dream Nursery on a Budget

create dream nursery
Image via Mindi Stavish

With the impending arrival of my third child in 13 weeks or less, I'm in the midst of preparing the nursery. I've learned a thing or two while decorating the first two nurseries, specifically how to design a nursery on a budget.

create dream nursery check list
Image via iStock

Tip #1

Prior to spending any money, sit down with your husband or partner and create a list of items you “need” and “want”. From that list, create a budget range and stick with it.

create dream nursery monogram lamp
Image via Dagmar Bleasdale for EverydayFamily

Tip #2

Start preparing and planning early to avoid last minute and often unnecessary purchases. If you start planning early, you will have plenty of time to complete money-saving DIY projects and crafts.

create dream nursery canvas wall art
Image via Mindi Stavish

Tip #3

Invest your time in these simple money saving DIY projects that will quickly fill the walls of your child's nursery with a personal touch.

DIY project ideas to get you started:

  • Using acrylic paints, decorate blank canvas wall hangings with bright, bold colors and simple designs. Or cover canvas wall hangings with fabric that coordinates with the bedding and/or curtains.
  • Purchase a large collage frame and fill it with black and white photos of family members. Hang the collage above your baby's changing table to give him or her something to look at during diaper changes.
  • Purchase large wooden alphabet letters that spell out your baby's name and decorate with paint or scrapbook paper and Modge Podge. Hang the letters on the wall or display in a bookcase.

create dream nursery
Image via iStock

Tip #4

Invest your money in pieces of furniture that you will use the most often. You don't want to skimp on a cheap rocker or glider if you will be spending many hours rocking and feeding your baby in the nursery. Read more about what to look for in a nursery chair in Stef's article.

In terms of a crib, you may want to research those that convert to a toddler and then to a twin bed. On the other hand, if you plan on having more than one child, you may want to stick with a simple crib that can be passed on to the next child.

In terms of a dresser, you may already have a dresser that can be repurposed for the nursery. If not, decide if you want the dresser to last a few years or be used in the long term, prior to choosing a dresser. Instead of purchasing a separate changing table that you will use for a very short period, purchase a changing pad and attach it to the dresser.

create dream nursery paint
Image via Ms..G, Flickr

Tip #5

Painting the nursery is an easy and rather inexpensive way to make a large impact. Choose paint with low VOC (volatile organic compounds), which are chemicals that have been linked to respiratory complications and even cancer.

create dream nursery diy crib sheet
Image via Mindi Stavish

Tip #6

Skip the complete bedding sets, which can range between $100-$500. During the first months of your baby's life the only crib bedding that is a necessity is a fitted sheet and swaddle blankets. I have saved a lot of money sewing my own fitted crib sheets and a crib skirt. I love that I can customize the look of my child's nursery with just a few yards of fabric and a sewing machine. 

create dream nursery
Image via Nathan & Jenny, Flickr

Tip #7

Don't stress over trying to have the nursery 100% complete prior to your baby's arrival. Once you are in the early stages of caring for your newborn, you may realize that you don't really need as much nursery gear that you thought you would. My second child arrived 3 weeks early, so his nursery was not completed when we brought him home from the hospital. I enjoyed getting to know my son's personality a bit more, prior to putting the final touches on his new room several months after he was born.

create dream nursery garage sale sign
Image via Flickr/eastlaketimes

Tip #8

Scour yard sales, consignment and thrift stores, and community consignment sales for nursery decor. This is a wonderful way to save money and reduce your carbon footprint in the world of baby gear. 

create dream nursery
Image via iStock

Tip #9

As you are planning the nursery remember to keep it simple, comfortable and colorful. For more nursery ideas and tips check out these articles: Baby Crib Safety & Cautions, How to Choose a Crib Mattress, and When to Order or Purchase Nursery Furniture

{Related: 5 Things I Wish I'd Done Better Before They Became Toddlers}

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How to Create Your Dream Nursery on a Budget

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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6 comments

  1. Profile photo of MommyQW MommyQW says:

    My first baby, she is going to be in our room. She has one whole side. I decorated one wooden craft letter to match her mesh bumper, my family bought sheets, I bought some second hand, I found no use for a crib set. Her crib is a convertible with changing table/ nightstand with shelves AND drawers, so didn’t need a dresser. Not using the changing table so I put some things mommy needs on it, like the bottle cooler/warmer. Had cute foam booties left over that I had made for my shower pinned on the wall, they match her color scheme. If there was a way to post this comment with pictures, I totally would show you

  2. mom2mom sales and craigslist!!

  3. Profile photo of Amanda Amanda says:

    I LOVE doing artsy stuff for the kids! It gives it that personal touch!

  4. Profile photo of Jessica Jessica says:

    I usually shop at goodwill, family dollar, washer or other thrift stores for my nephew. (He lives with me, not his mother) always great deals there. Last week, I got him 8 pairs of shorts and 5 shirts for $12!! Can’t beat that! But always make sure you wash very thing before introducing to your little one.

  5. Profile photo of thinkobu thinkobu says:

    Very helpful tips!! Thanks!

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