Nursery Décor on a Budget
Something that no parent will argue: having a baby can get really expensive. In fact, the average parents spend anywhere between $2,000 and $6,000 just on outfitting the new nursery. And these numbers are on the upswing, with research suggesting that costs have gone up by a staggering 108 percent in a single generation.
But it’s not all bad news for those of us that are on a shoestring budget. We’ve put together 10 ways that you can create a Pinterest-worthy nursery for your family’s new addition – without having to break the bank!
- Pick a Theme or Colour Scheme
- Buy Second-Hand Goods (and/or Upcycle!)
- Buy a Convertible Crib
- Combine Your Dresser and Changing Table
- Give Your Walls a Cheap Makeover
- Skip the Pricey Bedding Sets
- Be Smart About Storage
- Embrace DIY
- Buy a Striking Rug
- Install Affordable Shelves
Pick a Theme or Colour Scheme
By picking a theme or colour scheme for your nursery early on you can start to keep an eye out for budget furniture, toys and accessories to match right from the minute you know you’re expecting.
It means each and every one of your buys will be targeted and you’ll never waste money on something that doesn’t quite fit. This helps you to limit your purchases while sticking to a unified look – never buy random products just because they look good on their own.
Choosing a Colour for Your Nursery
When it comes to choosing a nursery colour, it’s about so much more than going for personal preference. Each colour has a different effect on the human body and mind and can influence mood and cause physiological reactions. Babies favour pastels and highly saturated colours. #nurserydecor
As colour expert Linda Lauren explains, it’s all about choosing relaxing colours for a newborn. You want to create a secure and relaxing environment for your baby, so think carefully about how different colours can affect your mood. Consider the following colours:
- Pink – In the 19th century, pink was often chosen for boys, while blue was picked for baby girls. During that time it was linked to energy and boisterousness, while it is now associated with love and acceptance. This colour is thought to have a calming and passive effect.
- Blue – People are thought to be more productive in blue rooms and the colour brings to mind feelings of serenity or calmness. Tones of blue have been known to lower blood pressure and lower the pulse rate.
- Yellow – This colour is associated with joy and happiness, however it is known to cause the most fatigue to the eye and babies tend to cry more in yellow rooms. It’s best used in small amounts to attract attention to details, but we would avoid painting your wall a bright yellow shade.
- Green – The colour green is associated with nature and the environment, leaving us feeling relaxed and refreshed. It is found to improve reading ability and has a calming effect when used in decorating.
- Purple – Associated with confidence, purple is seen as a symbol for wealth, royalty, spirituality and wisdom.
- Beige – This warm and inviting colour can help you to feel relaxed and calm your nerves.
- Orange – This bright colour is stimulating and great for giving your baby energy. It calls to mind feelings of warmth, enthusiasm and excitement.
When you consider the psychology of colours, it might be best to use certain colours in moderation. While orange might be great for energising your child during the day, it could prove distracting at night-time. It might be best to stick to a neutral wall colour and decorate the room with family portraits, children’s illustrations or nursery wall stickers to add a bit of brightness and fun to your nursery décor.
Top 10 Nursery Colours
Picking a Theme
There are lots of baby room ideas out there to choose from and if you are creative, you can achieve any of these on a small budget. Simply keep your eye out for matching toys and accessories that fit into the theme. To help get your creative juices flowing, we reveal the list of top décor trends for nurseries:
- Keep calm – This year, neutral shades are in. Think calm, neutral and unisex tones such as greys, beige and whites. Use pretty wall quotes or subtle patterns to add the finishing touch.
- Age of the dinosaurs – Dinosaurs are proving to be all the rage, so use plenty of greens and browns to transport the room back to the Jurassic Period.
- Heart-to-heart – This warm and loving shape is a big trend and can be used in a variety of ways. Whether you put it on your wall, display it through accent pieces or choose it for your bedding, hearts are the perfect addition to any baby room.
- Let it shine – Metallic hues have been popular on the runway and they have now found their way into the nursery. Interior designers advise incorporating gold into your décor paired with neutral tones, for a stylish and elegant finish.
- Come into bloom – Floral patterns are here to stay. Think elegant and vintage-inspired designs for a beautiful and sophisticated finish.
- Bolder is better – A bold dresser in a stand out shade will bring a nice pop of colour to the room, without overtaking the full décor. You can repaint an old dresser to get just the shade you want.
Pick a theme that you love and that offers you a wide range of design options. This will make it easier to find matching toys and decorations to bring the room together. Once you have your theme, do a bit of research for baby room ideas out there and make a list of items you can easily purchase at a low price. Once you have these items in mind, you can keep a look out for sale items or cheaper options any time you are out shopping.
Buy Second-Hand Goods (and/or Upcycle!)
Buying second-hand goods is an excellent way to keep your costs low and stick to your nursery budget. Since babies quickly outgrow the need for baby equipment, there are several places you can find quality pieces in great condition: eBay, Craigslists, Gumtree, and charity shops just to name a few.
Alternatively, you can simply re-purpose items you already own. By up cycling old furniture you can give new life and purpose into an underused item that has plenty of use still left in it. Simply give it a fresh lick of paint to match your nursery décor and you are good to go.
Before you buy used baby equipment, there area few things you should consider. While some goods can easily be purchased second hand without the need to worry about safety concerns, other goods are simply not worth the risk. These tips will help you stay safe, while saving money where possible.
Check their condition: Always do a thorough check to ensure you are confident in the safety of the equipment. There are great online guides that can help you to check the order of products before you buy them. This is essential to do in case the product was damaged and is now in less safe condition.
Look for manufacturer’s instructions: If you are buying used equipment, you should make sure it comes with the corresponding set of instructions. While you may not be able to obtain a physical copy, you should check the manufacturer’s website as these will often store a copy online. Always check you have the set of instructions that go with the product so your equipment can be assembled and used in accordance to their instructions.
Toss out the mattress: Cribs are one of the most expensive items in your nursery, however, since most are built to last you can typically find a used one of high quality. What you should avoid is a second-hand mattress. The risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is higher with a used mattress, so you should factor in the cost of a new one with your purchase. It is essential that the your new purchase fits well and no gaps are left in the crib, so make sure you measure the product first. You should also stay away from drop-side cribs. While these can no longer be sold in the U.S., you may still find them available in a garage sale.
Focus on storage: If you’re concerned over safety, then focus on storage items for your nursery. Dressers are the perfect item to purchase second-hand, just make sure there are no missing parts, chips or peeling paint.
Save money on clothes: Used baby clothes are one of the best ways to save money. Since your child will quickly outgrow their clothing, there is no point spending loads of money on all brand new items. If you do opt for used clothing, make sure it is in good condition, that all zippers, clasps and buttons are secure and nothing is unravelling.
The best places to go for second hand items are kid-specific second-hand shops, garage sales and friends and family who no longer have a need for their old baby furniture. The same safety rules apply even if you are getting items from people you know, so always perform the necessary checks first.
Purchasing several second-hand items? You can co-ordinate mismatched pieces of furniture by sticking to one unified look. Either choose only the same materials, such as wood, or paint pieces to match. This is where picking a colour scheme in advance can come in handy.
Buy a Convertible Crib
Convertible cribs are known as ‘lifetime cribs’ for a reason. They have been designed to grow as your baby does, so that as your child gets bigger, the crib can be converted to a larger bed. You can find 2-in-1 versions and even 4-in-1 versions, depending on how many conversions are available. Four in ones will convert from a standard crib, to a day bed, then toddler bed and finally a single or twin sized bed.
Rather than buying a standard crib that your baby will quickly outgrow, a convertible crib offers you a long term bedding solution. This cost-effective crib is built to last, so you don’t have to worry about replacing it any time soon. While they tend to cost more than a standard crib, it will save you money in the long run.
Before you buy a convertible crib, make sure you check how the bed looks at each conversion. You may not like one of the styles a particular bed converts to, so do a bit of research to find the one that is a good match and will fit in with your décor. It is worth investing in a quality piece that you really like, since you will have it for many years. Most convertible beds require additional kits to make the conversion, so check the total cost to make sure you find one within your budget.
Combine Your Dresser and Changing Table
Save yourself money and valuable floor space by skipping the pricey changing table. Many new parents comment on how little this ends up getting used throughout the day, particularly if the nursery is located upstairs.
You can easily change your baby on the floor, which most people recommend as the safer option. Many people also buy a travel changing pad, since you will often need to change diapers while out and about. You can keep it in your living room while at home and simply bring it out when its time to change diapers. This will avoid you needing to go up and down to the nursery, while keeping your floor clean.
Olivia, advice from real parents
If you would rather not use the floor, you can easily combine your dresser and changing table by purchasing a changing mat. This cheaper alternative is easy to install – you simply secure it onto a low dresser. They come with safety straps to ensure the mat stays in place. Once your child is out of diapers, you can simply remove the mat and continue to use the dresser.
Give Your Walls a Cheap Makeover
Wallpapers can help to transform a room, however, they are expensive and take a lot of work to hang up. What’s worse is that your baby will quickly outgrow childish themes and they can be a nightmare to remove. Luckily, there are plenty of alternative options to give your walls a makeover on a budget.
Wall stickers: Take advantage of the fake wallpaper trend by applying removable nursery wall stickers. You can get creative and use decals to create a pattern to suit your nursery décor, or choose larger eye-catching pieces as your room’s focal point. You can also use them as a fun way to frame prints and family pictures. Once your child has outgrown one décor, you can simply remove the wall stickers and easily give the room a fresh and fun makeover.
Online printables: If you Google the term “nursery printables” you will be overwhelmed by the selection of cute nursery artwork out there. There are a wide variety of colourful printables out there for you to simply print out and frame. Look out for cheap frames in discount retailers or flea markets to add a unique touch to your nursery.
Inspiring quotes: Placing a quote on your wall is a popular trend these days and is often used to add a personal touch to your nursery. Why not pick a quote that really resonates with you, or something inspiring for your child? Quotes can become a real focal point to the room and adds a finishing touch to the design. Opt for large canvas prints nursery wall stickers that really stand out.
By avoiding overpriced wallpaper, you can add a more personal touch to your nursery, without going over your budget. Nursery wall stickers and frames can easily be taken down, without having to worry about the damage these will have to your walls. That makes re-decorating a breeze once your child is a little older, so you not only save money now, but you also keep costs low in the future.
Skip the Pricey Bedding Sets
More often than not, new parents rush out to buy beautiful bedding for the crib. It can set the theme for the nursery and serve as a focal point for the room. In recent years, however, more and more organisations have come out to warn about the dangers of crib bedding. Safety experts recommend a bare crib with just a fitted sheet.
While the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has not banned their sale, The American Academy of Paediatrics, Health Canada and SIDS First Candle Alliance have all come out to say that crib bedding poses a significant danger to babies. Safety experts advise that all you need in your crib is a firm, right sized mattress and well-fitting crib sheet.
Additional bedding or items, including crib bumpers, sleep positions, comforters and stuffed animals, are all linked to an increased risk of injury or death by entrapment, smothering and strangulation. We take a look at the dangers each product can pose:
Blankets and pillows: While additional blankets and pillows may look like a great solution to keeping your baby comfortable and warm, they actually pose a risk to newborns. Your baby could be smothered by the pillow, or become tangled up in the blanket and suffocate. Footed pyjamas or a sleep sack can be used for extra warmth in a bare crib.
Bumpers: While designed with safety in mind, these actually pose a suffocation and strangulation hazard and there may also be a link to SIDS. Even breathable models are not recommended, so remember, bare is best in this case.
Sleep positioners: If babies place their face against the positioner, there is a risk of suffocation. While products are still available, the CPSC and Food and Drug Administration have called a ban on anti-reflux wedges, designed to elevate your baby in order to aid the discomfort cause by congestion and acid reflux. If your baby is experiencing problems with these, talk to your paediatrician instead.
All Things Mama offers some excellent tips for basic crib safety:
Choosing the Best Crib Sheets
With this in mind, it is important that you choose the best bedding in order to keep your newborn safe whilst they sleep. Sheets need to be well fitted, so it’s best to opt for ones where the elastic encompasses the sheet, rather than only being included in the corners. This will help to keep the sheet in place.
Look for ones that have been pre-washed by the manufacturer and are made from 100% cotton. This will avoid your sheet from shrinking in the first wash and cotton tends to hold up best after repeated washing. It’s worth giving them a test run and washing them several times in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Having trouble keeping them on? Then simply return them to the store and get a new pair. You can also find some great crib sheets that have been specifically designed around the safety of you child. There are plenty of options out there that will help to create a safe sleeping environment for your child.
Be Smart About Storage
Once you get everything for your newborn you will realize just how many things are needed to take care of your baby. Diapers, clothes, toys, bottles, books and gifts are just a few of the items you will need to store away in your brand new nursery. So, where do you store all these items without having to buy expensive storage items? Well luckily, there are plenty of budget solutions.
Open shelves: Bookcases are the perfect storage solution for a nursery and you can buy them cheap at large discount retailers. You may even have an underused bookcase at home, or come across a second-hand one in good condition. They can easily be dressed up with baskets and bins to add a pop of colour and fit into your theme.
Handy Ottoman: When it comes to nursery décor, you need to think practically. Ottomans are the perfect addition to the room, as they give you a place to sit while providing you with valuable storage space. The best part is that they are widely sold at affordable prices. They are the perfect place to store blankets or soft toys.
Jessica Gordon Ryan, creator of The Entertaining House
Storage boxes: Canvas storage boxes are all the rage and it’s easy to see why. They can easily be placed anywhere in the room and you can use them to quickly store away toys at the end of the day. With so many beautiful colours and patterns available, you are spoilt for choice. The best part is that they are cheap and often come in handy sets. Keep a look out for ones that fit your nursery décor for a cheap decorative item.
Photo boxes: These small and inexpensive boxes are perfect for getting rid of all the small bits and bobs that easily get lost in drawers. They are small enough so they can be tidied away in the closet without taking up too much room.
Under-crib storage: Don’t waste the space under your crib, instead use it for storage with an under bed storage box. These budget boxes can be closed tight so you don’t have to worry about the baby getting in and are ideal for holding extra diapers, wipes, bibs and more.
With so many affordable storage solutions, there is no need to break the bank. Keep an eye out for cheaper goods that match your chosen nursery décor. This is an easy area where you can combine budget buys with decorative additions to the room.
DIY is all the rage these days, which is why it is no surprise that it has found its way into the nursery. Creative mommies-to-be everywhere are getting crafty and using their skills to add personal touches to their nursery décor.
The great thing is that your nursery ends up with a unique decoration that fits perfectly with the theme and can be made on the cheap. If you are looking for some inspiration, here are some perfect baby room ideas to help get you started:
Decorative garland: Handmade garlands are super simple to make and can easily be customised to fit any décor. You can use scraps of fabric, pompoms and even paper to make them, so you can make them as affordable as you want.
Mobiles: From fabric clouds, to pompoms and family portraits, mobiles give you a chance to get really creative. Here are 25 tutorials to help you make cute, easy and colourful mobiles that will help to make your nursery really stand out. This DIY mom shows you how she made a simple DIY owl mobile for less than $10:
This shows you just how easy it can be to create a personalised mobile that will fit in with any baby room ideas you might have. If you find the perfect nursery wall stickers, but no decorations to match, simply make your own for a cheap and creative solution.
Family creations: Once your baby is born, why not make a cute family portrait featuring your family’s footprints or hand prints? These easy to make creations will serve as a touching keepsake for your child once they grow up. You can make them extra stylish by choosing classic colours or colours that match your décor.
When making your own decorations, you should still keep safety in mind. Decorations with long string or ribbons could pose a strangulation hazard, so make sure everything is out of reach and secure. This is particularly important for mobiles. After about 5 months, babies start to be able to pull themselves up. At this point, you should either take your mobile down or hang it up somewhere out of their reach.
Buy a Striking Rug
A great low-cost item that can help to take your nursery décor to the next level is a nursery rug. Not only do they provide visual appeal to your nursery, but they also help to add safety and warmth for your baby. They come in a variety of shapes, patterns, colours, sizes and materials to suit any baby room.
Safe options: Look for rugs that feature slip-resistant backing to prevent it from bunching up or shifting across the floor. This will give your baby a soft and comfortable place to explore the world or simply rest for a while.
Absorb sounds: The last thing you want to do is disturb your sleeping child when you move about the nursery. A rug will help to absorb the sound of your footsteps, so you don’t have to worry about waking the little one up.
Easy to maintain: Rugs are much easier and quicker to clean than carpeted floors. Most can simply be spot cleaned and don’t require the use of hazardous chemicals. Not only does this make your job easier, but it also helps to improve the environment for your child. This does mean staying away from the fluffy and shaggy variety, unless they are machine-washable.
Added cleanliness: Carpets tend to build up dirt and allergens, so placing a new rug in your nursery is the perfect affordable solution. It’s a quick and simple way to reduce the amount of allergens, dirt and dust on the floor and makes it easy to keep it that way.
For items like rugs and storage boxes, it’s worth visiting discount retailers. IKEA and other large budget retailers often have a great selection of storage boxes, baskets, rugs, lamps and mirrors in a variety of colours. You can easily find goods that will match with your chosen theme or colour scheme.
To find the best selection, visit the store on the day, or the day after, they receive their weekly shipment. The best items tend to sell out fast, so you want to ensure you get first choice. Simply make sure you follow these safety tips to get the best rug for your nursery:
- Natural fibers – Go for natural materials such as hemp, wool, jute or sisal and stay away from toxic protectants such as Teflon-coating or Scotchguard.
- Hypo-allergenic – If you are looking for a hypo-allergenic option, then you can go for a hand-knotted rug made from New Zealand wool. Rugs from Pakistan or India often use this wool in their rugs due to its soft texture and durability.
- Wool/sisal – This blend is a little softer than a pure sisal rug and a little easier on your wallet. They are made from naturally flame-resistant materials, as well as being non-allergenic, anti-bacterial and non-toxic.
There are so many low-cost rugs out there that can add a bright splash of colour and texture to your nursery décor. Due to the wide range of options, it is easy to find something that will fit in with your theme. You will be surprised at just how many different shapes and sizes are out there to cater to your every need.
Install Affordable Shelves
Shelves are the perfect addition to your nursery décor. Not only do they provide you with a storage solution, but they also give you a chance to get creative. This low cost option can take your nursery from plain to simply Pinterest worthy.
High shelves: Shelves can be a very practical storage solution. They make things easy to reach and give the nursery a clean look. Use storage boxes and baskets to bring a little colour and organisation to the room. Make sure you keep small or potentially dangerous goods stored high and out of reach.
Use picture ledges: Picture ledges, such as spice racks or the Ribba range from Ikea, are a very popular addition to nurseries these days. Fill them with all your bright and wonderful children’s books to create a colourful wall display. This truly is a creative and highly functional storage solution.
Display area: Use shelves to display decorations, cute gifts and family portraits. They provide you with a great space, high up from the floor, so it’s more visually appealing and out of your baby’s reach.
Integrate shelves into the design: Shelving doesn’t have to be simply about functionality and storage. Have some fun with it an incorporate it into the design. The above design is simple to do; you can buy tree wall stickers and simply add some shelves for the branches.
Corner shelves: Got an empty corner you’re not using? Install some corner shelves to make the most of valuable space. Corners are typically forgotten about and are often under used, but when you have limited space, they can be the perfect solution.
Shelving is easy to install and gives you the opportunity to get a little creative with your displays. It is a great way of maximising space in a small room, and can be done even on the tightest of budgets. It’s a great way of displaying lovely personalised gifts and decorations, as well as giving you space for extra storage.
Creating an inspiring nursery décor when you are on a tight budget is not as difficult as it may at first sound. It is all about knowing the areas in which you can save money, and where your money is best spent to ensure the safety of your newborn. Nurseries offer you the perfect chance to get creative, use your DIY skills and have a little fun with decorating.
Do you have any ideas we should add to the list? Share your experiences in the comments section below!