How we decorated the nursery without breaking the bank

Updated Oct 12 2015
Guest post by Laura Libert
View of the crib
If this bed was in my size, I would totally live here.

I just recently finished the nursery for my six-month-old son, Sammy, and I thought I would share some of the tricks that kept my budget from going out of control since it's so easy to get carried away when it comes to this sort of thing.

Pick your colors and/or theme first.

Early on in my pregnancy I decided that the primary colors to be used in the nursery would be turquoise and aqua regardless of the sex of my baby; I came across the Owls bedding set by Dwell Studio and instantly fell in love with the gender-neutral design. By knowing the general theme of the room way ahead of time, I was able to score some great deals on accessories for the room that would complement the overall look, like this awesome owl bank that I purchased on clearance for $2 at Target.

Sammy playing in his room
Sammy playing in his new room!

Don't be afraid of buying second-hand.

I saved a ton of money by purchasing my crib second-hand off of Craigslist. The seller posted all of the crib's information in the ad so I was able to make sure that it hadn't been recalled and I wound up getting an excellent deal on a beautiful crib for a fraction of its original retail price.

Thrift stores and consignment shops can be your best friends.

This tip goes hand-in-hand with #2. You can really find some unique accessories at these stores, especially if you're going for a vintage vibe in your nursery. A lot of these places carry furniture like the 1930s chest of drawers that is currently pulling double duty as a changing table in Sammy's nursery; a can of paint and a little bit of elbow grease can turn your thrift shop find into something truly amazing.

Before and after of the chest of drawers/changing table

Find new uses for inexpensive things.

I was having a really hard time finding a valance for Sammy's room until I had an eureka moment while in Ikea; I found a green fleece throw in their bedding department and really liked the pierced scalloped edging that it had. I pulled out the ever-present swatch of colors that I carried with me and saw that the green was a match. Some iron-on hem tape, scissors and a trip to Jo-Ann Fabrics for the rick-rack trim were all that were needed to make this custom valance–and it cost a grand total of $8 to make.

Go "shopping" in your home.

Some items in my son's nursery have graced my home for years, like nearly all of the artwork adorning the walls and the George Nelson-style clock (don't worry — it's a knock-off that I found in TJ Maxx). It's a fun and inexpensive way of adding a bit of your personal style into the nursery. Besides, if it's something that you love chances are your child will love it, too.

George Nelson-style clock in the nursery

For more photos of Sammy's room and a list of resources, click here!

  1. Love it!

    I used a lot of these type of techniques/tips when designing my daughter's nursery, and it yielded an expensive-looking room, on the cheap!

    Three cheers for sweat equity, and great job!!! Sammy's a lucky boy. ­čÖé

  2. we did the same thing for my little girl to take her room from baby to toddler. Her room is awesome and it cost us a total of like 75 — that's bedding, furniture, and accessories.

  3. I did pretty much the same thing with my daughter's room except I got a majority of my items at the GoodWill, hand me downs, or taken from my other parts of the house. I think the only truly brand new item in there is the crib since a majority of family members who had babies recently moved out of the country/state.

  4. We are going to try to make a baby soon and this has given me great ideas for the nursery, i love thrift shops and wouldn't dream of splurging on new stuff when you can get so many great things second hand(if only my darling hubby agreed with me!) I was never the kind of girl to dream about my wedding but i've always dreamed about what my bubbas nursery would look like! Many thanks!

  5. Thank you all for the lovely comments! Believe it or not, that chest of drawers had been used as a sawing board in my friend's basement before it came home with me–I love how it turned out and it's definitely my favorite thing in Sammy's room!

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