Where can we score affordable baby furniture that’s not so… khaki?

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Co-sleeper: cat not included. Photo by LizMarie_AK, used under Creative Commons license.
My wife and I are doing some pre-baby furniture shopping, in the hopes of avoiding a mega-spree of spending all in one expensive rush. We live in a smallish Manhattan apartment, with no room for a full-size crib, so we are pretty drawn to the idea of a co-sleeper or large bassinet (something small enough to fit in our bedroom, but large enough to last through most of the first year).

But my question is: why are they all so very fugly?! Seriously, is there a single co-sleeper that does not look like a washed-out hospital cart covered in plastic sheeting? (Editor’s note: you can totally make your own!) WHY SO MUCH KHAKI? I would love to hear from some savvy, color-and-pattern-loving offbeat parents about what they did to make their baby furniture less dreary. PLEASE HELP. — Jenna

Comments on Where can we score affordable baby furniture that’s not so… khaki?

  1. I vote for making your own! You can use a regular old crib, take the one side off, adjust the height to match your matress, then use bungie cords to close the gap (between your matress and the crib matress). You can paint it any color you want.

  2. There are only 2 ways to get aesthetically pleasing baby goods: Make /alter it yourself or spend a lot of money on the nicely designed things. They don’t exist in regular stores for affordable prices, and Americans are held hostage by the Ugly Khakis. Also try Craigslist.

  3. We’ve been toying with the idea of baby hammocks for exactly this reason (I’m currently 5 months pregnant). There are a bunch of kinds, and also DIY instructions in various places. They seem to be in a similar price range to the standard (super ugly) cosleepers. And they’re VASTLY less visually offensive.

    I haven’t found a ton of information about American safety standards for them, but it seems to be a pretty standard practice in a lot of places. Seems like as long as you follow the usual SIDS guidelines (flat, solid-ish surface, no pillows/quilts that could smother the baby) it should be fine until the kid gets mobile.

    Does anyone else have experience with hammocks for babies?

  4. We are using a pack-n-play (graco) that comes with a drop-in-bassinet that has two different levels. Baby is 3 months old and around 12 lbs, still sleeping soundly and safely at the highest level. He will have to stay in the pack-n-play at least until 7 months for space reasons. It takes up very little room and we had no trouble finding a reasonably cute/unobtrusive one for under $100. Remember, also, you can jazz up the piece of furniture itself with cute bedding.

  5. I would suggest getting one of the khaki pieces used off of craigslist or through a consignment shop, and customizing it with textiles of your choice. There are lots of vendors on etsy that have ready-made and customizable options for varying sizes of kids bedding. Also, the the blog Little Green Notebook has lots of tutorials for re-doing or updating old furniture (lady loves some bright paint and fun patterns!). Also, IKEA has some great, colorful gender neutral bedding options and kid’s decor.

  6. While I totally support hacks and DIY solutions if you have the skill to make things safely, DP and I don’t have those handy skills. We bought khaki and have tried to liven it up, but there are some colorful mini cribs available. Here’s the one we considered before going khaki because khaki was half the cost: Bloom Alma Urban Crib Framewe went with the green version.

  7. This doesn’t answer the question, but one thing to keep in mind with the boring khaki stuff is that it is easily re-sell-able after you’re done with it. Something you’ve put a lot of time and money into making your own might not sell as well, because your personal style won’t appeal to as many people. But if re-sell value isn’t a priority for you, customize away!

  8. have you looked at any fold-able cribs? I had no idea they existed until last weekend. We have a pool in the backyard, and i wanted a playpen to have our daughter out there with us. but found a free hot pink wooden fold-able crib on craigslist. this thing is so sturdy and folds up flat, is smaller then a playpen, holds up to 35 lbs and is light weight. we slip it into our garage, but would easily fit under a bed or in a closet. We used a bassinet also, but it did not last very long before she learned to sit up and could not use it any longer. We coslept in our bed until 7-8 months when she learned to stand and crawl. My escape artist is currently trying to figure out her crib…lol!

    edit: here is the one i have http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ka0PaX5ynqg

  9. You know what this reminds me of?! When I used to see these awful ugly baby toys and swear my living room would never look like a fugly mess. And then the baby comes along…

    I got the arms reach cosleeper bc it was khaki, neutral and not smothered in ruffles. It had no plastic yucky bits. Baby ended up in bed with me anyway. The cosleepers traditionally only go up 28 lbs or so, so it’s not a long term thing. I think best thing to do is recover in fabulous fabric and call it a day. I am all for aesthetically pleasing but it will be out of your life faster than you can say “I hate khaki.”

  10. I bought the khaki stuff and since we couldn’t spray paint it I covered it all with colorful and patterned duct tape. Worked at really well, a bit tedious but during maternity leave I had the time to spare.

  11. if you google image search ‘sidecar crib’ you will see that you do not have to purchase a ‘cosleeper’. you can just hack a crib, by taking one side off and securing the rest of the crib to your bed.

    ikea sells cribs fairly cheaply ($69?) and they are sturdy and easy to hack!

  12. I have a friend who liked my cosleeper but didn’t have the budget to get one AND the crib so she took the side off of her convertable crib, put it on the highest mattress setting and placed it between the wall and her bed so the baby still has a safe sleeping space and they saved at least $150. Very clever and I wish I had thought of that/had the right layout to do so!

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