Pregnancy is a beautiful thing that yields fun activities like picking out baby clothes, being the guest of honor at your shower, and stuffing your face with ice cream just for the heck of it. (You don't have to admit that one.) Another major part of being pregnant is all the planning you have to do—including design your baby's nursery.
As wonderful as it is to stroll through all those super cute boutiques and baby shops, if you aren't careful, you just might blow all your future diaper money on furnishings and decor. To help keep you grounded, here are 11 ways you can breathe life into your child's nursery without going broke.
1.) Budget. Budget. Budget. And don’t forget to budget! As much as you love your growing baby, that doesn’t mean you have to prove it by blowing your load on his or her nursery. Be realistic about your finances, and create a budget on how much you can or are willing to spend on a nursery. Remember, as your child gets older, he or she will quickly show different interests. No one says a baby nursery needs to be some huge investment. Save that sort of spending for college.
2.) Focus on what you need. No one says you can’t have your baby décor—and decorate too—but, if you happen to be tight on money, you need focus on purchasing the essentials first. Things like a crib and mattress, dresser, and changing table need to be at the top of your list. Once you purchased most of your “must-haves” and big-ticket items, you can take a look at your budget to see what accents you can buy.
3.) Consider putting your wants on a baby registry. Hey, if people are asking what to get you, you might as well be honest, right? Items like bedding sets, for example, can get really pricey. There’s no shame in your game should you want to save a buck and have someone else buy what you need. (Note: It’s typically not considered proper etiquette to ask others to purchase your crib. You might want to get that yourself.)
4.) Don’t always equate “cheap” with poor quality. While the phrase, “You get what you paid for” is often true, that’s not always the case—especially when it comes to a nursery. You’d be surprised how many luxury brands have expensive furniture that’s not certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturer’s Association (JPMA). Many everyday discount stores, like Target and Walmart, carry collections that pass the JPMA Certification Program, which means additional safety for your baby on the way.
5.) Create a wish list, measure, and plan. One of the biggest no-nos to decorating is to head into a store with money and no plan (same goes for online). Before you start racking things up in your shopping cart, it’s important to make a wish list of the things you would like to add to your nursery. Make a Pinterest board, and start jotting down the names and prices of the things you see and want. It’s also a good idea to measure out your nursery space so you aren’t purchasing items that don’t fit (some companies won’t take back special order pieces). Want to see your vision come to life? Olioboard.com is a fun and free resource that enables you to design a space with the products you like.
6.) Do it yourself. A good DIY project will not only give your space an original touch, but has also been known to save you a buck. Thankfully, the Internet is full of bloggers and companies who provide the most dreamy ideas. (Don’t forget Pinterest and Instagram, too!) Even if you are nine months pregnant, don’t be afraid to call up your friends for a DIY party. You provide the items you need built, and they bring the manpower. (B.Y.O.B. is optional.)
7.) Re-purpose what you have. There’s something to be said about taking an item you already have in your possession—or one that was given to you—and transforming it into something new. The art of re-purposing can make your nursery look all the more magical. With the help of a little paint, a super old entertainment center can quickly become a cute wardrobe valet for your baby. Even a tool cart on wheels (yes, a tool cart) can double as a fun changing station for a car-inspired room. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. (Tip: Own any IKEA products? IKEA Hackers is a great website that teaches you how to reuse old IKEA products.)
8.) Nix the pricey art. Can you believe what some people try to charge for baby art? Jeez. A great way to personalize your space (and do it for less) is to make your own art. Now, you don’t have to be Van Gogh to accomplish this. You can print out your favorite inspirational quotes (Etsy shops have some great finds), and memorable photos to frame (IKEA has some affordable ones) for a unique gallery wall. You can always switch out the images as your child gets older and even add lovable items—like the first outfit your son or daughter wore home -- for that personal touch.
9.) Go thrift shoppin’. Flea markets and thrift stores can be the epicenter for decorating. Not only do you have a pretty good chance of stumbling across something unique, but will likely pay less for it, too.
10.) Remember, less can be more. Who says you need to clutter your nursery with tons of toys and baby items you saw in a catalog? When it comes to an infant’s room, less is often more. Plus, who the heck wants to trip on random life-size stuffed animals in the middle of the night? It’s okay to tone down all the accessories. Your wallet will thank you.
11.) Stop worrying about getting everything right now. You weren’t able to buy everything you wanted for your nursery before the baby arrived. Who cares? Life will go on. There will be time to add decoratives to your child’s space. It’s okay to take your time, save for the things you want, and come back to the whole nursery design thing should you not feel like dealing with the all details this minute. Decorating is always a work in progress.