Decorate your nursery on a (single-income) budget – inexpensive nursery decoration

Decorate your nursery on a (single-income) budget – inexpensive nursery decoration
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Inexpensive nursery decoration

While creating your baby registry and perusing through baby stores, you are going to be oo-ing and aah-ing over all of the adorable decorations available for your little one’s nursery. I’m here to tell you NOT to do that. Yes, it is easy to walk into Babies R Us, find the perfectly sectioned out furnishings, fill your cart to the brim, and know you have a flawlessly coordinated theme that is uber adorable, but you will be spending way more money than you need to be.

As a single mom, with a single income, who is about to go on a three month maternity leave, forking out $500+ on decorations wasn’t an option. Here’s how I decorated my son’s nursery with a nautical theme for under $250 (and I still made the mistake of shopping at the major baby stores).

decorate your nursery on a single income budget

MY WAY: My grandmother passed away a few years ago and we hadn’t yet discarded a lot of her belongings, including her home decorations. I was able to reuse paintings (painted by my great uncle), lamps, wall decor and table-top trinkets that would have otherwise been donated to Goodwill. I specifically chose the nautical theme because I knew I had these items to choose from. I originally wanted a jungle animal theme, but soon realized that was going to add up the dollars quickly and so I adjusted based on my resources.

YOUR WAY: Ask your friends, family and neighbors if they are redecorating or have any knick-knacks that they want to get rid of. Find out what themes and color schemes are available to you and develop your nursery from those options.

2. GET CRAFTY – Cost: $25-$50
MY WAY: Because I live in an apartment, painting a mural on the walls, like I one day hope to be able to do, wasn’t an option. I instead painted Framed Wall Mounted Mirror to match the nursery’s colors. I bought Wooden Alphabet Letters from a local craft store and painted them as well to hang on the wall. I also found some Craft Rope to pull back the drapes with to give it a more nautical feel.

YOUR WAY: There are so many ways to decorate your baby’s room in a crafty fashion. Wooden letters are a fantastic way to add character and personalization at an extremely inexpensive cost. You can also buy blank canvas to paint; find a template matching your theme online and print it out. You can cutout the spaces and use that as a stencil on your canvas, or you can just use it as inspiration for your own unique design. I’m a big advocate for Pinterest, and Pinterest loves crafts and babies.

Follow Mommy My Way on Pinterest for more DIY nursery decorating ideas.

3. THRIFT SHOP – Cost: $75-$125
MY WAY: I did not thrift shop for nursery items (as of yet!) but I wish that I had. You can find some really beautiful pieces for really cheap in second-hand shops, so don’t rule them out.
YOUR WAY: If there is a wealthy neighborhood near you, I suggest scouting the thrift stores and consignment shops there first. You can find high-quality items at insanely good prices. As I said, second-hand doesn’t mean torn or ratty, Most consignments have strict rules that they follow whenever they take in a new piece; it has to be of a certain quality and not appear too worn. I would stay away from stuffed animals and linens though just because bacteria and pathogens can be hard to get out of these items.

MY WAY: Everything I wanted in my nursery or for my baby was added to my registry (see why HERE) and this includes decorations. I received a Fabric Collapsible Laundry Basket, Crib Sheets, a few linens and Light Switch Plates that all matched my nautical theme and didn’t cost me a penny. In fact, I actually made money through my registry rewards dollars!
YOUR WAY: Remember when I said the baby stores have adorable, coordinated themes? Well, they still do. Adding these items to your registry let’s your guests be the gifters of adorableness. You get a few items that match your theme without spending an arm and a leg.

5. BUY WHAT’S LEFT – $100-$150
MY WAY: After I completed all of the above steps, it was time to finalize my little man’s nursery decor. I needed one Curtain Panel, a Rug and a lot more crib sheets and Changing Pad Covers. It was time to spend some money. I hit the baby stores, and I paid for it.
YOUR WAY: Don’t make the same mistake I did. Amazon, Walmart, Target, Zulily, and other sites have the basic nursery items at much cheaper prices than the major department stores.

– $50 Drapes: I spent way too much on these because I was blinded by the baby store decor options. One panel was $45! Luckily a friend bought the second panel off my registry for me. If I were to do this again, I would go to Walmart or even the fabric store and get / make my drapes for much much less.
– $10 Wooden letters: Just so you can see a comparison, one white wooden letter from Babies R Us is $4.99. I bought 6 unpainted letters for less than $10 from Micheals.
– $15 Paint / Paint Brushes: Even though I didn’t paint the walls, I still needed to paint the letters and the mirror. If you plan on painting the entire room or simple a mural, anticipate spending a little more on this.
– $40 Rug: I found the perfect rug at Target. Sometimes, when you find something you love, you just have to get it. It was just the right size and included all of my nursery’s colors (grey, navy and white) so when I saw it, I knew I had to have it.
– $125 Sheets / Linens: These items are necessities and they aren’t the cheapest. I shopped at the baby stores and paid $10-$20 per sheet / mattress pad cover. You need enough to last you between laundry loads; and they are out in the open so colors and patterns matter. Like I said before, try sites like Zulily or Zulily is a free membership site with different deals every day and is like the amazon of baby stuff and they also have really good deals.

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19 thoughts on “Decorate your nursery on a (single-income) budget – inexpensive nursery decoration”

  • I love the idea of re-using and re-purposing old furniture and pieces. I found some awesome decor and furniture at Ally’s Attic here in GA. If you have not yet, you must check it out. With my first child I spent a fortune because we were excited. When I look back I laugh at our craziness and the amout of money we dropped at Baby’s Dream furniture store LOL. With my second we reused my oldest’s crib, and then I choose to do the whole room neutral, drapes were neutral from Home Goods for $29 a pair, I only bought neutral crib sheets at Target and ordered a really cute blankie from Etsy. For decor I repainted some of the decor I found at Ally’s Attic to get a pop of color in the room. For wall decor I blew up some baby pictures by ordering advertising posters at Office Depot for $2.50-10 depending on size and framed them in old window frames. I loved crafting my own stuff second time around. Pinning your great ideas to share with others.

  • It really can add up! My daughter’s bedding set was almost $200!!!! It was purchased for me off the registry (a group gift), but I still feel guilty about it, because the crib skirt was only useful for a few months. Once my daughter started sitting up, I had to lower her crib and loose the crib skirt. Thanks for the tips – I’ll definitely keep them in mind with the next baby. 🙂

  • Setting out the steps like this is an invaluable tool. I can imagine the thought of all baby expenses could be really overwhelming for lone parents. My mother went into control freak over drive when my first was born… Lol. Great post.

  • I wish I had known some of these with my firstborn! I thought we had to have the fancy bedding set, and didn’t realize that all the baby really needs is a mattress cover and sheets. I got wiser when the twins came!

  • Great tips, I tried to stick to a budget with my second as I didn’t have a job when I found out I was pregnant. We were lucky that we weren’t allowed to change curtains etc due to our rental agreement, so that saved us a lot of money 🙂

  • Love this! And great tips! We did something very similar with my daughter’s nursery. Crib was handed down, rocker and changing table gifted/hand me down from friends, dresser was thrifted. I made a window covering with a large piece of driftwood and some sheer fabric that I hand sewed. Painted a soft tan, I painted a verse over her crib, and then hung a scenic picture over the changing table. I think everything was less than $50 total!

  • Great tips! We actually used fabric shower curtains that I got at Target for our drapes. They were a lot cheaper and look fantastic. I also found a comforter on clearance, and used it as a wall hanging. Other than that, I did a lot of DIY stuff like you.

  • Great tips, our son’s room is nautical theme also. We go to Newport RI every year and I got so inspired from all the sail flags, oars, and ships. We did it all our selves, that saved so much.

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