Couple looking at instructions in a nursery room.

How to Design and Decorate a Nursery on a Budget

Having a baby is exciting, emotional, and, at times, downright expensive. In addition to health-related finances, you’ll need to prepare your home with diapers, baby clothes, and an array of furniture to give your newborn a safe, comfortable place to sleep, relax, and play. While designing and decorating the nursery is a fun way to get ready to welcome your new son or daughter into the world, the cost of furniture and miscellaneous items can add up. Luckily, you don’t have to go into debt to create a space you and your family will love. To help, here are 12 tips on how to design and decorate a nursery on a budget.


  1. Establish Your Budget

    Before you begin picking out color schemes, furniture, or design elements, take some time to actually set a budget. You’ll want to allot enough money to purchase the essential items, but don’t create a limit that will cause you financial strain. There are plenty of ways you can design and decorate a nursery with limited expenses. Try to avoid overcomplicating the process and keep your budget simple. When budgets get too detailed or thorough, they can be much harder to stick to.


  2. Embrace Hand-Me-Downs

    Hand-me downs have been a popular tradition for years and are essential when trying to stick to a budget. If someone offers you a piece of furniture, a baby-friendly appliance, or cute outfits, graciously accept their gift. Babies grow fast and spending hundreds of dollars on outfits or clothes that they’ll only wear once is not recommended when trying to stick to a budget. When you embrace hand-me-downs, you’ll have more room to buy things that you can continue to use for years to come.


  3. Buy Second-Hand

    While you might not automatically consider buying second-hand furniture or clothing, it’s a great way to save money and stay within your budget. Anything that you find that’s cloth or fabric can be washed and sanitized while furniture can be repurposed and repainted to match your desired nursery theme. Before you start buying new items to fill your baby’s room with, see what’s available at nearby thrift stores or garage sales. Then check out local postings on online marketplaces. There are even a few second-hand trading sites, which are perfect if you’re trying to get rid of things in the process.

    If you find something you like that’s not the color you want, buy it anyway. Chances are it’s significantly less expensive than buying it new and there are plenty of online tutorials on how to refinish nursery furniture so that it’s safe and non-toxic for your baby.

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  4. Buy a Convertible Crib

    A convertible crib is an investment, but when you look at longitudinal costs it’s well worth it. Convertible cribs are cribs that can be transformed as your child grows and develops. Using simple, guided instructions, you can transition your newborn-friendly crib into a toddler-approved bed. This allows you to provide your child with safe bedding that adapts with their needs. There are even convertible cribs that offer additional spare parts so you can transform your toddler’s bed into a full-size mattress for adults. Shop around for different models and if you anticipate using your convertible crib until your child reaches adulthood, make sure that you buy any necessary parts upfront. Although it’s tempting to wait to try and save money, it’s going to take a long time for your child to grow up and the parts required to transform your crib may no longer be available when you need them.


  5. Skip the Baby Bedding

    Depending on where you buy your crib, you’ll likely need to purchase a mattress and bedding. However, fancy crib bedding sets that cost hundreds of dollars are not worth your money. In fact, the ones that come equipped with blankets, pillows, and crib bumpers can actually do more harm than good. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the only thing you need in your crib is a firm mattress that fits well, a waterproof mattress cover to protect from diaper leaks, and a few changes of sheets that tightly fit the mattress. Anything else is unnecessary and increases the risk of suffocation.


  6. Be Strategic About Lighting

    Lamps and overhead lights make a huge difference in the feel of a room. While not often seen as a design element, lamps have a big impact on aesthetics. Find something that offers an alternative to overhead lighting so you can endure nighttime nursing without blinding lights. The lighting fixtures also double as an affordable design element to help you create a cohesive nursery.


  7. Get Creative and Repurpose

    Prior to making any big purchases, consider what you already have. You can easily repurpose old furniture, baskets, and décor into baby-friendly items for your nursery. With a new outlook, a fresh coat of paint, and a little repurposing, you can save a lot of money. If you enjoy crafting, head to the store and make your own accessories or décor for a fraction of the price.


  8. Skip the Changing Table

    You’re going to be changing a lot of diapers during the first few years of your baby’s life, but you don’t need a piece of furniture dedicated to doing this. Changing tables are quickly outgrown and not entirely worth the money. You’ll need to change your baby’s diaper on the go in many different settings away from your table, so why spend hundreds of dollars to put one in your nursery? You’ll likely be changing your baby on the floor once they start to roll and there are plenty of affordable alternatives that can be used on dressers or tables. Skip the changing table and stay within your budget.


  9. Choose Neutral Colors

    While it’s tempting to design your nursery based on traditional pastel baby colors, this palette is unlikely to last as your child grows. To avoid a nursery renovation, opt for neutral paint colors that give off a timeless feel. This way, you’ll be able to change small accents and décor to match your child’s developing personality.


  10. Use Decals, Paint, or Wallpaper

    A great way to add color and design to your nursery without spending hundreds of dollars on murals or large framed artwork is to use decals, paint, or wallpaper. There are plenty of options for nursery-friendly decals that are easy to apply and remove as your child grows and their interests change. You can also transform a room with a simple coat of paint. If you want to add an accent, wallpaper has officially made a comeback and is now sold as a peel-and-stick option that’s much easier to remove than it once was. Make a statement in your nursery without spending a fortune. 


  11. Frame Your Own Prints

    Purchasing framed artwork is expensive, but there are affordable alternatives to displaying beautiful pieces. Instead of heading to the store, go online and search for prints that match the style of your nursery. Etsy is filled with artists who create beautiful, unique pieces that can be customized for your baby’s name or style. Ordering prints from these artists usually costs about $10 to $20 and you can print them yourself or get them professionally printed at a local shop. After choosing your size, head to a craft store or discount store and find an inexpensive frame to display them in.


  12. Keep it Simple

While it might be tempting to spoil your baby before they’re even here, simple nurseries are often the most cherished. By adopting a minimalistic style, you’ll save yourself time and stress in having to clean everything and keep it looking its best. With today’s design elements and “less is more” mindset, there are plenty of ways you can decorate your nursery using a simple, elegant style that grows with your baby. Add some final touches with decorative doorknobs and colorful baskets to bring out the accents in the room.

Decorating your nursery doesn’t have to break the bank. You can still create a wonderful room to bond with your baby and breastfeed without exceeding your budget. To supplement your feedings and make sure that your baby is getting the essential nutrients they need to develop and stay healthy, breast pumps can help. Byram Healthcare has a wide range of insurance covered breast pumps available at zero out of pocket cost to you. Get started with our simple, three-step ordering process today.