It's tempting to go to the hilt when decorating and furnishing your baby's room, especially if it's your first-born. Major retailers peddle pretty -- and pricey -- cribs, dressers, wall hangings, and decorations that are hard to resist. But if you'd like to sock away some of that money for a college fund instead of top-of-the-line items, you can create a cheap baby nursery with tips from moms who have done it.
Cheap Nursery Furniture.Mom and Cheapism writer Raechel Conover was able to save on the bigger pieces of furniture. She got a really cheap crib off of Amazon and a deeply discounted changing table from Ikea because it was the floor model and the last available. A rocking chair and a bookshelf came as hand-me-downs from friends.
Mom and baby products designer Jennifer Porter of Satsuma Designs says a good way to make a cheap baby nursery that is also environmentally friendly is by taking on DIY projects with items you already have. Odds and ends brightened with no-VOC, semigloss paint can become accessories and decorations for the nursery. She also recommends getting furniture that does double-duty. An old dresser can work as a changing station and a coat stand can hold some baby clothes and accessories such as hats and blankets.
A Yahoo story dovetails with Porter's advice, recommending repainting old cribs, change stations, and rocking chairs with water-based paint.
Nursery Carpets, Window Treatments, and Bedding.For a rug, Raechel and her spouse had a local flooring company cut down and bind a large scrap of carpet. The result was much cheaper than an area rug from a retailer. Raechel found that buying bedding sets was more expensive than buying separately. She also received some bedding as shower gifts.
You can get creative in a cheap baby nursery with recovered throw pillows and window treatments, Porter suggests. You can update old sheets by sewing -- or finding someone you know who can sew -- ribbons around the perimeter. You can also use ribbon or wallpaper scraps to update lampshades for the baby's room.
Cheap Nursery Decorations.For Raechel, decorations mostly came as gifts from her shower registry as well, but she did get wall decals for the sports-themed nursery from Amazon, which had cheaper options and a wider variety.
"One idea I heard, though, is to save baby shower cards and frame them in frames from the dollar store or the thrift store -- anywhere you can find cheap frames -- for wall decorations," she says. "I might consider this if I have another child." Another idea is to frame scraps of a quilt or blanket.
Other Tips.Other ideas for a cheap baby nursery include sewing together discount wicker baskets to make a toy chest. You can also hang paper lanterns from the ceiling for an alternative light source and something fun for the baby to look at or hang a baby blanket on the wall instead of using it in the crib.
About.com recommends looking at garage sales (check out our blog post on finding yard sales in your area), thrift shops, and flea markets for baby furniture, or thinking outside the box and purchasing used or cheap adult furniture that can be painted or redecorated for the nursery. You can also use scraps of wood that have been sanded and painted for shelving. Stencil the walls instead of buying wallpaper. You'll only use many baby items for a little while, so try to get incredibly cheap and gently used items from other moms you know or through groups or swap meets.
What shouldn't you waste money on in your cheap baby nursery? Raechel says you don't need noise- or light-blocking curtains, as normal shades should work just fine. She also says to focus on function over cuteness. One way she accomplished this was by hanging shelves and storing stuffed animals on them. They serve as decorative items now, but they'll become toys as her son gets older.
More baby resources to try:
BabyCenter.com: Features deals and coupons on items for the nursery, diapers, and more. The community section also offers ideas for a cheap nursery.
Diapers.com: A BabyCenter.com affiliate, it provides additional shopping deals.
LovetoKnow.com: Has info on cheap baby cribs.
Stay a Stay at Home Mom: This mouthful of a website gives a lot of advice on making or buying cheap items for your baby. One article deals with making your own diaper bag.
PlanetGreen: This site has DIY ideas for the nursery.
HGTV: The popular home improvement channel also has some ideas for a DIY and cheap baby nursery.
Make Your Own Baby Stuff: As the same suggests, this site offers ideas for saving by making nursery and other baby items on your own.
DIYNetwork: More DIY ideas for the nursery.
MomAdvice: Articles on saving on the nursery and everything else for your baby.
Check out our guides for baby items:
What are your tips for creating a cheap baby nursery?