Nursery Ideas on a Budget
If you have a baby on the way, you’re probably so excited to get started on your nursery. But after looking at the cost of furniture, accessories, and decorations, you might be a little bit discouraged.
Baby stuff can come with a pretty steep price tag!
We all want the best for our babies.
Giving them the best doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be the most expensive. Whether you’re on a strict budget or just want to save a little bit of money while decorating your baby’s nursery, these nursery ideas on a budget will be a life saver.
From saving money on baby furniture to finding inexpensive ways to cut back on decorating expenses, these 14 simple ideas will help you create an amazing nursery for your baby without breaking the bank.
How to Save Money on a Nursery
While looking for ideas for your baby’s nursery, you’re probably wondering how you can decorate your baby’s room while you’re on a budget.
There are just so many things the experts say you should have in your baby’s room. Not to mention all the fun decorative elements you want to add to give your baby’s room some style.
If you’re feeling discouraged about creating a beautiful room for your baby on a small budget, take a deep breath.
Follow these simple tips to help you decorate your baby’s room without spending a ton of money:
1) Make a budget
The first thing you should do before you even start planning on what you’ll buy for your baby’s nursery is to set a budget for your spending.
If you don’t know how much money you have to spend, how will you know when to stop?
You need to take into account the cost of the items you have to buy for the space, as well as how much money you have to spend to decorate the room.
Related: If you’re completely new to budgeting, here’s a post on budgeting tips for beginners. It can be scary to go through the numbers and get that first reality check. This post will help you ease into it and create a simple and easy budget.
If you’re looking for a budget template:
2) Create a shopping list
After you know how much you can spend on your baby’s new nursery, you can start deciding what you’ll need for the room.
Sit down and make a list of everything you want to have in your baby’s room.
Write down the approximate cost of each item, then work through your list to determine what you can include in the room and which items are out of your budget.
3) Start with the essentials
As you start making purchases for your nursery, start by buying the items that are essential, like your baby’s crib. After those essential purchases are out of the way, you can use the remainder of your budget to purchase those fun decorative items that transform a plain room into an adorable nursery.
If you’re wondering what’s an essential, here’s my baby must haves shopping list for first time moms.
4) Start shopping early
The sooner you start shopping for items for your baby’s room, the more time you have to find some great deals.
Shopping for your baby over an extended period of time allows you to find the best deals without being in a rush to get everything you need for your nursery.
At the same, for new nursery items, make sure you’re able to use them before the return or exchange window closes.
5) Add your nursery items to your baby registry
When you add your nursery products to a baby registry, you can get discounts and potentially a welcome baby gift box with free samples.
The Amazon Baby Registry provides you a 10% discount on select items from your registry, 60 days before your child’s arrival date. The discount will only apply to one transaction so you have to buy all the items you want discounted at the same time.
If you are an Amazon Prime member, the discount is 15%! Amazon Prime also comes with 20% off diapers and baby food when you have more than 5 subscriptions.
The best part about this membership: 2 day FREE shipping and FREE access to movies, TV shows, music and books. You no longer have to worry about last minute items. You can cancel your other movie, music and book subscription services!
You can always get the Amazon Prime 30 day FREE trial, which you can cancel at anytime.
Amazon also sends you a baby registry welcome gift box if you meet certain requirements.
To be eligible for the welcome gift box:
- You must be a Prime Member.
- You must spend a minimum amount from your registry, which can be from yourself or others ($10 in the US or $25 in Canada).
- If you’re in Canada, you must also have at least 20 items added to your registry.
Now that you know how to save money on a nursery, here are some nursery ideas on a budget…
Nursery Ideas on a Budget
1) Buy a Convertible Crib
One of the most essential items you’ll need for your nursery is a crib. And although this piece of furniture is a must, it can also be the most expensive piece you’ll buy.
A convertible crib is a great choice because it grows with your baby.
Most convertible cribs are three beds in one:
- Your child can use the bed as a crib while he or she’s an infant.
- Then, turn the bed into a toddler bed when they outgrow their crib.
- Finally, transform the bed into a big kid bed that will last them through their teens.
I’d say that’s a pretty good investment!
While you may pay more up-front for a convertible crib, the money you save in the long run is worth the extra cost.
When searching for the perfect convertible crib for your nursery, make sure that the model you choose has everything you’ll need to convert the crib to different sized beds as your child grows.
Some bed models come with all the parts needed for each conversion, while others require you to purchase additional pieces to transform the bed into a toddler bed and full-size bed.
If you wait to buy the conversion kit later on, it might not be available (as the model might be discontinued).
I didn’t buy a convertible crib because we had a full size bed available for our daughter later on. If I didn’t have the crib available, I would have purchased this 4 in 1 that has great reviews.
2) Try a Changing Table Alternative
Another popular nursery addition most new parents purchase is a changing table. While this piece of furniture can be handy addition to a baby nursery, it can also be an added expense.
Not to mention the fact that you might not even use the changing table once your baby arrives. Although the tabletop might be handy for the first few weeks, once your baby begins to roll over on their own, you probably won’t feel very safe using it.
But if you’re set on having a changing table in your baby’s nursery, there are ways to add it to the space without breaking the bank. If you’re trying to stretch your dollars while decorating your nursery, consider looking for alternatives to a traditional changing table:
1) Convert a sturdy dresser into a changing table
Place a padded changing mat with raised sides on a low dresser, making sure to secure the mat in place on top of the dresser.
This contoured changing pad fits on most dressers. It’s waterproof. There’s a security strap to attach it to the dresser.
You’ll also want to get covers. These changing pad covers are affordable, soft and easy to wash. They fit most changing pads including the one above.
With the changing pad on top, you can use the dresser to store your baby’s clothing and diapering supplies. You can keep the dresser for storage in the baby’s room as they grow.
2) Create a portable changing area
Fill a basket with all the changing supplies you’ll need, including diapers, wipes, and a foldable changing mat. Lay out the mat each time you need to change a diaper, then fold it up and put it away when it’s not in use.
If you want more of an organizer with additional pockets, you can get a diaper caddy instead of a basket. This diaper caddy has a main storage area as well as extra side pockets to store a wide variety of essentials.
For the changing mat, I love this Kushies Change pad! It’s better than most because it’s larger. It’s also soft and easily washable.
3) Skip the Crib Bedding
While those tiny quilts and adorable bumper pads are so tempting to purchase, they’re actually a complete waste of money.
In addition to being expensive, crib bedding, such as blankets and pillows, is also very dangerous for your infant. Extra bedding can pose a suffocation hazard for infants, which means you won’t even be able to use the bedding in your nursery.
To save a little money on nursery decorations, don’t bother purchasing those unneeded items.
All your baby needs for a safe and comfortable night’s sleep are the below items:
All other bedding is not only unnecessary but also life-threatening to your newborn.
4) Buy Used Nursery Items When You Can
Purchasing used baby items is a great way to save money.
While purchasing used items for your baby is perfectly acceptable in most cases, there are two nursery items you shouldn’t purchase secondhand:
Crib safety standards are changing constantly, which means that used crib may not be safe anymore. To ensure your baby’s bed meets all current safety standards, it’s a good idea to purchase a new crib for your baby’s nursery.
Mattresses are full of the unknown. A used mattress could be infested with bed bugs or full of mildew or mold. That means it’s safer to purchase your baby’s mattress new to ensure they’re sleeping safely each night.
Aside from staying away from used beds and mattresses, there are a variety of other great nursery items you can save money on when you buy them used, including a dresser for storage, a rocking chair or glider, decorations, light fixtures, and picture frames.
You can get tons of great nursery ideas on a budget when searching for secondhand items if you know where to look.
You can find great deals on baby stuff at yard sales, consignment stores, and thrift shops. Or check online on Facebook Marketplace, local Facebook buy/sell groups, Letgo, and Varagesale.
Another excellent resource is Freecycle where you can give or get items for free.
You can also use Nextdoor. It’s a local neighborhood resource. People usually use it to sell goods or find out about local events, but you might see cheap baby nursery stuff on occasion.
5) Shop Online for Great Nursery Deals
If you can’t find what you need at a yard sale or thrift store, you can also save a ton of money by making purchases online. Online shopping gives you an advantage because you can easily comparison shop for items before making a purchase.
If you’re unsure about the quality of an item you purchase online, see if you can find it in a nearby store. You can head to the store to check the item in person, then go back to the website to make the purchase at a better price.
Before you check out, make sure to purchase through a cashback site like Rakuten (formerly Ebates).
This awesome site can give you up to 40% cash back each time you buy! It’s FREE to sign up. And with hundreds of participating retailers, you’re sure to find a great deal at your favorite online store.
Here’s my Rakuten review including how it works for reference.
6) Ask for Free Nursery Stuff
Chances are, you have tons of other mom friends out there, many of which probably have something you want or need for your nursery.
Let your friends and family members know what you’re looking for and ask them for help.
You might catch your loved ones at a time when they’re hoping to get rid of something from their baby’s room, allowing you to get a great deal on decorations or furniture for your nursery.
7) Just Paint the Nursery Room
When decorating your nursery on a budget, a gallon of paint can go a long way. Painting with a light color can make a baby room feel larger.
We painted my daughter’s nursery a light green because we read about how green promotes learning and cognitive abilities.
I was surprised at the impact a coat of paint can do. It added brightness and color to the room without spending a ton of money.
In addition to painting the walls a fun, vibrant color, you can bring new life to nursery furniture with a little bit of paint.
We bought a dresser at a yard sale for our baby room. We painted it white and added inexpensive crystal glass jeweled knobs. Just a few small changes completely modernized the look of the dresser.
While most nursery furniture is safe to paint, I’d suggest skipping the crib. As your baby grows, their mouth will inevitably touch the crib’s railing, which means they could end up with a big chunk of paint in their mouth if they’re not careful!
8) Create an Accent Wall in the Nursery
Cutting back on the number of decorations you have in your nursery is another simple way to decorate your nursery on a budget.
Instead of throwing away money on decorations your baby won’t appreciate, consider creating a focal point in the room with a statement wall. There are a variety of simple (and budget-friendly) ways to create a statement wall, which is why it’s one of my favorite nursery ideas on a budget!
- Use wall decals. These are basically stickers that you peel off and stick on! How easy is that! They can be peeled off and repositioned without damaging your walls!
- Decorate with removable wallpaper. Hanging wallpaper is a quick and easy way to create a beautiful statement wall in your nursery. And if you choose removable wallpaper, you can swap out the design for something new as your child grows.
- Paint a fun design on the wall. Use masking tape to create a cool design like bold stripes or funky chevron, then paint the walls in fun colors to create a focal point in the room. You can also use washi tape to put up a DIY growth chart on your wall.
- Paint a baby-friendly mural. If you’re artistic, use your talents in your baby’s nursery to create a beautiful mural for your baby to enjoy.
- Add a bright, solid color. Sometimes, less is more – even with an accent wall. Instead of making an elaborate decorative wall in your baby’s room, simply paint one wall a bright, bold color to make it stand out from the rest of the space.
- Use framed family photos. This adds a warm, personal touch to the nursery. If you have framed photos in another room, you can move them into the nursery. If you don’t, I love this photo display. You can include photos of your baby’s growth, year of firsts, or your favorite moments! This display is easier to use than traditional photo frames! You can include PHOTOS OF ALL SIZES! You don’t even have to put photos on there if you don’t want to. Post notes or cards. It’s up to you!
9) Decorate the Nursery with a Rug
Finding decorative elements that are also practical is another great way to stretch your spending when decorating your nursery on a budget.
Rugs are one of those fun accents that will be extremely useful as your baby grows – especially if your baby’s room has hard floors.
While your baby is an infant, the rug can add some fun colors, textures, and patterns to the space. And as they grow older and learn to crawl and walk, a soft fluffy rug can provide a little cushion when they fall. As a toddler, they’ll love using the rug as a play space in their room.
With all that use, decorating with a rug makes perfect sense!
When looking for a rug for your nursery, look for a rug that:
- Covers the majority of the room’s floor. The rug should fit under the front legs of the crib, as well as under other larger furniture pieces, to ensure your baby has a safe and soft place to crawl and play.
- Creates a focal point in the space with a fun design or bright color. Using a decorative rug in the room will minimize the need for other decorative elements, which can help you reduce your overall nursery décor spending.
- Is easy to clean. Since the rug will be in a baby’s room, cleaning it quickly and easily should be a priority. A washable synthetic or cotton rug is a great choice for smaller spaces. If you plan to add a larger area rug to your baby’s room, consider purchasing a wool rug. Wool rugs are easy to clean and are naturally flame and water resistant.
10) Choose an Eclectic Nursery Design
When decorating your baby’s nursery, looking for second hand or vintage items to add to the space is a great way to save a little money.
If you get a little creative with the items you purchase, you can find tons of fun nursery ideas on a budget using vintage and thrifted finds.
When shopping for decorative items for your baby’s nursery, keep your overall theme in mind to avoid purchasing unneeded items. Look for things that go together in a fun and eclectic way to create a unique space for you and your baby to enjoy.
11) Swap for Nursery Furniture
If you have friends that have babies, you can coordinate a swap party and trade goods.
Since you know where the nursery items are coming from, you can feel confident knowing you’re getting baby products in good condition.
This is an ideal way to get nursery decorating stuff on a budget because you get items for free AND you get rid of clutter in your home.
If you’re new to swap parties, here are tips on how to host a swap party including what rules to establish.
12) Do Minimal Decorating
As your baby grows and becomes a school-aged child, he or she will likely have an opinion about how the room is decorated.
As you’ll likely have to redecorate the nursery in the future, it’ll save you time and money in the budget to keep the baby room the way it is or with neutral colors.
It’ll also give you the flexibility to quickly turn the space into an additional guest bedroom or office space if you need to.
13) Add a Plant
Adding a plant to a baby nursery will offer a relaxing element to the space. It not only offers a rich color, but brightens the mood and energy in the room.
Plants are also budget-friendly.
A great plant to add to a nursery is an aloe vera plant. It’s easy to manage. While you should water it once a week, it can go for a few weeks without water, making it ideal for busy postpartum moms.
Aloe vera is a natural remedy for healing burns and hydrating skin, among many other uses.
You just have to ensure it gets a lot of indirect sunlight.
14) Don’t use an Entire Room for your Nursery
If you live in an apartment or small living space, you don’t need to dedicate an entire room to be a nursery.
You can use part of a room or even a closet.
This will also keep the decorating costs down because the nursery will be sharing a space within another room.
Final Thoughts on Nursery Ideas on a Budget
Putting together a beautiful nursery for your boy or girl on a budget is possible.
I hope these ideas can provide inspiration to create your ideal nursery while saving money.
Here are other tips on how to have a baby on a budget.
Recap of Nursery Ideas on a Budget
- Buy a Convertible Crib
- Try a Changing Table Alternative
- Skip the Crib Bedding
- Buy Used Nursery Items When You Can
- Shop Online for Great Nursery Deals
- Ask for Free Nursery Stuff
- Just Paint the Nursery Room
- Create an Accent Wall in the Nursery
- Decorate the Nursery with a Rug
- Choose an Eclectic Nursery Design
- Swap for Nursery Furniture
- Do Minimal Decorating
- Add a Plant
- Don’t use an Entire room for your Nursery
Related Baby on a Budget Articles:
- Realistic Hospital Bag Checklist (What I ACTUALLY used!)
- Baby Essentials in the first 3 months you can’t forget about
- Must Haves for a 6 Month Old Baby
- Free Baby Stuff (Many by mail)
- How to have a Baby on a Budget
- Postpartum Essentials for a more comfortable and speedy recovery
- 33 Gifts for New Moms
- Useful Baby Shower Gift Ideas
- New Dad Gifts He’ll Actually Love
- First Trimester Must Haves
- Second Trimester Must Haves
- Third Trimester Must Haves
Enjoyed this post?