When I found out I was expecting, not only was I excited for Little Deer’s arrival, but I couldn’t wait to decorate her nursery! I didn’t know exactly what I wanted her nursery to look like, but I had a few things in mind. As far as colors go, I wanted to have a lot of white with pops of color and patterns. I wanted her nursery to be cute and functional, not necessarily trendy and perfectly put together. I wanted pieces that would last her through childhood. And most importantly, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. In the end I think we succeeded and I am very happy with her nursery. I love Little Deer’s room and I super love that we didn’t break the bank to get the look we wanted. Here’s a breakdown of Little Deer’s room and what we did to keep it budget-friendly:
1. Buy furniture second-hand
Though it can take some patience, you can really find some treasures that cost very little secondhand. Over the years I’ve gotten very good at searching on Craigslist, and that’s now my go-to place when I’m looking for furniture. If there’s something I’m really hunting for, I have almost always been able to find it on Craigslist. I have found that checking a few times a day, and entering in a few different key words each time can really help. Many areas also have online mom’s groups – I had one friend who got nearly everything for her nursery on a yahoo mom’s group for her neighborhood. Here’s the second-hand items we found for Little Deer’s nursery:
- White antique dresser: To stretch our budget further, I opted to find a dresser rather than a changing table for LD’s room. I envisioned her room having a white dresser, preferably something that had character and was a bit older. For several weeks during my lunch break at work, I scoured Craigslist for the perfect dresser. A few times I thought I had found one, only to find that someone had beat me to it. Fortunately my persistence paid off, and this white dresser popped up during one of my searches. It was in beautiful condition, glass knobs and all, for $100. It had belonged to an older lady who lived a few minutes away, and she’d had been using it for when her granddaughter would come to visit. Perfect!
- Glider and ottoman: Another item I knew I wanted to buy second-hand was a glider. Rockers, loungers, gliders… they’re all so expensive! I wanted something that was in pretty decent shape, comfortable, and wasn’t too much of an eye-sore. I didn’t have super high expectations, but I was hoping that I could at least find something decent and then change the fabric or paint it if need be. After several weeks of Craigslist hunting I found a Pottery Barn glider and ottoman for sale. It was in great condition, just a few years old, and she was asking $250 for it (I believe new it would be close to $1,000). When I arrived it looked great, though there was a stain on the ottomon cushion. She said I could have it for $200 instead… deal! I took off all the cushion covers when I got home, washed them, and they came out crystal clear and stain-free. I also used some cleaner and a magic eraser on a few scuff marks on the frame, and it looked brand new. Though one day I hope to change out the fabric on the cushions, it’s definitely far from an eye-sore and I love that we got it for a fraction of the price it would have been new.
- Side table: Everything in LD’s room was square, so I was really hoping to find a cute round side table for the glider to round things out. Nothing seemed to be popping up on Craigslist, so one afternoon I decided to walk around a local antique mall to see if I could find something and I stumbled upon the perfect round side table I had been looking for. The only issue was that it was stained a dark green. A quick trip to Home Depot and a little spray paint fixed it right up! I believe I bought the table and paint supplies for about $30 total.
2. Use items from your childhood
I was surprised by how many things I used in her room that were mine when I was little (or my husband’s). My mom and I went through a few boxes one day and I ended up with several goodies. Who would have thought a few things from the 80′s and 90′s would fit in so well!
- Crib sheet: My favorite crib sheet to use in her room used to be mine as a baby. It’s red with small white polka dots. Super cute and free!
- Bulletin board: This used to hang in my room since I was a little girl. It looks great in her room, and it’s such a fun way to display cards, photos, and some great keepsakes from when she was a newborn.
- Desk and chair: This was Mr. Deer’s when he was a boy. How sweet is that? It’s been very well loved, so I’m hoping one day soon we can maybe sand and restain it a bit. She’s nowhere near old enough to use it yet though, so I think we’ve got plenty of time!
- Switch plate cover: I had lots of Peter Rabbit things as a baby, so we reused my Peter Rabbit switch plate cover in her room.
- Toys: There are also several stuffed animals and toys in her room that used to belong to us as kids. It’s so fun to see her enjoying them and to look back at photos of us doing the same.
3. Get crafty
I definitely pinned many craft ideas to my nursery board on Pinterest when I was pregnant. I think that crafting not only saves you money, but it makes items that much more special. Here’s what we did:
- Hoop circles: This was the project I was most looking forward to making for LD’s room. I had seen it on Pinterest and knew it was definitely within my crafting ability. I bought the hoop circles and fabric at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics and Crafts for around $25. Most of the fabric were fat quarters, and a few I had cut. I knew I didn’t want it to be too matchy-matchy – I wanted floral, polka dots, and patterned prints. The letters for her name I found at Michael’s for a few dollars. I was originally going to buy some from Pottery Barn Kids that were white and very nice but they were pretty expensive. The ones from Michael’s were around $2 each and were white too… score!
- Bible verses: Mr. Deer and I had a few verses that we knew we wanted to be displayed in LD’s room. I tried to think of some way to make them myself, but decided to turn to Etsy for help. Boy I love Etsy — you can find so many wonderful things on there! I found a gal who had several prints of the verses we wanted. She was willing to change the background and color of the prints for free, so we were able to customize them a bit. Each print was $5 and I printed them on nice paper at home (also saving us money). I then went and found some white frames on sale at Aaron Brothers for $20 total, and there you have it!
- Bulletin board bunting: Her room is already so busy with the hoops circles, that I didn’t want to do too much on/around her bulletin board. With a little string and some washi tape I made a little bunting to decorate the top of the board. It’s just a small detail but something that adds a little character.
- Book racks: Though not pictured (I have yet to hang them) I bought some spice racks at IKEA to be mounted on the wall to hold some of LD’s books. I bought some antique-white spray paint and then Mr. Deer got them all spiffed-up. I’m hoping to put them by her desk so she can pick books out herself, or I may turn that corner into a reading nook as she gets older. Total cost for four spice racks and paint was about $30.
4. Peruse antique stores and thrift shops
Visiting antique stores and thirft shops is a great way to find little things for the room. I really have to limit myself on these outings because I see so many fun things I want to get for her. Here’s what we’ve found so far:
- Basket for stuffed animals: I orginally bought this basket for $2 at Goodwill to use as a prop for her newborn photos. I didn’t end up using it, but now it now holds many of her “friends” and extra blankets.
- Globe: About a week ago Little Deer and I were walking around a local antique store here in Monterey when we spotted this globe. She instantly locked onto it, and when we got closer she was so excited to be able to touch it. Seeing as it was $12, I grabbed it. I had been thinking about framing some antique maps, but since we’re short on wall space I think this is a great alternative.
- Books: Though not a decoration per se, I love the look of bookcases full of books. I bought many of these used at a local thrift shop or at a mom/baby consignment sale (some for only $0.25 each!). I can’t wait to tackle those shelves of books over the years with her, and to add more as she grows.
5. Shop smart
For other items in her room, I did a lot of price-comparison shopping. I mainly looked on Amazon, Target, and IKEA. Though I wouldn’t say that any of these items are super high quality, they look nice and are functional.
- Bookcase: I found this for $100 at Target. I had been looking for a used one for quite awhile but wasn’t having much luck finding a tall and skinny one that would work in the space I planned to put it (an odd corner in our old house in Seattle).
- Cubbies: Another Target item. Many stores have similar cubbies but I liked that these were inexpensive and also had lots of basket options. They were $39 and the baskets were $22. I had seen a few cubbies like this on craigslist, but they were all pretty dinged-up so I opted to get a new one. I’m hoping these will last a long time and we can always change out the baskets if we’d like to use it in another space.
- Side table lamp: Target won yet again! Grabbed this little lamp for about $16. I wanted an all white shade, but was having trouble finding one. This one ties in well though with its splash of color.
- Blackout curtains: I wanted to get good blackout curtains that worked well and wouldn’t break the bank. I found some on Amazon for $39 that had good reviews. The lighter colors don’t work as well, so we went with red. Though they’re a tad dark, they work great and I was willing to sacrifice color for ones that made her room nice and dark.
Overall I’m very happy with Little Deer’s room! Is it necessarily Pinterest worthy? Nah – but it’s bright, colorful, functional, and feels very comfortable. And I love that we were able to save hundreds of dollars by buying things second-hand, reusing items from our childhood, and making some crafty items ourselves (I should add though that our crib was a generous gift from my mom – definitely a budget buster!). There are still a few things I hope to do in her room: I’m itching to paint her side table red, I’d like to change the glider’s fabric, spruce up Mr. Deer’s desk set, and find a comfy round area rug. For now though we’re quite happy with how everything is and we’ll tackle small projects over time. So there you have it, Little Deer’s nursery on a budget!
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What tips do you all have for cutting costs when designing a nursery?