The average nursery costs between $2,000-$5,000 (this info is pulled from multiple resources on the web). I was able to set our nurseries up without the use of hand-me-downs for under $500.00!
Now that I’m pregnant again we are going to be turning our office into nursery #2. Update… nursery #2 was a challenge but I enjoyed it and it came in under $500 as well… See Nursery #2 here.
Many have asked me how I was able to set up my nursery for my first child for under $500. Here’s how I did it and some other ideas of what I will do for this next nursery I am creating. For the list on 17 ways to save (if you aren’t interested in the specifics of what I did), please scroll down.
First, I choose a color scheme and theme. I like to go with a 4-5 color palette when I decorate. I like 3 main colors with one of them being off white, white, or light grey and a 4th accent color to add a pop of interest. Knowing your plan from the get go will help you avoid buying items that will not work/match. If you need any help choosing a color scheme this post may help!
I know that the eclectic-vintage style is in right now so if that is your nursery style just make sure to buy items that will work together (keep photos or samples on you so you can double check before purchasing).
With this nursery I chose a blue, brown, white and used orange as my accent color. As I was browsing online at all the fabulous nursery sets out there I found one that caught my eye. It was a blue, brown, and white argyle.
I did love the crib set but it was too matchy-matchy as most full nursery sets are (especially if you buy all the extras). So I bought only the items that I knew I would use. I bought curtains (and got an extra set for fabric), the rug, changing pad cover, crib mobile, and decals because those were the items I was really wanting. This was much cheaper than buying an actual set and all the extras…totaling $95.00.
With the help of my mother we created more contrast and interest by making our own blanket, crib skirt, mobile, and bumper pad cover (please don’t worry, the bumper pad was for when my son was older and could roll over, stand up, etc.). We found the material at Michaels. We bought a little bit of each of the 5 complimentary fabrics we found.
We made sure to use the coupons we could and broke up the transaction up in two (for her and I). This saved us over $35.00! The fabric plus batting etc. for the quilt, crib skirt, mobile, and bumper pad ended up being about $60.00.
Next, I began garage selling for items. I found the crib, brand spankin’ new still in the box for $60 instead of $249. I don’t know why the couple didn’t just return it to the store but I am glad they didn’t. Had I not found this new crib I would have bought a used one off of the classifieds or at a different garage sale.
I got the crib mattress for $10 (garage sale) and bought this very important SIDS protecting cover for it for $40.00 (please check this anti-SIDS mattress cover out! This is another brand available on Amazon).
I found the changing table and pad for $20.00 at a garage sale. I got the totes at Michael’s with a 50% off coupon and since I wasn’t in any hurry I took 4 trips to get them all at 50% off. I also found the huge orange clothespins there for a dollar or so each. I was given $40 in cash at one of my showers which covered the totes, clothespins, and some of the diaper changing station mobile (see below).
The bookcase I found on the online classifieds for $5.00. I also found the little mini chair for $4.00 at a garage sale and reupholstered it for an additional $30.00.
And all of the books I received either as baby shower gifts or I got at thrift stores for .50 or less totaling $10.00. Registry’s are great places to put items that are needed for the nursery. I had a registry at Walmart and Amazon.com mainly because they had the best return policies and they have the best prices.
The Peter Rabbit set was given to me. I bought the vintage style boat for $7.00. The perfect “I am a Child of God” argyle frame believe-it-or-not was found at a garage sale for $4.00.
And those vintage shoes belong to my son’s dad. It was his only pair of shoes as a toddler and he wore through the toes. They mean a lot to him as his at-the-time-single-mom worked hard and saved up for them. We have lovingly placed them here in the nursery.
The frame I used for this animal collage was a thrift store find for $7.00.
I made this mobile-tutorial here Our son has loved this mobile and it has held up pretty well despite his playing with it often.
I got lucky and received a free rocker as a gift! My mom gives each child a rocker before they have their first baby. So after a lot of deliberation on which was the perfect fit, and looking for ways to save, we were able to use two high value coupons from Babies R Us and saved $100! We used one $50.00 off coupon on the rocker and one $50.00 coupon on the ottoman. She bought it so the price of $170 is not included in this total.
That said, we could’ve gotten an even BETTER DEAL…Had I known about this rocker/ottoman combo and been on the lookout I would’ve seen that Babies R Us had a coupon for $150.00 off the combo about a month before we bought it. Babies R Us sometimes sends out high value coupons, so subscribe to their mailings and keep a good eye out online as well.
Later I found a beautiful used top-of-the-line rocker at a garage sale. It was lightly used and the owner was selling the $1500.00 combo for $200.00. Another lady at the garage sale bought it and was so excited about the great deal she got! So look all over, buying new is not always where you will find the best quality and price.
–A few side notes about picking out a good rocker. Find one that is so comfortable you can sleep in it. Don’t buy one with hard arm rests or your baby may kick it or throw his head back on it and get hurt. I love that this rocker swivels so I don’t have to worry about sidestepping the ottoman. Find one that can easily be cleaned. Microfiber is great.–
Sorry for the next two blurry photos (I couldn’t find the originals)…
The brown color of paint I found at Kwal for $1.00 a gallon (it was a mis-tinted color they were trying to get rid of and was exactly what I needed!). I searched and found a Groupon for Sherwin Williams and was able to have them match the blue from the curtain I took in. For another gallon of paint and supplies, I only paid $25.00
For the closet, I bought cube shelves and totes that slide in and out. They have been fairly durable, are super easy to empty and fill, and are functional. I bought half of these items during a sale with a coupon and cash back. Then I used the cash back, a coupon and a sale again to buy the rest…totaling $80.00.
Further, I made use of a few things I already had.
I already had the sheepskin rug. I bought it a year before from Costco.
My son’s dad is a landscape photographer so we had his light beam image in the room already. I love the image so we left it there.
The carpet was perfect for the theme (in fact is was the main reason why I went with the argyle theme that I did). It is a brown diamond-patterned berber.
Nursery #2 has real hardwood with a red-orange hue so I will be using the flooring as my main drawing point for the color pallet and theme. If you can avoid changing the flooring that will save you considerably.
After Denali was born, his dad took him out to the Salt Flats and captured this amazing photo of him in his argyle print shirt. We mounted it on a very light canvas so that if it fell it wouldn’t hurt him. We moved the animal collage I had above the crib above the closet (as seen in a few photos above) and replaced it with this gorgeous image.
The brown diamond berber carpet was a remnant $70 that I bought at RC Willey. Since we bought multiple remnants the install was free. I bought the carpet pad through a whole seller for $20 dollars for this room.
If you tally up everything up (including flooring) and subtract the sold two pieces of furniture that were previously in the nursery for $150.00 you will see that we only spent $477.00!
So here is an easy to read list of what I have done and plan to do on the next nursery.
17 Ways to Create a Nursery for $500 or Less
1. Garage sell for items
2. Use coupons and sign up for and watch discount baby sites like: Zulily.com. If you order anything online check Rakuten.com to earn cash back on your purchases. Rakuten really is a great way to save an extra 1-10% on your purchases without having to do anything extra.
3. Accept hand-me-downs
4. Buy your own materials or a discounted crib set
5. Only buy the items you want in the crib set
6. Get creative and use items you already have around the house
7. Put nursery items on your registry
8. Look often in the online classifieds and negotiate/barter before buying.
9. Ask to borrow or buy items from family/friends who don’t need the items currently. Borrowing is not the best idea if you plan on having multiple children.
10. Sell furniture or items in the room that you no longer need and use that money towards the nursery.
11. Quality doesn’t always come with a high price tag. Look for a good balance between price and quality.
12. Reupholster or reuse items like a chair, rocker, bumper pad, etc.
13. Pick a theme that will work with the color of flooring already in the room. If possible and desired, pick a theme that will go with the color of the paint as well.
14. Make your own items (i.e. artwork, collages, mobiles, quilts).
15. Re-purpose or dual-purpose items such as a dresser for a changing station, a recliner for the rocker, a bookcase for closet shelving.
16. Go to thrift store shopping. Sometimes you can find amazing things at thrift stores and/or re-purpose an item.
17. If you plan on having more children and will put the next baby in the same room, decorating with a gender neutral theme will really save you in the long run. There are sooo many darling ideas out there using white, brown, grey, yellow, orange, green, and blacks. You can easily create something fun without having it be too girly or boyish and save considerably on the next baby.
Using many or even all of the other aforementioned ideas you can create a functional and cute nursery for under $500.00 too!
Want to find more ways to save? I saved over $10,500.00 on my son’s first year. Find out by checking out this very popular post.
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What did you do to save money on your nursery?
Thanks for sharing these tips! I love the storage ideas.
Vidya Sudarsan says
So peaceful! I love all the decor and the colors. I can’t believe you did this in less than $500.00 🙂 Wishing you all the best with your pregnancy.
Anita Fowler says
Thanks that is really nice of you to say!
Great ideas Anita! I really wish we had a separate space for baby #2 instead of having them share a room! #manysleeplessnights
Anita Fowler says
Yeah I’m excited we have two rooms. That will help out I’m sure for the nights when the baby wakes up all the time. Thanks for the comment.
I love this article! We did our boys’ twin nursery very minimalist and inexpensively too… I actually attempted some DIY projects for the first time in my life! Also, my husband and I LOVE to yard sale!
Amanda Gray says
Hi… would you mind sharing more info about the photo? What type of lens was used, what settings were used, the size of the canvas (seems like an unusual size?), where/how you got the image printed onto the canvas… thank you so much. I’ve been inspired to try to take a similar photo of my son.
Anita Fowler says
Amanda- My husband took it so I asked him. This is what he said:
Lens: Nikkor 24mm prime at f/5.6 ISO 800 and used my Nikon D800. My focus was in AF mode and selected the bridge of his nose as the focal point.
The print is not a standard size but I figured to crop it accordingly to what I wanted.
As far as the print, it is a Kodak Endura Metallic print mounted to canvas like stretcher boards.
I love this! We did a lot of similar things, garage sale and other sites. We have spent 200 dollars so far including the crib with a changing table. We are expecting a boy but we decided to go with a monkey/safari the color green theme in case we have a girl in the future to help cut down costs that way too. We also only have one bedroom apt right now so not having to get all that extra stuff has saved a great deal of money.
Anita Fowler says
Cheri- That is amazing! Thanks for sharing. Great job on the savings!
I just wanted to know what brand/model of chair you have in this room. I’m doing a dark brown as well and this chair looks super comfortable. TIA!
Anita Fowler says
I got it at Babies R Us on sale with a coupon so they both had coupons. It was Beverly something rocker that is now discontinued (I searched). It is super comfy but the main downfall is that I’m too tall to be able to lean back and have my head supported without slouching. So be sure to find a rocker that supports your neck and head. This one is somewhat similar but I’m not sure how tall the back is.
I am in love with the sheepskin rug, and the price you found it at! I have been looking everywhere for one at a reasonable price, I know it has been a while since you purchased yours but where and how were you able to get it so cheap?!
Anita Fowler says
SAMs club online have them for that price. I also found a like new one on classifieds for $60. But yeah same club usually beats out Costco but they both sale them and they are genuine!
Beth S says
Hi Anita- Wow! Nursery looks terrific! My daughter is expecting and is on a very, very tight budget with limited space. I purchased stackable cubes like you show above quite a while ago and never used them. I dug them out of my garage to let my daughter use to find come connectors missing!!! Company no longer makes product! Where did you buy your cubes?? Your connectors look the same as mine! I’m trying to find them somewhere!! Thank you!!
Anita Fowler says
Thank you Beth and congratulations to your daughter! I bought these ones here from Amazon. The connectors can be found here. You can also use zip ties (found here) instead.
Beth S says
Hi Anita, thank you so much for your good wishes and prompt answer to my request! I just ordered them this morning! You are a lifesaver! Love all your helpful info. on your site!! Thanks again! Beth
Anita Fowler says
You’re welcome 🙂