For me, planning and shopping for our baby’s nursery was one of the most fun parts of a (mostly unpleasant) pregnancy. Like most parents, I want the best of the best for my baby. When planning his room I wanted a high-end designer nursery, but true to my own fashion, I had champagne tastes on a beer budget.
So, I had to get creative in sourcing and paying for the nursery, and I'm pretty proud of how it turned out. I managed to buy everything in the photo: crib, dresser, glider, bookcase, rug, and accessories for a grand total of $1251.60. This is well under the $2,000 average cited by The Bump.
This number is also well under the thousands I wanted to spend creating the most perfect palace for our prince. (ha.)
So below are my best and most creative tips for saving money on a baby’s nursery – without sacrificing style.
What we spent/where we saved
- Paint – $250
- Furniture (Bookcase, Lamp, Glider, Crib + Dresser) – $845
- Accessories (Wall art, the elephant nightlight, crib linens, rug, and frames) – $406.60
5 strategies to save money on nursery
Spend on the wall color
If you've watched any home improvement show in the last twenty years, or read any “budget décor” article found online, you know that paint is one of the easiest ways to create an impact in a room for not a lot of money.
But, if you’ve got a boatload of other baby items to buy, you may think about skipping the paint in favor of spending in other areas.
But I recommend against this, as the paint is the easiest way to transform your spare bedroom into your baby’s room. It sets the tone for the rest of the space and makes everything else you pick – whether you paid full price or got a hand-me-down – look cohesive and intentional.
We spent $250 because we had professionals come in and do it (twice, because we thought we were having a girl and instead ended up having a boy) but you can bring this number way down by painting the room yourself.
Skip travel rewards and use credit card points for gift cards
In light of COVID-19, you may not be using your credit card points for travel anytime soon. One thing we did is we used all of our credit cards rewards points from 2019 and traded them in for Wayfair gift cards.
This allowed us to snag a $400 retail glider for $62 (paying only the tax and shipping). We were also gifted Amazon gift cards for Christmas that we used to buy the bookcase as well.
Forgo traditional retailers
“Décor” for your nursery (or, any room in the house really) is one of the easiest places to save. Seriously, don’t pay full price for these items – there are so many good deals to be had online. Check Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, or Mom friends with older kids for hand-me-down decor items.
You can also use vintage items, family heirlooms, and leftover shower keepsakes (the “guest book” from my elephant baby shower makes an appearance in our nursery!) for sweet, sentimental items to fill the room.
If going “used” isn’t really your thing, I sourced all of the art in the room for a fraction of a price from Etsy. I love that I was able to get exactly what I wanted, and avoid the “big box retailer” items you see in so many photos online.
The artwork, decal, and wooden sign in our son’s nursery are all from Etsy and cost a total of $155 for CUSTOMIZED artwork.
Plan in advance and buy a little each month
A great way to save your budget (and also not feel like you are bleeding money) is to plan your nursery in advance and then strategically make purchases month after month so you can pay over time.
Any time you wait until the last minute, you'll overspend. This is true for most things, not just furnishing a baby's room. Plus, building the nursery over time is a very sweet experience and I loved stretching it out as long as possible but also having it finished a few months in advance so I could relax and focus on other to-dos as my due date approached.
Once it was finished, I enjoyed just sitting in the room and visualizing labor, delivery, and what having a child would be like.
Don’t be bashful about registering for big-ticket items
The amount of “stuff” a baby needs is really overwhelming, especially if it is your first baby and you are starting from scratch. While it may be tempting to register for lots of smaller items in order to accommodate guests' budgets – don’t be bashful about registering for big-ticket items you may need, even nursery furniture or a stroller.
Friends can go in together on a larger group gift, so don't leave them off the registry entirely for fear of looking greedy.
For example, our crib was a very generous gift from my mother-in-law, and this helped keep nursery costs low and allowed us to save up money and purchase other large items like the stroller and car seat bases.
We also took our savings and bought the crib mattress, as well as rails to turn the crib into a toddler bed so (ideally) the furniture we bought for baby will last well into childhood and keep us from having to buy furniture again in a few years time.
- Don't spend a lot on your baby's nursery – but do spend some time to make it special. It's such a fun activity.
- Decide what you're going to spend on the room itself and strategically shop over time. Don't wait until the last minute.
- For the full nursery tour for Baby Mason, check out the nursery tour on LaurenBowling.com.
Photo credit: Shelby Rae Photographs