How to Create a Beautiful Nursery on a Budget

It’s Friday! And that means “Friday Favorite!” Today, I decided to focus on one of my favorite things – our home, and more specifically my children’s nurseries. I thought long and hard about how I wanted to decorate my son’s nursery, and spent a little more on it than I would have liked, but by the second just a year later, I realized what things were practical and what were not necessary! What I’ve learned is that it is possible to create a beautiful nursery on a budget.

There are many things that I dislike about our old house, built in the 1840’s. But that’s another story! It’s definitely not our forever home but it is the home we brought home both of our babies to, and we are really enjoying it as a family right now. My husband and I bought it right after we got married and we have done a ton of work to make it ours.

One of my favorite things about our old farmhouse is the character. The wide baseboards and beautiful hardwood floors make me smile, and the upstairs is one of my favorite things. James and Ella’s rooms are next to each other, and they share a closet in between. How cool?! Well, maybe not for them when they are older! Then you have a large hall closet and our room across the hall. Before I had kids I was very crafty and loved shopping for and restoring old antiques. My house is definitely my style, and I kept this in mind when planning out both nurseries too. I was lucky enough to be able to design a boy and a girl nursery in the last two years!

By Baby #2, I was SO excited to buy girl stuff, but also a lot more practical, and didn’t even think about turning our then guest room into her nursery until the last few months. The truth is, although it’s fun to design and shop for a nursery, you can do it on a budget, even if you aren’t the most creative. Here’s how I did it, for both babies!

1. STICK WITH A THEME 

When I was pregnant for my son, I absolutely fell in love with the Alligator Madras line at Pottery Barn. I just had to have all of it! While I still agree it is adorable, there are a few things I’ve learned about buying baby bedding since then. First of all, a bedskirt really isn’t necessary. Although adorable when the crib is high up, once you lower the mattress, the bedskirt touches the floor and is such a pain to fix when changing sheets! Second of all, the monogrammed quilt wasn’t really necessary. I do think we will use it as James gets older and has a “big boy bed” but we haven’t even touched it since we draped it over the crib for photos almost two years ago! And, to be honest, it’s not that soft!

I stuck to the alligator theme, so anywhere I found cute alligator touches, I went with it. This kept me focused. I painted the room a bright gray since it is small and only has one window, and I stuck with navy accents, like the rug I got on sale at a discount warehouse. The furniture was gifted to us (first baby 😉 ) and the changing table on the right is pictured before his changing pad was on it. Although I got the idea for this theme from Pottery Barn, I found cheaper bed sheets with alligators and an alligator mobile at another baby store.

For Ella’s room, my only theme was gray and pink. I love neutrals and knew I wanted to keep things simple.

Another part of the theme for this room was polka dots, like on her bed sheets and in a few photos on the walls. I think little touches of polka dots here and there make the room so girly! If you stick with a theme or color palette, it will keep you in line and focused when shopping and prevent you from going overboard on your budget!

2. KEEP YOUR REGISTRY PRACTICAL and BE ORGANIZED

My husband would say I’m the queen of baskets. They are everywhere in our house! I have a ton of baskets and bins to organize toys, articles of clothing, books, and so on. I even have their closet stacked with 6 identical baskets on the top shelves to keep myself organized. These baskets are not expensive, and can be found at places like Marshall’s, Hobby Lobby, Target, Walmart, and craft stores.

In Ella’s room, I stayed organized by using a shelf I already had in our guest room, the glider we were gifted from James, and a few baskets to keep things in. Again, we bought her rug at the local discount furniture store, and her curtains at Target.

When registering for your baby shower, stay focused and practical! It helps to ask a friend who already has a baby for help, and sometimes older family members, although Grandmas tend to get carried away so watch out! I admit, we were blown away by the various aisles at Buy Buy Baby, but I also liked their organization so shopping for James wasn’t too hard, and we were able to choose practical items we knew we would use.

We were spoiled a bit for James (again, first baby 😉 ) but I have to say that everyone did a great job of keeping things practical! We also received baby books instead of cards, which was awesome too. I had a small sprinkle for Ella, mostly because people love buying cute girl clothes, but we were able to restock on some of the things we needed and give her a few of her own items as well!

Another tip I have is to shop sales and do not limit yourself to baby stores only for furniture! We got this beautiful dresser on sale at a local furniture store, and although it wasn’t made to be a changing table, it’s perfect, and fits so many clothes.

3. TAKE ALL THE HAND ME DOWNS YOU CAN GET!

These are just two of the countless bins of boy clothing I have received from my generous sister and brother-in-law. Their son is about a year older than James, so he tends to grow out of things just in time to give them to us and it is amazing! James had plenty of his own clothes too, but if I could go back I would probably have spent a little less of my own money on boy clothes! I was just so excited!

Take hand-me-downs whenever you can! This is obvious for the second baby, but most people don’t think about it for the first. Ella’s crib was generously given to us by a cousin who is a few years older, and other items we had for James from my nephew included the swing, bouncer, exersaucer, and co-sleeper. We are SO thankful for all of these gifts, which made sticking to a budget so much easier!

4. SHOP LOCAL AND SMALL BUSINESSES

A lot of the nursery decor that I chose came from local craft stores and small businesses I found on Etsy.

James had everything monogrammed because we knew his name early! I am in love with this wall decal I found on Etsy. It was easy to put up, and I don’t have to worry about it falling from the wall!

I also purchased Ella’s monogram from Etsy as well. It’s actually a very light plastic material that I hung with command strips.

I found these three alligator themed photos on Etsy as well, and framed them myself with cheap frames from Christmas Tree Shop! Everything you do can stay on your budget as long as you are a little creative and organized :).

5. GET CRAFTY 

This was one of my favorite things I did for James’ room. As a teacher, and now mom, I LOVE to read and I thought it was so important to give James his own book corner. I bought READ wooden letters from a craft store and used Mod Podge and an actual Dr. Seuss book cut into pieces to decorate them. I know, I didn’t like cutting up the book either, but I have plenty of duplicate books, trust me! I love this activity; it takes a little time but is so worth it when you see your finished project.

If you have two under two, you quickly realize that you will need two of mostly everything when it comes to your babies’ nurseries. Even though Ella slept in our room for a while, she is now in her crib and James is nowhere near ready for a toddler or full bed. Also, we need two changing tables and pads. I like to be able to change Ella in her room throughout the night, and James gets dressed on his after his tub. When you have two kids close together, nursery furniture is about the only thing they can’t share, so practicality is key!


Before I became a mom, I spent a lot of my free time antiquing, crafting, and decorating our house. Our two nurseries literally complete our farmhouse, and I couldn’t be happier with them. They aren’t over the top or expensive, but adorable and unique in their own way, just like our babies ;).

Have a wonderful weekend!

This post contains affiliate links in order to showcase related products you may be interested in. I gain a small percentage of sales made via these links but in no way does this change the cost to you.

13 thoughts on “How to Create a Beautiful Nursery on a Budget

  1. Hannah says:

    Oo both rooms look beautiful! I love the neutrals for your little girls room.
    I created my sons name using the same technique as your read sign so easy and fun to do.

  2. Amila Wickramarachchi says:

    Great tips and ideas.Shop local and small businesses is a great way to save money.During the time that we were making our nursery,I bought some stuffs from online shops too.That was convenient and I could find great stuff for a lower price. 🙂

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