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tips and tricks for how to decorate a nursery on the cheap (part 1 of 2)

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the mommyhood memos: tips and tricks for how to decorate a nursery on the cheap (part 1 of 2)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

tips and tricks for how to decorate a nursery on the cheap (part 1 of 2)

can you spot the four new items in this photo?
the dresser ($60), the two storage bins ($10ea), and the bedding ($12).
everything else is second-hand or repositioned from elsewhere in the house.

Do you have a nursery you’d like to decorate on a dime? 

I believe you can and I’m going to show you how!

My husband and I “work” as full-time volunteers for a non-profit and we’re responsible for fundraising all of our income and living expenses, so you can imagine we aren’t rolling in the big bucks! But just because we’re on a budget doesn’t mean we lack style and it certainly doesn’t mean we don’t care about living well and having beautiful surroundings and a lovely home environment! (I’m convinced quality of life is not dependent on a large income, but that’s another post.)

Although I haven’t written much about it on the memos, those who know me know that I love fashion, decorating, and all things lovely. In the last 10 years living and working as a volunteer, I’ve learned a thing or two about living large on a little… because I’ve had to figure out how to feed my “lovely things” passion some way or another. {grin}

I hope these tips will help you to think outside the box, get creative, and realize that you don’t have to sacrifice style just because you don’t have a lot of cash to throw around.

small clock from ikea: $1.95 

1. Join Freecycle. 
I’ve written about my love of freecycle before, but there’s no way I can write this post without starting there. Freecycle is an online community of folks who want to pass on things they no longer use as well as keep the landfills from filling up unnecessarily. Members can post both “wanted” and “give-away” items, and all you need to do is race to be the first email responder. From the moment I knew I was pregnant I kept a sharp eye on freecycle and ended up with a wardrobe and rocking chair from for Levi’s room – two major items that would have cost us nearly $800 if we purchased them new here. (Australia is not cheap!) Both items needed a little bit of fix-it-man-magic from my husband, but were as good as (almost) new when he finished. I heart Freecycle. (Interested in joining? Search for your local freecycle in yahoo groups.)

accent rug from ikea: $3.95

2. Shop at Ikea or other bargain stores. 
I love (loooooove) Ikea. For me it’s the equivalent of a grown-up’s toy store. Unfortunately there is no Ikea in the city where we live, but when we go to Sydney to visit our in-laws, we always try to make a trip. I got Levi’s bed set from Ikea for $12.00 (for real), as well as a cute mobile for $4.95 and a decorative rug for $3.95. Seriously, how can you beat a store with prices like that? Other (American) stores I love to rummage through for deals are Ross and TJ Max.

levi's fave - a "garden friends" mobile from ikea: $4.95

3. Look out for quality second-hand items. 
The great thing about baby gear is that people only need it for a few years and then—even though it’s still entirely usable—it becomes obsolete as the babies grow up. Our crib and change table are both from a friend who was moving overseas. We purchased these from them for around $100. (Had we bought them new here in Australia, we would have spent around $700!) I also found a small night stand to use by the rocking chair at a thrift store for $5.00, which is perfect for setting Levi’s paci and story books on (not to mention that having extra drawer space is always a great bonus).

rocking chair from freecycle, spruced up with a pillow
repositioned from the living room and a new blanket.

4. Determine your color scheme and then keep an eye out for things that “fit”. 
For Levi’s room I wanted to use bold colors with lots of white for a fresh, bright look. I used lime green, blue, and red… But yellow and orange also work in the mix. Once your colors are chosen, just keep an eye out for things that “fit.” I bought this little green accent lamp at a thrift store for $7.00, and it’s one of my favorite things in the entire room. We always use it rather than the overpowering ceiling light.

use toys to decorate like this wooden block
set from ross: $9.99; thrift store lamp: $7.00

5. Use toys as accent décor. 
I love wooden toys. They’re long-lasting, look great, and of course… not plastic. Use a few toys here and there to do the decorating for you. I like these in bright colors – not only are they fun to play with, but they look great on display in between play sessions.

6. Find things that are being under-used in other parts of the house to reposition. 
For example, we took a shelf that we no longer needed from our kitchen and hung it in Levi’s room to place photos, books, and other toys on. It’s now a focal point for the room and is being put to much better use.

along with a few strategically placed toys, display
maternity photos or old photos of mom and dad as babies.

7. Display baby photos of mom and dad or a cute maternity photo. 
Your child will love seeing these photos as they grow and they add a great personal touch to your babe’s first room. All you need is a couple of inexpensive frames and a good quality printer (or a trip to Office works!).

a little airplane that i've had on my desk for a
decade... now at home repositioned in the nursery

8. Use solids or simple bold prints and then add in the detail
I personally love stripes so it was easy for me to choose this bedding for Levi’s room as a starting point. Then I added in a few car, plane, train, and vespa details for fun and interest… but not so much so that you walk into the room and become overwhelmed with modes of transportation – just a few things here and there. As he gets older and develops his own interests, I could easily switch out a few of those details for robots, zoo animals, rockets, or any number of things while still staying within the same color scheme.

shelf repositioned from the kitchen.
bed set from ikea: $12.00

9. Decorate knowing that your baby will soon be a toddler and then... click here to continue to part 2.

Dear mommy-friends, that's all for today! {Did you survive a post without any photos of my adorable koala? *grin*} Please come back tomorrow for my last eight tips!

Have you registered your blog here yet?

adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2010 
do not reproduce without written permission

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At August 17, 2010 at 12:19 AM , Blogger Rachel said...

Thanks for the freecyle tip! I have a bunch of baby stuff that I don't need anymore but are still in great condition. Plus, I brought most from the states so they are a good find down here. :)

At August 17, 2010 at 1:52 AM , Blogger TV's Take said...

Such cute ideas, who doesn't love IKEA! Hope your having a great day!

At August 17, 2010 at 3:14 AM , Blogger cooperl788 said...

I love these ideas! We're getting ready to (sniff!) transition Georgia to a big-girl bed, and change her nursery into a little girl room, and I need to do it on a budget. We're keeping a lot of it the same (her wall color and the alphabet border) but trying to create a play space too.

At August 17, 2010 at 3:20 AM , Blogger melissa d. said...

wow-this is an ah-dorable nursery!
you have inspired me to head to ikea today and finish my now five month olds!

At August 17, 2010 at 3:40 AM , Blogger Melinda said...

This is a fantastic post! Mine haven't been babies for a long time, but I think most of your tips could apply to any room in the house. Loved the tip about Freecycle! ;0)

At August 17, 2010 at 5:00 AM , Blogger Amy Sullivan said...

Such a cute nursery! I wouldn't know you didn't spend the big bucks. Plus, I've never heard of Freecycle, but sounds like I need to check them out.

ps IKEA. Love it.

At August 17, 2010 at 5:35 AM , Blogger Baby Boberg & Parents said...

I love that car rug! i just got done showing that catalog pic to my hubby this past Sunday. IKEA is the best!

I've heard of freecycle before but never used it. I might try that out now. Thanks for the reminder.

At August 17, 2010 at 7:43 AM , Blogger Ana said...

I <3 IKEA! Best place ever. And garage sales too. We did fish printing at a free hatchery gathering just outside of Corvallis, OR, and my hubby and son did some awesome art with the fish. For less than $10 we picked up spray paint and some old wooden frames from various garage sales. With a little elbow grease, Isaac's fish art is all framed and up on the wall! It's amazing the stuff out there! Good job frugal mama!!!

At August 17, 2010 at 9:10 AM , Anonymous Jinnia said...

Adriel, these are fantastic tips! I have heard of freecycle before but haven't checked them out yet. I will now! You have a great eye for design and creative ways to do it! Thanks for stopping by my feature post and your nice comment, have a super day! ~Jinnia

At August 17, 2010 at 9:46 AM , Blogger The Planet Pink said...

Adorable nursery and great tips!

At August 17, 2010 at 11:23 AM , Blogger ~Lisa~ said...

LOVE this post Adriel. I love your choices. And money can't buy the thought you put into each object keeping both price and style in mind. Love it (= And I love that your husband is the cook. Cooking has no gender. I mean the best chefs are men (=

At August 18, 2010 at 11:22 AM , Blogger Cameron said...

Levi's nursery is so cute!! You've done a great job!! I love the blue truck picture on the other post, but I couldn't comment for some reason.

At August 19, 2010 at 4:12 PM , Blogger HRH Mommy said...

Seriously: where do you get all the time from?? To decorate like that, to write about so many different subjects and to do it all well?? Do you have a magic want that does all your housework, cooking and grocery shopping for ya??


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