Pinterest is ruining our lives.
Yes, it’s Monday and I’m feeling dramatic. But hear me out. Everything from weddings to how prettily the cabinet under your sink is organized has become subject to the ideal Pinterest pin, an unrealistic standard that leaves us mere humans feeling like big piles of unorganized poo. (But at least Pinterest can tell you the best way to clean that up…)
Turns out, nurseries haven’t escaped the grips of Pinterest Perfection.
When trying to decide how to decorate our nursery, especially a boy nursery, I obviously popped over and took a look around. I found so many stunning nurseries that initially appeared easy to recreate, until I clicked on the links and saw the price tags. Holy wallet-draining moly.
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but having a baby a leeeetle bit expensive. Babies require a lot of gear, and those hospital bills are nothing to play with. I’ll spare you the rundown of how much it actually costs to birth a tiny human, but let’s just agree that it doesn’t exactly allow a lot of spare change for designer nurseries.
Clearly, my man-child husband’s decorating philosophy went something like “wait, he can’t just sleep on one of our old fitted sheets?” Infant sleep safety aside, he wasn’t particularly interested in the idea of spending any money to pretty the place up. I had to get creative.
I did a little brain storming and a lot of evaluating the situation of our current possessions (pre-garage sale), and came up with a few simple, cheap opportunities to save money while decorating little man’s nursery.
Nursery Decorating on a Budget
1 | Craigslist Furniture
We lucked out and were gifted our crib and glider, but we didn’t have anything to use for storage or as a changing table. Then I remembered a dingy Craigslist dresser I made Hunter drive across town for a few years ago that had previously been inhabiting our guest room in a dire state of neglect. The ad advertised it as being made of solid wood, and Hunter didn’t know to ask when he picked it up, so in a particle board and laminate rage I decided to and chock it up to a $50 deficit we probably deserved for being suckers. But you know what? A few coats of chalk paint and some oil rubbed bronze spray paint later, and I couldn’t be happier with our new changing table! I scrubbed the everliving heck out of it, re-lined the drawers, and spent a few days giving it a makeover, and now that $50 “wasted” years ago is holding all of my kiddos clothes and diapers. We have a tremendous amount of storage with it, and it’s the perfect size to house his changing pad.
2 | Free Printables
You know, bloggers and graphic designers have been offering these things for a long time, but I never really knew how best to utilize them with my crappy printer circa 2007. A quick google search for “free nursery printables” will return a wealth of options, but unless you can figure out high quality printing, they aren’t going to do you much good. The good news is, you can send these printables to an office supply store and have them print them for you at a teeny tiny price! I sent about fifteen printables (in a combination of black/white and color, in various sizes) to my nearest Staples via their website, and picked them up a day later for $8.
3 | Creative Framing
Cheap art is awesome, unless you spend a fortune framing it. Instead, I scoured a few Goodwill’s and picked up various $1 and $2 frames, grabbed a few cans of spray paint, and turned someone else’s junk into a brand new frame. Another beyond easy option is hanging prints with washi tape (though you may need to use a little ticky-tack to cheat if your tape isn’t strong enough). I also created two “banners” by hot gluing craft dowels to the top and bottoms of the print, then stringing them up. The grand total for my gallery wall (soon to be fully revealed), minus an intial marquee we were gifted? $17.
Prints – $8 (see above)
Frames – $5 (some I already had on hand)
Spray paint -$4
Dowels/stain/string – $0 (already on hand)
Washi tape – $0 (already on hand)
4 | Sewing
Guys, I’m going to challenge you to get a little bit crafty here. I’m no seamstress, but you can learn to do just about anything from the internet. I have a fifteen year old kiddie sewing machine I got for Christmas when I was ten, and me and that Little Engine That Could hammered out a changing pad cover, several crib sheets, and a quilt, all for a fraction of the price I would have spent on Etsy or in store. (Okay, so the quilt was a little intense, but you can totally accomplish the smaller things.) Sign up for Joann’s coupons, hit up the fabric section when they have sales (which is always), and get to some good old fashion YouTube learnin’. They aren’t perfect, but I got to pick out the exact fabric I wanted and they fit my nursery vision to a tee. Plus, when a blowout occurs and he ruins one, I don’t have to feel sick about the untimely death of some $60 crib sheet.
Crib sheet tutorial
Changing pad tutorial
5 | Books
(Hopefully) you’re going to be gifted many, many wonderful books. I have so many memories of reading with my parents when I was little, and I can’t wait to foster a love of reading in my own kids. The best part? Books make for easy, space filling, colorful decor. Even if you don’t get many books from family or friends, Goodwill sells used kids books for $1. I made a haul, Clorox wiped the heck out of them, and they were practically good as new. We were also fortunate to be given a ton of books at our shower. Grab a few shelves (we got ours from Ikea, similar here), spread out your books, and you have an entire wall covered! (Note: when he gets big enough to get grabby, we’ll probably remove the lowest shelf. Oh baby proofing.)
After baby makes his debut I’ll post a full nursery reveal and rundown of our budget, but until then, please feel free to drop some budget decorating tips of your own in the comment section! What are some of your favorite ways to liven a place up without spending a ton of money?