Sunday, March 18, 2012

My 13 Tips for Planning a Budget Nursery

10 months ago I had no idea what even goes into a nursery (besides a crib), but after researching and decorating my own nursery, I guess you can say I'm pretty knowledgeable on this subject now. I'd like to jot down my tips for anyone who might come across this blog and need some advice on starting their own nursery on a budget. This is ultimately how I came up with Mason's nursery...

First, I had to figure out what type of vibe or style I wanted the room to have (modern, vintage, traditional, etc.), so I went on a massive inspiration photo search on the Internet to see what I was being drawn to.

Tip #1: Gather all your inspiration photos and save them to a folder in your computer. I put mine on my desktop for easy access. You can make different files within the file of your favorite photos to narrow down what you love vs. what you like.

Great websites to use for inspiration photos are: Pinterest, On To Baby, Spearmint Baby, Cheap & Chic Nursery, and Project Nursery.

I found my inspiration nursery on Project Nursery.

After I had an idea of where I wanted to take the design, I needed to find budget-friendly options for furniture/decorations and do a budget.

Tip #2: Search the Internet for trendy & budget-friendly furniture, decorations, etc., then create a budget on Excel or Word to see roughly how much you will need to spend. You are just getting an idea of how much everything might cost you, you aren't neccessarily picking out the items you are actually going to buy.

Great websites to find cool and affordable furniture & decorations: WalMart, Amazon, Target, Home Depot (Martha Stewart), Overstock

Next, I thought about what I could DIY (the bookshelves) and also found projects I wanted to DIY from blogs like Project Nursery (chevron Mason letters and DwellStudio Owl mobile).

Tip #3: Do a few DIY crafts for your nursery. This is not only budget-friendly, but also gives a personal touch to the room, AND it's fun! :)

Using the blogs I posted above, you can find simple DIY projects to do. If the blog has posted a nursery, most likely that nursery will belong to another blog with all of their how-to's and details, so you can spend time surfing around and seeing what sorts of projects you would like to do.

After I had gathered all of my favorite ideas, I needed to visualize everything, so I opened up Photoshop and made a "mood board", like this:

Tip #4: Create a mood board.

I saw that I was leaning torwards a blue and green forest animal theme. I was getting closer...Then I made a fake nursery in Photoshop, paint colors, flooring and all, and added items to it to see if I liked the way it looked.

If you don't have Photoshop or you don't know how to use it, you can print your items, cut them out and tape them to poster board to get a visual.

Now I could see that everything was working together. I have just the right amount of blue, green, white and gray. My extras like the wall decals, the deer head and bear stuffed animal give the room a whimsical feel. This really helped me, I couldn't think without consulting my Photoshop files.

Tip #5: Wait until after your baby shower to buy big ticket items. It takes a lot of patience, but it's worth the wait! Add the things you NEED to your registry, and some things you want (hence the gigantic teddy bear in the picture above). We used Babies "R" Us and Amazon for our registries, but you can use what ever one you like. This will organize everything for you and if you end up purchasing something off the registry, simply remove it so no one else gets you the same thing. You might wonder "who is going to buy my baby this huge stuffed animal?" but if you don't add it to your registry, you'll never know if someone would love it just as much as you do and get it for your little peanut. If you don't get every item for your nursery you put on your registry, that's ok. No one got us the glider, so we used some gift cards/money we got from our shower and Christmas towards the balance and it ended up being very affordable!

Tip #6: Think about how you are going to organize everything so the room doesn't look cluttered. I am using the cubbies with fabric storage bins, the dresser/changing table, the closet, the drawer under the crib, the Ikea wall organizer and a basket I bought at Michael's for next to the glider.

Tip #7: YouTube should be your BFF. Seriously, these days I use YouTube for everything. There are so many moms out there giving their own great tips on what products to buy and what products not to buy and what they packed in their hospital bag and so much more. In relation to nurseries, you can search "nursery tour" and watch a whole bunch of other nurseries in action to get ideas. :)

Tip #8: Look for good deals. I recommend TJ Maxx, Marshall's & Home Goods for decor items on your list. Each of these stores has a baby section with really neat decorations at low prices. Also the regular home decor aisles are good places to look for stuff too. Target and Kohl's are good places too.

Tip #9: Use what you and your family/friends have. If you have an old side table you don't have a use for, paint it and put it in the nursery. If you have decorations from other rooms that you don't really love in that room, move them into the nursery and see how they look. I did this with the gray mirror above the dresser, the blue side table, the white deer head and the chalkboard alphabet frames above the cubbies. If your family and friends have hand-me-downs for you, think about if you can use them and if you can, take them and repurpose them to fit your room. We did that with the dresser/changing table by painting it white.

Tip #10: This is a tip I got from one of my favorite interior designers, Sarah Richardson. A long time ago when I first started brainstorming ideas for the nursery, I caught her nursery makeover show on HGTV and got really good insight. She said don't think about your baby when you are decorating, decorate for you and you won't end up with a juvenile nursery. In other words, make the room match the rest of your house, but keep it baby at the same time. The rest of my house is vintage/modern, so I used mostly modern for Mason's nursery and it goes good with the rest of the house.

Tip #11: What ever you do, do not do matchy matchy. This kind of goes with the above tip. If a room is really matchy matchy, then it will look cookie cutter, in my opinion. Just because they sell crib sets, doesn't mean you have to buy them and deck your whole room out in them. Get creative and spend time thinking about what other decorations could be a good compliment to your crib sheet, don't just buy the whole set and slap it on your crib and hang up the matching wall decor items and call it a day. :)

Tip #12: Create a room layout. This will help you see how many pieces of furniture you will need to fill up the room. Here is the one I created:

Tip #13: Create a nursery checklist. I created mine in Word. It's nothing special, it just gave me a visual of all the things I needed to do and when I finished something I could cross it off and feel good about myself!

In conclusion, go with your gut, go with what you like and have fun with it! I hope these tips help!

Good luck.


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