How to create a designer nursery on a budget

How I created a budget friendly nursery that is stylish and comfortable using designer products priced for less

Hi readers!  Jessica here.  I wanted to share with you how I designed a super cute nursery for my younger son Mercer (almost 3) without breaking the bank.

My designer nursery on a budget

My older son Griffin (7) was 4 1/2 when his little brother was born, so I began by reusing his old crib, mattress and changing table.

1 | Save by buying a simple crib

My design plan for both boys’ nurseries was for the furniture to be somewhat plain and to add color and texture through rugs, textiles and art.  Therefore, I knew right away I needed a simple crib with clean lines.  Our crib is the Graco Lauren 4-in-1 Convertible Crib, and I bought it at Walmart because they had the best price. It’s a reasonably priced look-alike option to Pottery Barn Kids’ Kendall 4-in-1 Convertible Crib which is almost four times the price. 

designer nursery on a budget: crib

2 | Use a dresser instead of a changing table

The changing table is actually a small vintage buffet that belonged to my parents.  One of my biggest tips for a nursery of ANY budget is to forgo an actual changing table.  They are often awkward or unattractive, and by definition will not be used once your child potty trains. Whenever possible, use items that can grow with your child or be repurposed.  The good news?  You can buy beautiful, high quality pieces at local consignment and antique shops or online through sources such as Etsy, Everything But the House or my favorite, Chairish.  Mercer’s dresser was a very affordable consignment store find.  (Another day I’ll share a post about why vintage furniture, whether inherited or purchased yourself, beats 90% of new furniture every day of the week.)

 designer nursery on a budget

TIP: Whenever possible, use items that can grow with your child or be repurposed.

rug from Overstock

3 | Check out Overstock for designer items

Mercer’s nursery is navy, gray and white, but I did not want a nautical theme.  My jumping off point for the design was an amazing 8 x 10 blue patterned rug that I found on Horchow.  My heart skipped a beat when one of my favorite websites, Copy Cat Chic, posted that the exact same rug was available for MUCH less on Overstock! I paid $260 for this beautiful rug instead of three or four times that much on Horchow.  Fun fact—this rug is no longer for sale at Horchow but is currently for sale by Lulu and Georgia for $685. 

4 | Use fabrics to add color & pattern

I adore the interplay of color and textiles in Mercer’s room!  —The fabric in his nursery (as well as in many of my other rooms) comes from the late, great Mary Jo’s of Gastonia.  RIP to this bargain fabric warehouse that closed its doors last month after nearly 70 years of operation. I selected three fabrics featuring lots of blues that work together because of the different scales of their patterns.  One of my favorite (and most affordable!) items in the nursery are the curtains, which are IKEA MERETE with a “stitchwitched” border featuring fish. My mom made the bumper pad using a lovely coordinating ikat. A three piece set from Wayfair (no longer available) consisting of a white crib sheet, a blue crib sheet and a blue-trimmed white skirt was a bargain, and completed the bedding.  I recommend checking out Wayfair’s crib bedding sets for a deal. 

designer nursery on a budget: glider

5 | Buy a used glider and recover with your favorite fabric

A nursery requires a comfortable chair where mommy and baby can snuggle and bond.  I found a used glider on Nextdoor and re-covered it in an amazingly durable indoor-outdoor geometric fabric.  I love that this fabric can be easily wiped clean of dirt and liquid—it is practically indestructible.  To finish off the look, the glider is accessorized by a custom made pillow and an IKEA RENS sheepskin

read next: the family-friendliest fabric (chocolate chips, wine… the fabric repels it like magic.)

6 | Purchase furniture you can use in other rooms later

Beside the glider, I needed a handy spot for stacking books (or setting down an occasional glass of wine!) so I purchased the Martini side table from West Elm. This is a very versatile piece that I can use indoors or outdoors in the future.

designer nursery on a budget: accessories

7 | Accessorize

No nursery is complete without bookshelves and art.  The bookshelves are IKEA KALLAX and I highly recommend all products in this line. The floating wall shelves are from Pottery Barn (no longer available in white) and the abstract art was a random Home Goods find.  The sweet airplane prints are from Target’s Lambs and Ivy line (no longer available) and the whimsical “Vincent Van Goat” is original art by a family friend. The bunny was a wedding gift, the Peter Rabbit figurine was a gift from a friend, and the baby shoes were mine!

8 | Add a few storage options

Rounding out the nursery are storage options.  I purchased several bins from Target’s Pillowfort line. Both of my boys also have LL Bean’s Boat and Tote bags for stashing extra toys. 

Thanks for letting me share Mercer’s nursery with you!  I hope you will use the tips I shared to create an affordable, beautiful room that can grow with your child.  

Good Taste Guide to Family-Friendly Decorating

Our series on family-friendly decorating ideas features a round up of the best products to make your home beautiful, all at different price points. Check out our posts on how to create a designer nursery on a budget and charming blue and white porcelain and the family-friendliest fabric

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  1. Katy wrote:

    The Peter rabbit along side your own baby shoes, such a special unique personal touch. I love how you made a room embody such a designer feel on a budget. Impressive Jessica!

    Posted 9.16.19 Reply