A Nursery that is Designer Looking and Frugal, Yes Please!

When first thinking about bringing a baby into our new home I was very anti nursery. I figured the baby won’t know the difference, so why spend money and time on putting together a room.

As I spent time with some great moms (and special friends) many of them would get this big smile on their face as they told me about the hours and hours, late nights, and early mornings spent as a family in the nursery. Nursing baby, playing on the floor with baby, watching baby sleep. They told me that after just 6 short months, baby starting pointing at everything on the walls.

So maybe I was wrong – as much as I hate to admit it :) – maybe a nursery is a really special place for family bonding.

So my quest began… to create a room that is:

  • Gender Neutral
  • Practical in layout and contents
  • Frugal, Sustainable, Up-cycled
  • Designer, Tasteful, Calming

I found this storage bin on etsy that became my inspiration for the entire room! (I didn’t purchase it, just used it as inspiration!)


Here is the finished room… and the details of how each item was made, thrift-ed, or purchased!




Changing Table:

I couldn’t believe the cost of a true “changing table” and it didn’t seem to be so special. Instead I took this wood piece I had, I removed the doors, sanded and painted it. I also sprayed the top with a protective gloss so that it can be wiped off easily. Lastly, I added some fun new knobs!

Cost: About $35 for the supplies, 10-20 hours of work (paint: Menards, Knobs: Hobby Lobby)

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Chair and Pillow:

Rocking chairs and gliders were quite expensive. Also I’m very short (5 foot 1 inch on a good day!) so I found that if I sat in a rocker / glider I could barely keep the chair steady. I plan to nurse in this chair so I opted to re-finish a comfy old chair we had sitting in the basement. 

I bought fabric paint (yes, spray paint for fabric, so cool!). I purchased Simply Spray Fabric Paint in charcoal. I needed 2.5 cans, but made sure to use a coupon on each one so it didn’t get too pricey. I taped the wood portion of the chair, sprayed the fabric following the cans instructions. Then taped the fabric portion and carefully painted the wood.

Cost: About $15 for the supplies, 5-10 hours of work (paint: Hobby Lobby)

The pillow is just scrap fabric covering an old pillow, so that cost me nothing!

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Sweet Dreams sign:

We don’t know if our little one is a boy or girl, and I didn’t want to make something with babies name  (I think it’s overdone… ) so I made a little sign that says ‘sweet dreams’ to hang above the bed. It was made with all scrap fabric.

I cut out the letters using a stencil and then top stitched them onto triangular fabric. I attached it all with some gray cording.  Now that it’s done, I wish I would have used more solid colors.. but I do like it!

Cost: $0, 5-10 hours of work


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Using more scrap fabric I printed off some shapes / animals that I wanted on the mobile.  I cut them out of fabric and also cut out the same shape of fleece.  Then I top stitched the layers together (fabric, fleece, fabric). A few buttons completed the shapes and animals!

I purchased a small styrofoam ring (Hobby Lobby) and wrapped it with ribbon.  Everything was attached with gray cording and my hubby hung it from the ceiling with a small hook.

Cost: $0 (all supplies were left over from the fabric bin project!), 5-10 hours of work

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Wall Decor:

This project was so spontaneous, and it’s one of my favorite things in the room! I was at Hobby Lobby and came across all these small wooden animals, shapes, trucks, etc. that were already cut out and painted! Each one was 60 cents!

I started to look at them, and think how they could be used. I decided they would look great as wall decor, and as baby gets older we can learn the animals together!

I first set out the animals how I wanted them to be placed on the ribbon. Next I hot glued them to the ribbon. Then I finished the ends of the ribbon by hot gluing them under. Lastly, I took some large push pins that I found lying around the house and attached buttons to them and used these to hang up the ribbon wall art. Done!

Cost: $8, 1 hour of work

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Fabric Bins:

This is how all the craftiness started. I found this tutorial online and thought “I can do that!”

I took 1 sewing class in high school… and that was quite a few years ago. The first fabric bin was A LOT of work, A LOT of hours. But I did it, and then the next 7 were much easier! I did some quick math based on the tutorials bin size and changed my bins to be the sizes I wanted.

I did buy very nice fabric for these – it’s a thicker fabric that should wear well and be easy to wipe clean if needed.

I’m using 2 large bins to store books that we will read to baby (I can’t wait!). The others are holding cloth diapers, small toys, and receiving blankets. (More on cloth diapers here)

Cost: $80 (however this fabric was also used to make many other items), 20-25 hour of work

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Good lamps are expensive. I was at my parents house and spotted these old lamps that were not being used. I liked their shape, but not the color. After a quick google, I knew I could use the lamps in the room perfectly!

I simply spray painted the lamps first with primer, then with my yellow paint. Added some new lamp shades and I was done!

Cost: $45 ($20 for each lamp shade at target, $5 for paint), 1-3 hours of work

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Other Projects:

Once the sewing machine was out, I was on a roll!

I also made a wet bag (for cloth diapers, but can also be used for dirty / wet clothes when you are out and don’t want them to get anything else dirty. This is the tutorial I used.

I made a bunch of nursing pads – heart-shaped!  I used pul and hemp fleece materials for these.

With the pul fabric I also made some reusable / washable snack and sandwich bags!

Lastly, I made some small and medium-sized blankets, and also a “play mat” (basically a blanket with 2 layers of thick fleece on the inside) all with extra fabric.

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With a little bit of craftiness, some creativity, and some time, you can make a beautiful nursery on a budget! We are excited to spend time in this room enjoying all the homemade items as we care for our precious baby.

If you have any questions about the project let me know – I’m happy to share more details!

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