Around month five of pregnancy, you'll be able to see that first picture of your baby. Whether or not you decide to learn the sex of your child, many of you will begin to furnish and decorate the nursery -- to begin to create a special environment. The ideas and options are endless; time, creativity and passion are all it takes to design a nursery on a budget.
One of the first steps is to determine your budget. Will you be able to furnish the nursery with new furnishings or will you borrow a few items and purchase others?
Must-have nursery furnishings
The basic furniture items you will need for the nursery are a crib, a changing table/dresser, and a chair. In the very beginning, many parents use a cradle or bassinet in their bedroom and then move the baby into a crib after the first few weeks. An heirloom cradle or bassinet that has been in the family for years is a great option. It can be easily borrowed because it's only used for a short time, and there's something special about a piece with family history.
A crib is often the focal point of the nursery, so it is an item you'll want to choose very carefully. Of course you also want the best quality for your investment; your crib needs to be sturdy and safe to protect your little one, and durable so that you can use it again in the future. Many cribs today convert to toddler beds, settees, and even into full-size beds. These enhancements allow the crib to be used for many years and can save money in the long run. Cribs can be borrowed or handed-down, too; however, be careful that the crib still meets safety standards set by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Changing table tips
The changing area is used often and requires nearby storage for diapers and other necessities. A dresser which doubles as a changing table is an affordable option, and you can have fun with a do-it-yourself project. Here's how:
- Purchase a dresser from a flea market or discount retailer or use an existing dresser.
- Apply a fresh coat of paint.
- Either add your choice of wallpaper to the drawer fronts or hand paint a simple design such as dots, stripes or a gingham pattern all around.
Rock the night away
The nursery's sitting area is very important for mother and baby bonding. It will be used for feeding, rocking baby to sleep and later, for reading favorite books to your little ones. Select a chair that will be comfortable for both you and your baby. It can be a rocker, glider, or an upholstered chair with arms. If you already have a rocker, think about painting it and adding a new cushion for comfort. If you decide to go with an upholstered chair, remember that it may find a home in your family room, playroom or master bedroom at a later date.
Add fun with accessories
Accessories such as decorative knobs, lamps and artwork, are a great way to add fun, pattern and color without much expense. These items are easy to change as your child's personality and hobbies develop or if you decide to move the dresser to a different room. Colorful fish or star drawer pulls (or handles) add whimsy to a dresser. A lampshade adorned with a fun fabric, stencil or hand-painted design provides a decorative touch. Artwork also adds a unique and finished look. Be creative—dry mount posters, photos, or whimsical cards to foam core board for an affordable piece of artwork that is extra safe in your little one's space. Framed prints are more sophisticated and will grow with your child.
Given enough time, creativity, and enthusiasm, every nursery, on any budget, can be that special first room for baby. Be sure to allow yourself enough time for extra do-it-yourself projects. Keep in mind that your love and care will make your nursery truly special and one-of-a-kind.