Baby Nursery Ideas and Cost
BY KORI VAGNER
In this article, I walk you through the “must have” baby nursery items and their cost. I also walk you through the extra items I call “fluff” that you don’t really need, but help make the baby nursery look and feel a lot more warm and inviting.
I remember going into our once empty spare bedroom and dreaming about how I would decorate my child’s nursery. I would wonder if we were going to have a boy or girl. Would the room be pink or would it be blue? I also began to wonder about the placement of big items like the crib and dresser. I don’t know about you, but I love design and decorating. There is nothing more satisfying than coming home to a nice and inviting house. A house that makes you feel comfortable. Where you can look around and love all the little details. I wanted this so badly for my child’s nursery. I wanted a warm and comfortable baby nursery for him to sleep and grow up in.
My husband on the other hand was more concerned about how much everything was going to cost. He was the one that thought about safety and cost. That being said, we made a pretty good team. He helped me keep our baby nursery spending in line and questioned every safety detail, which was much needed! Let’s dive into my baby nursery furniture and decor and all the associated costs. Hopefully this will help you make a budget for your baby nursery and give you great baby nursery ideas.
Baby Crib and Dresser – The Starting Point
We started out by researching baby nursery furniture. Specifically, baby cribs first. I wanted an aesthetically pleasing baby crib and my husband wanted the safest baby crib on the market. I first searched cribs online via Wayfair, Buy Buy Baby, Target, and Amazon, and then went digging through tons of reviews. Yes, I wanted it to look good, but my child’s safety was and will always be my top priority. The good thing about new cribs is that when purchasing online, you can easily find lots of consumer reviews. You can also research the safety of the crib through the Consumer Reports website to make sure the crib meets the most up to date safety standards. Once I found a crib that I thought was perfect and met the current safety standards, we bought it!
We ended up buying the Child Craft Notting Hill Euro 4 in 1 Chocolate Colored Crib from Buy Buy Baby. Honestly, I really wanted to buy a crib that I could see in person, but Buy Buy Baby didn’t have the crib I found online in the store. I talked to Brandon about it and we both liked the crib so much from the online pictures, that we decided to take a chance and buy it anyway. We thought, if we don’t end up liking it or feel like the crib seems flimsy, we could always return it. We also bought the matching dresser from Buy Buy Baby called the Child Craft Notting Hill 6 drawer double dresser in chocolate and had that delivered with the crib. There are many baby nursery sets, but we love this nursery set by Child Craft Notting Hill.
You can certainly find cheaper cribs and dressers, but we figured buying a crib that transitions into a bed would save us money in the long run and the dresser we bought is one that our child can easily use into adulthood. The dresser was made with solid wood, had lined drawers and had excellent reviews based on quality. When the furniture finally arrived, I was beaming and extremely excited to see the items in person. Brandon went to work on putting the crib together and the legs and knobs on the dresser. The baby crib and dresser set were extremely easy to install. When he was all done, we instantly fell in love with both pieces.
The cost of the crib that can be converted into a toddler bed and a twin sized bed was $379.99 and delivery cost was $59. The cost of the dresser was $529.99 and $59 for delivery. Affordable is always relative. These two items are not cheap, but they also are not top of the market. We definitely weren’t going to buy the more expensive options, but we also didn’t want to sacrifice quality because we wanted the items to last. The dresser doubles as an adult styled dresser that our son will hopefully use in college and beyond. To us, the price ended up being worth it from a long haul perspective. Both pieces are very solid and should last our boy for a long time.
Other Must Have Baby Nursery Items
Baby Nursery Rocking Chair
My favorite item we purchased was the rocking chair, which is one of the last pieces of baby nursery furniture you will need. This is something you will use a lot and will even use before the baby is born! I told my husband, Brandon, that I wanted to sit in the rocking chair before he was born and sing and read books to him. Science shows that babies in the womb can hear noises and, once born, know the sound of their mother’s voice. How cool is that? Science also shows that once babies are born, they can recall certain songs and books you read them while in the womb, if done repetitively. This makes babies feel comfortable when born because they are hearing familiar sounds they once heard in the womb.
I talked to a lot of other mommas that had rocking chairs and they all said make sure you get a rocking chair that reclines. They told me that you will be using the chair a lot to put the baby to sleep and you want to be comfortable. After using ours now for 8 months, I completely agreed with them. When searching for ours, I set out to find myself a rocking chair that rocked, reclined, and swiveled. However, I knew this was an item I didn’t need forever. That being said, I was out to find a budget friendly rocking chair.
I looked on Wayfair first and immediately found a rocking chair that met all of my needs. Wayfair is a great place to find reasonable priced baby furniture. They also have free delivery when you spend over a certain dollar amount. The chair we ended up purchasing was called the Rowe upholstered manual reclining glider. The cost was $269.61. This price helped us make up ground for spending a little extra on the baby dresser and crib. Nursery rocking chairs can get crazy expensive, but remember you don’t need it to last near as long as the crib and dresser.
I love Wayfair because they have tons of reviews and detailed measurements. Make sure you pay close attention to those detailed measurements. For example, do you want to be able to lean your head back on the chair? If so, you’ll want to ensure you get one tall enough in the back. I am very tall, so I definitely wanted to ensure we got a rocking chair that was going to have a back that I could lean my head against. I was easily able to look at Wayfair’s description on measurements and know if it was going to fit my size or not.
Wayfair also does free returns, which is awesome! If for some reason you don’t like what you bought or if there is a problem, they are quick at giving you a return label and letting you return the item for a full refund. This rocking chair was the perfect fit for me and my husband and we love it. There was some installation involved, but it wasn’t hard at all. My husband put it together in under 30 minutes. After using the rocking chair for 8 months, I highly recommend it!
There isn’t too much to buying a mattress for your baby crib. I would just recommend a firm baby mattress to reduce the likelihood of anything bad happening. You should check out the Milliard Crib Mattress, which has a Dual Comfort System that features a firm side for baby and soft side for toddler. Click the link for current pricing, but expect around $79.99.
Target has a wonderful selection of affordable baby mattress sheets. They have options that go with just about all baby nursery themes. My theme was woodland, and they had the perfect sheet for us, but Amazon also has some great options. Check out the TILLYOU Microfiber Silky Soft Crib Sheet. Click the link for current pricing, but they are typically under $10.
Sound Machine with Ceiling Scenery Light Display
Don’t overlook the importance of buying a sound machine for your baby nursery, and I highly recommend you get one with a ceiling scenery light display. We have found the light display can make a massive difference in calming your baby. The light display within our primary sound machine is on the smaller side. Imagine a circle about the size of the crib. We have another one though that was given to us that has a massive and extremely colorful light display. It’s a fishbowl scene, and due to the color brightness and size of the scene, you really feel like you’re in a fishbowl. Our son absolutely loves that really large and colorful scene. The sound isn’t near as good as our primary sound machine though. Our primary sound machine is the MyBaby, SoundSpa Lullaby. Price is typically 24.99, but click the link for current pricing. It’s well worth it!!!
There are so many baby monitor options out there, but it’s a pretty simple safety device. There are two big features I would recommend you make sure you get. First, I do think having two cameras helps a TON. Your baby will move all over the place and will go out of view of one camera station pretty quickly. So, if you don’t have a camera suspended above the bed that has a view of the entire bed, then you’ll want two camera stations to place around the crib.
The second most important feature is a large monitor screen. I’m so glad we got one with a large screen. It has made life so much easier. We purchased the Motorola MBP50-G2 Video Baby Monitor Large 5″ Color Parent Unit with Split Screen Viewing, Infrared Night Vision and 2 Cameras with Remote Pan/Tilt/Zoom. We love it! Check out pricing on Amazon, but usually is $169.99.
Baby Changing Pad
In an effort to save your back, make sure to get you a changing pad to place on top of the dresser. Don’t worry, they are lipped so your baby won’t accidentally roll out. That said, you should never leave your baby alone in one. As they get older and start to roll, there is definitely a chance they could roll out if left unsupervised. You’ll need both the changing pad and a changing pad cover. Click those two Amazon links for current pricing, but expect to spend about $30 in total.
Your baby certainly might need a night light, but we have found the night light to be extremely helpful to us as parents during the night when we get up to feed our baby. My husband I both REALLY like the wireless night light we have that sits on top of the dresser right next to the rocking chair. You just tap the top of it to turn on and off. That night light is the IDMIX USB Mini Lamp and cost $29.99.
So, I quickly found out that one dresser is not enough to store all my baby’s items, and that one last piece of baby nursery furniture was needed. I ended up using the top of the dresser to put the changing pad, lamp, night light, and a picture on. Besides that, there was no more room to put anything else on top of his dresser. Ugh! What to do??? I needed a little storage type shelf to store items like the humidifier, books, sound machine, and stuffed animals.
My baby’s room is small, so I needed something on the small side. I went to Amazon to search for a budget friendly storage shelf. It took me awhile to find because I wanted a storage shelf that was similar to the color of the crib and dresser, so it didn’t look out of place. The storage shelf I ended up buying was the Furinno 18029WN/BR Turn-N 3-Tier Display Rack with Classic Tube, Walnut/Brown. The cost was $28.39.
It ended up being the perfect color, super easy to put together, and perfect size for my space. Amazon has tons of reviews, free shipping with your prime membership, and free returns! I mean who doesn’t love Amazon? Let’s not forget about the 2 day shipping! I knew at $28.39 that the shelf wasn’t going to be super high quality, but I just needed something to store some of my baby’s stuff. It didn’t need it to be fancy, it just needed it to be practical. I was lucky, and when I received the item in the mail, it was perfect!
Pack and Play
The pack and play is going to be your traveling crib. So, I’m going to go ahead and give you my thoughts on it since we’ve already talked about your nursery crib. You’re definitely going to want to get one that breaks down easily and doesn’t take up too much room in your car. You won’t believe how much stuff you will have to take with you when you travel with a baby. We have loved our pack and play and I would recommend it to anyone. We travel to visit family quite often and knew we needed a pretty solid one. We bought the Graco Pack ‘n Play Change ‘n Carry Playard, Manor at a price of $99.99. I would buy this one again in a heartbeat!
The Fluff! Staples to Make Your Nursery Beautiful
This is a good point to explain how we went about paying for all these extra “fluff” items. My husband and I have a monthly budgeting system where we each get the same amount of money auto deposited into separate checking accounts each pay period designated strictly for our individual spending. That said, we do have joint checking accounts for our food and housing related bills. However, the separate checking accounts for our “fun” and everyday spending such as gas and oil changes was one of the best things we ever did.
We each individually manage our spending for the month through our separate checking accounts and know that we only have so much to spend, which is what auto transfers in at the beginning of every month. This is unlike most people who use credit cards that typically have limits WAY beyond what most people should be spending each month. From our experience, credit cards are how things get out of control.
Just to clarify, all of our budgeting is done jointly and we each get the same amount to spend each month. We just have separate checking accounts for spending so we can keep things organized and separate. Seriously, it’s one of the best things you can do to help manage your finances. I could care less what he buys and the same goes for him. That’s because everything is divided up evenly at the beginning of the month and there are no surprises.
That said, if we know we want to purchase something like “fluff” items for the baby nursery, then we have to budget for that and not spend as much on other things throughout the month. So, we didn’t just go hog wild and blow our monthly budget. We made sure to buy these items using our already budgeted “fun” money. We just had to plan carefully and buy over a few month period of time. Start planning early so all your nursery spending doesn’t seem overwhelming and you don’t break the bank. If you want to learn more about how we manage our money and monthly spending, check out this great article on how we use the digital cash envelope system.
Peel and Stick Wallpaper
Once I had all the must have items out of the way, I was able to focus on all the little “pretty” items that make the nursery homey. Honestly, I spent countless hours researching different nursery themes and decorating ideas via Pinterest. Have I told you how much I love Pinterest for idea generation? I get so many incredible ideas from Pinterest.
I knew the one thing I really wanted in my baby’s nursery was peel and stick wallpaper. If you haven’t heard about this stuff, I urge you to look it up. Peel and stick wallpaper is amazing! Unlike the old time wallpaper that takes a ton of effort to hang, this new and improved peel and stick wallpaper already has a sticky backing and comes in 1.5 feet wide strips. The great thing is that it can easily be removed and is great for people who are renting. It doesn’t ruin the wall and peels right off.
Now, I do have to say that this peel and stick wallpaper is not the easiest to put up. Actually my husband put up the wallpaper on just one wall in the nursery and it took him all afternoon to do so. The reason being is because you have to be extremely precise, because the strips are 1.5 feet wide and you have to match up the lines exactly right or it will look crooked and you will get creases all over the place. There were many times we thought we had the wallpaper lined up perfectly, but when we got to the bottom of the wall, it wasn’t matched up and the spacing was off. We would have to un-peel the wallpaper and try again, but that’s another great feature of the peel and stick application. We could easily un-peel and reapply that strip.
It is well worth the effort though! Once we got the entire wall done, it looked amazing and added a pop of design that was much needed! The peel and stick wallpaper I ended up getting was from Target. It is called Buffalo Plaid Peel and Stick Wallpaper Blue – RoomMates. The cost was $29.99 for one roll, which is 18 feet long and 18 inches wide. One roll will cover about 28 sq. ft. Make sure you measure your wall and see how many rolls of wallpaper you will need. We ended up needing 4 rolls for our one wall. The cost came to around $120 without tax. This was definitely on the pricey side for one wall, but looking at the baby nursery now, it was worth it! I highly recommend trying out the peel and stick wallpaper from Target. They have tons of colors and designs to choose from.
Before and After Pictures of Our Baby Nursery Wall Decor – Peel and Stick Wallpaper
For me personally, a crucial design piece in the baby’s nursery was the rug I chose. I wanted a soft rug that added warmth to the nursery. I already had carpet in the baby’s room, but it was a dingy brown color. That being said, I wanted a bright white color that would stand out from the brown carpet and brown furniture. I went to Amazon and found the perfect rug, with a unique shape. The rug wasn’t too big, and I was able to put it slightly under the crib. The measurements of the rug were 3.5 x 6 ft. The nursery isn’t very big. So, the size I chose was a perfect fit. I also love that the rug is one solid color. With the plaid wallpaper, I didn’t want anything too busy. The rug was $87.42, but it is a rug I will be able to easily repurpose somewhere else in my home once we are done with it in the baby’s nursery.
Baby Nursery Wall Decor
Framed Prints for the Wall
The next decorating item I wanted for my baby’s room were pictures on the walls. I knew I wanted my theme to be woodland creatures. So, I took my journey to Etsy. There are a ton of amazing artists that you can buy from on Etsy and most are affordable. I found the perfect and most realistic woodland animals there. I ended up purchasing 3 animal prints. One bunny, one squirrel, and one fox print. The cost for all three digital downloads of the prints was around $15.
I then took the digital prints and uploaded them to Michaels Store where you can upload prints and have Michaels print and frame them for you. Michaels has partnered with a company called Aaron Brothers to do the actual printing, which is incredibly crisp, clear, and realistic looking. Michaels then receives the prints back at their store and they frame them for you in whatever frame you purchase. All that said, I had the three prints individually printed in a 16×20 size and framed in Michael’s frames. The total cost for printing and frames was $117. I know this can sound expensive to many people and I agree it is not cheap, but for anybody who has bought prints and/or frames before, you know this is was actually a pretty good deal. That’s in part because my frames from Michaels were 40% off. Printing and framing is not a cheap thing to do, but I highly recommend it if you’re looking to take your nursery to the next level.
It took 2 weeks to get everything completed through Michaels.
Canvas Art for the Wall
The next decorating piece was from a local artist near where we used to live. I had her paint me 3 woodland animals on canvas. The business is called Shattered Glass Designs and you can find their work through that link to their Facebook page. They are located in Washington, MO. The pictures are painted and then they use shattered pieces of colorful glass to make the pictures come alive. They can ship their artwork anywhere in the USA, and the people who work there are so talented. They can make you anything you request.
I ended up purchasing three separate pieces, which were a fox, bear, and deer. I hung them above the dresser along with a mirror that we have had for many years. The cost of one canvas was $40, so for all three, I ended up paying $120. I love supporting local artists, and I love how unique their art pieces are. I’m very happy with them!
My next purchase for the room was wall hanging bookshelves. We received a ton of books from friends and family for our precious baby, and this was something that was a must for his baby nursery. Without bookshelves, I really don’t know where we would have stored all of his books. I found the perfect bookshelves for a reasonable price ($24.99) at Target. We ended up buying three of them.
These bookshelves were hung near the rocking chair so I could easily reach for his books while in my rocking chair. I was able to fit almost every book we received into the three bookshelves we purchased from Target. I love that these bookshelves are very lightweight, easy to hang, and a sleek style. I am so glad I purchased them! It ties the room together and all of the colorful books displayed in the shelves give the room even more color!
Another staple I knew I wanted in my baby’s room were plants. I love plants and how they give rooms a warm and inviting feeling. I bought two different artificial plants for the nursery. I ended up going with artificial plants because of the ease of care and no harmful allergy risks. I love real plants, but they can be a pain to manage. I also was worried about allergies. Babies are so sensitive, and the last thing I wanted to do was make my baby uncomfortable in his own room.
I first bought a macrame hanging basket plant for the corner of his room behind the rocking chair. I purchased the macrame hanging planter and the plant that goes inside it separately, but I bought them both online from Amazon. The macrame planter cost was $7.99 and was just what I was looking for for the corner of the nursery. The plant I purchased was a Philodendron silk plant hanging basket and cost $23.49. The philodendron plant has long hanging leaves that really added warmth to the corner.
The other artificial plant I purchased was a potted plant to add to the corner of the nursery near the baby’s crib. It was a Calathea potted plant and cost $35 (50% off) at Hobby Lobby. The great thing about Hobby Lobby is they are constantly having sales. So, you just have to watch for them. This potted artificial plant was the perfect touch.
Maternity Picture Frames and Christian Banner
The last two items I ended up purchasing for the room were two picture frames to display our maternity pictures in and a banner that says, “Come Holy Spirit.” The picture frames were from Amazon and are a dusty blue color. I bought two 8×10 frames at a total cost of $22.80. I wanted to display our amazing maternity pictures, and theses frames did the trick. I absolutely love the dusty blue color and the price was super reasonable. The picture frames looked just like the online pictures. I was very pleased with the color and quality.
If you have not taken maternity pictures, I highly recommend it. Pictures are memories you will have forever. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You can even have a friend take pictures of you and your loved one on their phone. With the quality of phones today, it’s a great alternative. A friend of mine actually took my maternity pictures for us for free and they turned out great. You can then print the pictures at Walgreens. They have great quality pictures (cost of two 8×10 pictures were around $8). I get all my pictures processed at Walgreens, and I have always been happy with the way they turn out.
Last, but definitely not least, I wanted a symbol of God being present in my baby’s room. God made our precious baby, and I wanted something to symbolize our love for God. I follow a lady named Rose Harrington on Instagram and she makes amazing Christian art pieces. One of her pieces was a banner that said, “Come Holy Spirit.” It really spoke to me when she posted it.
This saying, which is actually the beginning of a prayer, was exactly what I wanted. The prayer goes like this, “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.” I love this prayer. It is beautiful! You can find the banner on the Rose Harrington website. Be sure to follow her on Instagram too. The cost of the banner was $26.
Decorating your baby’s nursery doesn’t have to be overwhelming or expensive. Just have a budget and stick to it!
The most expensive items are the crib, dresser, and rocking chair. Besides that, you can pick and choose what to add to your nursery based on your budget. A tip I used was buying little by little. I would buy a few things one month and then wait until the next month to buy a little more. Have fun decorating! Your baby will love whatever you end up picking out! Ultimately, I hope my baby’s nursery will give you inspiration to go and decorate your baby’s nursery. Remember to have fun with this. Decorating should be fun and thoughtful.
Cost of All Our Must Have Baby Nursery Items = $1,770
Keep in mind that you don’t have to buy the same brands we bought and you don’t have to buy new. There are cheaper options out there, but keep in mind long term quality. Especially if you plan on having more than one kid. I highly recommend asking your friends if they have any baby items they are looking to get rid of for free or sale. I also recommend checking out places like Goodwill. You can find great used baby nursery items at places like that, but always make sure to verify they meet current safety standards.
Cost of Our Extra Fluff Baby Nursery Items = $600
Total Cost of Our Baby Nursery = $2,370
I have to say that looking at that total cost makes me cringe, because my husband and I don’t typically spend a lot of money. Shoot, we still have the same couch my husband bought for $50 from when he was in college over 12 years ago. To save money, my husband also bought used master bedroom furniture and redid all pieces himself. If you scale back on the quality of the baby nursery furniture, then you could get that “must have” cost down closer to $1,400 and you certainly don’t have to buy any of the extra fluff items we bought for our baby nursery.