You can't walk through a baby store or home center without seeing all the amazing and wonderful things that parents-to-be just must have before the new baby arrives. Movie stars' nurseries are displayed in magazines for all to see and you're wondering how you'll be able to afford an adorable baby's room for your little one.
Everything is very expensive, layettes are custom-made and walls are painted with one-of-a-kind murals.
The list of must-haves is endless from clothes to furniture, and accessories to toys. It's enough to break any budget.
I'm here to tell you to resist the temptation to think that your baby has to have everything new. Most of the things will be used for a very short time. Save your money for things that will last longer. And use your personal talents to create an one-of-a-kind nursery for your little one.
There are ways to find everything you'll really need, and some of the things you really want, and still have money left over. You'll have fun finding things and realize that you've been very sensible about your new baby's gear.
Above all, think safety.
Though you don't need to do everything before the baby arrives, it's a good idea to have a list of safety issues that need to be addressed when you get your baby gear. About.com's Guide to Baby Products, Heather Corley, offers great tips on buying baby cribs, baby strollers, high chairs, and car seats. Whether you buy the most expensive products or borrow from friends, you should not ignore current safety regulations. Older items, borrowed or picked up at garage sales, might not meet current safety standards. They are no bargain. Pass them up and get items that are safe for your little one.
You really can furnish a beautiful baby's room on a small budget.
The best way to save money on nursery furnishings is to accept gifts from other new mothers. Many parents are happy to pass along things that their baby has outgrown or doesn't need anymore. If you have a friend or relative with a baby 3 to 6 months older than yours, they'll be the perfect one to ask. Things will be up to date and their child will have no use for the items. An infant bassinette or cradle is useful for only about 3 months. After that, their baby will be in a crib.
Next, if things are not offered as gifts, ask to borrow the main items you'll need. You might have a friend with a 3 year old who doesn't need the crib anymore. They'll be particularly happy to have you store the crib for a few years or until they need it again.
Lots of people have baby items that they just don't know how to get rid of. They might not be ready to totally give them away, or they might think they'll use the items again. Maybe they don't want to go to the trouble of having a garage sale. Ask them to pass the items your way. You'll be able to make good use of them.
Garage sales, flea markets, and consignment stores are a great place to buy slightly-used pieces. You'll be able to save a lot of money over new retail and maybe even have higher quality than you'd get otherwise.
You can often negotiate prices to fit into your budget. Because most people do buy new baby items, they're often little used and near-new.
Don't just look at baby items. You might see a great chest of drawers or an antique rocking chair that would be perfect for the nursery. Look at the basic structure and stability of the piece. You can always refinish or paint it to go in your particular space.
Remember to look for clean, practical clothes and toys. Most will be only slightly used, as children outgrow things so quickly.
It's really fun to plan a new baby's nursery, but it's a good idea to think long-term. Here are some things to think about as you plan your decorating:
Set a Budget and Stick to It
Be realistic and decide what you really need. It's fun to shop for all those adorable little things, but you really won't need most of the stuff. If you are committed to a budget, you'll be able to resist buying everything on the store shelves.
Read About.com's Guide to Baby Products list of basic baby needs and get only what you really need.
Make Choices for Now and Later
As you plan the color scheme for your baby's nursery, resist the temptation to do traditional baby pink or blue. Try to choose a color schem (or at least main color) that will lat 5 to 10 years, through your new baby's early years. A soft butter yellow, soft leaf greens, and sky blues can span the years well.
If you're set on a real baby room, even an absolute novice can hang a darling wallpaper border of cute teddies or baby animals. You can easily remove the wallpaper border when your child is ready for a more grown-up decorating scheme.
Do It Yourself
A baby will not judge your choice or your talent, so the nursery is a perfect place to build your skills of painting, basic woodworking, and sewing. Be creative! Be different! You'll be able to save tons of money and even discover some hidden talents.
Paint your hand-me-down furniture in fun colors and try some hand-painted designs. Paint patterns around the wall or on furniture with stencils. Browse these theme ideas for baby girls or baby boys rooms for starters.
Use charming or cute sheets, bought from a discount store, to sew window treatments, a crib skirt, chair cover, or a baby blanket. Use pieces of board, sanded and painted, for wall shelves. Look at pictures and see what you can do for yourself. You'll be amazed!
During the first few years of a baby's life, you don't really need a swing, johnny jump-up, buggy, stroller, walker, jogger, bassinette, cradle, crib, travel crib, playpen, car seat, carrier, and doubles of everything for grandma's and grandpa's house. You'll use each thing very rarely and then have to store it when the baby grows out of it.
Decide what pieces are essential.
Accept gifts, buy used, and borrow what you can. Your home will be neater and your life simpler. Enjoy!