One of my recent frustrations has come while I've been surfing the web via the women's blogging network. Time and time again, links direct me to people who have furnished a "nursery on a budget" and I go visit, because I'm always curious about a good bargain, and baby bargains are my current obsession. And time and time again, I'm disappointed by these people's idea of "budget." (They keep using that word but I don't think they know what it means!) When I think budget, I'm not thinking about furnishing a room for $1000 or more. Are you? In fact, I've got first hand experience with furnishing a nursery on a REAL budget. And no, it doesn't have a designer look, but I think that is more a function of my lack of decorating abilities than the cost of my raw materials.
We start with the rocker. This was, in fact, our big splurge (which we felt we could do because the husband's parents offered to help us out). We went with a Dutallier, the Lexxus of rockers, but we got ours on closeout from Burlington Coat Factory (of course!) for $220. However, before we went with a new rocker, we were given a used model by our good friends (thanks BF!). Several cushions covered in bright red pillow cases and some WD40 later, it was good as new and would have stayed in our nursery for good had not the generosity of the in-laws appeared. As it is, we still use it for rocking in our bedroom.
Next the crib. Ours is, once again, a high end model, very Pottery Barn-esque with solid wood sides and molding, but we got ours for $100 including the mattress on Craigslist from a children's boutique that was remodeling. No one had ever slept in this crib as it had just been part of a display. Some touch-up paint to cover the wear from customers was all that was required and now it's perfect. But, once again, we could have gone much cheaper. In fact, my sister bought some crib bedding from a woman on Craigslist who later called her back and asked if she wanted the crib for free since the woman wanted the crib to go to a good home and my sister and brother-in-law seemed like such nice people. My sister-in-law got her high end model for free as well from a woman at church who was moving on from children. My parents also got the grandkid crib they have at their house for free as well. Now free is REALLY budgeting.
Our dresser is a plain white, four drawer $70 Ikea dresser, not expressly meant for children or babies, but my mother glued pre-painted jungle animals (which I bought for $0.40 each at the craft store years ago for a Sunday school lesson) on the front to give it a custom look and complement our theme. Oh yes, our nursery has a theme, courtesy of our Ikea curtains ($19.99 for two panels), which have jungle animals on the borders. The curtains also gave us our color scheme: bright primary colors with white furniture.
The nursery also contains a three shelf bookshelf (free from an old roommate), a 4 tier wooden shelving unit originally intended for a bathroom ($49 from Ikea), a children's play table and chairs, and, my favorite part, a rug in abstract shapes and primary colors that's looks a little like stained glass (also from Ikea).