What I am is a stay at home mom married to an awesome man that would be happy living in a trailer and using plastic patio furniture in our kitchen (brilliant idea by the way, we might have done that in college.:)). No joke, he once wanted to take a flying job in Hawaii and we couldn't afford the cost of living so he really propositioned me with getting a U-Haul to live out of and claiming we'd have oceanfront property and could drive around to beaches and be gyspies. Don't you worry, he had it all planned out and was going to get me a gym membership so that I could shower. Totally looking out for me. True story. Although looking back, that might have been pretty fabulous and I could have lived out my hippie fantasy and been on the beach all day.:)
So basically, I'm just your average girl on a tight budget... so when I post decorating ideas, they have been done on a shoestring budget- without the funds as half the people in our area so I guess I'm proud- Ya know, a little elbow grease and wheeling and dealing goes a long way.
This weekend we transitioned our daughter's room from a nursery to a big girl room and spent zero dollars out of pocket. Score! We might have bought a stolen mattress from a guy on Facebook to stay within budget, but hey- whatever works... So I thought I'd share some of my money saving tips when doing a nursery.
Looking back at my first born's nursery I get a little teary-eyed... We were so excited and naïve and had absolutely no clue what this whole parenting thing would bring... ok, I'm sentimental. We went to Babies-r-us and bought out the store, had clouds painted on the ceiling to go with our whole airplane theme, and that little boy rocked our world. Rocked it with love we never knew we'd have and rocked it- as in ruled the roost and turned our house upside down- Ha! And ignore the wallpaper border- what were we thinking??:)
*And yes- getting these photos made me feel guilty- my son has a real baby book... I yanked my daughter's off of facebook that were taken from my phone. Poor thing.
**And sweet Addie Tay, I'm skipping right over your room. Thank Goodness it is you- my easy- going, wonderful, talented little girl that makes us so proud that is our middle child. Every day it is you that makes being a Mama easy... and I have to remind myself not to let you feel like the middle child- Ya know- like not even having your nursery pictured... Fail.
This time around, our nursery was very different...
And wouldn't ya know it cost about half the price! And to transition my daughter to her big girl room we simply sold the crib, added a headboard, comforter, sheets and a bedskirt from Target and it was done. Tweaks and an accent wall are on the way, but without spending any money we now have this:
So after going through this ten years apart, here are my tips...
- Buy furniture pieces that can grow with your child- Don't buy a changing table- A dresser will do just fine with a changing pad set on top (see above, we still use it- and yes that dresser was picked up from Craigslist). Find a rocker/glider secondhand- unless you have a place in your house for it in the future because it will only be used for a short time. The side table I bought so that I could set things on in the middle of the night when I wanted to cry because my baby wasn't sleeping was able to be used as a nightstand (don't mind that it's off to the side now- we don't want our daughter to hit her head if she rolls out of bed:)).
- Start with a color palette that can grow through the years- Clouds? I mean really? No "big boy" is going to want clouds on his ceiling. Think about how your room will transition because they don't stay babies forever.
- Don't be afraid of Craigslist and used furniture- Don't get me wrong. I'd love to go to a furniture store and pick out gorgeous things to fill my house. Unfortunatly, my husband might have a heart attack and I have bills to pay so we have to make do. Second hand items can be like new... I got the above dresser for $200. The nightstand was $45 at a yard sale... I even paid $20 for the mirror above the crib- I bought it off Craigslist and it was selling for 3 times that on Pottery Barn... Ain't no shame here. Also check out websites like Joss and Main and One King's Lane. You have to watch their prices because one thing will sell for several different prices... but if you watch it, you can get things like a gorgeous tufted headboard like I did above for $120...
- Target is the new Pottery Barn Kids- Target is smart- They know what they are doing... And they make things in colors that coordinate with Pottery Barn Kids and other stores. I went to Pottery Barn Kids for inspiration for my daughter's room and they had a gorgeous bed made. It had layers and layers of comforters and sheets and was to die for. But I would have had to sell a kidney to afford it, so I turned to Target... I bought one sham and a duvet cover from Pottery Barn and filled in the rest with Target sheets, bedskirt, and a comforter- They all match perfect... and I still have my kidney.
For my son's room I wanted the star sheets from Pottery Barn but didn't like the price tag...
- Splurge on one statement piece (and justify it to your spouse)- Usually I can get away with one awesome piece. Just bat those eyes, promise to give it up, or even lay out a case for getting it. For my nursery it was my iron crib (which my mom and I drove to Baltimore to the Bratt Décor Warehouse store and got a $1100 floor model for $499... If you are looking for furniture it is so worth the drive! Score... :)
- Find ways to incorporate things they love- Rooms don't have to scream "I have a kid and a million hot wheels and crap that take over my house!" There can be toy rooms and areas for that. I'm not saying don't let your kids live in your house, but there are ways to let your kids "think" they are decorating their room but still have it looking nice. For example, my son loves baseball... so we have his special autographed and home run balls on display- He loves it and it's acceptable. Don't worry- I'm not that much of a tyrant bitch mom- we also have Bryce Harper on the wall... :)
- Create free art- When I was looking for something to hang on my daughter's wall, I took some of my grandma's old sewing buttons and created a cross or a burlap scrap and framed it... and then hung my sweater from when I was a baby on the wall... Cheap and easy. I don't have a creative bone in my body, so I'm sure you can come up with something. :)
- If ya can't afford it, work for it- Just realize there are going to be plenty of things you could do to make your space more beautiful. When I wanted custom pillows for my daughter's crib because I knew I could then use them for her big girl bed, I knew I couldn't afford the price tag... But I knew If I bought one extra curtain from the outlet (yes, I got Restoration Hardware curtains for under $20/each- I just had to dig through the mess one day) that I could have that fabric turned into pillows by a neighbor that sewed... Yep, one curtain, all these pillows (besides the one Home Goods crown pillow:))
So that's just a few of my tips. Another big one is if you find something online that you want- go ahead and cart it. If you wait a few days, may companies will then send you a coupon through email saying you "forgot to complete your purchase" on your cart... here's a coupon to help you finish.
Now that I've written this, I realize my hubby should be sooooo proud of me. I'm halfway frugal. I mean in my mind, all that savings surely deserves a mani and pedi today- right??? :)