Want to set up your baby room on a budget? Then you’ll know how difficult it can be to create a stylish looking space that has the features and storage you need. Here are 10 clever ideas for setting up your baby’s room that won’t break the bank.
Tip 1 – Make a list of what you really need for your baby room
By now you probably have a load of Pinterest Boards and magazines with ideas on what your baby’s room could look like. Don’t get carried away with the prettiness of it all – remember that baby shops create these beautiful images because they want you to buy their stuff.
Start to make a list of what you really need for day one. Don’t get carried away with where you will buy it from. Just make the list. If you don’t know where to even begin, here are some bits to get you started:
- Cot, mattress and bedding
- Car Seat (if you are travelling by car)
- Pram and seasonally appropriate accessories
- Nappies, wipes, clothes
- Somewhere comfy for you to sit
- Room thermometer
Tip 2 – Make a baby room budget
Yes I know that budgets are boring. BUT the reality of being a parent is that you are constantly having to do it. Whether you earn £100,000 a year or £10,000 a year, you are going to have to learn to make your money go further around your family. There is no time like now to get into some good habits.
Its important to set your budget relative to what you can afford. If you are only going to be getting Statutory Maternity Pay, spending £5,000 setting up the baby’s room is probably not ideal.
Tip 3 – What do you already have around the house?
What those Pinterest Boards and baby catalogues won’t tell you is to shop from your house first. I can hear you now, what on earth is she on about?
Have a look at what you need for the baby’s room. Are there some items around your house already that could fulfil the needs?
When I was setting up for my eldest, I was looking at all sorts of storage ideas for his small room, but nothing quite met the needs in the baby catalogues. So, I got a cot top changer and stood a narrow bathroom cabinet alongside the cot for storage (bathroom cabinet rescued from our old bathroom). I probably saved £100 on buying a changing table here. Note that the freestanding bathroom furniture makes great storage in a small baby room. The narrow shelves are perfect for storing rows of nappies!
Here are some other ideas of things I have ‘repurposed’ for my babies rather than ‘buying the baby version’:
- instead of a hooded baby towel, use a regular bath towel
- instead of a baby shop wardrobe, use an Ikea PAX wardrobe
- instead of special baby kit organisers, reuse any baskets, boxes that you have
- instead of a special feeding chair, reuse an armchair
- instead of a baby change bag, reuse a laptop-style rucksack (LOADS of pockets)
Tip 4 – Don’t buy too much stuff for your baby room
It’s very tempting to buy everything you need for the first year before maternity pay kicks in. I know, I have had that t-shirt twice over.
What you may not realise now is that babies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It will take a while for you to find a shop that works for their shape (yes just like for when you are trying to get clothes for yourself). I learned this the hard way. I’d bought LOADS of clothes for him. BUT when I came to use a lot of them (especially the cheaper brands) I found that they just didn’t accommodate for his shape and size. While I thought I was being budget savvy a few months earlier, these clothes soon went to waste.
Remember that most places do next day delivery. You can always get stuff sent very quickly once the baby arrives. If I had my time again I would have just saved all of that ‘bigger size’ money in another account and bought it when I needed it.
Tip 5 – Store bigger size clothes efficiently
I know I have just said in the previous tip not to shop ahead if you can avoid it. BUT what do you do with all of those bigger size clothes which you might have had gifted or handed down?
Invest in some vac bags or tubs and stash them away by the size. If you have wardrobes like the Ikea PAX you can store everything nicely above the wardrobe. Stashing them in under bed storage boxes (like these) under the cot is also a great idea. The last thing you want is a room cluttered up with stuff (you have years of kids clutter ahead of you so enjoy the simplicity while you can).
I also like to keep a list on my phone of what I have stashed so that I don’t buy more of the same.
Tip 6 – Shop secondhand
You probably think in the Covid world you would be mad to buy second-hand things for your baby. The thing is, you can wash and clean them simply and safely.
Almost everything for your baby can be bought second hand. This is a great way to set your baby room up on a budget.
Tip 7 – Be Your Future Friend
It’s tempting to go crazy with the colour scheme and decorations. While it looks cute now, in a few years your toddler will have outgrown that ‘style’. Do yourself a favour and keep the permanent decorations like curtains, carpet, painting and furniture to a fairly neutral style.
You will thank yourself in a few years when you aren’t having to strip Disney wallpaper in favour of their newest character obsession. Instead, add anything character related to the soft furnishings any other things that can be easily swapped out.
This has two advantages to help stretch your baby room budget further. Firstly by not overdoing the permanent decorations, they will still be suitable for years to come therefore saving you money in the long term. Secondly, if you stick to keeping the theme or character print to things you can remove, it’s really easy to bundle all of these coordinated items up and sell them to another family looking for a bargain.
Tip 8 – Stay away from matchy matchy
Baby retailers will trick you into thinking that everything must match. The bedding, the curtains, the towels, the lampshades… You could blow your baby room budget fairly quickly if you try to ‘get the look’.
The truth is that while it looks great in the magazines, it costs a fortune. Ask yourself – will the baby notice if the bedding and curtains don’t match?
Instead, opt for plain curtains, regular bath towels and plain lampshades. They will still look nice and serve you for years to come.
Tip 9 – Shop in budget and discount stores
Baby shops are expensive! If you buy everything from them you are going to out of money pretty quick.
Items where you need advice like car seats and prams – sure get these from the baby retailers BUT for everything else, think outside the box and your baby room budget will go so much further.
Shops like TK Maax, The Range, Home Bargains, Ikea and B&M can get you the same expensive ‘look’ as the expensive baby shops. Keep looking on Pinterest for inspiration and then really challenge yourself to get the same look for less.
A top tip is to buy white nursery furniture – it is really easy to buy from a variety of places and get a coordinated look on a budget.
Tip 10 – If you aren’t sure – don’t buy it
If you learn nothing else from this post other than this – it’s easier to buy something when you actually need it, than to return something you didn’t need.
If you buy loads of stuff before the baby arrives, you run the risk of it not being suitable when you come to use it. I talk about this all the time in my book. My eldest has a rather large head. I would say that most clothes I bought before he arrived, just didn’t fit him. At the time I thought I was doing the right thing by shopping while I had the money. I’d also thought I was doing the right thing and being organised. The truth was I was setting myself up for a whole lot of money wasting!
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