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How To Transition a Nursery to a Toddler’s Room on a Budget

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I just transitioned my son’s room from a baby nursery to a toddler haven. It was a fun time for both of us, but I’ll admit that without an initial clear vision in terms of what we were going to keep, what we were going to spend, and the general theme, it was a little stressful at first.

Once I was able to step back and assess the current situation (and my budget), the process became much easier.

I decided that I would focus on three factors:

1. A custom theme my son would love

2. Big impact, low cost pieces

3. The room would be conducive to comfort and independence for my growing son

Here’s a step-by-step guide to how I quickly transformed my son’s nursery to a room perfectly fit for a toddler.

Personalize the Theme

There’s no need to just “pick a theme,” especially if it’s something trendy that your child loves rightthisminute. You may end up feeling pigeonholed into specific colors and decor items, and the chances are that your child’s tastes will change (and so will yours). Instead, customize  a stylish theme both of you will love. We incorporated my son’s love of elephants in a modern, “less in-your-face” kind of way. I found that incorporating my son’s three favorite things (elephants, dinosaurs, and Minions) gave a sense of diversity and visual interest we both wouldn’t tire of in three months.

Go for Big Impact (But Not Big Spending)

I wasn’t going to pay loads of money for expensive wall art or wall decals, so I settled on pieces that would make a big statement and personalize his small space. Affordable, high-impact items that you can focus on are curtains, smaller decals, and fun, stylish accents.

CURTAINS

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Elephant Parade Window Curtains from Amazon

Curtains make a bold impact that can really carry out a theme (and can be easily changed up when necessary). I choose these Elephant Parade Window Curtains from Amazon, $58.71, because they tied in with our theme, were masculine while being stylish, and were not overly-expensive.

SMALL, PERSONALIZED DECALS

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Live in a Story decal

My son’s baby decal looked off-balance when his crib was removed, so I purchased a new decal that was personal to him as toddler. Try Live in a Story, for $30, or another vendor on Etsy for a customized decal your child will love! | Image via

STYLISH ACCENTS

Decorating with small stylish accents was probably my favorite part of the process—I loved finding inexpensive new objects and items we already had around the house, and pulling them together for a cohesive and custom look. I sourced my son’s accents mostly from HomeGoods, Target, and Land Of Nod’s sale department. I’m still waiting for other pieces to come in (sometimes waiting for back ordered items is necessary—but worth the wait). 

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Wall Decal Bunny, Land Of Nod, $29.99 

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Marque Arrow, Target, $9.00

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Handsome Pillow, Overstock, $28.90

REUSE AND REFURBISH

Keep transitional furnishings from your child’s nursery or borrow them from a sibling. I borrowed a nightstand from his older brother and my vintage coat chest and turned it into toddler clothing storage.  I also painted an older four-piece drawer set to look super boyish in bright blue. Try similar finds like this HEMNES chest or this NORDLI chest, both from IKEA.

Create Comfort and Independence

My son doesn’t like sleeping on his own, so I created opportunities for diffused, calm lighting. We made sure his bed was really inviting, and maintained a relatable atmosphere that was reminiscent of his nursery so he wouldn’t be shocked by the transition and could get a good night’s sleep.

SMART LIGHTING

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Gummy Bear Light at Land of Nod

Provide fun and functional lighting that your toddler can easily control on his own if he needs to. We chose this Gummy Bear Light at Land of Nod ($29). This light is adorable, but more importantly it’s not intimidating to my son, makes a great reading light for us, and once it’s bedtime, it makes a great sleeping light.

KEEP IT COZY

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Dino Linens by Land of Nod

My husband insisted on getting our toddler a race car bed since our older son has one. That left me with the difficult task of blending it into his room. I landed on these Dino Linens by Land of Nod ($59.97), as my son loves dinosaurs and the colors in this theme blended with the other ones in his room.

Featured image: personal images of my son’s new toddler room

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