baby nursery

How To Design A Baby Nursery On A Budget

Designing a baby nursery is like planning a wedding – it’s frighteningly easy to go over-budget, and fast! To help get ahead of this problem – no matter how much you are looking to spend – we turned to Naomi Coe, the founder of Little Crown Interiors, an interior design studio specializing in nursery and child design, to get her top tips for designing a nursery on a budget.

Make a List

Designing a baby nursery can often be a challenge because you may not know how many things you will need to complete the space, especially for first-time parents. Coe says making a list is key to avoid unforeseen costs and spending money on making changes and fixing mistakes. “With every client I work with, I always start by making a list of every single item we’ll need for the nursery—including all the utility items as well, like the diaper pail, crib mattress and changing pad. Once you see it all on paper, you can estimate what you’ll need to spend on each item. From there, you can decide what’s splurge-worthy and where to look for savings.”

Do Some Research

If you’re a first time parent you’ll likely need help coming up with your checklist, but even seasoned parents are probably curious as to the latest and greatest options. “You might want to ask your friends and family and do some online research to see what other parents are buying, and why,” says Coe. “You can decide what you’ll want for your own nursery, and what you can skip. Need a great place to start? My book, Your Perfect Nursery, has a comprehensive checklist as well as a whole chapter on budget to help you stay organized and stress-free through the whole process.”

Start With the Necessities

If you’re on a tight budget, start by buying the things your baby will absolutely need.” Other items like decor, artwork and other accessories can be layered in later as your budget allows – Function and safety are always key!” So what are the essentials? “The baby will need a safe place to sleep, a baby monitor, a place to be changed and bathed and a place to be rocked and fed. This is another area where you can research to see what the essential items are for your lifestyle and preferences and talk to your friends and family to see what items they actually used/needed and what they didn’t.”

Remember Sales Tax & Shipping Costs

When you’re shopping for all your nursery items, sales tax and shipping/delivery costs can really add up, especially for furniture. “Don’t forget to include these costs when you’re making a budget for your space,” says Coe. “You can try to shop around online to see which retailers offer free shipping, but you might still have to pay for delivery for larger things like dressers and gliders.”

Account for Contracting

Contracting is another area where costs can quickly add up. “You might get a great deal on a chandelier, but then need to spend hundreds of dollars for an electrician to come install it,” cautions Coe. “It’s not uncommon to use a painter, electrician and wallpaper installer for a nursery design—and that can add up fast so get quotes early and see if it’s something you can afford before you start buying things that might need professional installation.”


You can definitely save some money by using pre-owned and vintage items in your baby nursery. “Have an old dresser in storage? You can repaint it or add some new knobs. However, anything you use for your baby needs to be safe, and older or vintage items can have issues with structural integrity and finishing chemicals like lead paint,” cautions Coe. “Inspect everything to make sure it’s sturdy and secure, be cautious about finishes and never buy a used or vintage crib, especially a drop-side crib (these are now banned in the U.S). Even if you want to use a crib from a previous child in your own home, make sure to always inspect it to make sure all the parts are in place and it’s sturdy and secure.”

More Design Tips for Nurseries:

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