Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Mommy Money Matters: Decorating the Nursery

With all the preparations necessary when welcoming a new baby into the world, I have had to prioritize things and harness my organizational diva: timelines, budgets, shopping lists, etc. The thing that I am most excited about -beside actually being able to hold my new baby in my arms- is decorating the nursery. My husband and I are now in our third apartment in 7 years and we have never decorated a room before because they were all rentals. We're still renting, but a new baby makes the effort  (and cost) worth it! The problem? Hours and hours of HGTV has given me an inflated sense of interior design prowess. We don't have an inflated budget, however (as you may have guessed) so I have had to figure out how to make the room of my dreams on the budget of my reality.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when designing a nursery without breaking the bank:

Imagine your ideal nursery ... and then scale back. This may feel like either a waste of time—or an exercise in torture—since you won’t be able to do everything in your design, but reverse engineering can be an important step to help you prioritize and plan. By creating a collage of cut-outs, a Pinterest board, or a classic pen and paper list of your expectations, you can begin to decide what is essential, what can be replaced by alternatives, and what can be left out. Don’t go overboard, you won’t get an exact replica Trevi Fountain into your Italian themed nursery, but it’s worthwhile to picture your perfect room.

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Make a list of must-haves. You’ll need a crib and a dresser (which can easily double as a changing table). You’ll also probably want a rocking chair or glider and a hamper. It’s nice to have a separate changing table and a book case, but these items are not necessary if you have a small space or can’t afford them. Be sure to measure the space first and bring those measurements around with you when shopping for deals. It is helpful to draw a to-scale drawing of the room with the furniture placement worked out, too.

Start early. If you choose your colour scheme and nursery theme early, you have more time to wait for sales, pick up items at mommy swaps, do DIY projects, and find inexpensive alternative options for your nice-to-haves. If you’re waiting to learn the gender of your baby, but want gender specific room d├ęcor, choose a neutral paint colour that can work with multiple colours. I chose grey walls and white furniture because they look good with yellow, pink, teal, and blue. A theme or gender specific colour can be added once the baby is born.

Choose items with big impact. Paint is the easiest way to make a big difference to the design of a space on a limited budget. One can of paint and primer-in-one should cover most rooms and immediately set the tone. Curtains or blinds also make a room look polished and are a good way to add accent colours. You’ll want to be able to control the lighting in the nursery, so this is a good blend of function and style. Adding large pieces of DIY artwork will also make a big statement on a small budget. Decorative additions are the least important factor when it comes to babies’ needs, so don’t spend a lot of money on throw rugs and pillows. We’ll be doing a DIY post on nursery artwork to give you some great ideas for design on a dime. Stay tuned.

Remember: the most important thing a baby needs from his or her new home is a loving caregiver. It is nice to have a colour coordinated room with baskets and stuffed animals on every shelf, but what your baby really needs is to know that you're there when he or she cries. If you can't design the room you always imagined, there's no need to feel bad; your baby thinks you're doing a great job in any colour room.

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