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10 budget nursery ideas for your baby’s room

A gorgeous nursery doesn’t have to cost too much. With a bit of inspiration and some creativity you can design a cute, cosy room for your baby, without breaking the bank. Check out our top budget nursery ideas.

By Gemma Wilcock | Last updated Oct 17, 2022

Parents painting a newborn's nursery with Crown paint

In association with

For many of us, one of the most exciting things about expecting a baby is decorating the nursery. With so many great ideas out there, it can be easy to get carried away and think you have to spend a fortune filling their room with beautiful furniture, personalised wall decorations and cute accessories - however, with the right tricks you can design your baby a gorgeous nursery on a smaller budget.

We know that having a baby and buying all their essentials can get very expensive, so to help you keep costs down we’ve researched the best budget nursery ideas. 

It’s great how much of a difference a lick of paint can make to a room or piece of furniture, which is why most of these tips include a spot of DIY. Choosing a durable paint, like Crown’s multi-surface easyclean® paints is not only an affordable option, but one that will stand the test of time - and sticky hands. Their range is 200 times tougher than the standard matt emulsion, a scrubbable paint that can withstand those dreaded moments when your growing tot creates a masterpiece on your wall with their crayons. 

From the latest paint trends to money-saving shopping tips, here are 10 great ways to decorate a nursery on a budget.

1. You don’t need to splash out on furniture

When it comes to kitting out the nursery, there are some beautiful furniture sets on the market that will add something special, but the reality is they can cost thousands. Parents-to-be can easily max out their budget on buying a matching cot, drawers and wardrobe, as well as other bits such as a changing table and feeding chair.

While matching designer furniture is lovely, there are more budget friendly alternatives if you shop around - it can also work out cheaper to buy separate pieces which is also good if you are short on space and need to find furniture to suit your needs.

To cut down the costs, our Mumsnetters recommend buying second hand furniture as it can be just as good quality at a fraction of the price. The only thing that needs to be new is the mattress. When it comes to the baby’s cot, look for a 3-in-1 convertible bed that can be transformed into a toddler bed, making it last longer and giving you more for your money.

What Mumsnet users say

“I bought a beautiful sleigh cot bed from ebay if you don't mind second hand! Cot beds tend to last 3 years before they outgrow them. Changing tables around 2 years before they stop using daytime nappies. Do you really want to spend £1k on items that will last less than 3 years?” roses2

“We bought a beautiful set of Mamas and Papas nursery furniture (cot bed, wardrobe and changing table/drawers) from Facebook Marketplace for an absolute bargain. Just gave them a good clean and they've been going strong for 2 years now!” pottermag

2. Make a statement with paint

Paint is a great, affordable way to transform a nursery. Whether you opt for bright colours to add some excitement to the room or softer shades for a more calming effect, adding blocks of colour to the walls helps to separate your nursery and make a statement.

Colour-blocking is pairing together two colour combinations. For example, Crown’s Mumsnet Rated easyclean® tough and washable emulsion comes in Mustard Jar and a lighter shade such as Sunrise, which both create a warm environment for your baby.

Crown Mustard Jar in baby's nursery

Crown easyclean® tough and washable emulsion in Mustard Jar

What Mumsnet users say

“Ours was a lovely light brightish green… It was a lovely fresh, cheerful and relaxing colour. It looked lovely with white nursery furniture and soft grey carpet and blinds. We've moved now, but it was my favourite room in the house. We didn't know sex of baby but I wouldn't ever have gone for anything "gendered." Marahute

“My daughter knocked a bowl of spaghetti bolognese over and it wiped off no problem leaving no orange tinge. I’ve also had little finger prints and other small marks that have wiped off easily leaving it looking like new.”

JupiterBelle

When choosing your colours to colour-block, Crown recommends using colour psychology to find your perfect fit. Colour can have a huge impact on human emotion, and while this matter is subjective, there are some common themes that emerge - and a few you can apply to your baby’s nursery. 

For example, yellow is an uplifting colour and therefore a great one to use as a gender-neutral option for a baby’s room. Shades can mean a room feels gentle, fresh or reflects grandeur. Whereas soft hues of pink create feelings of warmth and serenity, and pale blues are cool and calming. Soft greens are also restful and harmonious, and another great option is neutrals for a cosy, safe space.

3. You don’t need a changing table

When you’re expecting a baby, a changing table is one of those things you think is an essential purchase - after all, you’re going to be changing plenty of nappies! However, many of our Mumsnetters say it can be a waste of money.

The reality is that you often end up changing nappies on a mat wherever you are in the house. It is advised that your baby should sleep in the same room as you for the first six months so by the time you’re using the nursery more, you may have a wriggly baby that you feel more comfortable changing on a floor instead of a raised surface. 

For a more budget friendly option, buy two changing mats - one for upstairs and one for downstairs - and fill a basket with nappies, wipes, etc, nearby so they’re always on hand when a nappy explosion hits! 

What Mumsnet users say

“Do not buy nursery furniture. It's all small and you will end up replacing it when the baby is older. Just buy a normal wardrobe, chest of drawers etc... As others have said a changing table is a waste of money. Just get a couple of cheap mats.” Eeyoresstickhouse

4. Upcycle old furniture

If you’ve got an old piece of furniture which would look perfect in the nursery, don’t be afraid to use it and upcycle it to fit your needs. You don’t have to be a pro to bring a piece of furniture back to life and it not only saves you money, but is great for the environment too. 

If you really want a changing table, you could even add a changing station to the top of an old dresser. You can then choose to paint it a colour that blends in with your room or choose a bold fun shade to add some colour to the room. 

Choose from Crown’s multi-surface easyclean® paints which can be applied to wood and metal as well as walls and ceilings for a cohesive colour scheme. With almost 50 colours to choose from and Crown’s unique breatheasy® 99% solvent free formulation which limits exposure to airborne triggers of asthma and allergy, you’ll be safe in the knowledge your little one is safe from nasty chemicals and strong odours. 

What Mumsnet users say

“I painted the cot that my OH had as a child, and all his siblings; so it was used for all my children and now my GC. The paint is still intact. There are lots of safe nursery paints.” Mischance 

5. Save on baby bedding

You may have already spent hours gazing at adorable bedding sets for the cot, with matching sheets, blankets and cot bumpers to make it look super cosy and cute for your baby.

In the first six months, however, your baby will spend very little time - if any - in their cot, so it’ll be purely for decorative reasons. And even then, the Lullaby Trust advises that they sleep in a clear, firm, flat mattress, with no pillows, quilts, duvets or bumpers, so it’s best to keep the bedding to a minimum and save yourself from spending money on things you don’t really need. 

If you shop around, there are some gorgeous sheets with cute prints that don’t cost the earth and you can add a cushion for a splash of colour, which can be easily removed when it’s time for your baby to sleep in there.

What Mumsnet users say

“As for clothes and bedding somewhere like George ASDA baby stuff is just great.” Nanalisa60

6. Stay neutral

If you plan on having more children in the future and they will inherit the nursery, keeping things neutral will help cut down on the costs of having to redecorate further down the line. Plus, “brighter colours can be over-stimulating and it is always easier to excite rather than calm children,” says Crown Colour Specialist, Jemma Saunders. “Neutral and softer tones can help to create a tranquil haven, balanced with brighter coloured accessories.” 

Baby's nursery with Crown Wheatgrass paint

Crown easyclean® tough and washable emulsion in Wheatgrass

Nursery trends show that more parents are opting for neutral shades and then adding colour with accessories such as books, cushions, rugs, and wall art. Even if your child does stay in the room, it can be handy to choose neutral shades and change the accessories when they get a bit older and outgrow the nursery décor. 

Shades of grey, soft green and cream paint are good neutral colours that will suit both sexes and when you want to update the room, you can replace the more baby-focused items without having to spend a fortune. 

What Mumsnet users say

“Am mainly doing white so all my walls are white apart from 1 which will have a white wallpaper on with a very soft grey elephant on and my cot and change are also grey but then am putting coloured animal prints into gold/ brass photo frames and same with accessories and then adding splashes of colour with accessories like chair and throw etc.” KHall84

 “Ours for a boy was grey blue colour with gold star stickers on one wall. When he moves out and DD moves in there in a few months I'll update with some new wall stickers. Purposely went for a colour that was adaptable for future babies. Eventually will become DDs proper bedroom and not just the nursery so the colour will work when she's a bit older too.” chrestomamci

Neutral nursery colours: Editor's picks

7. Get your craft on

Want to fill your nursery with lots of cute items but don’t have the budget to pay for them? Why not get your craft on and make some of them yourself! 

You can make some adorable wall art to add some fun and colour to neutral walls, or even have a go at making your own rug or nursery sign. Pinterest has some great nursery DIY ideas for adding your own personal touch to the room. Not only can it be great fun but it will cost you a fraction of the cost.

8. Add some wall panels

A popular way to add a bit of character to a room is wall panelling - and, even though it might look difficult, it’s something even the most novice of decorators can have a go at doing themselves. 

Panelling can add texture to a room, with MDF the most commonly used material for interior walls. Planning is key, so do you research first to see what style you want to go for. Crown has put together a handy step-by-step guide for DIY wall panelling. 

When it’s time to paint the walls, you can either opt for vibrant shades of yellow - a popular gender neutral option - such as Crown’s easyclean® Mustard Jar. Other good colours for a nursery include pale blue, like Moonlight Bay which can have a calming effect in a bedroom, and delicate pinks, like Fairy Dust.

“It gave really good coverage and was easy to use. It is also great if you have dirty kids!”

Cotswoldmama

Another gender neutral option and a current nursery trend are soft green shades - check out Crown’s Botanical Extract. Neutral colours are classic and timeless and can be used as a backdrop when adding colour with furniture or accessories - this can also be a good colour palette for a smaller nursery. Shades like Wheatgrass also make a great neutral option. 

Finally, you may want to opt for a grey paint, which is really versatile, such as Spotlight.

9. Add patterns to the walls

Paint is an affordable and easy way to add some fun and colour to a room. Choose a pot of one of Crown’s Mumsnet Rated easyclean® range and create stylish patterns on your nursery walls.

A scallop effect makes a cute and fun nursery pattern and thankfully doesn’t require a lot of time and money - or skill! Other fun patterns include bold stripes, polka dots, vibrant chevrons or charming murals. You can also use stencils to add some fun to plain walls. All of this can be done on a budget.

What Mumsnet users say

“I’ve gone for a very similar theme (also an overexcited FTM who will have baby in my room for first 6 months). Was very proud of my hand painted birch trees!” Nelbert19

10. You don’t need to buy everything now

While it can be tempting to fill your nursery with everything you think your child will need, this can often mean buying items you actually don’t use. For example, you could fork out hundreds on a lovely feeding chair that you may not need when your child moves into their nursery.

Remember, your baby will be with you for the first six months so you may not be using the room much anyway and you can shop for things later when you know what you need. 

You may want to focus your time instead on decorating the room - something you may not have the energy to do when you’re struggling with sleepless nights - and leave some of the less essential shopping for later. This can help spread out the cost and there’s less chance of you buying things you don’t end up using.

What Mumsnet users say

“Remember your baby won't use its bedroom until 6 months so a cot and the whole decorating the nursery thing isn't essential before they are born. You can get all these lovely changing units etc but in reality 99% of nappy changes are done on the floor in your living room where you will mostly be camped out with a newborn for months 🤣 Don't be afraid to leave some things for after the baby arrives. You'll probably also find people will start trying to offload their old baby stuff onto you when you announce your news so just sit back and relax for now!” madeinthe80z

About Crown

Crown helps everyone paint their own possibility. With a heritage dating back to 1777, they’ve been making paint for longer than most, so you can be sure that every tin is crafted with over 200 years of knowledge, experience and passion. 

Crown’s easyclean® matt paint is perfect for busy family homes and is Mumsnet Rated. 200 times tougher than standard matt emulsion, you can simply wipe away the inevitable messes of daily life with this durable, scrubbable formulation, perfect for high traffic areas and anywhere scuffs, splashes or spills may occur. Its multi-surface formulation means it can be applied to walls, ceilings, wood and metal so your creativity can run wild and the unique breatheasy® 99% solvent free recipe means you can decorate with confidence by limiting exposure to airborne triggers of asthma and allergy. With specialist formulations for bathrooms and kitchens to protect against steam and stubborn stains, there’s an easyclean® paint for every room.

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