Setting up a baby’s nursery is an exciting time for expecting parents. They express their love for their new little one with every piece of furniture they buy. Parents often worry about having the perfect looking room for their baby, but the baby may only thank them by leaving their teeth marks all around the top of the crib. Parents should worry less about the look of the nursery, and focus instead on the safety of the furniture and accessories in the room.
When you want the perfect nursery for your child, you can easily spend a fortune on furniture that is used only for a short while, and not even noticed by its occupant. However, you can save money and provide a safe, yet eye-appealing room. As an expecting parent, you can make smart furniture purchases, including a crib, dresser, rocker or glider, changing table, bookshelves, and toy chest.
Here are several ways to save money on nursery furniture and accessories, including some general tips and specific ideas for saving on a crib and other baby furniture.
Tips to Save Money on Nursery Furniture
1. Set a Budget
Before you buy nursery furniture, set a budget, and use cash to purchase everything, if possible. You may not have money to pay for the furniture after the baby finally arrives, due to emergency expenses.
2. Put Baby Furniture on Your Baby Registry
Most people can’t afford to buy you a $300 or $400 crib, but several friends or family members may pool their money to purchase more expensive items included on a registry. Include nursery furniture, and see what happens. If no one buys the furniture on your registry, you can purchase it at a later time. Additionally, some stores offer a percentage off all purchases of registry items, so take advantage of that discount.
3. Don’t Waste Money on Extras
Baby furniture can include items with many unnecessary bells and whistles. You don’t really need drawers underneath the crib, or uniquely styled cribs that require special bedding, such as round cribs. These items may seem appealing, but in the end, you pay more without receiving extra value.
4. Purchase Unfinished Furniture
Purchase unfinished cribs, dressers, bookshelves, and rockers to save money. Many stores and websites sell unfinished furniture. Of course, you have to finish the furniture yourself before the baby arrives, but many merchants provide instructions that you can safely follow.
5. Start Shopping Early
Hopefully, you have about eight months to set up the nursery. To maximize the time you have to find the best deals, start looking early. You can save the most money when you have time to research and shop for furniture.
6. Don’t Over-Buy
Consider the size of the room before you buy a crib, dresser, changing table, rocker or glider, bookshelf, toy chest, and all the other items that your baby may need. Choose the most important pieces of furniture when setting your budget, and focus on purchasing these items. Also consider how to maximize the space when arranging the furniture. You need some room to walk around in the nursery, and you might want a large rocking chair. Plus, the baby needs room to play.
7. Rent Out the Furniture Between Children
To compensate for the purchase of the nursery furniture, consider renting the furniture to another family between babies. This way, you can earn some money to counteract the money you spent on the furniture, while giving someone else a good deal. Just make sure you get the furniture back in time for your next little one, and carefully inspect the returned furniture for damage. Also review the manufacturer’s website before reusing the crib, to ensure it hasn’t been recalled for any reason.
8. Remember That Baby Furniture Is Temporary
Your baby only uses nursery furniture for a very short period of time, perhaps only 18 months. And since you will only need the crib for three years, ultimately it doesn’t really matter if the crib doesn’t match the dresser.
9. Customize Inexpensive Furniture
For just a few dollars, you can customize the look of your nursery furniture. Paint wooden knobs, handles, and shelving pink or blue, or add a painted panel to the side of a toy chest to add charm to a nursery.
10. Make Long-Term Purchases
Instead of buying a tiny dresser or small set of bookshelves for the baby’s room, buy adult-sized furniture that your child can continue to use after outgrowing the crib and changing table. Choose functional, simple pieces of furniture in black, brown, or white; you can always repaint the furniture after the baby outgrows the nursery.
11. Shop Discount Stores for the Best Deals
Stores like IKEA have deeply discounted baby furniture. Watch for sales and search clearance racks at off-price retailers for the best deals.
How to Save Money on a Crib
Babies spend a lot of time in their cribs. My 18-month-old son, for example, spends more time in his crib than outside of it when you add up the time that he sleeps at night, plus his two naps. When thinking about the purchase of a crib, the most important factor is safety. Cribs are ranked third among all nursery products that cause injury. Companies frequently recall cribs, and federal guidelines are often revised. Because of this, it’s often a good idea to buy a new crib for the nursery.
Some ways to save money on new cribs include:
12. Buy an Inexpensive Crib
You can spend $100 on a new crib, or you can spend $1,500 on a new crib. All new cribs have to meet federal regulations, so your child is just as safe in a $100 crib as he or she is in a $1,500 crib. Unless you really want a crib that has a certain design or color, consider shopping at discount stores such as IKEA, Target, and Walmart. The cribs from these stores may not have the panache of cribs purchased from designer boutiques, but they cost a lot less and function just as well.
13. Skip the Bassinet or Cradle
Many parents elect to have their baby sleep in their room for the first few months of their lives. This helps the baby to bond with parents, and makes breastfeeding during the night easier. Instead of purchasing a pricey bassinet or cradle for your room, save money by temporarily putting the crib or a play yard in your room.
14. Consider the Pros and Cons of a Convertible Crib
Convertible cribs change into toddler beds, then into day beds, and finally, into full-size or queen-size beds. Parents like them because they eliminate the costs for transitional beds, and children can use them for years. Carefully consider the cost and value of a convertible crib; otherwise, you may waste your money on this expenditure.
Small bedrooms in modern homes do not adequately accommodate full or queen-size beds. Also, if you plan to have another baby, you will need to buy another crib. You may need bunk beds depending on the number of kids you have, and the available space in your home.
15. Use a Play Yard
If it costs too much money to buy a crib, consider using a play yard, often called a Pack ‘N Play. Babies can safely and comfortably sleep in a Pack ‘N Play.
16. Remember to Budget for a Mattress
Generally, cribs do not come with mattresses, so you must budget for this purchase, too. In addition to buying a safe crib, you need to buy a safe mattress for your baby. One of the best ways to protect your child from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is to get a firm mattress that fits snugly in the crib. Expect to spend around $100 for a crib mattress.
Saving Money on Other Nursery Furniture Items
The federal guidelines that apply to cribs do not apply to many other nursery furniture items. You never want to purchase any furniture that may tip and fall on your baby. You still need to have safety at the forefront of your mind when purchasing anything else that may go into a baby’s room.
Some more tips to save money on nursery items include:
17. Go to a Quality Consignment Shop
Look for dressers, gliders, and bookshelves at consignment shops. Many parents buy nice furniture, have one baby, and then sell all of the baby’s furniture. Take advantage of the savings and the great prices offered by consignment stores. You can also buy used furniture on Craigslist, but don’t agree to purchase anything until you have checked out the item in person.
18. Use Furniture You Already Have
Do you have a La-Z-Boy taking up space in your living room? Use it as a rocker/glider in the nursery. Do you have a bookshelf in your guest room that could provide a great storage space for clothes and toys? Paint it, put on some doors, and move it to the nursery. Save money by using furniture you already have and recycling your household items.
19. Don’t Get a Separate Dresser and Changing Table
Dressers and changing tables take up space. Put a changing pad on top of a dresser, and use the dresser as a changing station. This saves you money and space inside the baby’s room.
20. Plan to Change the Baby’s Diaper on the Floor
This may sound gross or unsanitary, but many parents find themselves changing diapers on the floor all the time. Just put the necessary supplies in the bottom of a dresser drawer, so they are handy when you set yourself and the baby down on the floor.
I like this method of changing a baby’s diaper, because it eliminates the risk of the baby falling from a changing table once he or she learns to become mobile. I also like this method of changing diapers because I often change my baby’s diapers in the bathroom, and immediately wash his cloth diapers. This method saves you from having to purchase a changing table altogether.
21. Buy Fun Accessories for the Nursery
Inexpensive or plain furniture shines with brightly colored throw rugs and curtains. Look for clearance items at discount stores like Ross Dress For Less, Home Goods, and T.J. Maxx.
Safety should be first in your mind when purchasing baby furniture. Buy a new crib and a new mattress, but save money on any other furniture you choose to put in the nursery by buying used or inexpensive items. Be creative, and have fun preparing your baby’s room. Remember that nursery furniture will not be a permanent fixture in your home, unless you continue to have more babies.
How have you saved money on baby furniture?
(photo credit: Shutterstock)