Nursery Reveal on a budget

Aaron and I are super proud of being able to fix up and decorate our house on a tight budget so of course, this knowledge wouldn’t be lost on our baby boy’s nursery.  I’ll reveal our completed nursery here and list prices and how we put it all together.

*I also want to put a disclaimer that I am VERY aware that our ability to create an affordable nursery was not without the help of our friends and family.  Without their generosity, help, and resources, we wouldn’t have been able to do half of the things we’ve done in our house, and certainly not on a budget.  I know many people don’t have such gifts and I just wanted to mention that I am so grateful and aware of those blessings in our lives.*

And thanks to our friend, Brian Caffarel, for taking these great pictures of the nursery!


I really wanted Keaton’s room to be something he could grow into – not too babyish or too match-matchy.  I didn’t want to have to repaint or re-decorate in a year or two when he’s not a baby anymore either.  So I did a nursery that was fit for a baby OR a little boy.  It’s a mixture of alligators, cars, primary colors, and other preppy touches. We are so happy with how it turned out!


Crib, $0:  My mom and I found this crib on Craigslist.  It’s a Pottery Barn crib that originally sold for around $600 without a mattress.  We picked it up, in excellent condition, with a brand new mattress and pad cover all for $120.  We knew beforehand that the crib was recalled by Pottery Barn for the drop sides, but with a simple phone call, I ordered a free conversion kit and all was fixed!  This was a very generous gift from my parents so it cost Aaron and I nothing.


Baby bedding, $80: I bought this alligator baby bedding YEARS before we became pregnant.  Aaron’s mom is obsessed with alligators and that slowly became a theme for us and we always talked about doing a boy’s nursery in alligators.  I saw this bedding (which is only sold online) at long ago and loved it, but never thought to buy it since it sold for over $120 for 4 pieces then and we didn’t even have a baby yet – but I kept the idea in the back of my mind for one day.  Much later, I was in a Target store and there was ONE set of it on the end of an isle with a huge RETURN UNOPENED sticker on it.  And, it was marked down to around $80.  After a call to Aaron to be sure I wasn’t crazy, I bought it!  It was certainly a risk since we weren’t pregnant yet and didn’t know if we’d ever have a boy, but now I’m so glad we grabbed it!

Curtains, $15.99: I’ve really been loving all the bold navy and white stripe curtains I’ve seen on Pinterest for boy’s nurseries lately but after 1) tracking down who the heck is selling these – hint: it’s not major chains or hardly anywhere on the internet, and 2) figuring out pricing for them, I realized that I might not get what I wanted.  Most of these curtain panels were at least $50 PER PANEL on and that’s just not what I’m willing to pay.  But one day while searching google for ideas on how to paint curtains to look like this, I found a link to West Elm where they had a cotton shower curtain that was exactly what I was looking for.  I figured I could cut it in half and use sew tape to clean up the edges.  I bought it but the total came to just under $50 and it was back ordered.  Thankfully, while at Target, I found the EXACT SAME shower curtain on sale for $15.99 so I cancelled the West Elm order and saved us lots of money!  You’d never be able to tell his curtains used to be a shower curtain!


Rocker, $60: Aaron and I found this on Craigslist, also before we were pregnant – early last summer.  I just knew that I loved it and green would go with any gender plus I loved the price so we grabbed it and have just been saving it ever since.

Ottoman, $98: This is one of the few purchases that I’ve made in my life that I really regret and am really upset about, but I’ll admit it really works in the room.  After we got our rocker from Craigslist (again, before I was even pregnant), I wanted to find an ottoman to go with it that would be able to be used with a boy or girl one day.  I found this one on One Kings Lane, which is a flash sale site.  That means they have sales up for a few days and then they are gone.  So, I found this ottoman and it was about to be gone (that’s how they get you!).  I really liked that it was yellow, chevron, large, and could really go in any room in our house.  I think I was wanting to complete the rocker/ottoman “set” so badly that I overlooked the huge price tag and the fact that this was an outdoor ottoman.  So I’m not totally in love with it, but it does work really well in the room and since we can’t return it, we might as well use it since we have it.  I’m still not sure what possessed me to spend almost $100 on an ottoman, but I’m trying to convince myself that it’s ok because we skimped everywhere else. Live and learn!

Bookshelf, $0: This was my bookshelf in college and has moved from room to room in our current house and was perfect for baby’s room.  It was a bit plain so I decided to paint the back of it to spruce it up a bit, thanks to a sample can of paint from Lowes.  I had a coupon for a free sample can of Valspar paint so this project was free!  Books, stuffed animals, toys, etc. on bookshelf are Aaron’s or mine from when we were little or gifts from sweet friends and family.


Twin Bed, Dresser, & night stand $0: This set was my dad’s when he was a little boy.  Aaron and I painted both pieces white when we moved into our house and just pulled them from another room for the nursery.  Nothing like using what you’ve got!  And how special is it that our baby boy will be using his Granddad’s furniture?!

Twin Madras Quilt & Sham, $20:  I REALLY wanted this bedding from Pottery Barn Kids but we kind of have Pottery Barn taste on a Walmart budget.  In knowing this, right before we found out the sex of the baby, I took a huge load of clothes that I don’t wear anymore to an upscale consignment shop here in Cary and made $120 from what they bought.  I put that money away for the nursery and once we knew the gender, I decided to put it into this bedding.  The quilt and sham came as a set at but I checked ebay to see if they had the same set, new, for cheaper.  Of course they did!  Thanks to that $120 I put towards the purchase plus a small Paypal credit, I paid $20.00 out of pocket for the set.

Twin sheets,$14: I really really wanted some super cute Pottery Barn Kids car sheets that went with the Madras quilt, but at $50+, I just couldn’t justify it.  So instead, I saw that Target was having a sale on sheets one week and grabbed a set of twin navy sheets for just $14 for the set.  They match perfectly and you can’t beat that price!


Art over twin bed, $21.59: I found this matted print set on Etsy and Aaron and I both loved it.  It’s rare that we find things that we are both crazy about, so I knew we had to get this set.  The total cost with shipping at Etsy was $48.00.  That’s not really in our budget, but then I sold a few items from my own Etsy store and was able to use a credit of $26.41 towards the purchase price.  So after that credit, I paid $21.59.  Now that’s better!

Frames for Etsy art, $20: Each of these white frames were $9.99 at Michaels but I found a 50% off coupon, printed out 4 of them, and was fortunate enough to get a great cashier who kindly used all 4 coupons for me, on my 4 frames.  So each one came out to $5!


Madras pillow on rocker, $26.00: I also really wanted this small pillow that matched the twin bedding to go on the rocker.  But to buy it, personalize it, and ship it from Pottery barn was going to be around $50.  I just couldn’t justify a $50 pillow – crazy!  But thanks to ebay, I was able to score this exact same pillow cover, brand new, with no personalization for $20.  I got it personalized with Keaton’s name locally and overall, paid about half of what I would have from PBK.


Changing pad on dresser, $2: I grabbed this at The Kid’s Exchange at the NC Fairgrounds for just $2 in excellent condition.  A quick wipe down with a lysol wipe, and it was ready to go!  The green cover was a shower gift.

Banner on dresser mirror, $0: This banner was made by sweet friends of ours and displayed at a shower at our church.  We thought it matched the nursery perfectly!

Additional nursery art, $0: The rest of the artwork in the room is all thanks to my rocking sister!  She painted it all herself and mailed it to me from LA, as mentioned in this post.


Alligator coat hanger, $4.99: I found this at Ikea way before we were even pregnant but it had an alligator driving a car.  How could that not be more perfect for our future kid?  And now, it’s perfect in our car/alligator themed room.  The adorable monogrammed backpack was a gift from our sweet friends, Katie & BriAnne, and the hipster hat was a gift from my sister.


Hamper, & other storage baskets, $0-$10.00: Most of the baskets and the hamper came from HomeGoods or TJMaxx.  My Sister-in-law, Janna, had given me a few gift cards for Christmas and my birthday so I had been saving those.  Thanks to the gift cards, I only spent a few dollars on the storage baskets.  The hamper I found at Homegoods and loved it, but it came with a pink liner.  I wanted the hamper still so I bought some red/blue fabric and had my mother-in-law sew a new liner to replace the girly one.  She did a great job and it fits perfectly!

Other little things like the lamps, additional side table, CD player, etc. were all things we had already that we just reused in here.

The average cost of putting together a nursery is around $1,000 so I feel like we did pretty well, especially since a lot of it we purchased before we were even pregnant so we never spent one huge chunk of money at a time on it.

Now, the only thing missing is Baby Keaton!  We can’t wait to spend time with him in this room very soon and start using all of these things.  Just 7.5 more weeks to go!


6 thoughts on “Nursery Reveal on a budget

  1. What fun to read about the nursery!!! I am so proud of you and Aaron and all you have done to make your “hoiuse a home.”

  2. Whitney- this is so stinkin’ cute and once again, you blow me away with your savings techniques! You did good! Makes me want to re-do Davis’ nursery, although I love his sweet stuff in there now. PS- what is your Etsy shop?!?!?

    • Thanks Courtney! There actually isn’t anything in my Etsy shop at the moment, but it was invitation designs and paper party decorations that the buyer would print themselves after I personalized them. I guess I need to restock!

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