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Tips for Building a Nursery on a Budget

Tips for Building a Nursery on a Budget
Kristin Luna
Kristin LunaUpdated December 19, 2022
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
Along with the joy and excitement of a new baby on the way, there are some practical realities to attend to, including creating a nursery. Like many parents-to-be, you may decide to renovate an existing bedroom to turn it into a nursery for your little one.  Fortunately, there are many ways to make your nursery special without going overboard on spending. Here’s how to create a nursery on a budget. 

How Much Does Building a Nursery Cost? 

The average cost of a nursery is about $2,000. The price might go up if you choose an expensive crib or add extras like a sound machine to help your baby sleep. But if you’re decorating a nursery on a budget, you really only need a crib and mattress, a rocking chair, and a changing table.

Cost of Furnishing a Nursery 

Since a nursery will likely change as your child gets older, you may want to plan ahead for that. For example, you’ll need to upgrade the crib to a toddler bed, and also remove the changing table once your baby is out of diapers. Some cost-saving bedroom remodel ideas, such as creating a gallery wall of photos, might also come in handy. These are the main things you will need for a budget nursery. 

Cribs 

You’ll want to get a new crib that adheres to the latest safety standards. The cost of a crib with a mattress typically ranges from $160 to $750.   In addition to the crib, you’ll also need crib sheets and blankets, which can cost $8 to $20 apiece, a mattress cover which might run you $10 to $20, and a bedding set, which can range from $35 to $270. 

Toys 

You can add style and an element of playfulness by decorating the nursery with toys. For instance, if you’re considering a particular theme or color scheme, you can choose toys that highlight it. Floating shelves can hold stuffed animals, and wooden toys, such as a train, can decorate the top of a dresser. You can also add a cute toy chest or woven baskets to store all the toys your baby is likely to receive as gifts.

Rugs 

Putting in a colorful area rug can be a great way to add personality to the room while decorating a nursery on a budget. Choose a rug that’s stain-resistant or one that you can throw in the washing machine. You’ll also want to pick a rug fabric that’s durable and comfortable for when your baby is playing on the floor and eventually crawling around.

Art 

Art in your baby’s nursery can be as simple as a piece of memorabilia or a meaningful quote or song lyric that’s framed. Second-hand stores and online marketplaces are good places for finding art for a nursery on a budget. Another option is to get creative with paint by choosing a bright color for an accent wall, or using removable wallpaper with a pattern like stripes or animals.

Lighting 

You can create a calm, relaxing atmosphere for your baby with soft lighting. Table lamps are a good option, and maybe a standing lamp placed in one corner of the room near the changing table. Adding a dimmer switch can help you adjust the lighting as needed. 

Chairs 

A rocking chair or glider can help you soothe your newborn and rock him or her to sleep. Rocking chairs typically range in price from $90 to $500. You can also shop for a second-hand rocking chair at thrift shops and secondhand online stores.

Nursery Financing Options 

Just like when you’re remodeling a home, if you don’t have the money to pay for your nursery remodel upfront, there are financing options that can help you cover the cost. Here are some options you may want to consider. 

Personal Loan 

Taking out personal loans like home remodel loans is a common way to fund a renovation project. With a personal loan, a bank, online lender, or credit union lends you a lump sum that you repay with interest in installments over time. The higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate you may get. One of the rewards of a personal loan is that once you’re approved, you can typically get funds quickly, often within one to five days. That means you can get started on your nursery remodel without having to wait.It makes sense to shop around for the best personal loan rates and terms you can get. Understanding personal loans will help you decide if this financing option is right for you.

Credit Card

It’s easy and convenient to put the cost of decorating a nursery on a credit card. You can even use a rewards card and earn miles or points with your purchases. But one thing to be aware of is that credit cards have high interest rates. If you can pay off what you owe before the end of your billing cycle, you won’t have to pay interest. But if you can’t, you will owe interest on the balance.

Savings 

If you have enough money in savings, you may want to use those funds to pay for your budget nursery. But think twice before draining your entire savings account. It’s generally important to have some money in reserve in case of an emergency or unexpected expense. 

HELOC 

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) allows you to borrow against your home’s equity up to an approved limit. Instead of receiving a lump sum, you can borrow HELOC funds as needed during what’s called the draw period, which typically lasts up to 10 years. The interest rate is usually variable, and loan terms will vary by lender. When the draw period ends, the repayment period begins, which can be as many as 30 years. However, if you can’t pay off what you owe, the lender could foreclose on your house.

Cash-out Refinance 

A cash-out refinance allows you to refinance your mortgage while borrowing money at the same time, based on the equity you have in your home. The cash-out refinance process entails borrowing a new mortgage for a larger amount than the existing mortgage; you then receive the difference in cash for your nursery remodel. Lenders often limit cash-out refinances to 80 percent of the equity a borrower has in their home. Just know that you’ll pay closing costs and you will need to have your home appraised.

The Takeaway

As you await your new baby’s arrival, decorating a nursery on a budget is a fun home improvement project to work on. You can save money by keeping the job simple. Painting the room, adding a bright area rug, putting in a few key pieces of furniture, and decorating with toys will make the nursery cozy and relaxing for your little one — and help keep costs down.

3 Personal Loan Tips

  1. Shopping around helps ensure that you’re getting the best deal you can. Lantern by SoFi makes this easy. With one online application, you can find and compare personal loan offers from multiple lenders.
  2. If the interest rates you’re being offered seem too high, try lowering the loan amount. Generally, the larger the loan, the greater the risk for lenders, who likely charge a higher interest rate for the increased risk level.
  3. Read lender reviews before taking out a personal loan. You’ll get a sense of how long it can take to receive the funds and how good the customer service is.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should you budget for a nursery?
How can you pay for a nursery?
How much does a nursery cost typically?
Photo credit: iStock/WINEXA
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About the Author

Kristin Luna

Kristin Luna

Kristin Luna is a Tennessee-based journalist with 20 years of writing and editing experience. She has contributed to such publications as Southern Living, This Old House, Real Simple, Parade, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and various other titles. With her spouse and fellow journalist, she runs a public art nonprofit and also purchases and rehabs older model homes.
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