I L.O.V.E – LOVE nurseries. I love that they can be crazy spaces, full of personality. Rooms designed to engage children, encourage and grow with them. They can be fun but they have to be functional.
First time round family wanted to buy some things for the baby so generously my Mum gave us the money for a cot and boy did we buy a cot. On my Mum’s recommendation we got one with a drop side. It was beautiful, top of the range and at a thousand dollars perhaps an excessive purchase. The thing is when my son was seven months old we went to the UK and my sister in law lent us her basic Ikea cot. No drop side, just a lower to the ground cot that I loved putting baby in. All I had to do was put baby in not negotiate the drop side which had left me with bruises all over my shins only to still have to lift baby over the edge and get up on tip toes to gently place him down on the mattress. It’s not that drop side cots are a bad idea it is that they weren’t a good idea for me but there was no way for me to know that without trying the other cot (if I hadn’t gone to the UK I still wouldn’t know!).
I bought some beautiful handmade wooden quotes that hung on the wall above the change table. They looked amazing, I loved them and then one day they fell down. Fortunately this happened while no one was in the room but they had to go. No heavy wall hangings in babies room! Seriously guys don’t learn this one the hard way.
Our chest of drawers with change table top matched in with the cot perfectly. It was a cheapy bought on ebay and I highly recommend having a space to change bubba in the middle of the night without having to get on the floor or bend over. This is an indulgence spend and totally worth it. The one we bought wasn’t the best quality and we overloaded them a little (A LOT!). In case you haven’t guessed those drawers only lasted about 2 years. I wouldn’t not buy them as a solution again but seriously watch what you are putting in them. The plan to remove the change top and keep using the chest of drawers was derailed. We were considering a nice chest of drawers this time but ultimately went with using the cupboard for storage and getting a change table. What I did do was cull half of the clothes so nothing gets overloaded again!
The rest was decoration and some lasted and some didn’t. One thing I did spend money on was a good quality mobile. It was hot air balloons and from memory cost around $120. Because it is a ‘real’ mobile the balloons spin around each other and really float above my son’s bed. Nearly five years later and he still loves these. I will be spending money on a ‘real’ mobile again. The reason I call these ‘real’ is because the design is counterbalanced not cascading which allows for more movement and makes them more interesting to watch. We are still deciding on the mobile for this nursery. It’s okay baby won’t be sleeping in the room until six months anyway!
I was also blessed first time round with a lot of second hand things from my brother and sister in law. This not only saved us a tonne of money but made me appreciate how quickly babies grow out of things. It made want to buy new for all the things we needed after these gifts but I quickly learned that was full hardy. I have a lot more appreciation for second hand this time round. I have bought most things second hand. For a clean and a coat of paint (if you want to paint and I wanted to) you get a lot more for your money and if it is kept in good condition you’ll probably be able to sell it for the same amount you bought it. That thousand dollar cot from my first nursery was sold on second hand. I used the money (less than half it’s value) to buy the Ikea cot I loved so much normally $129 bought second hand for $50, I bought the mattress brand new in line with SIDS recommendations. Other money we received from selling the fancy cot also bought a change table second hand $10, the wire drawer system for clothes that will transform unusable cupboard space $150 (this is one of the few things bought new), and paint for the room $120. The entire nursery and bassinet for our room will cost less than our first cot. And I couldn’t be happier. Bringing a tiny human into the world has made me rethink waste. So buying second hand and selling on means I’m keeping these things out of land fill and am doing one little thing to make their future a little brighter. I love my second nursery as much as the first decoratively but I also get a lot of satisfaction knowing how much I have learned this time round.
We also had a lot of things we held onto. Some has been passed on to friends and colleagues then returned to us. I always made sure whomever was receiving certain items knew it was a boomerang. The nursery chair (pictured) is a Kmart chair from where I hold my HypnoBirthing® classes. It is a placeholder for now because our (ugly) glider is in our living room because I can’t get in and out of our very deep sofa. But I want to spend time with baby in the room from day one so I need a chair to feed in until my stomach muscles are operational again. The stool was also something we’ve had around for ages so I painted it up to match as we rarely use it as a stool. I highly recommend you look and see what you have on hand to repurpose for a nursery.
Where we did spend money was on the artwork and mural. My husband created the entire mural on his laptop. We were going to print and frame but you can see from the size this would have been an expensive process. Fortunately we have friends who are interior decorators and they recommended we print it as a wall sticker. As well as saving dollars on printing it was also really easy to put up. The other artwork was either handmade or bought at local markets. I did spend money on framing the piece I wanted to last – the cross stitch. It is already thirty years old and was not in a glass frame. So for the sake of preservation I was happy to pay the have that re-framed. I did have to compromise on the re-framing as the original framer in the eighties glued in down instead of stretching It which means it is the size it is forever (thank goodness the glue hasn’t eaten the fabric throughout the years).
When creating your nursery think about how you will use it first. How you want it to look second and then when you are ready to buy check out Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and local second hand baby markets to source the items you want second hand. If you are DINKies and you can afford new have fund by saving the difference between new and second and to buy yourself an amazing babymoon before baby comes.