Robin’s Modern Nursery for Less

In this guest post, BC reader, blogger and architect Robin shares her secrets for creating a modern nursery using low-cost, creative materials and accessories.

I am an architect in Northwest Indiana and I love design, but I don’t make a lot of money. So, I tried to find cheap and crafty ways to decorate my son’s nursery before he was born in 2008.

One of the basic things I decided on was to add some detail to the walls for little money. I added a wood trim piece high on the walls (over the doors) and painted the wall white to match the ceiling above this trim. The white band of paint high on the wall gives the illusion of higher ceilings. (I learned this from my time in Architecture school.)

We chose a fun and bright color of aqua for the walls and, let me tell you, nothing changes the look of a room for cheaper than 1 gallon of paint. Along the wall behind the crib I painted a number of “jacks” with the same white paint from above. To create this look, I printed 3 photos of different sized jacks (blown up to 8 1/2 X 11 sheets) and cut out cardboard to follow the shapes. I, then, used the 3 cardboard jacks as stencils and drew the outline of each a few times on the one wall over the aqua paint. The last step was to use that white paint and fill in the pencil lines I had drawn on the wall. This took 2 coats of white paint. Since I already had the white paint and I used old cardboard for the stencils, this was virtually free.

I did a few different things for wall art:

  • I framed illustrations from an old children’s book that I had found abandoned.
  • I purchased a few prints off of
  • I put together a model airplane from B-52 kit, but left off the skin.

Other cheap or free wall art sites:

I spent hours drooling over designer cribs and bassinets that cost over $800 and I decided that I was going to find cost effective alternatives and I wasn’t going to settle for something I didn’t like.

I looked everywhere and finally came upon a number of cribs at that were along the more modern style that I was looking for. At $300 for a solid wood crib that converts to a Toddler and then Daybed, I couldn’t go wrong.

They do free shipping to my local store, so I did not even have to pay anything extra. I was pleasantly surprised with quality of the product as it is still in great shape 2 years later.

I never did find a bassinet that I liked as I wanted one that was more streamlined and less frilly. I ended up “hacking” a designer bassinet, reworking the design a bit, and having my husband built it from 1 sheet of 1/2″ plywood. It cost us $25 to make and the alternative designer bassinet retails for $500. Obviously, this is not an option for people that don’t have a shop in their basement, but there are alternatives out there.

Lastly, I don’t want you to forget about the closet. Our son’s is perpetually open, but that’s okay because I bought bins that match his wall color to store future clothes and other items. I printed labels on cute paper and used spray glue to apply to each bin. It was an easy and cheap way to “decorate” the closet. FYI: The labels peel off easily if you need to change the storage contents of the bin.

Robin is an architect in Northwest Indiana, loves cheap or free design, and blogs on Modern Mantle.

This post is part of BC’s Nursery on a Budget Series. See more posts in the series.

More real-life nurseries on a budget:

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  1. yackxel says:


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