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Decorating a nursery is so exciting!
I know that having a perfectly decorated nursery is not a necessity, but preparing for a new baby is such a joyous time that the combination of excitement and pregnancy hormones makes it seem like it is. Decorating a nursery for our twin boys was so much fun! We wanted something that wasn’t “cookie-cutter.” We both love the “vintage” feel, and we definitely wanted two coordinating themes so that each kiddo had his own space defined. We are more than pleased with how our twin boy nursery turned out.
Is there anyone who has watched Chip and Joanna Gaines and not immediately fallen in love? I think it’s impossible. I tried to avoid watching their show, I tried to avoid jumping on the Chip and Jo Bandwagon…but I failed… and I am obsessed (does that really count as a failure? I think having the Gaines as part of your life is always a win.) I was still avoiding Chip and Joanna when we were decorating our nursery, but lucky for me, I have my own personal decorator who is every bit as wonderful as Joanna Gaines–my wife!
Steph is truly fantastic at making any space feel cozy and inviting–whether it is a one-bedroom apartment, a house, or a classroom.
I am not a decorator. I have never been a decorator. When my parents bought their house when I was eight, I chose a paint color for my room (pink) and it didn’t change until I moved out for college. When I met Steph, she came to my apartment for the first time and I had zero decorations. I was renting a duplex that had hunter green carpet, a coordinating green linoleum in the kitchen and bathroom, and green counters. In addition to that, I had a giant red couch, and I wasn’t going to buy a new couch to match a home I was renting, especially considering I wasn’t even sure how long I would be there. I had no idea how to decorate around a shade of green I didn’t like and a bright red couch, so I didn’t. I didn’t even have curtains.
Here’s how we managed to create a twin nursery we love on a budget.
1. Don’t Rush
Needless to say, when we moved in together, Steph did the decorating. So when we found out we were expecting we made a deal–I would grow the babies if she would make the nursery. 9 months later, and I still think it’s absolutely perfect.
not usually superstitious very superstitious, but most of the time I am not very adamant about sticking to my superstitions. Decorating the nursery was a time I put my foot down. I had heard an old wives tale about it being bad luck to decorate the nursery before 20 weeks, so I wouldn’t let Steph do anything. It drove her crazy.
Honestly, I was just trying to protect myself and her. If something had happened to one or both of the babies and we had to undo a nursery, it would have done us in. In the meantime, Steph sketched out all of her plans, so when it was time to start shopping and decorating, she knew exactly what she was looking for and what she wanted to do.
2. Choose a Theme for the Nursery
One of the first steps in making a space for your little one should be to choose a theme or color scheme. We wanted two themes so we could have a specific theme for each baby. Since we had two boys, we chose airplanes and hot air balloons. If we’d had a girl and a boy or two girls we probably would have done hot air balloons and kites. Everything is an object that flies. But we had two boys–baby A would have his side of the room decorated with airplanes and baby B would have his side decorated with hot air balloons.
There are so many cute things to choose from, and people are not afraid to offer their input on how they think it should look. Babies are exciting for a lot of people and it’s fun to talk to others and dream about it. However make sure that whatever you choose is true to you, fits the personality of your family, and is something that you genuinely love.
3. Choose the Space That Will Work Best for Your Nursery
When we moved into our house, we set up the master bedroom (room with the largest closet) for us. The second largest room was a guest room, and the smallest room as an office with the intention of turning it into a nursery someday. Then two sweet babies appeared on the ultrasound and we knew there was no way they could share that room. So we did some major rearranging.
We moved the office downstairs to the extra room in the basement, moved the guest room to the small room, turned the guest room into the master bedroom, and turned the master into the nursery. And when I say “we,” I mean Steph. I was pregnant, so I was very little help.
Don’t be afraid of re-purposing spaces. Could we have stayed in the master bedroom and moved the babies in the guest room? Yes. But we didn’t want to repaint and that room is pink while the master is a soft green. Also, we needed the closet to store the baby supplies we were gifted until the boys were older.
4. Find Ways to Save Money on Nursery Decorations
We are frugal people anyway, but with TWO babies on the way, we had to be extra frugal. One kid is expensive enough.
One way we saved money was by letting go of the Type A tendency for everything to match and be brand new. Our whole house has a kind of comfortable, eclectic/primitive mis-matchy vibe. We had already painted the room a nice, soft green. It was gender neutral and baby appropriate. All we had to do was a few touch ups. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on all matching, brand new furniture, we pieced together coordinating furniture from a few different places. One crib came from Facebook Marketplace. We bought all the other furniture from an auction. The wagon we use to hold books our neighbors took out of their flower garden and handed to us. We furnished the entire room (2 cribs, 2 rocking chairs, a bookshelf, and a changing table) for less than the cost of one crib.
We bought vintage suitcases for cheap at a thrift store. Besides super cute decor, we have re-purposed them as props in a photo session and storage for toys.
Re-purposing furniture for the nursery is a great idea, too.
Have a nice desk or dresser that is going unused? Put a changing pad on top of it and you have a super cute changing table. Baby furniture is a niche market that is designed to look cute and make money. You can still have an adorable nursery using items you already own–as long as it is safe for the baby.
There are some things that should be bought new, though. The big one for me was crib mattresses. I didn’t mind buying a used crib, but the mattress needed to be new. Luckily, we found them for a great price at Target.
4. DIY What You Can for the Nursery (Or Ask Friends To Help)
Another way we saved money was by using a lot of DIY.
We decoupaged wooden cut-outs together (which was a super fun date night) using the same scrapbook paper I am using in their baby books.
We put together a shadow box of vintage baby clothes. A local antique store had the vintage baby clothes for very cheap, and the shoes were my mom’s when she was a baby, which makes it even more special.
One of my amazing, wonderful co-workers cross-stitched the quilt that hangs on the wall. Another incredible coworker used an old quilt I had to make custom crib bumpers.
We bought the Bessie Pease Gutmann prints for cheap from a little Mom and Pop place in town and matted and framed them ourselves.
We also painted the letters that spell their names over their cribs.
5. Shop Smart
Finally, we shopped for the best deals. We wanted giant clothespins on their collages above their cribs, which we found at Hobby Lobby for 60% off. Our original plan was to repaint them, but once we got them in the room we liked they way they looked so we left them alone. The picture frames are from the Dollar Tree. We snapped the photos ourselves (the day the boys came home from the NICU, but that’s a different story entirely).
6. Splurge Sparingly
Finally, we splurged on a few items. Our idea of splurging is very different from others’. Even a “splurge” was fairly inexpensive. Steph found these incredible string art pictures on Etsy, as well as the dictionary prints. The dictionary page prints were a fun addition; Steph and I are both English teachers, we had a literary themed wedding, and ALL our boys (human and doggo) have literary names.
I love the way the room turned out. It’s adorable, unique, functional, and–best of all–thrifty!