DIY Home Upgrades Life with a Baby

Designing a Tiny Nursery on a Budget

Before I had even succeeded in getting pregnant, I was mentally designing my nursery. But, my house is small and I was faced with the challenge of designing a tiny nursery on a budget.

Out with the Old

The room that was going to be used for the nursery currently was the guest room and overflow for storage space for our clothing. Our house is fairly small, about 1100 ft² and the room we were going to be using is the second smallest in the house. 

A twin size daybed lived in the future nursery, as it was (and still is) our guest room. We travel often and we need a place for our house sitter to stay when we go away. The room also housed my Poshmark closet of items to sell and my husband’s overflow of old clothing and items he has yet to purge.

I started to tackle the room by organizing the closet and under-bed storage. I donated the rest of my Poshmark closet and closed my online closet because I didn’t have the time to commit to it anymore. And I moved all of my husband’s things into our office closet. Luckily, I do not have hoarding tendencies, so the under-bed storage was minimal. I donated and tossed what I could and was left with a nice space for future storage.


Nursery Color Palette

Now that I had a blank canvas, I planned out the furniture that needed to be added to the room and approximated the size of each piece. Things I needed still included: a glider or rocking chair, a dresser, a crib, and a changing table. I also wanted some sort of storage for books that kept them off the ground. A bonus would be to fit a lamp and shelf or table situation near the rocking chair. I needed to add all these items AND keep the twin size day-bed.


I knew I wanted an outdoorsy and mountain theme for the room. When we first moved into the house I had painted a navy blue accent wall in that room. I decided to use this as my bouncing off point for the color pallet. The room would be natural woods, navy blue, gray, and touches of mustard yellow and forest green.

The sign my friend had made custom for the nursery.

As a baby shower gift, my mom asked my friend to make me a version of this sign I had seen that kept popping up in my mountain themed nursery searches. The saying is, ‘Let him sleep, for when he wakes, he will move mountains’. My friend created me a gorgeous version of this sign, (10x better than any version I had seen online!) and this was my focal point for the nursery.


Custom name sign made by my sister.

My sister is also very crafty and recreated a version of this beautiful wooden circle sign with our son’s name on it. Knowing the two huge décor pieces were out of the way, I set off looking for furniture.

Furniture shopping all started with the dresser. I happened to open Facebook Marketplace 3 minutes after someone had posted a free dresser. Dressers are hot commodities and go fast online, so I immediately messaged the person. Within an hour, I had it loaded up in my Scion XB and proudly drove home. The dresser fit perfectly in the closet! This saved me so much floor space!

Next, I went online to IKEA and found the changing table I wanted; it was extremely affordable ($35), low profile, and abnormally short in length. I also found the crib I wanted; it matched the changing table, it was also extremely affordable ($79) and low profile. I decided to use IKEA’s floating spice shelves to house my books, so that eliminated taking up any more floor space. Lastly, I found the glider I wanted at Walmart.

My mom and I had an adventure traveling to IKEA in late December and navigating the beast of a store. I knew exactly what I was purchasing and scored a couple of other cheap organization pieces too. 

My husband was away for the day snowboarding, and I decided to tackle the assembly of the crib and changing table myself. If you know anything about IKEA furniture, you know it is infamous for being hard to build. Needless to say, it took me a few hours, a few cuss words & countless searches on YouTube to get the things assembled. But, victory was that much sweeter when they were done.

Putting it all Together

Floating book shelves and my freebie dresser

My sister then came over and we played Tetris trying to fit all the things in the room in a way that made sense. This process took a lot of trial and error, but we ended up with a result that has been functional and looks good too! We also installed the spice shelves on the wall, to be used at bookshelves (probably one of my favorite elements to the room!).

With finishing touches picked up from Goodwill (new bedding for the guest bed), Costco (throw pillows for guest bed), and JcPenny’s (wolf doorstop), I had still kept my out of pocket cost to under $300. I was very spoiled at my baby shower and didn’t have to purchase any of the crib bedding, the glider, the diaper genie or storage baskets and bins, and decor items.

Finished result

This room quickly became my husband and my favorite room to spend time in, even before our baby was born. Everything has its place and has a happy vibe to it. Investing the time, effort, and money into this room has proved to be more valuable than I could have ever imagined how much time I spend here with my son! Designing a tiny nursery on a budget was a challenge, but so worth it.

Finished result