Decorating a Toddler Room on a Budget

With Baby #2 on the way, it was finally time to transition our toddler to her “big girl” room. Sad as it was to admit she’s growing up, it seemed like the right time. We did have a bit of a hitch to deal with though. We are planning on moving in about a year, so we didn’t want to invest too much into decorating the room, furniture, etc. My goal was to repurpose as many items we already had in the house, and only purchase what was necessary, all the while making the room fun and exciting for her.

Toddler Room Decor

The most important thing to consider was furniture, of course. She needed a bed, a night table, some shelving, and enough place to store her clothes.  We took the Queen mattress and box spring from our guest bedroom which we rarely used and I purchased an inexpensive metal bed frame for $50. I did have to purchase 2 bedrails for safety at $30 each at Toys R Us, but they fold down and under the mattress so are invisible when not in use.

Shelves before and after

Shelves, Before and After

For shelving, I took a shelving unit my father had made for me as a child, which I had converted into a “bar” 2 houses ago, and re-painted it white. Only cost for this was a quart of paint.  For a night table, I borrowed a white IKEA table from our basement playroom that wasn’t really used. As for clothes storage, the room we moved her into had a small walk-in closet, so by adding cloth shelves($20) and an extra rod that doubled the hanging room ($15), as well as a night table from our guest room with 2 drawers, I was able to store all of her clothes without needing a dresser.

Toddler Bedding

Next comes décor, and this is the fun part.  I started, of course, by choosing bedding that would be the inspiration for the room. I didn’t want anything themed that she would grow out of quickly, so I searched for a great patterned set in a colour that was fresh and fun, and I happened to catch it at 30% off, for a total of $175 including a sheet set, duvet cover and 2 shams at Sears! I bought an all-season duvet and 2 very flat pillows at IKEA for $66, plus a bedskirt to cover the frame, and some pillow protectors ($25). I used extra pillows from my guest room for the shams.   Everything else in the room was chosen and created to work with the fabulous bedding.


Painted Headboard

Because I didn’t want to invest in a headboard until we move to the new house, I painted a headboard onto the wall, rather than purchasing a headboard. This way I was able to customize it to match the bedding.  To make the wall soft, I simply used the pillow shams that came with the bedding for her to lean up against if she chooses.

Lamp Before & After

For lighting, I purchased an inexpensive $20 lamp with a plain white shade from target, then I prettied it up using some great decorative paper flowers and fabric ribbon from Michaels that I glued onto the shade ($6.00). To prevent the glue from re-melting, I used a CFL bulb which also meant the bulb wouldn’t be as hot, or dangerous for my daughter. I also picked a lamp that turned on by pulling a short chain, rather than the knobs commonly used where you had to reach up into the lamp, or the ones with the switch on the wire. I figured this would be easiest for my toddler to turn on herself.


For the walls, I did a number of things that would tie in with the bedding. First, I repainted the letters that spell her name from her nursery to match the headboard and bedding. I purchased 2 $9 large white frames from IKEA and framed sheets of wrapping paper ($4 at Homesense) in a hounds tooth pattern that matched the colour of the bedding perfectly. These can now be used to tape up some of her artwork to display in her room. I purchased a few faux flowers in coordinating colours at Michael’s ($12). I also purchased 3 small square canvas prints from Target (3 for $45) to add a bit more colour into the space, but still coordinate perfectly with the bedding.  For drapes, I kept it simple and purchased off-white drapes from IKEA, as well as a black-out curtain liner ($60). I hemmed both myself using special hemming tape that irons on, saving myself from going to a seamstress (and I certainly don’t sew!).   And to fill the shelves, I just transferred all of the things she has collected since she was born and displayed them.


The result was a beautiful, coordinated, and fun room that she loves, and it only cost about $600 including supplies! She hasn’t stepped foot in the nursery since we unveiled her new bedroom, so hopefully she’ll have forgotten about it when the new baby takes over.

Happy Decorating!

Erin Lazer

Have a question? Feel free to contact me at, or suggest a topic for a blog post.



Baby Boudoir

Hi Everyone! This article I wrote is currently featured in the inaugural issue of “Pink and Blue Baby Mag” new digital magazine! Check it out at this link or read it right here!

Baby Boudoir

So you’re expecting, or maybe your little one has just entered this wonderful world, and you, of course, want to create the perfect space to welcome them into. Perhaps your nesting instincts are on high alert, but you feel overwhelmed. Well, have no fear!  These tips on nursery essentials and how to create a beautiful space, regardless of budget, will help you create your dream baby boudoir.

Nursery Essentials

The perfect nursery starts with some basic essentials. After all, a pretty room is only good if the room functions well. Here are the things you’ll need to create the foundation of your nursery:


  • Crib:  Consider investing in a crib that can convert into a full bed when the child is older. This could save you money down the road.  If you are buying coordinating pieces, like a dresser, bookshelf, night table, etc., this will keep the set unified and increase longevity.
  • Change Table: Make sure your change table has ample storage. Consider purchasing a dresser and using it as a change table.  You can drill/cut out holes in the back of the dresser that are large enough to secure the straps from your change pad. Use the drawers for all of your diaper changing supplies, as well as clothing, keeping everything handy.
  • Chair: The main use of the chair in the first year will be for nursing or feeding the baby. Later on it will be for story time, and may even become part of your family room some day.  So if you’re making the investment, buy something with the long term in mind.  Make sure it’s comfortable and has a high back for those late night feedings. The ideal chair (and the one that I have myself) is a rocking, swivelling, reclining chair with a WASHABLE fabric.  I know, it sounds too good to be true, but it does exist.  Mine is a Best Chair from the Baby Furniture Warehouse  You can pick your fabric and have a bit of fun, or keep it neutral so that it can be used in other rooms down the road.
  • Night Table: You’ll need a small table by the chair where you can have a small lamp, Kleenex box, and somewhere to put bottles or supplies for feedings. If possible, again, get one with drawers for extra storage. When the baby is old enough, you can put toys in these low drawers that they can reach.
  • Bookshelf:  Although books may not be necessary right of the bat, a book shelf is great for extra storage. If you’re lucky, you’ll get lots of gifts, including books, picture frames, and other nice things to display. A bookshelf is also a handy shoe rack, and what could be cuter to display than baby shoes?!

Baby Furniture Essentials


Other Essentials:

  • Soft Change pad with straps the secures to the change table/dresser
  • Change pad cover (you’ll need at least 2-3 of these as back-ups for those “messy incidents”)
  • Diaper Pail: No matter how beautifully decorated a nursery is, smelly diapers will overpower it, so make sure to have a good diaper pail or solution for eliminating odours. I myself am a fan of the Diaper Genie The refills are expensive,  but it is VERY effective and easy to use.
  • Humidifier:  This is a must-have, especially if your baby is congested or sick.  If you’re buying a “cute” humidifier, make sure the quality is there, or you’ll be like me who bought the expensive, adorable cow and had to replace him after 6 months with a better, cheaper one.
  • Lighting: I highly recommend a table lamp to have next to your feeding chair. Try to find a touch lamp.  You can also have a bit of fun in terms of décor with lamps. You don’t have to buy the matching lamp that comes with your bedding.
  • Mobile:   Some mobiles are more stimulating vs. calming, so be mindful of this. Many bedding sets come with coordinating mobiles which is a nice option to maintain a consistent look.
  • White Noise Machine:  The white noise machine is comforting for your newborn, and also helps to drown out any sudden noises and keep them sleeping/napping longer.  If you don’t have one right of the bat, you can use a radio on a static station until you can get one. The Graco Sweet Slumber Sound machine has a built-in night light and a plug in for an mp3 player
  • Laundry hamper: Not much to say other than this is a must have. Buy a nice lined basket with an open top—you’ll only have one free hand most of the time!
  • Closet organizers: Don’t invest in expensive built-ins for a baby. Use the fabric organizers that attach to the hanging bars. They are the perfect size for baby clothes and provide lots of shelves for storing different sizes. You WILL get gifts in every size imaginable when the baby is born.
  • Monitor:  Although I originally went with an audio-only monitor, when I borrowed a video monitor, I became hooked and would highly recommend one.
  • Black-out Drapes: A dark room is best for a new baby. Blinds aren’t always adequate, so consider adding either a special black-out drape, or just buy a dark-coloured drape.  This can also soften the look of a room and can be incorporated into the décor. You can buy ready-made panels, choose a fabulous fabric and have custom drapes made to match your décor.

Décor Ideas:

The first question we all have when decorating a nursery is, “what is the sex of the baby”? If you’re like me and wanted to be surprised, you’ll want to choose some gender neutral colours or patterns, and don’t worry because there are tons of options out there. If you know the sex of the baby, you may be able to have a little more fun with the décor. You can also wait until the baby is born to decorate.

  • Bedding:  This is a good starting point to inspire your décor. You may want a themed room (e.g. jungle animals) or something      more sophisticated, using colour, pattern and texture.  If you’re buying a set, at first, you’ll only be using the sheet in the crib, but down the road you can introduce the bumpers and blanket. You can use the bedskirt right away.  Drape the comforter or blanket over your nursing chair, or use it as a wall-hanging to show it off sooner rather than later.
  • Paint: This is a very low-cost way to create a soothing space for your baby with the use of colour. And if you’re willing to pick up a paint brush yourself, the cost can be as low as $60-$80. You can add character with paint buy creating a striped or plaid pattern using painter’s tape, or install chair rail around the room and do one colour above and a different colour below for a two-tone effect.
  • Wallpaper:  What can I say about wallpaper other than it’s my new favourite décor element. There are so many options for any space. There are options specifically designed for nurseries, but you can also pick a more sophisticated pattern for a really glamorous look.   Be bold and do a great accent wall, then compliment it by pulling out one of the colours for painting the other walls, perhaps something more muted/neutral.
  •  Display your baby’s name: There are a number of companies that make custom letters that you can hang on the wall in your baby’s room. This also makes a an easy DIY project. Just buy the letters from your local craft store and some paint (or use leftover paint from one of your accent colours in the baby’s room) and create your own.  For simplicity, keep them a solid colour, or if you’re daring try some pattern. Then just hang them up with picture hooks, or double sided (strong) tape. Try to choose colours that already exist in the room. You don’t want to bring in too many new colours.
  • Wall decals: These are inexpensive and easy to apply or remove, making it a great way to personalize your space.  Here’s a website with lots of options and inspiration:  It is fairly easy to find wall decals are your local wal-mart, Superstore, Homesense, etc.
  • Pictures: Create a photo gallery. You can start off by framing some maternity photos, and once your baby is here, you’ll have no shortage of sweet photos to display. Buy some white frames. You can choose all the same frames in the same size or different styles and sizes to create a more eclectic collage.  IKEA is always a great source for inexpensive frames
  • Baskets: Baskets not only add storage to a room, but they can also add decorative flair.  Baskets come in all shapes, sizes, and colours. Some have really pretty fabric liners that can inspire your room décor. These are great to be used right on your change table to keep supplies handy, or in bookshelves to store shoes, small stuffed animals, toys, etc.
Baby Room Decor-Photo Gallery, Maternity Photos

Baby Room Decor

So now that you’re armed with a list of essentials and ideas, I happily send you out on your decorating adventure. Preparing and decorating your nursery can be very fulfilling, but also overwhelming. Remember it doesn’t all have to be done before baby arrives. Who are we kidding, they’re not going to notice anyways! We know that decorating is for us moms, so have fun with it! Happy decorating!

Have a question? Feel free to contact me at