Nursery decorating: 4 ways to save

Consumer Reports News: October 12, 2007 03:12 PM

Buy bedding separates. Despite the bedding displays at baby stores, don’t buy a crib bedding set. Instead, keep the crib bare. Not only will you save hundreds of dollars by not outfitting the crib, it will be safer for your baby, too. In fact, as I’ve mentioned previously, the safest crib is one that has a firm mattress, a snug-fitting mattress pad, a crib sheet--and nothing else. No puffy bumper guards, loose blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, or quilts. Experts have long recognized the suffocation risk inherent in such soft crib bedding. To set the style tone for your baby’s nursery, a crib skirt or fitted sheet work well.

Get inspired with accessories. You can also pull a color scheme from a patterned rug, which incidentally helps camouflage stains and spills better than one without a pattern. (To reduce the risk of tripping, make sure the rug has a non-skid back or is secured to the floor with double-face tape.) A piece of artwork can also serve as your creative catalyst, and it doesn't have to be a pricey oil painting. An inexpensive poster will do. Or, if you have older children, involve them in decorating the baby’s room by having them paint or draw a picture that you mat and frame. If you have your heart set on certain colors, just give your kids markers or paint in those colors to work with.

Pick paint colors carefully. Instead of using whimsical wallpaper or painting the room a babyish blue or pink, consider a paint hue that your child won't grow out of so quickly, such as yellow, lime green, or lavender for girls, or navy, red, or Kelly green for boys. Then, to update, just change the accessories, such as the artwork.

Consider convertible furniture. Furniture that morphs--a crib that converts to a toddler bed, or a changing table that changes into a desk or dresser--can help you go the distance so that when your baby moves on to the “big boy” or “big girl” stage, it doesn't necessitate a gear- and design-overhaul.

What about you? Do you have money-saving nursery decorating “dos” to share--or “don’ts” you found out about the hard way? Send them in so we can all learn from your decorating experience!

See our reports on cribs, crib alternatives, and keeping baby safe for more information.

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