7 Ways to Outfit Your Nursery on a Budget

Thanks to 50 years of unregulated childcare magazines, we no longer put babies in rooms. Instead, we build little universes around them. We build rooms choked with purple stars, and ponies that puke rainbows. Because what better way to prepare a child for the real world, than to assure them a fantasy universe revolves around them? That sure didn’t mess us up on the way to adulthood. But hey, nothing’s too good for your precious. So in this article, I look at ways to build your little Lord’s room, without costing the equivalent of Buckingham palace:


Baby room

Is that a periodic table? This MUST be a Singaporean house.


1. Use Stencil Kits

The most expensive wall decorations tend to be wallpaper or posters. A strip of decorative wallpaper can cost you over $250, and for less material than a Megan Fox outfit. Posters are cheaper (about $12 – $20), but they’re usually too small to dominate the wall. Also, posters and wallpaper tend to get ripped, or turn yellow.

To get around all that, use a stencil kit. For about $110, you’ll get enough templates and equipment to decorate an entire wall. And because stencils have that charming home-made look, any imperfections blend right in. I’ve stencilled two walls in four hours before, and I barely have enough skill to vandalize a toilet door.

Stencils are also quite easy to wipe off and replace. That way, baby won’t get sick of staring at your pink oak tree for the next few years.


Stencils on the wall

3 years of art school takes you from "terrible"to "just bad".


2. Use a Cot, Skip the Cradle

This has been popular in Singapore for years now: forget buying a cradle, and go straight for the cot.

A cradle, or Moses basket, is for newborns. It’s outgrown in about four to six months, and has a ridiculous price average of $300. People see it in the hospital’s infant care unit, and assume they need one. But really, it’s blowing $300 on a glorified picnic basket.

Also, most cradles and Moses baskets aren’t as safe as they look. They can tip over, which doesn’t happen with a sturdy cot. Convertible cots (from $350 – $1000) are worth their price; these last, and can be extended or even converted to beds.


A baby cot

A young Singaporean gets used to staring at bars.


3. Choose Two Colours

Nurseries look best with two (or at most three) colours. It’s a nursery, not an ADHD research clinic. Babies don’t appreciate riotous colour clashes any more than you do.

Besides, using fewer colours means buying less paint. At $20 a litre, anything exceeding three colours is an overpriced, eye-straining nightmare. On that note, you’ll also want to dodge colours like sky blue and baby pink . They’re cute, but quickly outgrown. You’ll be paying about $250 for a good paint job, so minimize the number of times it happens.


Two colour room with brown giraffes and unfinished floor

Two dominant colours (stencils not counted). Note the unfinished floor. Minimal cost with good impact.


4. Don’t Buy Packaged Nursery Bedding

A lot of department stores like to bundle nursery bedding into packages; shrink wrapped parcels that include comforters, quilts, and pillow cases. These cost around $60 – $70. Since individual bedding products (like pillow cases) can cost $20 each, most parents think the bundle is a bargain. It’s not.

Three different pillow cases is way better than a pillow case, a quilt, and a comforter. In Singapore’s climate, why would you want a quilt and a comforter? That cot’s for sleeping, not baking. Also, you’ll find you need about four or five bundles to get enough pillow cases or bed sheets. That’s about $300. For half that price, you can buy the specific products you need. And you won’t be up to your neck in spare quilts.


packaged baby bedding

"Is this for one baby or one orphanage?"


5. Look Beyond Furniture For Storage

Get rounded-edge, baby-safe storage instead of more furniture.

Baby things aren’t very big, so even moderately sized baskets will hold most of them. A large cupboard is probably unnecessary, as your child won’t be using it until much later. The biggest wastes of money are  baby sized cupboards or drawers: they’re too small for anything else, and pointless to keep once your child grows up.

Plastic tubs can hold clothes and toys just as well as cupboards; as a bonus, many of them are also transparent. It beats digging through drawers trying to find a  bottle or pacifier. And because they’re not hard and edged, there’s nothing for your baby to collide with. Other alternative storage includes luggage carriers or decorated shoe boxes.


Boxes of Lego

You know you've gone too far when Lego calls to make a purchase.


6. Use One Table

A lot of nurseries break the budget because of separate table surfaces. Most commonly, parents will have a dresser and a changing table.

This isn’t necessary. If you get a good enough changing table, why can’t it serve as the dresser? Your baby’s too young to care about mirrors and drawers; and while dressers look good, an average of $300 – $500 makes it an overpriced decoration. Throw a nice drape or decorative vase on your changing table, and it’s as good a focal point as any dresser.

Alternatively, if you must have a dresser, then let it double as the changing table. But don’t have both. Heck, I could do with neither and just use the floor, so long as it’s clean.


Changing a diaper

"We need another table for the technical schematics here."


7. Buy Second Hand  

Baby furniture isn’t meant to be permanent, any more than babies are meant to stay babies. They’re discarded (hidden joke), just like diapers and Jack Neo’s ex-girlfriends. So it’s no surprise that, when you go to the flea market, you can’t take three steps without seeing a cot or pram.

You can even get second hand baby equipment online, with about eight seconds of searching. Most second hand baby accessories are barely used, and are 30 – 40% below store price. Also, this is one of the products where the secondary market actually has a bigger selection than the retailers.

So don’t be too worried about second-hand gear; remember, it was probably only used for two or three years. And that’s how long you’ll be needing it too.

Image Credits:

Get more Personal Finance tips and tricks on www.MoneySmart.sg

Click to Compare Singapore Home Loans, Car Insurance and Credit Cards on our other sites.

More From MoneySmart

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors
    No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors

    Instead of filing an opposition, ombudsman prosecutors filed a manifestation yesterday expressing belief that there is no urgent need for Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. to visit his son at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center. “Based on the clinical abstract issued by the Asian Hospital on patient (Cavite) Vice-governor (Jolo) Revilla, which was submitted by accused Revilla in support of his Urgent Motion, Vice-governor Revilla is in stable condition and has stable vital signs, as of March 1, …

  • Another source of SAF execution video identified
    Another source of SAF execution video identified

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is still tracing the source of the video showing one of the wounded police commandos being finished off by Muslim rebels during the encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A source from the Department of Justice (DOJ) said they have identified two persons who first uploaded the video that went viral over social networking sites. The supposed source of the video was elusive and claimed that somebody just placed it on an external drive. The …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say
    How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say

    CAIRO (AP) — Three British schoolgirls believed to have gone to Syria to become "jihadi" brides. Three young men charged in New York with plotting to join the Islamic State group and carry out attacks on American soil. A masked, knife-wielding militant from London who is the face of terror in videos showing Western hostages beheaded. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options