Creating a Nursery in a Small Home: Master Bedroom Nursery Nook

People have been inquiring about our nursery plans since I announced my pregnancy, and to be honest, I've felt a lot of embarrassment from the start as I gave my answer:

We don't really have room for a nursery, so we'll just be keeping the baby in our room.

Most people's responses to this don't do anything to discredit my embarrassment. But you have to have a nursery! 'Cause you know, nobody ever lived in a modest home with no space or funds to give a tiny newborn its very own, Pottery-Barn-catalog-worthy room.

But as my pregnancy has progressed and we've gotten things organized, I'm actually quite excited about our in-room setup. Based on the research I've done, the books I've read, and the experiences I've heard from other mothers, I think our little master bedroom nursery nook will be the most beneficial arrangement for our child and for us, even more so than if we had room and money for a fancy, well-decorated nursery down the hall.

So, I thought I'd take a minute and share what we've put together for our little one over the last few months using our very limited space and funds. 

Here is a gross yet realistic photo of what our master bedroom looked like a few months ago.

Lots of clutter. No organization. No real decor of note. If I were able to pivot the camera to the left, you would see only the rest of our bed and a second nightstand crammed against the far wall. Our master bedroom is so small, it's impossible to step back far enough to get it in one photo. Just know there isn't anything else to see here.

Some time around the end of my second trimester, I realized (in a bit of a panic) we needed to clean up a bit and start getting some baby things together. So, I took an afternoon and turned the space above into this:

We went through the drawers of that huge dresser and pared down everything we could. We packed up seasonal clothes/too-small clothes/workout clothes I won't fit into again until well after baby's arrival, plus took a bag of donations to a local thrift store. Then my husband helped me move the dresser down the hall into our unfinished guest bedroom/office/storage room, where it now sits storing sheets, blankets, and other miscellany. 

One half of our room was now a blank canvas for the baby.

Since baby stuff is so adorable and Pinterest is so...present, providing hormonal expectant mothers with endless, beautiful nursery inspiration, I, of course, had the urge to make the area as cute as possible. But given our sad little budget, this was quite tricky. I decided the cheapest, easiest way to add some style to the room would be curtains. 

I found these at Walmart for $8.50 per panel. The canvas material has a nice texture and heaviness to it, especially for $8.50, and the pattern and color were perfect for our room. We already had a gray comforter set on our bed, so gray and white seemed a lovely gender-neutral choice for our decor since we are waiting until birth to find out gender.

Instead of buying trendy new floating shelves, I used the built-in corner shelves that came with the house to store the only thing I'd actually gotten for baby at the time: books

This was all we had until my best friend visited from Texas and gave us a huge load of incredible hand-me-downs (TONS of much-needed cloth diapers, swaddles, outfits, a diaper pail, and so much more!). Then in mid-July, our families gave us two separate, wonderful showers. 

If not for the generosity of our friends and family members, I seriously do not know what we would have done. Almost everything you'll see from here on was given to us.

I had a newer model of this Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper on our baby registry. My mother-in-law, who keeps a close eye on Facebook Marketplace, found someone selling this one in a gray and white that matched our theme beautifully, for less than half the retail price.

She got it for us! It's exactly what I wanted, and it takes up less space than I had expected. I did have to get rid of my nightstand in order to put it at my bedside, but the co-sleeper has lots of storage pockets that can hold things, including random little items I like to keep by my bed at night (like lip balm and my phone for emergencies). 

I really think I'm going to love using it. The baby will be right there for nighttime feedings, and close by throughout the night for me to keep an eye on. Plus, it's not as bulky and space-consuming as a big, fancy crib, and it's foldable and easily portable. 

My mother-in-law also got a great deal on this nice, gently-used changing table that my father-in-law painted in the color of my choice, Sleek Gray from Valspar. Matt and I found the baskets at At Home for $5.99/each (which was awesome; baskets are so $14.99/each at Hobby Lobby and Target), and we're using them to store cloth diapers, onesies, bath essentials, and swaddles. The built-in drawer of the changing table holds our cloth wipes, cloth-diaper-friendly diaper rash balm, and more.

One of Matt's cousins gave us this super cute rolling cart that we had on our registry. We've loaded it down with prefolds and cloth diaper inserts that will also double as burp cloths. Next to that, we have a second-hand Ubbi diaper pail from my BFF, Anna (one of the many things she kindly dragged on a plane from Texas to Alabama for us). These things have excellent reviews and retail around $70.00, so we were more than happy to get it. She also gave us two washable Planet Wise liners to keep inside it, a must for cloth diapering. A cousin of mine also gifted us this adorable owl toy with a wooden teething ring. I hung it up on the cart because it's so cute.

We reused a bushel basket from our wedding (it held popcorn at our DIY popcorn bar) for storing baby blankets. To the top shelf of our built-ins, we placed all the stuffed animals we received as gifts (and one or two we already had). We also added a couple of woodland decorative statues to the bookshelves to create a subtle nature theme. 

We also used our Amazon registry discount to get a few things we wanted/needed, including this wooden Skwish rattle that makes a pretty cool decoration as well as toy. 

Here's the whole room put together:

I purposefully left a blank wall to the right of the window for customized artwork after the baby is here and we know gender and name. Other than that, we're all set!


Regine Karpel said...

Hope you're doing well.

Lacey said...

It's SO cute! I can't believe how well it all came together, especially on a tight budget. You guys are impressive. So excited for you two for this new stage in life!!