Decorating Baby's Room on a Budget

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Bright colors appeal to babies. Credit: Murtaza Imran Ali, Flickr

Want a gorgeous nursery without a huge price tag? With a little effort and ingenuity, you can create a sweet, soothing and surprisingly affordable space for your newborn. Interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn, of the TBS series "Movie & a Makeover," offers his favorite tips:

Painting: Unexpected color combos add high style with little expense, and the bold colors appeal to babies. Flynn's current favorites: red-orange accented with white and charcoal; navy blue with white and hot pink; or pear green with black-brown and robin's egg blue.

"The look is sophisticated and fun," Flynn says, adding that it works especially well if the nursery furniture is modern.

Another great way to use paint in a small room: Remove the closet doors and paint the inside of the closet a bold color. Add extra shelving (babies don't need much hanging space for clothes), creating an area for storage and display.

Re-purposing: "A baby room doesn't have to have all baby furniture," Flynn says. Search your house and flea markets for furniture that can be re-purposed for the baby's room. Old wooden furniture gets new life if you sand it and spray it with lacquer or matte-finish paint (look for low-VOC, especially for kids' rooms). A vintage or hand-me-down dresser or sideboard might make a great and distinctive changing table -- just add a large cushion to the top.

"You can find amazing Danish modern rockers all over the flea markets for maybe $100 to $200, and then you reupholster it," Flynn says. "It ends up costing less than a brand-new one and it's custom done."

Texturizing: Flynn loves the warm texture of grasscloth wall covering for a baby's room. The look is luxurious, but the price doesn't have to be high (his tip: Google "discount grasscloth" for great bargains). And the neutral appearance of grasscloth "is a perfect antidote if somebody has a bunch of collected furniture, stuff that doesn't match," he says. "That natural texture and tone is the perfect backdrop for bringing things together."

Lighting: "I can't stand gigantic ceiling fans in babies' rooms because usually nurseries aren't very big," Flynn says. "Swap the fan for an over-sized pendant light, something playful ... It changes the architecture of the room and gives beautiful, diffused light, especially on a dimmer."

Although Flynn is all about bargain-hunting, there is one place he puts cost aside when designing a nursery: "I'm not against spending $1,500 on a crib," he says. "It's where your baby spends a huge amount of its time. ... It's that integral."

Related: Baby room basics


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