Learn how to avoid spending a small fortune when prepping for  a new arrival……

When I had my first baby, every penny I saved furnishing the nursery meant a few more precious days or weeks on maternity leave. There’s no getting away from the fact that children cost money, but with a few clever purchases, a bit of up-cycling and creativity, you can create a cosy and unique world for your baby.

Where to start:

  • Consider neutral colour schemes when decorating and buying larger items. If you plan to have more than one child it might be frustrating to swap blue for pink or vice-versa.
  • Find your style. Use sites like Pinterest to do your research rather than store catalogues that want you to buy everything brand new from them!
  • Get a rug! There are so many spillages with babies, a washable rug can be an incredibly good investment compared to the cost of getting a carpet cleaned or replaced!

What to buy new:

  • Prams and Buggies: My biggest regret, is not buying a brand new pram with a warranty. My little one is two and we have got through three buggies and need a fourth! Buying second hand did not pay off!
  • Mattresses: Safety comes first. Every new baby should have a new mattress for health & safety reasons & there is a good guide to buying here: http://www.which.co.uk/baby-and-child/nursery-and-feeding/guides/using-cot-beds-safely/cot-mattresses/
  • Car seats: They should never be used if they have been in a crash, even if they look ok. Ideally buy one new for peace of mind but if you do get one second hand, make sure it is from someone you trust.

What to borrow or buy second hand:

  • Cots. These can be bought second hand at truly fantastic prices. I have seen John Lewis cot beds worth £300.00, selling on eBay for as little as £20.00! Now that, is my kind of bargain! Have a think about what you actually need too – whilst you might want a small crib by your bed in the early days, you might find that a pram top will do just as well. A baby will only be in a crib or Moses basket for a couple of months tops whereas cot beds will last from the very beginning until your little one is 3 or 4.
  • Find versatile furniture. Instead of forking out hundreds of pounds on a changing unit that would be obsolete in a couple of years, I bought a gorgeous sideboard for £75.00 on eBay. It has brilliant storage and could be used in a variety of rooms in the future.
  • Ask friends and family for things you can have or borrow. Your family might have a loft of hand-me-downs just waiting for you! So many baby items are only used for a couple of months, so it’s well worth scouring sites such as eBay, Gumtree and Facebay. The following are things I wouldn’t buy new:
  1. Baby baths
  2. Slings and pouches (Some communities have “sling libraries” where you can try  before you buy…but I still wouldn’t buy one new!)
  3. Door bouncers, baby bouncers, Bumbos
  4. Play mats and baby gyms
  5. Books and toys

Be creative! Make and Up-cycle:

  • Paint! I picked up a bookshelf (£10.00), wardrobe (£30.00) and a little chair (free!) and gave them all a lick of paint. The items are transformed!
  • Fabric! I bought lovely Cath Kidston fabric and made it go a long way, using it to make curtains, cushions, bunting and bibs! If you aren’t confidently crafty, rope in friends to help you or take a class. I took an evening class at a Cath Kidston store to make a gorgeous lightshade.

Stock up wisely:

When stock piling nappies, baby wipes, cotton wool, nappy bags etc, avoid buying all one brand in case you don’t get on with them. Test drive a variety of brands to find what suits you and your baby. Also, don’t be a nappy snob! I am just as happy with the quality provided by Aldi and Tesco than more expensive brands.

The joys of Ikea!

If you can bear dragging your bump (or worse, partner and small child!) round Ikea, it is well worth it! I have friends who spent hundreds of pounds on swanky high chairs only to discover they were style over substance! Ours was a bargainous £13.00 from Ikea and it is fabulous! Easy to clean and dismantle, it can be shoved in the car at a moment’s notice. Ikea is also brilliant for storage and decorative items. I have bought some cheap and cheerful picture frames and filled them with lovely greetings cards, wrapping paper offcuts and photos.

Try to make the nesting process as enjoyable as possible and to make sure that your nursery “look” fits with the rest of your home – even if you have borrowed lots of items, make them connect together by having accessories and items in one colour that suits your personal style and ideally can be used for more than one child. Nowadays there are great neutral colours that can be used for boys and girls – rather than the glaring pinks, blues and dodgy lemon shades of the past.

Happy nesting!

For more home inspiration go to Katharine’s Pinterest page: https://uk.pinterest.com/mrsmintys/


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