The Homemade Nursery: Eco-friendly Decorations for Baby’s Room

According to Denise and Alan Field’s Baby Bargains, the average American spends $1800 outfitting a nursery—that includes a crib, mattress, dresser, rocker, bedding, and décor.  I managed to spend just $245.  How did I do it?  Well, I did get a lot of stuff for free, thanks to the generosity of friends and family.  I also simply avoided buying all of the nursery “must-haves” on the market, such as a rocker.  My daughter’s room may not look like something you’d find in the pages of Architectural Digest, but it has a certain cozy appeal to it.

Homemade Nursery

Much of the eclectic charm comes from homemade creations.  My daughter received beautiful quilts and blankets from her grandmothers and great-grandmother.  They make great nursery decorations—I hung the quilt my cousin Lindsay made on the wall for all to admire.  My daughter will treasure all of these hand-sewn blankets as she grows up.  After all these years, I still have the baby blanket my grandma made for me when I was born.  Homemade items become keepsakes, making them greener than store-bought goods.

My friend Anne sewed much of the bedding and some matching decorations for her baby.  I was a bit less ambitious (and talented) with the sewing machine, but I did manage to turn one curtain into two curtains for the windows in my daughter’s room.  I even reused a curtain rod I happened to have in my basement. I made some storage boxes for my daughter’s toys and books by wrapping shoeboxes in used wrapping paper.  Surprisingly, she has not ripped these apart after almost a year of use.  I have to give myself eco-points for crafting these boxes out of foraged materials, but I am not sure I’ll win any design awards for these creations—nor have I created an heirloom Audrey will treasure forever.  Oh well.

I had better luck creating a mobile out of twigs, paper, buttons, and raffia:

Bird mobile

Sometimes making your own nursery decorations can save money.  The curtains I sewed, mobile I constructed, and decorative boxes I made were free, since I already owned the materials.  Be careful, though—often making things can end up costing more than buying pre-made items.  This is great if you are a talented craftster like my sister-in-law, who knit a beautiful sweater for Audrey, but not-so-great if you buy expensive materials and don’t quite realize your artistic vision.

This brings me to the focal point of our homemade nursery: the one-of-a-kind, gender-neutral, subtly striped, waterproof changing pad.  My husband brought a sewing machine into our marriage.  I never knew what he did with it and never once saw him use it.  But days after our daughter’s birth, he hunkered over that machine with mounds of carefully-chosen fabric and foam from a sporting-goods store.  He worked for hours.  Yes, it cost more than a store-bought pad.  Yes, it took a lot of time and energy.  No, I guess it’s not a particularly “green” creation.  But every time our daughter wets and/or soils her diaper, she thinks of her dear old dad.


  1. rebeccasmom says

    I especially like the mobile which is arty and natural looking. My homemade efforts aren’t always successful but I enjoy putting time and effort into creating things for others and it’s very gratifying to make things for my granddaughter.
    The pictures on the website are great. The information seems well researched and presented in an easy and fun to read format. Keep up the good work.

  2. Nice article really i have enjoyed.Thanks for sharing with us.The pictures are good.

    Google Search here to find anything regarding this article.

  3. Really like the mobile. I’m going to copy it and do it for my baby due April 20th. Very original and thoughtful. Now I just have to figure out how to make those paper birds and creatures.

  4. rebeccaG, I just remembered that I wrote out step-by-step instructions for that mobile one time. I should look them up and post it here on the Green Baby Guide!

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