No Nursery for Baby

We haven’t picked out colors, or bedding, or painted a fairy mural on the wall.  In fact, our second child has no claim to any wall–or even a room for that matter.

Why have we allowed this to happen?  After all, with our first we decorated with homemade curtains, a rocking chair and a new dresser.  What we quickly found, however, is that our son was rarely in his room.  He co-slept for the first five months and during the day spent most of his time lounging in the living room with us.  He wouldn’t nap in his crib so we wore him in a sling for snoozing or plopped him down on his baby blanket.

We’d happily move everything out to make space for our newborn if we thought she would actually use it. Our spare room is currently our office. Since we’re not sure what kind of sleeper she’ll be and how her crying will affect our two-year-old, we’ve decided to just keep her in our room for a few months and then decide what to do once we get to know her.  We’ve set up a changing table on the dresser and she’ll rest in a co-sleeper that some friends have generously lent us. 

I’m sure our decision would seem strange to some, but luckily my sister, the mother of five children, has pioneered creative accommodations in my family.  It’s impossible for most families that size to afford a six bedroom home, so she’s had babies sleep in walk-in closets, in the bathroom, and in several other creative nooks and crannies over the years.  Now that they’re older, they are all using bunk beds and sharing rooms. 

The great benefit of being more flexible with space, is that it’s possible to live in a smaller house, have less of a carbon footprint and more financial freedom.  I explored this topic quite awhile ago here.  So, if you’re expecting a little one, think outside the box about your baby’s nursery, or lack thereof.  The honest truth is that your baby won’t be aware enough to give the slightest care to where he or she sleeps.  Why not keep it simple at this stage and save up so that you’ll be able to have fun with décor later on?

How did you set up your nursery on a budget?  Or did you opt out of the nursery altogether?  I’ll keep you posted on whether I’m thrilled with our decision or think it was a horrible mistake. 


  1. You are not alone! We opted to keep our guest room intact and have our little girl stay in our room for as long as we thought she’d want to. Turns out, even having a mini-crib in our room wasn’t good enough for this little peanut. She has to sleep right with us, or she’s totally not happy. And to be honest, it’s just so much easier to breastfeed during the night when all you have to do is roll over and she’s right there. (Learning to feed her while lying down was the BEST thing I have done for her and myself. We BOTH sleep at least 9 hours a night… and she usually sleeps about 12.) She’ll be 3 months old tomorrow, and for the last 6 weeks or so, we even got rid of the co-sleeper in the bed… she just sleeps with us (safely) in footie PJ’s on top of a couple of cloth diapers to save the sheets.

    Our mattress is a fairly firm one from IKEA, with nothing fluffy, and her dad and I are both really light sleepers and non-smokers, which is a must to co-sleep like that.

    I really can’t imagine it any other way!

  2. Heather says:

    I had a great time decorating my daughters room! It was already painted in a neutral pale green color, so I had to work with that. I wanted a butterfly theme so I used stamps and chalk to chalk some butterflies on watercolor paper. Then I put them in frame I already had. I waited until I found a set of 3-D butterflies on clearance at Target. I also found a pink crib skirt for $5 at target. I had the theory that I would decorate as I found the perfect stuff. Recently I found another butterfly at a garage sale for .10! We used my son’s nursery furniture, so I think I decorated the entire room for only $50. That includes a pink breathable bumper which I will pass on when she is done with it. This allowed me some room to have a local lady make her a custom window treatment (only one window) and brought the total cost of her room to $100. I passed on the expensive bedding sets as these seem like such a waste. I love the idea of starting with a plan and then adding to the room as I find the perfect pieces!

  3. I totally agree with you, Joy! We put a crib and hamper and diaper pail in the guest room for our baby. We co-slept for the first 4 months, then we transitioned him to the crib in the guest room. He’s now almost two. We’ve made some changes to toddler-proof the room and put in new curtains and containers for toy storage. To me it seems like going all out with decorating is more for the parents than for the baby — he couldn’t care less at this point and I have very little interest in home decor so this works for us! Gradually I will start adding more boyish decorative touches and making it more “his” room over time. I think it will be more fun to make changes when we find he has a passion for something in particular and we can decorate around an idea he already loves.

  4. Our family lives in a 735 square foot loft. Iolani’s bed is less than 3 feet from our bed. We don’t have a changing table – but rather a changing pad. We are using an ikea bookshelf as her dresser. We don’t have a rocking chair in the house. We went without a bottle warmer, diaper wipe warmer, and a lot of the other baby things.

    Iolani doesn’t have a room, she has a corner. We decorated it with animal shaped decals.

    While we did the home elements on the cheap…we got an Orbit stroller. Worth every penny.

  5. No nursery here either! We have a small house with only two bedrooms, so our new baby will eventually share a room with his four year old brother. In the meantime we’ll have a cosleeper in our bedroom (where our four year old still sleeps most of the night!) and for now the changing table is in my son’s room.

    We bought an Ikea bunkbed that is kid sized (Kura bed), the mattress on the bottom is on the floor and the top bunk is much closer to the ground than a typical bunk bed. When the baby is ready to transition to a floor mattress for naps we’ll let him sleep on the bottom bunk. I’m sure he’ll sleep with us for years just like his brother so their bedroom will be used mostly for playing and napping.

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