According to the very handy BNZ baby calculator the average kiwi spends approximately $16,000 on a new baby in the first year. Yes this includes nappies and food but a big proportion of this goes on nursery set up and equipment. This nursery and its contents cost a grand total of $500 including the clothing...it only took a bit of imagination, DIY, op shopping and some seriously clever sustainable NZ businesses for this colourful retro inspired nursery to come to life.
Mostly everything in this nursery space is up-cycled, pre-loved and handmade. Its a sure way to keep costs down and also feel a real connection to the space as it takes time and imagination to create. Re using items that family and close friends have used before also brings such a feeling of depth and history...its just special. I wanted this space to be colourful and have a few retro inspired elements...in an era where grays, blacks and naturals are all the rage. Read on below for lots of TIPS and TRICKS to an up-cycled and cost effective space.
1. Sleeping Spaces - Total cost $0
Lucky enough to have some amazing friends and family members this Moses basket was given to me on a loan basis and cot gifted to us by an Aunty who used it for her children in the 1980's.
TIP: Ask around family members and friends if you can "borrow"anything or have a look on Trademe where you can purchase so many used items from $1 Reserve and you can apply a little TLC or a lick of paint to transform ( It just might be best to buy mattresses brand new if you are not sure of the condition of them)
2. Changing Area & Dresser - Total cost $56
Its not at all mandatory to have a designated "changing" space but it really helps your back in those early days. I decided to opt out of the traditional changing table and combine two pieces of furniture to save space. This vintage dresser has been in my garage for years gathering dust so I decided to up-cycle it using a black and soft pastel pink paint. I topped the dresser with a change mat and then used a crocheted vintage blanket to cover and keep that little bottom warm.
Handbag Change mat - Handmade and gifted to me by my very clever sister.
Paint - Mitre 10 (Pastle Pink & Matt Black Spray Paint) $35
Crochet Vintage Blanket - Hospice Swanson $10
Change Mat - Trademe $5
Baskets - Salvation Army Westgate $6
Storage Floating Shelf - "Borrowed" from my husbands DIY pile and painted black with left over dresser paint - $0
3. Storage - Total Cost $71
Obviously a dresser is great & ample storage for a baby but hanging room and toy/linen storage is always a bonus. This bookcase was used in my sons bedroom and was originally purchased on Trademe for $40. We then used steel rods from Mitre 10 to secure the bookcase to the wall and create a small hanging area for a total cost of $25 (you will need equipment to cut the steel rod in half and secure to the wall)
TIP: Baskets are great for storage and can be purchased secondhand from $2. Kitchen items such as tea or coffee canisters, fruit bowls and glass jars are a clever & attractive way to contain all the little items such as toys, skin products, hats and booties. Have a look in your kitchen you will be amazed at the things you don't actually use.
4. Breastfeeding Corner - Total Cost $54
Secondhand Mocka breastfeeding Chair, draped in handmade blanket from my dear friends Nana and a Citta throw that I was luckily given for mothers day. ABC Beer Crate as a coffee/magazine table for those long cluster feeding periods.
TIP: Facebook Community and Sell It pages are great for sourcing furniture and baby items. You actually get many generous souls that give away items, like this Mocka breastfeeding chair that needed a slight repair, and wash. So much better than taking it to the tip.
BEER CRATES: Are a favourite in this household, fantastic for storage and table spaces. Check out your local alcohol stores to see if they have any lying around the back that you can have or purchase from $4!!! Or you will find that many vintage or industrial style furniture stores will have the up cycled versions.
Beer Crate: Kumeu Liquor $4
Citta Comfort Blanket: $59
5.Bedding & Linen - Total Cost $30.00
Blankets and wraps can be sourced from local secondhand stores, Trademe and markets like Regenerate Kids Markets. The little pile on the left was a total cost of $28.50, two being purchased secondhand, and two handmade from woolen jumpers, fabric off cuts and pillowcases. The Incy Wincy Spider quilt was lovingly handmade for me as a baby in 1986 by my great grandmother and grandmother and kept all these years by my wonderful mum. How cool is it that my daughter will now be able to use it, touched by 5 generations of women.
TIP: Re purposing warm natural clothing into blankets is a really cost effective and easy way to make your own baby blankets. This angora and lambs wool vest was found at an Opshop for $6. Chose a cotton backing fabric and cut vest or jumper into desired shape/size. Pin the fabric together and sew.
6. Clothing - $120
Clothing is something that you can really get carried away with, it's just too much fun.
TIPS: Take every offer of hand me down clothing you can get, and get permission to donate any excess to charities like Warming Hearts NZ or Littlemore. I was very lucky to have some close friends that have little girls and my draws were almost filled. Local Opshops, hospice and salvation army have a great selection of secondhand clothing and you can find so many handknitted items there. Try out local kids markets such as Regenerate and online store Charlie & Flo's. Use local businesses to create bespoke pieces for you such as Retrolicious Baby (link below) and Mushama & Me who use salvaged vintage materials and off cuts to create some gorgeous bespoke clothing.
7. Decorative: Total cost $160
I spent the most on artwork...It will most likely be kept forever and you can't really put a price on individual creativity and talent. I would much rather support a local artist than purchase a computer generated image sold in a chain store.
Commissioned Dreamcatcher: Handmade and hand died by dizziepixiedesigns.com with vintage and re-purposed items, a truly special piece of art for our little girl $50
Framed Doily: My Grandmothers hand work framed $15
Prints: By local young artist Olivia Bezett Picked up from the Coatesville Markets over the years this young lady is seriously talented and its great to be able to support our local creatives. 3 Prints approximately $90.
Feature Wall: My husband is a bit of an undercover creative who's good with colour so when I set him the challenge of coming up with a bit of a quirky feature wall using up the old paint we had in the garage this was the result. Masking tape applied to create the pattern wanted and carefully painting in-between. Total cost: $5 for masking tape (left over dresser paint, paint from my sons room, and white ceiling paint)
If you are having your first baby and want to approach the buying game in a more sustainable, minimalist and cost effective way...buy preloved where possible, hire big ticket items, use cloth nappies and use toy libraries and the like. You will also find some great inspiration and products from our No Brand New Businesses.
Upcycled, Reloved & Sustainable Nursery & Baby Inspiration from some of our No Brand New Businesses
Sneaky G - Up-Cycled play kitchen made from an old dresser from $100
Mushama & Me - Waterproof play mat made from vintage sheets from $80
Agent Vintage - Storage Hooks made from recycled pool balls from $28
Indie Boo - Reloved set including bibs, toys, sensory items, hat and more made from a grandfathers favourite jumper, who sadly won't be able to meet his granddaughter but will remain close with this meaningful reinvention project POA
Hebe - Natural wood shape toys made in New Zealand from $60
One Button - Up-cycled children's jacket made from a vintage woolen blanket POA
Retroliciousbaby - Romper made from vintage fabric and linen from $25
Industrial Design NZ - Upcycled Oak Dresser POA
Cot - Browse Trademe and Up-Cycle an old cot with Vintage paint from Revamp Vintage
Charlie & Flo's - Preloved Sookie Baby Onesie $12
Retro Addiction - Mid Century rocking chair POA
Revamp Vintage - 1970's Edin Blyton Brownie books $7.50
Coexsist - Check out this eco and sustainable homeware companies plant selection made from reclaimed materials from $30
Regenerate Kids Market - Preloved Natural wraps (next market June 11th 2017) $2 each
Kcimory - Retro Transistor radio light made from recycled wood POA
Revival Furniture - Blanket bag or cushion made from vintage woolen blankets