How to Create a Nursery When You Rent

Many moons ago, I made the decision to attend a private, Christian university. While I look back fondly on my college experience, my four years there left me with more than just an undergraduate degree. Yup, you guessed it. Student loan debt for the win.

Chuck and I are counting down the days until we can chip away at our debt and afford to own a house of our own, but until then...we are renters.

When the time came to think about creating Charlie's nursery, I was bummed that I wasn't going to be able to do all the fun, Pinterest-y things I wanted to. No painting. No installing new light fixtures or shelves. I felt a little bit limited, but I wasn't giving up hope.

I envisioned a not overly baby boy-ish nursery that somehow incorporated my love for Uganda and I think I did a pretty good job. Here are some of my tips for creating a fun nursery when you rent:

It was amazing what a difference adding some valances and a rug made in brightening up our stark white second bedroom. To avoid being completely whitewashed, I tried to pick out bold colors and a fun crib bedding set with coordinating window coverings and changing pad cover. I like to think that my color palette complimented the white rather than working against it.

Lucky for me, I'm a master with spackle. While we won't be installing any hardcore shelving or large decor, I figured a few small nails wouldn't hurt and can be easily filled in when the time comes for us to move. I stuck with a lot of decor I already had since we were working with a really small budget and added a few small things here and there. My favorite addition was the birth announcement canvas I made at TinyPrints.

I felt that by placing my limited decor asymmetrically, it made the bare walls appear to be a little more dynamic than they actually are.

My number one takeaway from trying to decorate a stark-white boring room? Don't be afraid of color! I tried to infuse color wherever I could (as evidenced by the bright red paint job Hubby did on our dresser).

With those (amateur) design tips in mind, check out the finished product!

 The nursery is Charlie-approved!

As of now, Charlie still sleeps in our room and we don't have any plans to move him until he starts sleeping through the night. Which gives us plenty of time to still check a couple remaining items off our to-do list, including putting up some kind of mobile, hanging a tapestry behind his crib and finding a bookshelf or storage cubes to put against the wall near the doorway. But as someone who has never decorated a room in my life, I think it turned out pretty well!

Bedding Set, Changing Pad Cover and Valances // Mudhut Baby Collection @ Target (No longer available)
Jenny Lind 3-in-1 Crib // Target
Shermag Glider and Ottoman // Target (Grey, no longer available)
Rug // IKEA (No longer available)
TARVA 6-Drawer Chest // IKEA // Safety Red Paint // Sherwin Williams
Birth Announcement 12x12 Canvas // TinyPrints
Globe, Woven Baskets, Frames // Pre-owned
Chalkboard Crate and Wooden Masks // Gifted


  1. Wow, you guys did a great job! We are renters, too, but luckily, I like the color of the walls in our designated nursery area (technically an office that is an extension of the master bedroom). It also helps that the space is the size of a very small room! I love your dresser as a changing table. I want to do the same thing in Violet's nursery.

  2. What a beautiful room! Congratulations on the addition to your family.
    #StudentLoan4Lyfe team right here, heh heh

  3. Very nice job! I love the colors and how bright you made everything! :)

  4. Thank you! I was a little bit self-conscious to put it on the blog, because it's nothing fancy. But it's perfect for us :)

  5. Thank you- a team I soo wish we did not have to be on. Lol

  6. Since we have no closet space and needed to buy a dresser anyway, I figured it just made sense! Plus, this particular dresser was cheap and easy to transform into whatever we wanted!

  7. I'm one of those terrified of paint girls, so its nice to see how good it looks without painting! Plus that last pic, girly you gotta be head over heals in love with that sweet baby!

  8. I love it!! You did an awesome job!! And I feel ya on the private Christian school loans. We rented for 5 years before buying this past year!

  9. I love your nursery!! We rent too, so it's great reading suggestions on how to make a nursery fun without it belonging to you! Oh and I totally have that same Boopy cover :)

  10. I totally get that. Paint just seems like such a...commitment? Lol And yep- totally in love. How could you not be?! :)

  11. Thanks, Mama!!! If you have any tips for me on how the heck to pursue home ownership, I'm all ears!

  12. Omg I love this!!! It's perfect!!!! Also...psht...Spackle...tooth paste worked just fine ;)

  13. Thank you! I have to say, although the white is kind of boring, it also makes the room look a lot lighter and cleaner than it might otherwise!