We're still working on squeezing a nursery in across from the office desks in our second room, the soon-to-be combination office/baby room. It's a long process but I promise a full reveal soon! We've managed to get a lot of the nursery stuff second-hand and have kept things very inexpensive with crafts and do-it-yourself projects.
My sister-in-law gave me a changing table dresser that belonged to my niece and nephews. However, it was white and didn't match our dark cherry crib, so we decided to paint it a complimentary color (yes, I said paint…not stain. We did contemplate staining but it's a lot of work and the changing table looked like some parts were particle board, which can't be stained anyway).
Another secret to keeping costs down: find multi-purpose furniture that can grow with the child. The changing portion of the table detaches so that the table can serve as a simple dresser when the kid gets older. Between this and our 3-in-1 crib, the baby's set until he or she is past toddlerhood.
enlisted help had someone else do all the work for me since I'm pregnant and can't be breathing in paint fumes. For now, we went with a simple, semi-gloss coat so that I can easily wipe it down. In the future, I may distress it to give it that unique shabby chic look. Here's the finished product:
When repainting furniture that's already been painted, it's easiest to get a paint that's the same type as what's already on there (water-based or oil-based) and simply paint over it. Otherwise, you need to strip or sand it all the way down and use a primer before painting. To determine if the paint that's on the furniture already is water-based latex or oil-based paint, rub some rubbing alcohol on it. If the paint is water-based, the rubbing alcohol will take the paint off. Otherwise, you know it's oil-based. Buy the same type of paint and lightly sand the piece of furniture with 100 grit paper (to give the paint a better surface to stick to) and apply a thin coat of paint with a paint brush or small foam roller. Let dry and then apply a second coat. If you want a really finished, wipeable surface, top with two thin coats of finish (again, use oil-based finish to top oil-based paint or water-based finish to top water-based latex paint).
When painting baby furniture, give it at least a week to dry fully so that no fumes are released around the baby and take care to use a lead-free paint. If you're painting a crib (or other piece of furniture that the baby may chew on), use a high-quality, durable finish and an enamel that will dry hard so it won't chip off.