My husband and I had to carve a space for our son out of our railroad apartment in Brooklyn. With a little ingenuity, we created a budget-conscious, cozy space, custom-designed just for him. Even though it's a small space, it really works for us, and has the flexibility to evolve as Jules gets older. We've already swapped out the bassinet-sized BAM-BAM crib for the full-sized configuration, and it is still a fully functional room, perfect for our growing boy!
We bought a mobile while on our "baby-moon", and found inspiration for the theme and colors of the room in it. Not only does it tie the room together wonderfully, but it also serves as a lovely reminder for that last "just-us-two" vacation that we can look at when we're up in the middle of the night. : )
I love an eclectic style that combines playful, one-of-a-kind art work with mix-and-match pieces so a room doesn't look TOO matchy-matchy, but doesn't look like too much of a hodge-podge either. It's a tricky balance, but I think we found it in Julian's room.
It's a toss up-- the Djeco "Unusual Night" mobile is a favorite, but I also love the "Happy Day" art and the "Brooklyn" poster from Jim Datz. Another favorite is the "You are my sunshine" lumbar pillow which I made myself. You can see the How-To on my blog: http://afterdinnerdesign.blogspot.com/2012/11/arts-crafts-in-brooklyn.html
My DIY tips are these: 1.) Figure out where you can save money and what makes sense to pay full price for... We found a used changing table and sprayed it white to match the rest of the room. Same goes for the white bookcase in his room. That's a big savings that we could then apply to buying a couple of things that really make the room-- like the fabulous Serena & Lily rug. We also used a white metal rocking chair we already had, made a new orange cushion cover, and have been using it very happily for his glider. 2.) Shop ebay as well as the usual baby websites. I loved the PB Kids polka-dotted curtains, but was a little daunted by the price. I checked ebay and -- YES! -- I found the exact same curtains for sale there! I saved about $200.00 on curtains alone! 3.) Do a little extra leg-work and find artwork that really works for the room and means something to you. You can do almost nothing to a room, but if you throw in a couple of great pieces of artwork, it will make all the difference. 4.) Don't spend a fortune on frames before you check IKEA. They have a great selection of ready-made frames that worked wonders in Julian's room. 5.) Make sure you plan for the future when buying your "big pieces" like the changing table and crib. Initially you only have to accommodate a little bassinet, but eventually that becomes a full-sized crib, and then a toddler bed. Make sure you think about where everything is going to fit once your baby isn't such a baby anymore. The same applies when buying your changing table. Eventually, your little one is going to be potty trained, so buying a changing table that converts into a regular dresser gets you the most bang for your buck. Have fun with your nursery! You're going to spend a lot of time in there, so you should like it almost as much as your little one does!