Set a Budget and Stick to It
Be realistic and decide what you really need. It's fun to shop for all those adorable little things, but you really won't need most of the stuff. If you are committed to a budget, you'll be able to resist buying everything on the store shelves.
Read About.com's Guide to Baby Products list of basic baby needs and get only what you really need.
Make Choices for Now and Later
As you plan the color scheme for your baby's nursery, resist the temptation to do traditional baby pink or blue. Try to choose a color schem (or at least main color) that will lat 5 to 10 years, through your new baby's early years. A soft butter yellow, soft leaf greens, and sky blues can span the years well.
If you're set on a real baby room, even an absolute novice can hang a darling wallpaper border of cute teddies or baby animals. You can easily remove the wallpaper border when your child is ready for a more grown-up decorating scheme.
Do It Yourself
A baby will not judge your choice or your talent, so the nursery is a perfect place to build your skills of painting, basic woodworking, and sewing. Be creative! Be different! You'll be able to save tons of money and even discover some hidden talents.
Paint your hand-me-down furniture in fun colors and try some hand-painted designs. Paint patterns around the wall or on furniture with stencils. Browse these theme ideas for baby girls or baby boys rooms for starters.
Use charming or cute sheets, bought from a discount store, to sew window treatments, a crib skirt, chair cover, or a baby blanket. Use pieces of board, sanded and painted, for wall shelves. Look at pictures and see what you can do for yourself. You'll be amazed!
During the first few years of a baby's life, you don't really need a swing, johnny jump-up, buggy, stroller, walker, jogger, bassinette, cradle, crib, travel crib, playpen, car seat, carrier, and doubles of everything for grandma's and grandpa's house. You'll use each thing very rarely and then have to store it when the baby grows out of it. Decide what pieces are essential.
Accept gifts, buy used, and borrow what you can. Your home will be neater and your life simpler. Enjoy!