Parents everywhere are “going green,” and a great place to start is in your child’s nursery. In an effort to reduce our carbon footprints, a new age of reusing things is here in full force. (See: Pre-Loved SNOO!) Happily, antiques and vintage styles are very much in right now, so “upcycling” treasures from the past—in textiles, furniture, and more—is very of-the-moment.  

Another benefit of giving old things new life in the nursery is that it can be a big money saver. With upcycling, furniture and other items that are either worn out, broken, or no longer stylish can be made over easily and placed centerstage in your baby’s room. You also aren’t as likely to panic over spilled juice and diaper accidents in a room where less expensive hand-me-downs have been repurposed for Baby’s benefit. After all, you fixed it once…you can do so again! 

Sandpaper, chalk paint, hot glue, and/or a good old needle and thread are all you need to achieve many of the beautiful nursery upcycling ideas in our list. Read on for all our favorite upcycled baby room ideas! 

Upcycled Hot Air Balloons & Clouds

Upcycled nursery hot air balloon decor

Photo: Project Nursery

Many elements in this dreamy nursery are upcycled, including the DIY hot air balloon and clouds that the parents crafted out of materials they had lying around the house, including an old lampshade. (See more cloud-themed nursery ideas!)

Upcycled Bookshelf Changing Table

Upcycled bookshelf changing table in a baby nursery

Photo: DIY Passion

Keep an eye on Facebook Marketplace or head down to your own basement to source a cubed storage unit that’s no longer getting love. These pieces are so easy to remake into a change table for your little love, and you can refinish it to elevate the look. What we love most is that once Baby outgrows the diaper phase, you can reimagine it again for books, toys, and clothes storage

Upcycled Crate Toy Storage

 Upcycled toy storage bins made from old crates 

Photo: Cozy Cottage Cute 

Cute, simple, and classic—a couple crates on wheels make playtime a cinch to clean up after, while offering the nursery a vintage look. (See more toy storage ideas!)

Upcycled Scrap Nursery Wall Art 

Upcycled fabric nursery wall art

Photo: Our Life in Rose Gold

Any special moment or place can be captured and turned into creative wall art, so consider saving wallpaper scraps, baby shower invites, and other precious pieces of paper to create a collage that hangs on Baby's wall. Shown here is one created using a photo of her first nursery, a sample wall decal from her room, and a tiny footprint. This little piece of her first nursery can be hung up now and enjoyed for years to come. 

Upcycled Entertainment Center Wardrobe

Upcycled entertainment center that's been turned into a nursery wardrobe

Photo: Prodigal Pieces

It’s hard to believe this stunning, painted and papered wardrobe for a sweet baby girl’s nursery was once a tired-looking, no-longer-needed TV/DVD station. Talk about a glow-up!

Upcycled Moon and Stars Mobile

 Star and moon nursery mobile made from upcycled CDs

Photo: DIY N Crafts 

Speaking of entertainment from the past, this precious mobile for the nursery is made of old CDs! So clever—and oh-so-cute. Speaking of baby mobiles, did you know that SNOO's Sky Mobile was designed to be converted to a lovely piece of nursery décor. Simply detach it from its mount and hang it from the ceiling.

Upcycled Nursery Dresser Makeover 

Upcycled nursery dresser

Photo: Bunning’s Workshop

Make a “blah” little dresser into something more stylish. This old and boring piece received a mid-century modern-inspired makeover thanks to dowels and hot glue.

Wicker Shelf Nursery Storage

Upcycled wicker nursery shelf

Photo: Recycle for Greater Manchester 

Dust off Grandma’s vintage wicker furniture and fill it with baby things. This versatile piece is perfect in the nursery because it can house lightweight storage while also looking quite pretty and not just utilitarian. String twinkle lights or ribbon through the weave for an extra pop. 

Fabric Scraps DIY Nursery Decor

Upcycled nursery canopy and pillow made from old fabric scraps

Photo: Nestig

This incredible DIY baby room has so many covetable elements from the suite of mismatched vintage furniture (touched up and painted where needed) to the white brick walls. But that mama-made patchwork pillow and canopy constructed of old fabric she had lying around the house are the pièce de résistance for sure.  

Upcycled Nursery Wallpaper Furniture Facelift 

Nursery dresser upcycled with wallpaper

Photo: Hey Bernice

If you have a dated or damaged piece of furniture you’re remaking for the nursery, consider wallpaper or contact paper in a fun print to give your upcycling efforts even more style and whimsy. 

Easy Upcycled Watercolor Art 

 Upcycled nursery watercolor wall art

Photo: The Blush Home

This beginner-friendly crafting project turns a basic old picture frame into beautiful nursery art in a few quick and easy steps. 

Coffee Filter Floral Decor

Nursery mobile made from upcycled coffee filters 

Photo: Project Nursery

Used coffee filters as a show-stopping mobile or hanging element in the floral nursery… Need we really say more?

Pallet DIY Plank Wall

Upcycled plank wall in a nursery 

Photo: Thrifty & Chic

A boho-friendly wood look is achievable on an accent wall or throughout the entire space with scrap wood left over from another project if picked up on the side of the road.

Side Table Rehab With Wood Finish

Upcycled nursery side table

Photo: Sustain My Crafty Habit

This elegant wood-topped table was painted a garish red before these parents sanded and refinished it, making their own baby-safe stain for the top. Changing out the drawer pulls is another super-simple facelift to try on any found furniture that will make it more kid-friendly.  

Pretty Pacifier Upcycled Mobile

Nursery mobile made from upcycled pacifiers 


Before you toss out the old soothers, consider this crafty idea that turns pretty, butterfly-shaped Bibs pacis into a charming mobile for the baby’s room. Another idea for upcycling those old pacis is to cut off the nipples and add magnetic glue. These become doll pacifiers down the line for your growing babe’s collection. 

Vintage Fabric & Book Cover Wall Art

Upcycled nursery wall art made from a book cover

Photo: Project Nursery 

Even if it’s not in great condition overall, save a page or two from an old children’s book and you can make beautiful art for your child’s nursery. Use scrap fabric from outgrown PJs or newspaper clippings from the day they were born for a creative matte idea. 

Drawer Pulls + Paint Makeover 

Upcycled nursery dresser with DIY cloud-shaped drawer pulls

Photo: Bunning’s Workshop

Even the dingiest and most yawn-worthy old dresser can become a beautiful addition to the nursery with a can of paint and some new pulls. Check your local thrift stores and online listings for free or cheap furniture and just have fun! 

Upcycled Vintage Hankie Kites

Nursery kite decor made from upcycled hankies

Photo: Stormie Ariel

Whether they’re pieces passed down from family or a lucky vintage shop find, old handkerchiefs get a new life floating above Baby’s crib thanks to this darling DIY.  

Vintage Ladder Blanket Rack

Upcycled vintage ladder used as a blanket rack in a nursery

Photo: Helen Norman Photography via Country Living

It’s wild thinking about the life this ladder led before, in an apple orchard many, many years ago. Now it serves as home to blankets, throws, swaddles, and burp cloths—your baby’s textile treasures on full display with easy access for tired parents. 

Missing / Broken Drawer Repair 

Upcycled nursery dresser with missing drawers 

Photo: What to Expect

Less than perfect piece? You’re a parent with a plan. This smart DIY walks you through how to handle a missing or broken drawer, for a piece that’s both beautiful and usable. We promise you this: almost nothing feels as good in decorating as when you save a large piece of furniture from a landfill. Let the search begin!

Upcycled Handkerchief Curtains

Upcycled nursery curtains made from handkerchiefs 

Photo: Brian Woodcock via Country Living

Grandma’s lovingly laundered tissues of the past become Baby Girl or Boy’s beautiful DIY nursery curtains with this charming how-to.

Spice Rack Nursery Shelves

Nursery shelves made from upcycled spice racks

Photo: The Mummy Bubble

Floating shelves do not have to cost a fortune, especially if you’re lucky enough to stumble upon some old spice racks. A quick coat of paint and some personalized details added, and you’ve got an expensive look for a lot less. (Even if you end up buying these new, from IKEA!). Peep more nursery bookshelves here!

Basket Light Fixture DIY

Upcycled nursery light fixture made from a basket 

Photo: Home Talk

Boho chandeliers are trendy for a reason, but these lovely light-casters can cost a pretty penny. Check out this absolutely brilliant (see what we did there?) basket hack, turning a thrift store or garage sale find into your baby’s central light source. 

Upcycled Baby Shower or Wedding Flower Name

Name spelled out with flowers in a baby nursery 

Photo: Dainty Dress Diaries 

If you saved your wedding bouquet or flowers from the baby shower, whether real and dried or artificial and perfectly intact, this simply sweet DIY is a perfect way to incorporate them in Baby’s space.  

Upcycled Nursery Lampshade

Upcycled nursery lampshade

Photo: Project Nursery

New lampshades can cost hundreds, especially for a designer look. Or you could spend a couple dollars on a garage sale find and give it an impressive new look with scrap fabric and hot glue, using this clever how-to as a guide.

Upcycled Nursery Wallpaper Sample Art

Upcycled nursery art made from a framed wallpaper sample

Photo: Instagram/ourlifeinrosegold

Have wallpaper scraps or sample squares lying around? Well, now you have beautiful art for your little one’s nursery, for about $10 and in 10 minutes or less.

Upcycled Nursery Hanging Decor

Upcycled hanging art in a baby's nursery made from book pages 

Photo: Paper Crafter Magazine

Old books are easy to find and each one you give new life to, rather than tossing, makes an impact on our earth. This elegant upcycle for the nursery will take time and practice, but is a great way to while away some hours while waiting on Baby’s arrival!  

Vintage Doorknob Curtain Tiebacks

Nursery curtain tie-backs made from vintage doorknobs

Photo: DIY Inspired

Old doorknobs are one of those antique-store finds that make you scratch your head: Where can I use this pretty thing? Well, here’s your answer! 

Antique Baby Clothes Decor

 Upcycled nursery antique baby clothes wall art

Photo: Makely Home

Once you’ve put those beautiful heirloom pieces on Baby, keep them around on display as art for the nursery long after they’ve been outgrown. This is such a heartwarming way to keep those memories alive.  

Upcycled Wagon Wall Shelf

Upcycled nursery shelf made from a vintage wagon 

Photo: Project Nursery

Book and knickknack shelves are so much more special when they have character. This vintage Radio Flyer offers exactly that to a baby boy nursery that bursts with the warm nostalgia of days gone by.  

More Nursery Ideas:

About Jenny Studenroth Gerson

Jenny Studenroth Gerson is an Atlanta-based lifestyle journalist and novelist (Let Me Let You Go, 2020). Her work can be seen in publications including HuffPost, Cosmo, and WSJ, among many others. Jenny has researched thousands of baby names, combed through hundreds of nursery designs, and curated dozens of baby shower guides, making her absolutely the mom—and writer—you want to talk to when planning for Baby. When not meeting deadlines, she is chasing toddlers or chugging coffee—or both! Find her on Instagram @ourlifeinrosegold for mom hacks and more.

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