A pretty green nursery(Photo: Mark Lund \ The Bump)

First, make a plan. Before you start buying, figure out a budget, theme, and shopping list. This will help avoid impulsive purchases like that impossibly adorable toy chest that just doesn't go.

Don't be afraid to start early. The sooner you begin working on the nursery, the more time you have to spread the costs over.

As you plan, think about the future. Though baby blue might seem sweet right now, your little one could have different ideas once he hits preschool. Go for themes, colors and decorations that will grow with your child to avoid going through the decorating process again in three years.

The cheapest way to decorate is to use paint instead of wallpaper. You can also make your dollars go even further if you use neutrals such as greens and browns instead of pink or blue so that it grows with your child. This applies to furniture, too. Look for a crib that turns into a toddler bed or a changing table that converts to a dresser. The longer you can use an item, the better its value.

Creating a soft place for your baby on the floor can be inexpensive if you shop smart. Area rugs are a better choice than wall-to-wall carpet, because they are easier to clean and cheaper to replace.

Think outside the traditional big box stores for deals. Scour flea markets, garage sales and online discount stores for dressers and lamps and fun unique pictures.

Check out your craft stores: If you want to personalize your nursery. Accessories like framed art, wooden letters, wall decals can be sourced from a craft store for you to DIY at home.

And, if you're even thinking about having another child, make the nursery (particularly any major investments) gender neutral. Just think, next time, all these decorating questions will be taken care of!