Splurge vs. Steal: Cool Baby Gear You Can Afford

Can't swing a super-chic nursery? Check out our budget-friendly versions of the splurgiest stuff around.

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All About Co-Sleepers

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Courtesy of Cariboo, Courtesy of Target

Sure, you knew having a baby was going to cause some big-time budget re-jiggering. (So long, Stuart Weitzman.) But as any preggo can attest, outfitting the nursery in an US Weekly-worthy Hollywood Mama style can cause some serious sticker shock these days. So we scoured stores for cheap-yet-chic versions of some of the hottest baby gear out there. Check out these fashionable look-alikes.

Nursery Bassinets

Splurge (L): Cariboo Earth Folding Bassinet Set, $404.96

Steal (R): Badger Basket Bassinet with Bedding, $149.99

Go green or save green? For eco-frienders, check out the Cariboo bassinet: the New Zealand-based company uses organic wool, unbleached cotton and an eco-friendly pine wood frame to craft their bassinet set. While we love the idea of going green, if you're looking to save some green we found Target's Badger Basket Bassinet does the job just as well (and comes with an array of cute fabric choices.)

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Mad for Mod

Courtesy of Target, Courtesy of Skip*Hop

Mad for Mod

Splurge (B): Mod Dot Crib Bedding Collection, $220

Steal (T): DwellStudio for Target Bedding Collection in Circles, $79.99

We love the concept of mod multi-colored dots on bedding -- not only does it match everything, it works for both boys and girls. While the luxe 385 thread count Mod Dot bedding from Skip Hop would be lovely, we're pretty sure baby will sleep just as soundly in DwellStudio for Target's Circles bedding.

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Storage Capacity

Courtesy of ModernTots, Courtesy of Wal-Mart

Storage Capacity

Splurge (T): Oeuf Dresser, $895

Steal (B): Baby Mod ParkLane 3-Drawer Changer, $249.98

Both of these spacious dressers easily convert to changing tables, and are perfect for using beyond the nursery. While the environmentally-friendly Oeuf Dresser from ModernTots was on our dream list, we thought we were seeing double with the Baby Mod ParkLane dresser from Wal-Mart. Baby won't know the difference (and we won't tell!)

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Diaper Bags with Style

Courtesy of Babies R Us, Courtesy of Tiny Truffles

Diaper Bags with Style

Splurge (B): Not Rational Diaper Bag Hansel, $580

Steal (T): Amy Coe Gold Holiday Diaper Bag, $49.99

We think we've found the Holy Grail of diaper bags in Not Rational's luxurious Italian leather creation (bottom) -- it's spacious, stylish, and can be used well after baby's out of diapers. But the price tag's a bit hefty, so we were stoked to find the Amy Coe Gold Holiday Diaper Bag as an alternative. The matches-everything gold color and chic pink lining give it a designer look (for a fraction of the price.)

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Cool Cribs

Cool Cribs

Splurge (Left): DucDuc Alex Crib; $985

Steal (Right): Babymod Roxanne 3-in-1 Convertible Crib, $299.88

The modern Duc Duc crib does come in pretty colors (pink, blue and orange) and with some fun personalization options (funky appliques like "bambino" or "fragile"). But we also love Wal-Mart's hip new Baby Mod crib -- at a fraction of the cost. Both offer four levels of mattress positions and the ability to convert to toddler beds. Added "steal" bonus: The BabyMod crib has a convenient drop rail and partitioned drawer underneath for storage. Love that.

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Stride Right

Stride Right

Splurge (L): Schorsch Walker by Sirch; $299

Steal (R) : Ekorre Wagon; $24.99

Both of these walkers have a simple design and Scandinavian-like clean lines. Sure, the lid of the Schorsch can open and close and its wheels can lock, but for a savings of $275, we'll happily walk away from the extra features.

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Blanket Statement

Blanket Statement

Splurge (L): B for Boy Merino Blanket; $148

Steal (R): George Baby Uptown Plush baby blanket; $15.86

We admit it: The super-soft Italian Merino wool of this DucDuc blanket is truly irresistible (we're just a bit jealous that we can't be swaddled in it). But for about a tenth of the price tag, this plush fleece alternative is also very snuggly -- and oh-so-replaceable if your drooly baby decides to use it as a bib in addition to blankie.

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Shake, Rattle & Roll

Shake, Rattle & Roll

Splurge (L): HBC Rattle, Barbell Gold. $250

Steal (R): Pewter Baby Rattle; $31

So we're not exactly saying these are registry essentials, but if you love the idea of a metal rattle keepsake (or the thought of getting something monogrammed), check out these beautiful baubbles. The splurge may be silver with 14K gold overlay, but swapping out the precious metal for pewter can save you a pretty penny (actually, about 22,000 of them). Think baby'll know the difference? Not a chance.

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High and Mighty

High and Mighty

Splurge (L): Henry IV High Chair; $1170

Steal (R): Svan high chair; $250

If you can't bear to park a white plastic monstrosity in the middle of your ultra-mod kitchen, these beautiful blond wood highchairs will help you serve up solids in style. And they'll both prove useful way beyond your diaper-changing days -- they convert to chairs your kid can use until he's a teen. The Svan chair also comes with a choice of wood finishes (if blond's not your thing) and plenty of color choices for the optional seat cushion.

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Book It

Book It

Splurge (L): Storytime Bookcase; $1190 (for double as shown)

Steal (R): West Elm Stacked Modular Bookcases; $269-$399

These sleek bookcases could easily take baby from her nursery to her first studio apartment. The Nurseryworks comes in a bunch of mod colors, but why not select West Elm's classic shades and put any leftover cash toward filling the shelves?

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Toy Story

Toy Story

Splurge (L): Toy Box 2; $325

Steal (R): Trofast Storage Combination; $84.99

There is clearly a scientifically provable relationship between the amount of toys scattered around the house and your sanity level. Keep both in check with these sleek storage pieces. While the wheels on the Toy Box 2 are certainly a convenient feature, for just about a quarter of the price, we're happy to plunk down Ikea's simple-chic version, fill it up, and leave it there.

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Easy Riders

Easy Riders

Splurge (L): Stokke Xplory; $800

Steal (R): Baby Planet Max Universal; $200 or Baby Planet Max Traveler; $400

The space-age looking Stokke Xplory already garners plenty of playground envy; now for about a quarter to half the price, we're really excited for the arrival of the Baby Planet Max Pro Stroller (ready to ship this October). For $200, you can buy just the car seat carrier -- compatible with most infant seats -- so your baby sits high up and closer to you (like the Stokke). But for the $400 complete package, the stroller converts to full-size when baby's able to sit up on her own. Pure genius.

Copyright & copy 2007 & 2008 Meredith Corporation

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More baby gear we love:


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iStock/Jupiter Images

Before adding items to your registry, read our great buying guides: