[In light of the temporary unavailability of Ikea's popular, affordable cribs, we're re-running this post from 1/24/11 and updating the crib information.]
Buying a crib is often the biggest, and very often the first, purchase parents make for a nursery. There are literally hundreds of choices; enough to make your head spin. Most of our readers are looking for two things in a crib: modern and affordable. We've written about cribs that fall into these categories before, but I wanted to make it easy by putting them in one place. I'll start with a confession: I did not buy a budget crib.
I've written about the crib I did buy before and my 2.5-year-old is still happily sleeping in it (and, miraculously, has not tried climbing out...yet). This crib was by far the most expensive purchase we made and one we still feel great about. We chose it primarily for its size and functionality (I roll it out of the office every day for my son's nap), but if my son had his own room I would have most certainly been on the hunt for a much more affordable crib.
There are different schools of thought in crib shopping. Some parents want quality - solid wood and construction - and are willing to pay for it. And there are plenty of super beautiful choices for modern cribs these days, most costing between $700- 1200 (and up!). The other perspective is focused on longevity. Even if you try to purchase investment pieces in the rest of your home, the lifespan of a crib is relatively short. You may use it for several children, pass it on to a friend or resell it, but eventually all your children will graduate to a bed. Cribs are large to store for future generations and, as we know, safety standards change over time.
Here is a roundup of cribs I consider budget and modern (some more than others):
"What do you consider modern?"
To be slightly more specific than Justice Potter's famous line about porn, "I know it when I see it," - straight, clean lines, minimal details, unfussy.
"What do you consider budget?"
It seems every time we use the word "budget" on Ohdeedoh a discussion ensues in the comments, usually decrying something "not budget." Everyone's conception of budget will be different, but I've chosen $500 as the cutoff in this roundup as this number falls near the middle on the crib price spectrum (discounting some of the reeeeally expensive ones).
Ikea - purchase in store only
[Update: all Ikea cribs are temporarily unavailable for sale.]
[Update: This crib is listed as out of stock or backordered on several sites including the link below to Toys R Us. We did find it listed as in stock at Sears for $150 and you may be able to find it in stock elsewhere online or in stores.]
• Libby (the closest thing to the Gulliver if you don't live near Ikea) - $130 (sold by various retailers in this general price range).
DwellStudio for Target
[Update: We haven't received official confirmation, but this crib seems to have been discontinued.]
• Silver Lake - $300 (natural/white or walnut/white)
Walmart Baby Mod
[Update: These three cribs are all listed as in stock. The Modena's price has been lowered by $50.]
• ParkLane - $300 (white/amber or espresso). See this crib in Baby M's Modern Nursery on a Budget and in Baby Daly's Room-To-Be.
• Olivia - $300 (white/amber). See this crib in Taryn's Nursery, All Wrapped Up.
• Modena - $
250 199 (cool grey - shown in top photo, espresso, white and navy)
[Update: Both of these Babyletto cribs are still for sale in these general price ranges.]
[Update: Still available in this price range. Also, see a similar crib from Sorelle, the Commuter Two Tone ($309)]
• City Lights Commuter - about $365
[Update: still available at this price]
• Harper - $500 (natural or $550 walnut)
NEW ADDITION (as of 7/28):
Although the birch version of this crib is still listed at $685, the Sahara crib in white, ebony and white/ebony just squeaks in under our $500 limit. You can find it several places online (shipping in early-mid August) for $495 including here and here.
With the exception of Ikea, many of these cribs are only sold online and you'll have a hard time finding them in stores to inspect the quality. Do your research and read the reviews other parent-customers have left after they've received and started using these cribs.
Craigslist or local parenting listservs are valuable resources for finding used modern cribs that you might not otherwise be able to afford. Keep in mind that safety standards change (like the recent ban of manufacturing drop side cribs).
Any crib can work with your modern style
You know best what your budget and priorities are. If you end up with a crib that doesn't perfectly suit your style, make it work. A less-modern looking crib can work really well in an otherwise modern space. Remember these terrific rooms which all have the classic Jenny Lind crib (around $200, pictured below)? Let them inspire you.
Have we missed a $500 and under modern crib? Leave the link for your fellow readers in the comments.