The first time I considered what type of nursery I wanted was around 13 weeks, after I had started telling friends and family that I was pregnant. I knew I wanted to tackle this project early, because a) painting while pregnant probably isn’t the best idea, and b) I knew I would be the one picking the decor and physically painting the room… my husband could have cared less if we left the room the colour it was pre-paint. Here’s what that looked like:
(This is how the room looked with the previous owner’s decor… below are the pre-paint stages – sorry for the terrible lighting!)
This room was previously used as an office, and in the two years we had lived in our home, I hadn’t yet gotten around to changing the decor or painting. As you can see, it was a horrible, mustard-ish brown colour… dare I compare it to something you might find in a diaper? Perfect! So, of course, the first step was to paint the walls. Once I decided I wanted a gray and white colour scheme, it was easy to pick a neutral gray colour for the walls. I would highly suggest utilizing a similar technique, not only for a nursery but for ANY room you plan to paint or re-paint – if the walls are neutral, the accessories can always be changed to maximize your efforts and still make a big impact down the road… (thanks for the advice, Mom!) I didn’t know the gender at this point, I just knew I would go with gray and white, and potentially include an elephant or two, and I would select a “theme” colour once I knew the gender. Here are the walls with the new colour… this horrible photo was taken while the paint was still wet! (The paint is Behr’s Universal Gray, in case you were wondering!)
Selecting a Design Theme
As soon as I found out I was having a girl, I couldn’t WAIT to start planning the nursery with PINK elements – I still really enjoyed the elephant idea, though, and thought I would utilize that in a subtle way around the room. I didn’t want the traditional “baby pink” colour that is so often associated with girl nurseries… and baby girls in general. I also knew I wanted something muted… a little more neutral and less “in your face” than hot pink or coral, which I do enjoy. I thought I would attempt to play with a more pale pink, perhaps a “blush” tone, if you will. When I found the right shade, it just so happened to be accompanied by GOLD – and I fell in love with the colour combination. I decided pink and gold was the colour scheme I would stick with for the majority of the project. Here’s the first glimpse of the pink and gold combination I found – it also happened to incorporate the trendy chevron pattern – which I do like, but did not want to cover the nursery in, as I personally feel it’s a little overdone, and could be on its last design legs! You can find this pattern and all the accompanying materials for a FULL crib ensemble from Carousel Designs HERE:
I suppose I am a bit of a minimalist when it comes to design concepts – I really loved the pink, white and gold chevron, but was somewhat overwhelmed by the second image of the crib bedding completely covered in the pattern. I decided I would incorporate this pattern and colour theme in the curtains only – which I ordered from Carousel Designs at www.babybedding.com.
The room was painted, and the curtains were on order. I now needed to decide on some big elements for the room: furniture. I knew I didn’t want a “matchy-matchy” furniture set – not only due to personal preference, but because the room is not large by any means, and I knew that I would have to select a dresser that would also function as a changing table – there just wasn’t enough room for both pieces. We would also require some other type of storage, and I wanted to find something that would blend both open and closed storage features. The most budget-friendly option was for us to hit the local Ikea and get some pieces that I knew were popular and, despite the ridiculous amount of time it takes to put them together, would be of decent lasting quality. (For the record, I’ll have you know that yours truly assembled BOTH of the below furniture pieces, which probably took an entire afternoon totalling 5+ hours. I wish I had a photo of ALL the pieces that come out of these notorious Ikea boxes… but I’m sure you’ve had your own experience with one of the only cons to Ikea furniture!)
The dresser is Ikea’s Hemnes 3 drawer dresser, $169, and the storage is Ikea’s Kallax Shelving Unit, $59.00. Ikea.com.
The plan with the furniture was always to be white – to keep with the original “gray and white” theme, and also because the room is small and has only one window – I figured white would help keep the room light and airy, and less cramped.
Originally I found my crib at Babies R Us, because in Canada, there are only so many places where you can go to buy cribs! However, after originally deciding on the first image below (Baby Kache Lifetime Windsor Crib, $499.99) I did a little more research, and actually came across a more seamless crib via a friends Instagram page. With her positive recommendation, I decided on the crib in the second photo (Stork Craft Fixed Side Hillcrest Convertible Crib, amazon.ca, $193.36) as it was not only better suited to my minimal design style, but was also a 3-way convertible crib, and was almost half the price of the original crib I wanted! You can find the Stork Craft crib on Amazon.
Umm… what about some COLOUR?
With furniture assembled and only bare walls to look at, I headed back to Pinterest for some more focused design element research – now that I knew I wanted to stick with blush pink and gold, it was easier to narrow down some ideas. I think the main thing I always take away from Pinterest is that you can get some great ideas, and then you can often DIY a lot of the things you see. I bought a couple of cans of spray paint – one gold, one blush pink, and a can of gold sparkles for good measure – and started collecting pieces that I could fit into my theme with just a few coats of paint. Here are some examples:
Typical plastic safari animal toys from Michaels craft store: GOLD
“&” symbol: GOLD SPARKLES; Glass mason jar: PINK
I think you get the point. Pick up a few cans of spray paint and go nuts! It was the easiest way for me to infuse my theme around the room without it looking like everything had to match perfectly – and it made it seem like I had personalized things in the room, without really doing much work. You catch the pink once in a while without being overwhelmed – and it goes very nicely with my original chevron curtains! (The other frames in the above photo are from Walmart, and the basket which I am now using for my diaper caddy is also from Michaels’ craft store.)
I’ve mentioned a few times that this room is not big – it really isn’t, and there aren’t many walls for me to feature much art on. This sort of disappointed me, as I came across so many ideas I loved! To make matters worse, on almost the entire North wall, we have a very odd storage compartment, which we’ve aptly named “the hole in the wall”. Despite being a weird inclusion in our 1970’s built home, it’s actually pretty practical, as it houses a lot of our “stuff” and is easily covered by a roman blind. If you look closely in the photos of the original room with the hideous brown colour, you can sort of see the hole. It was previously covered with a black and safari-animal-themed roman blind (also slightly visible in the brown-room photo) but I didn’t want to create that much contrast to such a small space – in the old office, as soon as you walked in your eye was directly drawn to the roman blind, and it was all you could focus on). I purchased a fabric that was as close to the wall colour as I could, and had my mom make me a roman blind to cover the hole again. Utilizing a colour that was similar to the wall space allows your eye to be focused somewhere else when you walk into the room – like to the window, curtains, or even the crib and frames above it. So, while the old “hole in the wall” is certainly useful, it was almost an entire wall that I couldn’t utilize for decoration! Darn. The three HomeSense frames that I spray painted pink are featured on the entire South wall, which is where the crib ended up, too. Keeping with the minimalist approach, that’s all I have left above the crib and do not plan to add anything further to that wall.
On the other side of the window is an even SMALLER space, (if you can believe it!) where I thought I would do a few prints that would finally incorporate the elephant theme. Originally I found some inspiration on (where else?) Pinterest, and then I had my sister create some prints of the exact colour theme I wanted:
Elephants + Pink + Gold were the words I sent her, who has her own Etsy shop and designs birthday and wedding invites, and home decor prints. (Check out her work on Etsy at RayBrynDesigns – https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/RayBrynDesigns) Here is some of the brilliant work she does! (*Note: I only had room for THREE prints in this space – she had many more options! Another of her prints is featured in the photo of the small white shelves.)
With the wall space covered, the nursery was (almost!) complete! HOORAY! There were a few things to finish off the space that I knew I would probably get at my baby shower – on my registry I had included a glider (though, to be clear, I didn’t really expect to receive that as a shower gift… c’est tres expensive!) and other essentials – a changing pad and covers, crib sheets, books, etc.
Without Further Ado…
Are you dying to see the final product? Here is how everything came together in the end – now all we need is a BABY!
The glider was purchased as a surprise for me from my husband, which was amazing to come home to after a long work weekend! You can (sort of) see the gray roman blind in the top left corner that is covering the notorious hole in the wall. I don’t plan on adding anything else to the crib other than the mattress and sheet, according to the most recent research about babies, cribs and SIDS… so it will stay pretty basic and white. I also don’t plan on adding a crib skirt as I like the way it looks being open and uncluttered – though if I did, it would probably be gray. The crib blanket I made myself from the SOFTEST baby yarn on the planet… (more posts to follow about my crochet journey and upcoming projects!)
So that’s it! The nursery is finally finished! At the time I am posting this, I am almost 38 weeks… (and the nursery has probably been done for about 6 weeks… what can I say, I’m a planner!)
Anytime you want to make your appearance baby girl, we’re ready for you!