Some people express their baby excitement with belly pictures or by reading every book possible on the topic of child rearing. Willy’s nursery was my way of letting him know how overjoyed I was for his arrival. I spent hours searching for the perfect knick knacks, picking out and painting furniture, and diy-ing anything and everything. I imagined him feeling safe and so loved as he drifted off into dreamland. This post is a year and a half late, but as Willy develops more and more of a personality and his favorite things start making their way into his space (oh hey Elmo riding a tractor), I more than ever want to remember his nursery, his first formative space, and those feelings I had as I pieced it together.
Willy’s nursery is full of fun, creativity, and a sense of adventure. More than anything, I want Willy to be curious. I want him to find immense joy in learning and discovering new things. I want him to be surrounded by a tenacity to keep exploring and have a vision of a bigger world. I mixed vintage with modern accents and incorporated a color palette of muted blues and grays with vibrant mustards and shades of reds. I brought in animals and camping and story books and things that go VROOM.
I wanted there to be lots to look at and everything at kid level to be Willy friendly. The inspiration came from campsites and outdoor concepts mixed with a quirky, hipster shake up. Most of his play happens downstairs, but more and more, he likes to be in his room as Mr. A and I are getting ready for work or folding laundry. It also had to be practical and I didn’t have a huge budget – including furniture and shelving, I spent around $400 total for his room. Here are a few guidelines I lived by as I decorated his little space:
1. Don’t buy furniture in sets. Sets of furniture are expensive. Buy one or two pieces that match and then use colors to tie the rest of it together. None of Willy’s furniture came together. It was all hodge podged from various sources. We bought the crib, but found the rest for next to nothing through friends and family and Craigslist. Since our crib was a dark chocolate color, to avoid having mismatched furniture, I painted the changing table white and then brought it together by painting the dressers white and staining the drawers the same color as the crib. I then stained some scrap wood the same color and added these Bulldog Clips to turn them into cute little picture displays. I also made sure the white and dark stain translated through the rest of the room – my rocking chair is dark wood, all shelving is white and I spray painted all the frames used throughout his room white.
2. Keep an empty bin nearby. An empty basket or bin will be a lifesaver for keeping things neat. They are a catch all for everything. Willy grows out of clothes as soon as he puts them on and I was so tired of constantly bringing them to the basement storage. With a basket, as I’m doing laundry, I’ll throw in the too small clothes and just make a trip down to storage when the bin is full. It also works for toys, books and other odds and ends.
3. Use anything and everything as decorations. Decorations don’t have to be from the baby section. I used old thermos’, a great old sweater that actually was mine from when I was a baby, blankets, a track trophy from a garage sale, even an old microscope. I used anything that evoked curiosity.
4. Try a few DIYs. There are lots of DIY projects in Willy’s nursery. Some of the simple ones included tearing pages out of vintage nursery rhyme books and framing them and gluing three sticks together to make a tee pee. One of the more difficult ones was his mobile made of paper stars.
5. Think about by what you want your little one to be surrounded. I sometimes think Willy’s room is really cluttered and has too much going on. However, then I remember, I want his little brain to work and wonder. I keep his room stocked with tons and tons of books and things he can pick up and move around. We even keep little gummy treats in the camping mug on his dresser for special occasions.
More and more, my knick knacks are being replaced with little people, props for puppet shows, and matchbox cars, but that just means Willy is growing up and discovering his personality. He’s developing likes and interests. His room requires more cleaning and little decorations are quickly become unpractical, but it’s ok. As long as he’s playing, I’m a happy momma.