Thursday, September 26, 2013

Setting Up Baby Girl's Room | Tips & Tricks!

Hello!

We were sooo excited when we found out we were pregnant (it took us an impossibly long time).  We had so much love to give this new little being, we didn't know what to do with it for a whole nine months.

So we did what I'm sure lots of other folks do too -- we channeled it into creating a wonderful little baby nursery to bring baby home to.

But where does one begin creating a coherent room from scratch?




First things first, I searched for ideas and inspiration -- I went out and bought some books.  (Now this was back in 2010, before Pinterest. I don't know how I lived before Pinterest.)





My absolute favorite book was Feathering the Nest by Tracy Hutson and L.G. Mansfield.  (You might have seen Tracy on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition).  It is just full of gorgeous photographs and beautifully written.  Her emphasis is on working with what you already have (which I like) and her ideas lean toward the earth-friendly (which I love).  I found it incredibly informative - not to mention inspiring.

One of Tracy's rooms in particular caught our attention, and I fell in love with the calm and vintage-y colours.  It was this one:

To see the book, click on the image


Once we found the perfect bedding, it gave us a starting point to build the room and the colour scheme around it.

Gorgeous Bedding from Perlimpinpin

So here are some pics below of what we did for our sweet baby girl.  Hopefully some of these ideas will inspire you too!


* * *


Welcome to a tour of our nursery.  Here, we will share some tips we picked up along the way.

We had recently repainted the room in gender-neutral colours, so we didn't feel the need to paint it again.

We did 2 walls in a soft, sage green:

Sage Tint is a nice, soft green


And the two other walls in a warm, creamy off-white.  Next, we had to fill it.

Our style isn't overly "baby-ish", meaning, we wanted pieces that the kids won't easily outgrow, that we can reuse for future kids (even if a boy), and/or can be used elsewhere in the house as the kids start to want more of a say in how they want to decorate their rooms.

In here, we have a happy mix of contemporary pieces, garage sale finds that we refinished ourselves, and handmade stuff.

Getting Started


We found that most baby furniture stores we visited wanted to sell us a whole matching set (typically a crib, dresser, changing table and some type of armoire).  You do not need a roomful of matched pieces! It will cost a fortune and not give you much leeway to pick and choose what you like, repurpose what you already have, or express your creativity.

How do you make mismatched pieces work together?  Try these:

  • You can paint them all the same colour (white is always a safe choice).
  • You can make all the hardware/knobs the same.  That's what we did.  It's subtle, but it really works!

If you're looking for only an item or two, check out Craigslist or Kijiji to find a pre-loved piece in your area.  Unless someone is planning on having lots of children, these items can have a very short lifespan in someone's home and have many, many more years of use left in them.

Here's the room at a glance...  I'll walk you through it right below!





1.  It's All About the Crib


The crib will be the focal point of the room and the thing you use most for years to come.  Make sure it's a good one!  And one you like the look of.


Convertible Crib


We don't love the idea of things with a terribly short lifespan so we opted for a crib that converts into a toddler bed, and later into a double bed.  Because we knew we'd hang onto it for a while, we wanted something:

  • sturdy and well-made
  • unisex
  • classic-looking enough that we wouldn't get tired of it (and wouldn't become tacky)


We received an organic mattress as a baby shower gift and it truly was a genius idea.  Mattresses tend to off-gas for a long time and we loved having the opportunity to avoid this.  Look into organic mattresses if this appeals to you.

Of course the bedding set is very important (they had me at the polka dots) but truth be told, almost three years in, we've never once used the tiny little comforter that comes with it.  It's up to you of course, but if I had to do it over I would not have opted for an expensive comforter set that wound up stored in the closet for 3 years.  Our set is from Canadian company www.Perlimpinpin.com

What you will need are 2-3 waterproof mattress covers and a bunch of fitted sheets.  We've never used a flat sheet.  Until she was about a year old we didn't use blankets (they pose a choking risk) but rather warm PJs or sleep-sacks.  (They are genius).

These days they advise against crib-bumper padding. You'll have to look into what's on the market and what the better alternatives are to meet your needs.

As for the baby mobile, we opted to make one ourselves with some Martha Stewart tissue pom-pom flowers.  More on that below.

We were too chicken to hang anything on the wall above the crib.  We didn't want anything to fall on baby in the night, or get bumped from the wall as she got a little more rambunctious.

2. Creating a Great Reading Nook

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
I've always liked that phrase and feel that helping our little ones develop a lifelong love of reading (which is, in essence, a love of learning) is one of our most important jobs as parents.

My mom always read to me as a little kid, but then I never kept up with it on my own...  I was a child of the 80's raised on TV!  The first book I read cover to cover (willingly) was Island of the Blue Dolphins when I was 12 and from then on, I was hooked on reading.  It just blew my mind.  But sadly, I felt like I had been missing out from ages 2 to 12.

All that to say, reading is good!  We try to read to the little one every night as part of her bedtime routine.  As a bonus, cuddling together is just pure bliss.


The Reading Nook


We picked up the ice-blue contemporary rocking chair on clearance at Sears.  $289 instead of $700+. When you find a great deal you won't find again - grab it!  We like the look of it  -- and it is so comfortable -- but it's also gender-neutral for any future kids.

The Barcelona-style white leather footrest was picked up for a steal too -- $99 bucks at a temporary furniture wholesale place.  The footrest was key for long nights rocking in the chair, as well as a soft surface as our daughter learned to pull herself up and later play on.  We can use it anywhere in the house for years to come.

The bookcase sits right next to the rocking chair and stashes tons of age-appropriate board books.  (We decided to keep the fancy books with glossy pages out of reach for now!)  It is neutral and has a lovely detailing on the sides, almost Moroccan in style.  Again, this piece can be used anywhere in the house. We got it at Winners/HomeSense.  It was a gift from my mom -- yes!!




You'll want a reading lamp within easy reach.  As bedtime nears, you won't want to be using harsh overhead lighting (more on that in a minute).  In fact, the act of turning off the lamp after we finished reading actually became part of the bedtime routine.  Ours is a very classic floor lamp.  By happy accident, the shade colour ties in with the floors and the bookcase.  We previously had this lamp in our living room.

This gorgeous crocheted blanket was a handmade baby shower gift from my sister-in-law.  We love it, and wanted to find a way to have it on display - not to mention make use of it.  So it is draped over the back of the rocking chair.




More details on the wall artwork in a minute!

2.  Crafting the Ultimate Changing Table & Dressing Station


This area will have:

  • A changing mat, secured to the surface
  • Diapers, wipes, cream, etc. at your fingertips
  • Changes of clothing, PJ's, etc within reach
  • A laundry bin/basket nearby to toss dirty clothes into
  • (Bonus) A bin/basket in which to toss clothes that are too small



The Changing Table



This dresser-turned-changing table was once a two-toned blue garage-sale find that we repainted in a cheery raspberry pink (actually called Arbor Rose).


Behr's Arbor Rose

We also replaced all the knobs on it, to unify it with the other mismatched pieces in the room.





We opted for a dresser rather than a store-bought changing-table because we figured we could use it for longer.

Additionally, the dresser houses all of baby's clothes so everything is within easy reach.  (You won't want to walk away or turn your back on baby to search for clothes.)

Don't forget the laundry basket.  We opted for a closed one.  You will become a black belt at successfully tossing clothes into it from afar.  Consider it a perk of parenthood ;)



Find a suitable corner for the laundry bin.  You'll have lots of it ;)

Psst: looking for a good trick for making laundry easier?  Check out My Top 10 Favourite Organizing Tricks!

3.  The Closet





The closet houses off-season stuff and less-often used clothes, like dresses and bulky sweaters.  We also store Costco-sized boxes of diapers and wipes in there.

A note on the doors:  None of the closets in this house had any doors.  This one had a brownish set of blinds on it -- go figure.  Also, because the 1950's openings weren't standard sizes, we had to get crafty with our solutions.
We did not want a regular-sized door because it would eat up too much space when it is swung open. 
We bought a bi-fold door that was the closest fit, and had a little cut off the bottom.  We DIY'd some thin, flat panels on either side of the doorframe to eat up a bit more width. 
Then, we changed the hardware on the door to turn it into a French door that opens in the middle, instead of a bifold.  Finally, we added two more of the same white knobs as on the dresser to tie it all together.
This closet-door arrangement also made for endless games of hide and seek :)

The giant giraffe wall decal is from RoomMates for Kids.


4.  The Lighting


The best tip I ever got for baby's room was to add a dimmer to the overhead lighting.

When baby is tired/sleeping and you only need a smidge of light, this is the way to go.  Dim lighting creates a soothing atmosphere like nothing else.

We removed 'the boob light' (which could be found in practically every room of our house!) and put in a lovely chandelier, which we got at Reno-Depot.  Then we put in the dimmer.  Awww yeah.





We hung a string of white lights with mini chinese paper globes around the window.  It also gives off very soft light.

Also, you'll need to block out daytime window light any way you can.  For naps, darkness is your friend.  Blackout curtains, tightly-closing blinds, a roll-down shade...  whatever works for your style and budget.

5.  Storage for Bedding and Toys





Every room needs storage.  Baby will have so much gear, this room is no exception.

This was an old TV cabinet we owned that we painted white.  We added those white knobs.  It stored bedding and toys and random odds and ends.

6.  Personal Touches


A name on the door



A warm welcome on the door


My sister had glued these beautiful letters onto gift wrap for my daughter's 1st birthday gift.  Can you even?  They are so pretty.  She does such pretty things and has such an eye for detail.  More on that soon :)

A handmade baby mobile


We made a handmade baby mobile after a few months of searching for just the right one and coming up empty-handed.  Click on the photos to see more on this!


Click on the photo to read the post on this!

Click on the photo to read the post on this!


Fun photography & artwork


These are fun, kid-friendly pieces that we like: 

This is from the Nostalgia  collection at Target.


Adorable dogs and adorable kids?  Plus they have a vintage vibe?  Sold.

The dog photo canvas prints are from Homesense.


A matching hook


We came across this hook in a little boutique that matched perfectly with our colours.  Hung within reach of the changing table, it was perfect for hanging baby's bath towel.






* A note on carpets *

After a few failed attempts at having a nice rug in her room, we decided to stick to bare wood flooring. Let's just say that after a few dog-related incidents and a handful of late-night throw-ups, we decided to trade good looks for easier maintenance!


Looking for more inspiration and decor ideas for baby & kids?



We are currently setting up two baby rooms...  More on those shortly!




If you enjoyed this post, you'll love what we're sharing between posts on social media! Please come join us to get DIY ideas, tips, home decor inspiration, organizing, kid-friendly ideas, and so much more.

   
 


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Val














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