Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What I Learned Designing My Firstborn's Nursery, And What I'll Do Differently This Time

How I Designed My First Nursery

Just under four years ago, I embarked on planning and decorating my first baby nursery. I spent hours obsessing over researching baby bedding and decor, but I just didn't love anything. And then there was the cost. I couldn't stomach paying well over $100 for a four-piece crib set, especially since I had no intention of using the included big, fluffy, bumper for safety reasons. I felt so torn about what to do, until I saw an adorable jungle animal quilt on Etsy.
Image originally from Jo-Ann's, but no longer available

I loved everything about it - the cute animals, the cheerful non-traditional colors, and that it didn't look too "baby-ish" to me (at least at the time).

At the time I was a fifth grade teacher. Kiddo was due in September, and my normal summer job as a day camp counselor was out of the question since it required lots of activity in the summer heat without access to air conditioning. So I knew that once school ended, I would have a bunch of time on my hands. Why not purchase the fabric myself and DIY the bedding over the summer? I always loved sewing in Home Ec classes, and my mom and mother-in-law have sewing experience, so I knew I had people to turn to if I got stuck.

So that's exactly what I did. I made my first-ever mood board of sorts. And with the help of internet tutorials, I was able to make a crib skirt, curtain valance, and quilt - almost completely by myself! I learned a lot and was pretty proud of my accomplishments.

In the meantime, Hubby refinished the rocker that had once been in my classroom so it would match our hand-me-down crib. It was a lot of work, but he did a wonderful job.

Once everything was ready, it was time to choose a paint color. I decided on a fun green in the quilt and matched it to Behr's Honeydew.  Hubby tried to suggest a lighter color, but I wouldn't have it. At this point we had painted all the rooms in our house, so I felt confident that I could choose the right one. But wow, when it was first painted, the walls literally glowed! It definitely isn't for everyone, but thankfully, once it completely dried and all the furniture and decorations were in, I actually really liked it.

While the dresser didn't match the rest of the furniture,
we scored it for less than $30 on Craigslist. Fine by me!

 What I'm Doing Differently This Time

I still look back at this nursery fondly. It was so fun to put together, and I loved everything about it!

However, I learned a few things that definitely have affected my design choices as I create our baby girl's nursery.
  • Avoiding just about anything that is marketed as "baby."

    Don't buy into the hype. Just like anything labeled "wedding," anything with the word "baby" attached to it will automatically have a mark-up. This time around, I don't think I'll need to buy anything specifically baby-related, so I should be able to avoid the extra expense.
  • Putting DIY spins on ready-made pieces to save money.

    I could have paid big bucks for a custom-made bedding set on Etsy, but by sewing everything at home, I only paid for raw materials. Plus, I had the satisfaction of making everything myself.
    This time around, I'm a busy scratch-cooking, toddler-chasing, full-schedule mom. Rather than starting from raw materials, I plan to do some simple DIY's to get the look I want on a budget.
  • Avoiding "themed" decor.

    Even though I saved money by doing things myself, I still ended up spending a chunk of change by choosing a theme. "Baby" patterned fabric and themed wall hangings, crib sheets, etc. definitely cost more than neutral basics. This time around, I plan to add my own embellishments to solid fabrics in an effort to keep a low budget.
  • Choosing a neutral paint color.

    Painting rooms can be a pain, especially in a bedroom. Not only do we have to move and cover furniture, but especially in the case of a kid's bedroom, we also have to disrupt their sleep routine by moving them to a different room while the paint dries. Since we moved just after Kiddo's first birthday, we didn't have to re-paint his room, but I'm sure I would have wanted to when we transitioned him to a "big boy" bed.
    By choosing a neutral paint background, we can paint once and change out bedding, decor, and accessories easily as baby girl grows.
  • Thinking timeless.

    I tried to picture the room five years from now. Obviously, there won't be a crib in there. But would the basic pieces (bedding, furniture, curtains, etc.) be age-appropriate for a five-year-old? It helps that baby girl's room will also be a guest room, but I already knew I wanted to go with something classic that could grow with her. 
Ultimately, I'm going for a different feel this time around. I want to create a calming space rather than a bright, cheerful, stimulating one. It's been a fun challenge so far, though a bit stressful when I think of all I want to accomplish before our baby girl arrives. I'm so excited to share my progress with you as I go!

What Do You Think?

What do you think of the space? Was I crazy to paint Kiddo's walls that bright green?
Have you learned valuable lessons from past design decisions? I'd love to hear about it!

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with avoiding 'baby' items! And definitely the neutral paint is key! Colourful pops with accessories against a neutral background always look so sweet and classy to me :)


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