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nursery theme ideas

Storybook Spaces

Nurseries Inspired by Beloved Nursery Rhymes

Every Mother Goose needs a nest, and creating baby’s room is an important part of preparing for parenthood. Looking for a little inspiration before you get started? We’ve teamed up with designers and mommy-to-be bloggers to offer five fresh nursery ideas inspired by classic nursery rhymes.

ABCs of Design: Tips for Getting Started

Learning the basics is fundamental to success in all areas of life, and design is no different. Putting together a nursery involves more than choosing a crib; it’s a space for not only diaper changes and sleep but for bonding, playing, learning and relaxing for parents and baby alike. A nursery should be soothing while still being fun and functional.

Arrange: Sarah Fishburne, Director of Trend and Design for The Home Depot, recommends beginning by creating a room layout. The most essential piece—the crib—is the first piece to place. “You’ll want the crib along a solid wall away from the window to mitigate noise, drafts and light,” she says.

Brainstorm: Tiny Prints designer Lisa Levy of Lady Jae Designs for Tiny Prints suggests beginning the design process by finding something that truly inspires you. “It’s helpful to have a focal starting point,” she says. “It could be a piece of fabric or wallpaper, a piece of furniture or art that you’ve fallen in love with, even a favorite pastime. Having that starting point helps set the overall tone for the room.”

Combine: To maximize your space, look for pieces that are multipurpose. “In small spaces, you can retrofit a dresser to pull double-duty as a changing table,” Sarah says. “Start with a counter-height dresser to make it easier to reach baby and add a changing pad.”

Decorate: Don’t forget the little things that will make the space more comfortable, both for you and baby. A comfortable glider, soothing lamp and well-placed rug can work wonders. “Find a large, soft rug for baby to crawl or start to walk on; especially key if you have hardwood floors,” Sarah says.

Building a nursery can be difficult for any busy mama-to-be, so we recruited a few of our favorite designers to provide their expertise on some expecting bloggers’ nursery design challenges.

Choose a Theme


IN A TREE TOP | SUGAR AND SPICE | HAPPILY EVER AFTER | ROW, ROW, ROW YOUR BOAT | OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS

NURSERY THEME #1: In a Tree Top

The Blogger: Gretchen Bossio of That Mama Gretchen describes herself as a “sometimes hippie mama” of two kids with another on the way. She lives in Olympia, Washington with her husband Dominic, and they share a love of the ocean, mountains and nature. Their dream nursery would reflect their love of the great outdoors and also serve multiple purposes as a guest room and office.

The Designer: Northern California-based interior designer Kerrie Kelly, owner of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab, has some tips, tricks and recommendations for the Bossio family to rock-a-bye baby.

  • Back to Nature: Our chosen color palette of bold and clean colors reflects the new parents’ Northwestern lifestyle, complete with frequent trips to the beach, the occasional hike, and a near and dear love for all things outdoors.
  • Toying with Texture: Keeping with a contemporary style, we opted for fresh and neutral window treatments, décor and furniture to keep the focus on the subtle texture of a great natural rug and the contrasting wall colors.
  • A Look That Lasts: This look is designed to grow up with the baby as it’s low-maintenance, transitionally styled, and easy to update once he grows out of his nursery essentials.
nursery theme idea 1

Home Decorators: 1. Finn Long Drapery Panel, 2. Amy Gourd Glass Table Lamp, 3. White Deer Head Plaque, 5. Night Owl Classic Mobile, 6. Luelle Pendant, 7. Whale of a Time and Elephant in the Room Push Toys, 8. Conrad End Table, 10. Kingsley Crib, 11. Zig Zag Throw, 12. Custom Nottingham Upholstered Glider, 13. Travette Tufted Storage Ottoman Home Depot: 9. Annandale Natural Area Rug Tiny Prints: 4. Sweet Forest, Custom Pillow, Classic Beginning Announcement (right)

Nursery Tips: Ideas for Lighting Up Your Nursery

Switching on a light seems simple enough, but there are potential pitfalls to be considered when choosing nursery lighting. For instance, are you going to turn on a bright overhead light for middle-of-the-night feedings? Not if you want to resume a peaceful night’s sleep—and you will want that! Our designers have some essential tips for illuminating baby’s world.

“Light—especially natural light—is a crucial part of development. In conjunction with your paint job and area rug, coordinating drapery is a part of a perfect plan to modulate light and keep the color coming. Start with a black-out vinyl shade liner so you can achieve deep darkness even in the middle of the day. Next, a sheer panel for soft light, and finally, a coordinating drapery panel as your top layer. Even with all three layers, this is a very budget-friendly makeover, and you can simply replace that top layer as baby grows.” — Kerrie Kelly

“It makes sense to have multiple lighting elements in the room, but try to avoid harsh, bright lighting that might make babies uncomfortable or anxious. A nursery should be a calm, soothing space. Installing dimmer switches on your lights is a great solution.” — Lisa Levy

DIY NURSERY DÉCOR:

You Are My Sunshine Handprint Wall



WHAT YOU NEED:

  • An invitation
  • Paper to mount it on
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape or glue stick
  • Nontoxic yellow finger paint
  • Foam brush
  • Happy baby
  • Baby wipes
  • Frame

Baby’s first party and baby’s first handprints are a perfect pair. Add brightness and sweetness to baby’s space with this easy personalized piece.

  1. 1.Cut a center circle out of your sunshine-y invitation and mount it to a piece of paper the size of your frame with double-sided tape or a glue stick.
  2. 2.Paint baby’s handprint with yellow paint and firmly press it into the paper in a pattern so the fingers mimic the sun’s rays.
  3. 3.Wash up baby while the paint dries, then frame your masterpiece and hang it in your nursery!



NURSERY THEME #2: Sugar and Spice

The Blogger: Lauren Foster of Love Lola is a registered dietitian who lives in Greenville, South Carolina with her husband. They’re expecting a baby girl, but when it comes to sugar and spice and everything nice, they have a preference for quirky, bohemian vibes instead of the traditional frilly pink décor.

The Designer: Michelle Cortizo works in the Boston area and has 16 years of experience with helping clients tell their life story by enhancing where they live. Michelle loves color and unpredictable layered textures, and she has some fresh ideas for creating a feminine and funky space for baby.

  • Planning for the Future: My goal was to give the baby a room with a neutral backdrop and pops of color that could grow with her.
  • Think Pink: The fun but not childish pink rug was the starting point for the yellow and green accent pieces.
  • Multi-purpose Pieces: I love the idea of dual use, so I chose a timeless crib that will convert into a toddler daybed, while the dresser can double as a changing table. The owl garden stool can accompany the glider to rest a bottle or book on.
nursery theme idea 2

Home Decorators: 1. Newport Wall Mirror, 4. Chesapeake Full Panel Crib, 5. Custom Habersham Upholstered Glider, 6. Georgia Area Rug, 7. Santerno 4-Drawer Dresser, 8. Romi Pillow, 9. Beaded Wreath Applique Throw Pillow, 10. Owl Garden Stool, 11. Woven Rope Pouf Home Depot: 2. Unfinished Antler Monogram Art, 3. Feiss Maarid White Semi-Gloss Mini Chandelier Tiny Prints: Chalked Arrival Announcement (right)

Nursery Tips: Ideas for Furnishing Your Space

Baby’s first bedroom set is a significant purchase, in terms of both the importance and the investment. Our designers have some advice about how to choose nursery furniture that will help bring up baby.

“Find your star piece—whether it’s a beautiful piece of art, a fantastic light fixture or a vibrant rug—and create a room around it. The room will have a clear point of view and personality. You could really have fun with a nursery design, but the space does not have to be ‘everything baby.’ You can include a fine abstract painting or a sophisticated yet vibrant wallpaper and still achieve a delightful baby room.” — Edyta Czajkowska

“I recommend investing in a comfortable chair or glider or rocker with back support and padded arm rests. Comfort is key, as you could be spending considerable time in this chair. Consider a bookshelf nearby or a basket filled with books and/toys for story time. Don’t forget the ottoman so you can put your feet up!” — Lisa Levy


NURSERY THEME #3: Happily Ever After

The Blogger: Jessica Hughes is a personal trainer and a blogger at Happily Hughes who lives in Atlanta with her husband and two-year-old son. She is excited to add a baby girl to the family and wants a comforting, welcoming space but has no ideas on décor other than incorporating her love of unicorns.

The Designer: Merri Cvetan is the owner of MEC Design Studio in Big Bend, Wisconsin. She started her career as an interior designer when she bought the ultimate “fixer-upper”: an 1890s farmhouse. Her passion for entertaining, antiques, traveling and anything French are reflected in her design projects and blog articles featuring beautiful and affordable DIY projects.

  • A Touch of Magic: Mom-to-be had only one request: unicorns! Unicorns and pastel colors seem to go hand in hand—pretty, fantasy and girly. I suggest bringing unicorns in as accessories and fabric. You want your big investment pieces (wallpaper and upholstery) to be able to transition into the next design stage as your daughter grows up.
  • Safety First: Safety should always be top priority when decorating a nursery. A newborn won’t be crawling toward outlets, but mom and dad will be getting up during the night for feeding and changing diapers. So make a clear path to the bed, changing table and chair!
  • Make It FUNctional: Instead of a side table next to the rocking chair, purchase a nightstand that can be placed next to a twin bed. Choose one with drawers or shelves for extra storage. Also consider an ottoman with storage or bookshelves that will grow with the child.
nursery theme idea 3

Home Decorators: 2. Astoria Mirror, 7. Nighttime in the City Lamp Shade, 8. Mix & Match White Glossy Table Lamp, 9. Belice Nightstand, 10. Harper Area Rug, 13. Patten Play Crib Bedding Set Home Depot: 1. Kristen 3-Light Antique White Hanging Mini Chandelier 3. Gemstone Non-Telescoping Curtain Rod with Hourglass Embroidered Lined Curtain, 4. Atrium Clouds Wallpaper (for ceiling), 12. 4" White Unicorn Metal Wall Hook Tiny Prints: 6. Herringbone Monogram Storm Throw Blanket, Welcome with Love Announcement (right)

Nursery Tips: Must-Haves for a Safe Nursery

When you’re nuzzling a sleepy little newborn, it’s hard to imagine that there’s a pressing need for baby proofing. The problem is that it’s hard to predict when baby will develop skills, and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. The very first roll over could be off of the changing table. Our designers have some ideas and suggestions to keep baby safe and parents prepared.

“Parents should remember that their baby has no sense of danger, so you’ll have to anticipate their curiosity. Choose organic shapes rather than things with sharp corners whenever possible, use plug covers in your electrical outlets, anchor furniture like bookcases and dressers to the wall, and keep low cabinets and drawers free of anything dangerous or install baby-proof locks to keep them out.” — Julia Marchand

“Make sure that the mobiles, window coverings and lighting is out of the reach of the baby. Should anything snap, fall or be in reach, it is a choking hazard and potential strangulation issue. Lower the crib mattress to keep crib-mounted mobiles out of reach, or mount the mobile to the ceiling above the crib, making sure the hook is attached securely to a stud. Use a clutch system or easy lift option for window coverings.” — Kerrie Kelly

NURSERY THEME #4: Row, Row, Row Your Boat

The Blogger: Sarah Dussault, a health and fitness professional at Sarah Fit, knew she wanted a bright, preppy, relaxing and clutter-free space with a nautical feel for the baby boy she’s expecting in early January 2016. Her primary design challenge was maximizing storage to fit everything into her brownstone condo in Boston.

The Designer: Chicago-based interior designer Edyta Czajkowska of Edyta & Co. specializes in high-end residential projects that are vibrant, fresh and have clean lines. She has some recommendations for creating a space where the new family can feel as if life is but a dream.

  • The Color Palette: I wanted this space to feel chic, fun and cozy, and to do that I selected a color palette of blues, whites, grays, neutrals, as well as white and black.
  • Nautical Niceties: I included fun coastal elements, which the couple loves. They are reflected in the wallpaper’s coastal pattern, accent pillow sailboat motif, riveted round mirror as well as rope detail in the pouf. A large map of Boston adds a sense of place, since that is where the family lives.
  • Keeping It Clean: Clean line elements throughout the room in the furniture design, and simple light fixture shapes against touches of pattern from the wallpaper to the rug help create a fun, preppy vibe while still feeling elegant.
nursery theme idea 4

Home Decorators: 1. Starboard Wall Mirror 2. Kearney Dresser 4. Jungle Classic Mobile 5. Graphic Map of Boston Wall Art 6. Turner Occasional Tables, Set of 2 7. Walden Floor Lamp 8. Cade Crib 9. Sailboat Decorative Pillow 10. Chainlink Pillow, Set of 2, 11. Hounslow Flush Mount Ceiling Light Fixture 12. Mystic Wool Area Rug Home Depot: 3. Nautical Living Maritime Wallpaper Tiny Prints: Typewriter Stats (right)

DIY NURSERY DÉCOR:

Come Again Another Day Guest Book



WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 photo mat
  • Colored ink pads
  • Baby wipes
  • 1 felt tip pen
  • An invitation
  • Photo frame

Create a treasured art piece with your favorite people with a thumbprint-themed guest book alternative!

  1. 1.Ask your guests to leave their thumbprint along with a signature for a colorful reminder of the people who have been there since the beginning.
  2. 2.Set up a baby shower art station with the photo mat, ink pads and pen, and invite guests to press their print. These pink or blue Umbrella Wishes Tiny Prints pieces with an adorably literal take on the word “Shower” provide the perfect centerpiece for this collaborative keepsake art.



NURSERY THEME #5: Over the River and Through the Woods

The Blogger: Ashley Jones of The Accidental Olympian is a southern California native living in the Chicagoland area with her husband and two rescue dogs. They have an appreciation of wilderness that led to living in Alaska for two years, and want to incorporate their love of the mountains into their future daughter’s room.

The Designer: Julia Marchand is a first-time mom to a vivacious little 8-month-old boy. She splits her time writing for Tiny Prints with two other jobs and attempting to fix up a snug roost in rural New England. She has some ideas for bringing the outside world to baby without ever leaving the house.

  • Sweet Dreams: I selected each piece based on her distinct color scheme, a natural geographic-specific theme, and the snug innocence of a baby's first bedroom. I'm certain this tiny darling will have the sweetest dreams in her new home.
  • Plan Your Path: To help other parents design the perfect space for their new family member, I'd start by asking about their specific hopes and dreams for the little one. When designing a nursery for my son, I tried to imagine who I thought he might be. I considered the values I wanted to instill in him and then translated that into décor.
  • Star Light, Star Bright: Overhead lighting can feel harsh, so I always prefer to have at least one lamp in a room. This will feel cozier, too, when you're trying to get baby to sleep and set the mood for the safe and comfy night ahead. Night lights are going to be so helpful for middle-of-the-night checks (“Is she breathing!?”) and any puttering around you may need to do in the nursery while baby is snoozing.
nursery theme idea 5

Home Decorators: 2. Outdoor Curtain Panel 3. Three Feathers Framed Wall Art 4. Cast Iron Deer Antler Hooks, 5. Georgia Crib Bedding 6. Moose Applique Pillow, 8. Houndstooth Baskets, Grey 9. Deerfield Bachelor Chest Home Depot: 1. Artistic Weavers Bari Cream 8' Round Area Rug, 7. Southern Enterprises Kabira Oyster Polyester Upholstered Arm Chair Tiny Prints: 10. Photo Easel Art Big Photo 8" x 10" Tiny Prints: Splendid Sketches Announcement (right)

DIY NURSERY DÉCOR:

Baby Shower Building Blocks



WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 6 unfinished wood blocks
  • 1 4.25” x 6.25” invitation
  • Scrapbook paper and/or images
  • Mod Podge glue
  • Foam brush
  1. 1.Carefully measure and trim the invitation to fit the front of the blocks.
  2. 2.Using the foam brush, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge glue to the block fronts and the back of your invitation paper and apply paper to blocks. Repeat process using scrapbook paper or printed images on each side of the blocks.
  3. 3.Apply a thin top coat of Mod Podge once dry for a sealed, finished look. The Floral Ring Rose invite from Tiny Prints is perfect for an elegant shabby chic look.


The Finishing Touch

All you really need for a nursery is imagination, inspiration and a plan. It doesn’t matter if your space is big or small, your tastes traditional or unconventional, your budget ample or thrifty, you can transform a plain room into a beautiful place for your bundle of joy. Begin with a firm foundation, and don't forget to have fun with those finishing touches! Here are five ideas to get you started.

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