I have been wanting to write this post for quite some time. I will say first I learned most of my knowledge of decorating from my sister, my friends Linda and Carlyn, and the Domino Book of Style. I am definitely not trained in design and therefore no expert, but here are my tips. Feel free to comment and add your own.
1. Start collecting photos and ideas of design elements that are meaningful to you, that you love and are inspired by. I use an actual binder but pinterest is another great way to do this. It’s so fun to research the web, blogs, magazines and other friends brains to get ideas!
2. If possible, find some kind of focal or design point (or points) that you want to work around. This can be a particular color palette, textile, painting or piece of furniture (etc.). For me, when we started working on Gray’s nursery, it was a particular picture my sister-in-law painted and a fabric I fell in love with. It’s okay to plan your nursery in a style/palette that is similar to the rest of your house. You don’t have to have the typical “themed” nursery. Think about your particular style…are your more traditional, modern, cozy, bohemian, elegant, eclectic, etc? Do you want to include these elements in your nursery? I love the idea of having a piece of art that you just love become your main focus of the design scheme.
(Like if we ever have a girl, I already know I will want an adorable Kim Schuessler painting for her room!)
3. Make a plan-a floor plan and a furniture plan. There are only a few necessities for a nursery, namely a crib and some form of changing table. And then there are the niceties, like a plush glider, dresser, rug, etc. You need to know what you need and have room for in the space.
4. Set a budget. You don’t want to fall in love with a crazy expensive piece of furniture or a Madeline Weinrib textile if they are out of your budget. For our nursery, we were on a pretty tight budget. BUT you can be creative. For instance, I always wanted the Stokke crib. I loved that it was oval and different from anything I had ever seen. So, I found one that had been used once and was discounted. Also, when walking in to my (most) favorite baby boutique, I noticed they had a staged a nursery with matelasse curtains. They looked something like this:
Then, I remembered my mom had some from our old guest room. They were in great shape and worked perfectly! I honestly took a million shortcuts to save money, most of the furniture was from IKEA (great place for kids furniture) and I really think the room turned out great!
5. Think about your color palette. (It doesn’t have to be pink, blue or yellow). Is there a specific color range you want or need to used based on any design elements you have picked out? Or is there some flexibility? It may be a good idea to start collecting paint samples and samples of textiles, fabric swatches etc. Include these in your design binder. Also, think about textures. (Especially in the case of a rug, you don’t want something hard like seagrass).
6. Narrow down your options. Make a list of the pieces you want keep based on your floor plan and budget. See how all your choices come together. Think about important elements you might be missing. Remember, things like lighting and storage are important in a nursery. (Babies seriously require A LOT of storage. Baskets might be your new best friend!)
7. Get to work! You may even need to give yourself a time line. I totally had nesting fever from 20 weeks on, but its a good idea to have things ready by week 32 or so. Remember, if you have to order something, it can take upwards of 6 weeks! (like in the case of our glider!)
**Be sure to double-check safety guidelines as you plan your nursery. For instance, better not to put your crib in front of a window. Also, did you know doctors are now recommending you NOT use a crib bumper?