Jane's nursery is her own little magical retreat inside our small NYC apartment. From the handpainted mural above the crib to the DIY butterfly mobile over the changing table to her special "Dear Jane" quilt, the room is full of things that family and friends made just for her, hoping to warm her heart and spark her imagination. We tied all these handmade pieces together with a bright and pretty aqua-and-coral color scheme.
As soon as we found out I was pregnant, my husband and I knew we wanted to paint a mural for our baby's nursery. I decided that aqua-painted walls would look enough like a blue sky to make a good background for a mural, but would also be fun and bright enough to suit my cheerful, quirky decorating style in the rest of the room.
Once we'd decided to paint the walls aqua, I kept wanting to add coral details. I got a lot of design inspiration from coral and aqua nurseries on Project Nursery and on Pinterest. I struggled for a while with how strict my color scheme should be. But my husband and I also wanted our mural to be colorful, like the pages of our favorite children's books--something that could provoke questions and inspire stories as our little girl grew. So I decided to let color in, but to make sure coral and aqua remained dominant colors in the composition. In addition to the aqua paint for the whole room, I bought a gallon of coral interior housepaint and used it throughout the room--on the dresser, the diaper caddies, a picture frame, a wooden "J" hanging from the crib mobile--as well as for major elements in the mural.
I love bold colors and quirky details. I have a weakness for DIY projects and over-the-top girliness: my solution to most decorating problems is a new coat of paint and maybe an animal-print slipcover. I have a sentimental attachment to family heirlooms and to presents made by friends and relatives. And bookshelves are always a big part of any room I decorate--no matter how many books I give away, I always end up with more than I have room for!
All furniture is IKEA, except for the rocking chair and footrest.
Dresser: TARVA Chest
Changing Table: HEMNES
Side Table: HEMNES
Shelving Unit: EXPEDIT
Ceiling Lamp: SKOJIG
Night Light: SPÖKA
Rocking Chair and Footrest: Family Heirlooms
Fabric on Chair and Footrest: Laura Ashley coral-print upholstery fabric ordered from Osgood's Textiles in Springfield, MA
Aqua Paint (walls, dresser knobs): Benjamin Moore Tropicana Cabana
Coral Paint (dresser, diaper caddies, ballet shoes frame, mural, mobile): Benjamin Moore Coral Gables
Rug: Land of Nod
Crib Skirt and Pink Quilt: Land of Nod Mosaic Paisley
Fitted Sheet: Etsy seller ModFox
Changing Pad Cover: Etsy seller Designs By Christy
Knobs on Changing Table: Anthropologie
Petal Hooks: Anthropologie
Coral Pillows: Beach House Linens
Brocade Pillows; Laundry and Wastepaper Baskets: Marshalls Home Goods
Pig Humidifier: Crane
Diaper Caddies: Target, painted with Coral Gables paint
Letterpress Poem Broadside: Poem by Marisa Crawford from her chapbook 8th Grade Hippie Chic
Ballet Shoes Print: Design Slinger Studio
Goldfish Clock: Karlsson Peekaboo
Curtain (without fringe): Pottery Barn
Ball Fringe: Dove Originals Trim
Curtain Rod: Amazon
Dress Hangers: Trend Lab
Rabbit Brush and Comb Set: Skip Hop Hare Brush & Comb
Bunny Plate: Sur La Table
Chevron Frame: Jonathan Adler
Crib Mobile: Felt animals made by a family friend in 1980; mobile frame and ribbon ordered from Amazon
DIY Projects: (links are to instructions where available)
Mural painted by us using Liquitex Basics acrylic paint and Benjamin Moore interior latex paint
Dear Jane Quilt: Jane's grandmother
Tree of Life Painting: My Father
I love the way the mural came out--the bright colors and simple, childlike shapes always catch Jane's eye and make her smile. And it reminds me of the hours and days my husband and I spent working on it while we were waiting for Jane to arrive--it really was a labor of love!
Jane and I also love the changing table--my sister-in-law made the butterfly mobile, and it keeps Jane entranced long enough for us to change her diaper, even now that she's old enough to be pretty squirmy! And I love how the Etsy cover looks with the ceramic Anthropologie drawer pulls--it's amazing how a few details like these can transform a utilitarian Ikea dresser into something really special.
And I really loved everything that our family and friends made for Jane! It's kind of impossible to choose between them all.
When you're working within a budget, buy inexpensive furniture or make use of hand-me-downs, then customize with paint, hardware, and fabric. (Just make sure everything meets current safety standards for infants!) Since our mural made such a big visual statement on one wall, it made sense for us to get a pretty simple white crib, for example. Then invest in a few high-impact pieces, especially if you really love them--I spent a little more on the Anthropologie hardware, the upholstery fabric for the rocking chair, the Etsy changing pad cover, and the rug, because they were all things that I kept thinking about after I saw them. Don't be afraid to accept help from talented friends and family members. Get your partner involved in your DIY projects-- working on the mural together is one of my fondest memories of my pregnancy. If you're not comfortable painting a freehand mural, you could still paint the room together, or paint a stencil or apply some wall art!