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How to Use Heirlooms in Your Nursery

Your baby’s nursery is much more than cute patterns and a thoughtfully placed diaper genie.  Your nursery is where you will create the first memories of your new family.  You will spend hours feeding, burping, cooing and bonding inside those four walls.  At Little Crown Interiors, we think it is important to incorporate family heirlooms and sentimental items into your nursery.  Adding sentimentality to your space will give you a daily reminder of what you loved about your own childhood, and what you want to create for your own little bundle.  We all have a variety of hand-me-downs, special knick-knacks and crumbling photographs of Great Grandma, but how do we make use of them in the nursery?

In the nursery below, there is a beautiful hand-knitted prayer from baby’s Great Grandma framed above the changing table.  The cloth itself is very traditional while the nursery decor is contemporary.  To make the two flow together, we had the prayer matted and put into a more contemporary frame.  It also sits on a modern metal shelf.  Dangling below the shelf are five vintage toys that each belonged to Mom or Dad.

Our client from the colorful nursery below had a wonderful set of antique playing cards that belonged to her Grandmother.  She told us how she remembered playing games with them as a child.  We asked her to choose a few of her favorites and we had them framed and hung as artwork above the crib.  When framing anything paper, make sure to use acid-free matting and go easy on the tape.

In the glamorous nursery below, the homeowner had her family and friends each decorate a onesie at her baby shower.  Instead of throwing them in a closet, she opted to have them framed as artwork in the nursery.  To make them fit with the design, we backed each piece with the fabric we used on the crib bedding.   The onesies were especially important to her because many of her family members live far away.  Now she has a daily reminder of all the people she loves and how much they all love her new baby!

If your hand-me-down is a bit more substantial, like furniture, you can still make use of it in your nursery!  The dresser in the nursery below was a family heirloom and the homeowner wanted to re-purpose it as a changing table.  We had the old scratches buffed out, added some whimsical handles and voila! – a vintage yet kid-friendly dresser.

Remember, heirlooms are invaluable, so treat them with care.  If something is breakable, put it far from baby’s reach.  Take old photos to a professional framer to ensure the proper framing materials.  Be careful about placing original watercolors or prints near a window that gets sunlight.  Make sure any old toys are clean and don’t have any broken or missing parts.

Happy memory making!

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Tuesday 2nd of March 2010

We love hearing everyone's stories! Jamie, your nursery is wonderful. Love the color combo of yellow and orange with what looks like gray on the walls. -Naomi Little Crown Interiors


Thursday 18th of February 2010

We had a similar challenge in our son Fionn's room - a large piece of furniture handed down from my husband's grandfather which had to remain in the nursery. We ended up incorporating it into the room's design and it really gives the nursery a sense of warmth and history amid the modern furnishings. See here, as featured on Ohdeedoh! . I cover the same issue on my blog as well - I truly believe that vintage and modern furnishings together play up the strengths of each other.