Welcome to the first post for our brand new series: Nursery Culture – because a nursery is so much more than just bedding and artwork!
A child’s room is the perfect place to teach: about family, values, heritage, culture… – all the things that gain importance, as we become parents. Today, here are some ideas for designing your child’s room using cultural (and stylish) influences from around the world. Our first stop: China. (Hey! Don’t stop reading if China is not in your cultural background – you can use these same basic concepts for any culture!)
For starters: what would a Chinese-inspired nursery be without a little Feng Shui? Here are a few pointers:
– Keep a ceiling or floor fan on low for constant energy flow.
– Don’t hang a mirror directly opposite a sharp edge or corner.
– Do not place flowers or plants in the space that are wilting.
– Appease the elements – try to make use of the five elements: wood, earth, metal, water, fire (but please, no real fires in the nursery!)
– Keep the nursery clean and clutter free to allow for positive “chi”.
– If possible, place the crib on a wall with no other doors (bathroom or closet) and ideally directly across from the entry door.
The Culture of Color: Chinese design is known for bold, saturated colors. However, painting your nursery cherry red probably isn’t the best idea. Stick with a bold color in a lighter shade with a touch of gray (think jewel tones) like plum, emerald green, cobalt blue or amber.
Playing With Patterns: Typical Chinoiserie styles include whimsical patterns, noticeable brush strokes (like calligraphy) and nature representation. Printed fabrics have themes like paper fans, dragons, and dragonflies. A more simplified version of these themes can be used in the nursery, like the cherry blossom wall decal shown below.
Thinking About Shape: The sloping shape of the Pagoda is probably the most recognizable shape in Chinese culture. Ornate carving is also common as well as an emphasis on horizontality. If using a stripe, use it horizontally and at a lower visual point in the room. This helps relax the eye and makes for a more peaceful atmosphere.
Getting a Grip on Texture: Wouldn’t we all love to have every fabric in our nursery made of 100% buttery silk with impeccable embroidery? Well, it would be beautiful, but not so practical. To achieve a similar style, look for fabrics that are cotton or polyester that have a sheen or satin finish. Faux silks are almost as good as the real thing these days. If you’re using anything with embroidery, make sure the thread is cotton or poly as well.
Every Culture has Tradition: The Chinese calendar plays a very important role in a new birth. Celebrate the year your child was born by showcasing some artwork with the appropriate year (the ones shown below are Year of the Monkey and Year of the Rabbit). In case you were wondering, 2010 is Year of the Tiger.
Use Your Words: The Chinese written language is beautiful and rich with culture. Use it in the nursery as art – have a calligraphy name plate made or hang a picture with the Chinese characters for “Love” or “Life”.
As always, let us know what you think & give us your ideas of your own “nursery culture” by posting your comments. And, remember we will be here to give you a regular dose of inspiration – because a nursery is so much more than just bedding and artwork!