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Incorporating Vintage in the Nursery—Should You or Shouldn’t You?

Including a vintage piece or two in a nursery design can add character and charm. The vintage market is bustling right now, especially for Mid-Century Modern pieces. I use a vintage piece every now and then in a design, and it’s always a fun process. I was contacted by one of my favorite online vintage retailers, Chairish, and they asked me to put together a mid-century modern nursery design using only vintage pieces from their Mid-Century Modern collection. That’s certainly something I’ve never done before, mostly because of some of the safety issues you can read about below, but I was up for the challenge!

I kept the wall color and rug fairly neutral and the rest of the palette bright and fresh, so it wouldn’t feel like the back room of an old antique shop. My personal favorite is the set of brass seagulls over the crib. I just so happen to have something very similar in my living room, and they are glorious.

Mid-Century Modern Nursery Design Board | Little Crown InteriorsBrass Seagulls | Globe Sputnik Chandelier | Children’s Chairs | Pink Painting | City Scape Painting | Dog Painting | Cockatoo Lamp | Brass Dog Figurine | Ceramic Horse Figurine | Dresser | Sheep Ottoman | Wooden Toy Dog | Ottoman Stool | Swivel Chair | Side Table | Gold Halo Lamp | Green Round Pillow | Color Block Pillow | Turkish Rug

Here comes the safety speech…

Are Vintage Items Safe for a Nursery? Maybe. There are definitely some considerations here, and you should do your own research when making this decision on a piece by piece basis. My two biggest concerns with vintage pieces are structural integrity and lead paint or chemical varnishes. Make sure that anything you buy doesn’t have any cracks, bows or other problems (think about your child climbing and pulling on everything). Then check all the materials and finishes (think about your child putting everything in their mouth). You can buy lead paint test kits at the hardware store. Any upholstery or textile items should be thoroughly cleaned.

Is a Vintage Crib Safe? No. I tend to always be overly cautious here. It’s pretty likely that any truly vintage crib will not be up to current safety standards, let alone still be in good enough shape to maintain its structural integrity. Then there’s the issue of finishes like lead paint or chemical varnishes that are no longer used in the children’s furniture industry. I would never recommend that anyone purchase a used crib (and this goes for hand-me-downs and heirlooms too).

(The crib that’s shown above is used but not vintage. It’s this model that’s only a few years old and meets all of the current safety standards. However, I would still err on the side of caution and purchase a new crib because you just never know what a used piece has been through.)





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