Creating a nursery for our first child to enjoy beyond the infant stages of her life. My wife helped with this but due to her busy work schedule (she is a nurse) and strict exercise routine, most of the work was left to me. I am certainly not an expert designer, and I realize it is far from perfect, but I did the best I could with what I had - a somewhat limited budget, a tiny room with poor lighting and (yuck) berber carpet.
The room was painted dark yellow with a burgandy/red accent wall, and felt very small and confined. It did not look anything like a girl's nursery, so we knew we wanted to do something with it. Being new at this, I only knew one thing for sure: I wanted to stay far far away from hokey designs, Disney characters, and princessy pinks. I decided I liked the general style of PB Kids and picked the Hayley bedding as my inspiration.
Tasteful color schemes, traditional furniture, unique decorative items.
I'm an amateur, so I trust the professionals.
Both of us are super busy, every day of the week, with full time jobs, sports, and other activities. Like I said, if we could, we would buy everything from a boutique but we cannot afford the time, energy, or cost to do so. Instead, we rely on stores like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, and Peir 1 which offer some great options if you are willing to allow some time between purchases - and will spend some time in those hole-in-the-wall boutiques if/when we come across one.
The only DIY tip that I can offer is to utilize some sort of computer program to design your room before you get started. What I did is drew the room in Adobe Illustrator, and then collected sample images of all the items I liked, and placed them in the room. You're not going to get all of the angles perfect but it works well enough. I will upload mine as an example.
The mirror we found at some boutique in Rehoboth, DE, the bedding is from PB Kids, and the swivel/rocking chair we found on clearance at a local furniture shop.
I am also proud of the crown moulding I put up. It took some mitering assistance from a friend but, it was something I wanted to do from the get go and was happy with the way it came out.
I don't really think I am the right person to be giving advice, but would recommend settling on a color scheme (hopefully something tasteful) and mix/match items that fit the scheme.