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Gray & Navy Nautical Nursery


Our intention with the design of our first child's nursery was to create a room that could grow with him.  We didn't want it to be too 'baby'.

Both my husband and I have grown up on the water and enjoy all the activities that go along with that lifestyle.  We wanted to reflect our love of offshore fishing and the nautical lifestyle.  Unfortunately, the majority of nautical themed nursery items are sailboat related.  Although we appreciate the beauty of sailboats, our families have never been into sailing as a hobby.  Creating a space that reflected our boating and beach lifestyle, required a little more creativity on my part.

Design Inspiration

I took my design inspiration for traditional Southern  and cottage rooms, with the wainscoting and simple white , shabby chic furniture.  For the nautical nursery, I was inspired by Bill & Guiliana Rancic's mature nautical nursery for their son, Duke.

Decorating Style

My husband and I have a traditional, classic Southern style.  We believe in big front porches, crown molding, big windows, antiques, silver and china pieces passed down through the generations.

Project Details

I am fortunate to be married to a handy man husband.  He installed the wainscot and chair rail trim on the walls of the nursery.  We used four foot sheets of bead board and the chair rail made with a lip to go over the top of the bead board.  This makes it easier because the top of your bead board doesn't have to be caulked or cut as clean.

One of the first design decisions we made for the nursery was to include an 'adult' sized bed in the space.  We quickly determined the only bed that would fit our space would be a day bed style, so it could double as a seating area.  We love the bed that we found because it can repurposed as Ben's 'big boy' bed at some point in the future.

The throw pillows were purchased from the following:

  • Glider pillow - Pottery Barn Kids (no longer available)
  • Navy Anchor Pillows & Quilt - Marshalls
  • Large White Pillow - Marshalls
  • Ships Wheel Pillows - Joss & Main
  • Compass Rose Pillow & Small Anchor Pillow - One King's Lane

The La-Z-Boy rocking chair was one of the first pieces that I purchased for the nursery.  I found it at Marshalls for a steal.  I love the texture that it adds to the room with the corduroy fabric and the perfect blue-gray color.

We selected the crib and changing table to match the existing furniture that we had to use for the nursery (the corner cabinet, dresser and end table that we had re-painted and distressed).

I will say the changing table was quite labor intensive for assembly, but as I said, my husband is quite the handy man and made short work of it. We couldn't just leave our changing table as it came out of the box.  We added an appropriate nautical brass plate, dubbing the changing table the 'Poop Deck'.  It's been quite fitting with our experience so far!  We also added our own compass rose knobs that I found at Anthropologie instead of the plain white ones that came with table.

Over the changing table we added a nautical themed mobile.  I found this single strand fish mobile on another discount home website  One Kings Lane and gathered three at different heights to create the mobile.  We also received the swing shelf from Pottery Barn Kids and which holds various nautical themed canisters from Marshalls to hold small toys.

Our crib bedding is from Pottery Barn Kids.   Fortunately, our chosen theme is fairly popular right now so we had several nautical options.  We ended up deciding on the Harper Collection in navy, a pop of nautical with these anchor & life preserver sheets.

I had the idea of putting a 'No Wake Zone' sign over the crib.  For any non-boaters, a No Wake Zone sign means to slow down to a speed where your boat isn't throwing off waves as to disturb other boats, generally in a harbor or high traffic area.  But in this case there would be a double meaning, placing it over the crib, adding a little playfulness to the space.  I found a sign in a style that I liked on Pinterest and was able to find the artist on Etsy and have her customize the sign in colors to go with our nursery.

The artwork over the day bed was inspired by frames I found at Micheal's that mimicked the pattern of the wainscoting.  I knew a set of four would fit the wall space that we had.  I decided on a combination of typographical art and old fishing photographs of Ernest Hemingway.  I created the 'sayings' art work in Word with two of the most nursery appropriate nautical sayings, one of which is the slogan of my all time favorite Outer Banks restaurant, Sam & Omies.

Some other items that we found include a nautical trashcan from discount housewares website Joss & Main. It's a fabric cover, so if some major catastrophe happens, it can be washed or even stuck on another plastic trashcan.  The lamp on the dresser was purchased from Marshalls and is by Lane furniture.  The fisherman's lamp on the end table by the rocker was a shower gift from Pottery Barn Kids.

The nautical birth announcement on the end table was a gift from a friend that does calligraphy.  You can find her shop on Etsy.


Favorite Items

My favorite item in the nursery is the rocking chair.  I fell in love with it the minute I saw it and now I will cherish all of the memories of rocking my son while watching butterflies and humming birds on the bush outside the window.


Start early and shop frequently.  You never  know when or where you will come across items that interest you!  Mixing high end and discount pieces is a great way to design on a budget.


Saturday 20th of January 2018

what color is the gray on your walls? I love it!


Tuesday 24th of March 2015

I love your nursery...we too are big into offshore fishing (so hard to not find sailing stuff)! My husband is a boat captain on a 58' Viking Sportfisher. I love the phrase pictures that you made... I'd love to get them from you in PDFs or if your could tell me the font you used to make them, I'd be so appreciative!

Amber Powers

Saturday 31st of August 2013

For your "Work like a captain..." Your A and I got interchanged and instead spelled captain as captian.


Thursday 24th of October 2013

I couldn't get past that either.