When I was pregnant, my husband and I transformed the ugliest room in our house, a small beige-on-beige spare room we had used for storage, into our son’s beautifully inviting nursery. As I sat in the middle of the vanilla box of a room, next to the mysterious carpet stain that had been there when we moved in, I pondered, how can we create a peaceful but playful space? What can we do that will be perfect for our newborn baby but will also age well as he grows? How can we maximize the organization of the room so everything has a place? How can we charge our baby’s space with cheerfulness and positivity? And how can we do all of the above on a budget?
Inspired, I sketched a rough design of what the room looked like in my daydreams (turns out it did not match the reality of the dimensions of the room whatsoever...ha!). I developed a color palette of blues, whites, and pops of bright color. We did not know the sex of our baby until he was born, so we aimed for gender neutral.
The wallpaper mural of the coast, that looks like an actual photo of our local beach, served as the focal point, and inspiration for the room. My husband painted the walls a crisp white to compliment the mural, and painted the interior doors and closet a glossy tropical aqua to add some pizzazz. The extra aqua paint was used to paint several Ikea spice racks that we fashioned into bookshelves (thanks Ikea Hacks on Pinterest). We had the carpet removed and replaced with Red Oak. We replaced the dated ceiling fan and fluorescent closet light with affordable modern fixtures.
Organization was super important to the design, so we installed a sleek custom Ikea PAX storage unit, equipped with two wardrobes for hanging clothes, drawers, and tons of nooks for books and toys. We wanted the unit to be future proof, so we considered what our baby would need now, and 10 years from now (hence the full-size shoe rack and removable second tier clothes rack).
We didn’t want to spend too much money on the temporary things, so we opted for a simple modern crib, changing table, and a no-frills rocking chair (that fit both of our butts together so we can sit and read as a family). We painted the rocker legs white to tie in with our color palette. We layered in whimsical touches, like colorful hanging hot air balloons, custom lemon-patterned roman blackout shades, and a hand-stitched nautical mobile. We gave our baby the mailbox from our wedding, for the letters we would write him each year. A 5-button outlet remote controls all of the lights in the room individually, so at night the soft sleepy glow of the marquee dream light is only a click away. Every detail was considered, from the art on the wall, to the crystal ball closet door knob, glittery light switch plate, and tiny velvet hangers. Everything was chosen to have a sparkle of sweetness. The messages are all intentional, “don’t worry be happy”, “dream” and “love”, all things we wish for our sweet baby boy! I’m happy to report that he loves his room!