seven ways to a great nursery space

26 Jan

Eames hack chair

I’ve had this post on the back burner for a while, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that five months away from the office does a number on your writing skills…
If only to answer the question, ‘why another design blog?’ to myself, I tasked myself with jotting down a list of guiding principles and beliefs about nursery interior design. I hope this (non-exhaustive) list will inspire parents and parents-to-be to think of decorating their kid’s room as something fun and exhilarating, instead of boring, daunting or intimidating.

As an homage to my old friends at work (you know who you are), here are my Seven Ways to a Great Nursery Space:

1. Mix it up
Besides Donatella Versace, who else wears one designer head to toe? Why would you do that to a room? Decorative and practical, Eames and Ikea, old and new – the contrast is what makes everything in your room feel more special, more unique, and more personal.

2. Embrace your history
Think that old sideboard from Grandma Stella won’t work in a baby’s room? Think again. If you’re lucky enough to be able to share things your grandparents grew up with, don’t think twice. You’ll have a great story, a lived-in feeling and the start of an eclectic collection. Besides, nothing makes a room feel more sterile and unfriendly than matchy-matchy and shiny-new. Things are going to get nicked, scratched, and scribbled on soon enough… you might as well get a head start.

Personalized family tree by Sarah Jane Studio, Mahar Drygoods $50

3. Share your passions
What’s’ your style? Classic? Ultra-modern? Shabby chic? Go for it. Do you have a collection? Use it. Before they become old enough to have their own passions, yours will do just fine. I strongly believe that passion is infectious, and the things that inspire you will inspire them too.

Tessek’s R2-D2 collection, on Flickr

4. Small space = great opportunity

I know it’s different in other parts of the US. But where I live, it’s not uncommon that a ‘nursery’ is really the walk-through part of a railroad flat, or the back wall of a home office. That’s why it’s especially important to love everything you put in your home. It means that you’ll never buy anything you feel ‘meh’ about.

“Tightwad Tips” from Green Baby Guide

5. Never underestimate storage
Really a continuation of the point above. Because no matter how much room you have, you’ll always need more. Although it’s more the norm than the exception at my house, a messy, cluttered room really stresses me out. Great storage is the ultimate mood-lifter, like leaving the salon after a great haircut, or returning to a room after housekeeping’s been there. Luckily, there’s an entire cottage industry devoted to making the most of one’s storage space, and there are tons of tricks to keep kid-stuff clutter to a minimum.

Under-steps storage, Vogue Living Australia

5. See the world beyond pink and blue

It drives me crazy when a child’s room is so removed from the rest of the decor of the house. Soothing hues are fantastic, but they don’t have to be basic. Consider that the Pantone solid color palette contains 1,114 colors. That’s a lot of choices. So think this way – what’s YOUR favorite color? What’s the color of your favorite throw pillow? Or crib sheet? Or silkscreen print? Find an inspiration point and THEN make it kid-friendly.

“George Clooney” color palette by Seduction Theory, ColourLovers

7. Invest in what really matters

As mentioned in previous posts, sometimes there are things you want to save money on. And there are other things you want to spend on. The trick is in maintaining a balance between the two. To illustrate point one, do you really love Serena and Lily bedding? Then how about trying it with an Ikea Gulliver crib? Are you planning on spending hours in the rocking chair? Then maybe the Luca (below) isn’t such a crazy idea. Just try going easy on something else to balance it out.

Monte Design Luca glider $945

Lastly, there’s something that goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. No matter what you do/buy/design/decorate, quality and safety should be of utmost importance. Try the chemical-free paint, get the highly-rated crib, and do your best to think about the child who’s about to live in this new room of yours. To that end, I can’t recommend Baby Bargains and Consumer Reports highly enough.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: