Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Room of the Month - The Nursery

Each year Presbyterian Hospital of Plano bestows upon one lucky child the honor of being the first child born in the new year.  I have to admit that it is a secret indulgence of mine to follow those babies.  Admit it.  You like to see them too!  Those cute little red faces with slits of eyes and a worn out momma smiling from ear to ear.  It’s really quite sweet.  With all this hoopla, it just makes sense to follow suit and have our first 2011 Room of the Month to be the Nursery.

Some of you may recall that earlier this year (or should I say in 2010), I had the distinct honor of decorating a room for my spectacular niece on the birth of their first child.  I was in heaven -- with ducks and green and baby stuff. Although that was several months ago, there are some things that I have learned about decorating a nursery along the way.
1) ASK FOR HELP – A nursery can be overwhelming for many reasons-- namely that this is the first official room that most young parents will are actually going to buy furniture for in their home.  The options are endless and quite frankly too many.  I have seen some over- the-top themed rooms and ugly nurseries in my time and it’s quite uncomfortable from a design standpoint.  Excitement for the baby does not equal good taste.  Ask for help.  Save pictures from magazines.  Enlist family and friends and ask them for their unbiased opinions.  Ask, ask. ask! 

Check out one this book on children’s room by my favorite designer, Kelly Wearstler and her friend Susanna Salk.

2) AVOID YELLOW – Although very sunny and extremely happy to us adults, it has been proven that babies tend to cry more when they are in yellow rooms. (I learned this in my color class last quarter).  Given that yellow is the first color that we see and it’s the same color that all colors lean toward when one’s sight starts to fade, yellow is nothin’ but trouble at the beginning of life.  (Yellow should also be avoided in nursing homes as well.)  Let me tell you a tale from my own life to expound more on this yellow phenomenon.  We painted our first son’s room yellow and then he had colic.  Why didn’t someone tell me?  It was brutal.  If passing on yellow is not an option, then use in small doses like in the picture below to avoid an all out cryfest on your hands. 

3) PICK A DIFFERENT COLOR.  Decide on a main color -- preferably something soothing and then dig for an accent color to coordinate.  If you are not having an kind of luck finding the color of your choice, choose an oversized print for the wall and then pull from that.  Take the following example from Domino magazine.  Notice how the map is the focal point of this wall and that the orange accent is brought in with the storage.  Tidy, smart and whimsical.  
4) PAINT IS YOUR FRIEND.   Budgets are tight with a new one but not creativity.  Hand me down furniture is the best along with a good coat of paint.  That old dresser covered with a fresh coat of jazzy color with new knobs thrown in for good measure is just what your baby ordered.   Old frames also receive new life with a fresh coat to coordinate with the accent color.  Chandeliers, headboards and old desks all fit the bill for reusing older pieces in a fresh way.
I suggested a similar color of orange to my niece Leah when she painted her dresser.

5) DON’T FORGET MOMMMY – Since Mom (and on weekends Dad) is going to be spending beaucoup of time in this little person faciltity, it’s very important that Mommy feel comfy in the room as well.  A good rocking chair with ottoman that fits both you and baby comfortably is of utmost importance.  Spend more money there is needed.  You are going to be there alot.  Make certain to add a bit of glam with a glitzy chandelier and some sort of mirror.  (Babies love to star at themselves and it brightens up the place.)  All this adds up to a room that is both parent and child friendly.
The sophistication of this baby room is balanced with the light hearted stuffies of bears and more bears throughout the room.

6) AVOID THE THEME  - Do not count on your son being in the NFL when you go to buy your furnishings.  The chances are slim unless of course your husband is in the NFL in which case, deck it out!  Avoid the themes.  Purchase a few special items to place in the room that you would like to see your child love eventually but keep it to a minimum. (despite what all the stores would have you buy...)  Your child will become their own person soon enough complete with an opinion.  Let the room take on the personality of the child as that child grows into their special person.  Then you won’t have a choice!
No theme here...but so fun! 
Tommy Hilfiger pulls it off here, but remember the majority of us can’t get to a theme like this without being cheesy.  Also, we don’t have Tommy’s checkbook either.

7) GO WITH INEXPENSIVE CARPET OR RUGS– Your new baby deserves a great nursery, but remember your baby is still just that - a baby.  They are going to spit up, throw up and pee on the carpet.  This could go on for a few years….so keep that in mind when shelling out money for a new rug or carpet.  Love the simple one in this photo and how red is used as a great accent.
 8)  BOOKS!  - Every parent commits to reading to their child.  Be sure to have a place for books, whether it be a bookshelf or baskets.  Also remember that books make great accents.  You can tear out pictures of your favorite childhood books and frame them for your wall (visit your local half price book store for used books and frame them in odd numbers).  They also look great stacked on a bookshelf or dresser, maybe even with a stuffed friend on top. I like how they mixed frames, accessories and animals friends with the books on this shelf.
 9) TOYS – Bring in the toys!  They make great accent pieces and kids loved playing with them.  The oversized stuffed bear and rocking horse will work wonders if you figure out how to best use it in the room.
10 ) THINK AHEAD.  Baby grows up very quickly so consider how the room might morph as your baby turns into a child or even a young adult.  Although this might be several years down the road, plan for the long haul.  If something changes, good for you.  If nothing changes, good for you. Either way, you win.
I love how they used these bookshelves…perfect layout of a twin bed down the road too.

So, for now I will put my nursery urges to the side in favor of a more tranquil night time routine.  Take some advice from one mom to another mom - concentrate on the baby and the room will take care of itself.  You will discover the truly important pieces of the puzzle with time.  Listen to others and ask.  All of us moms are with you!  And remember...no yellow.

Happy baby-

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