I’m delighted to welcome back Hollie who recently shared her top tips for having a baby on a budget. She’s here today to tell us about the nursery that she and her husband have created in advance of their first born’s arrival. It looks absolutely gorgeous, an idea space for a future bookworm! Hopefully we’ll be hearing more from Hollie before the little one makes an appearance.
We moved into this house when I was 21 weeks pregnant, so after the unpacking was done the next job on the list was to get the nursery ready.
Despite the fact that our house is rented, our landlady was kind enough to give us the go ahead to paint until our heart was content – which is just as well given the state that the room was in to begin with!
It’s fair to say that it was something of a dumping ground and a bit of a non-entity as a room. The tenants before us used it to store luggage and other bits and bobs in, which is hardly surprising given the array of random items that had been left behind by the landlady.
The first task was clearing the room and finding homes for the assortment of junk that it housed – two large wooden doors, a huge clothes rail and an enormous dark wardrobe to name but a few. Sadly I don’t have a ‘before’ photo to share with you, but you’ll just have to use your imagination. The neglected feel was only compounded by the fact that the room hadn’t been decorated for donkey’s years and the paint was in a terrible state, not least because there had been some major leakage (so bad that the roof was replaced), but the walls had been left as they were.
When we looked around the house prior to renting it, I was sure that it would make a lovely nursery, but by the time we moved in (and my hormones had notched up a gear!), I really started to worry that we couldn’t we couldn’t make a lovely little room for our baby. It felt dark, neglected and a little bit depressing.
Not the best starting point I’m sure you’ll agree.
The first main decision we made was on the (very rough) colour scheme. As we don’t know the sex of our baby we knew that it had to be something neutral. Personally I wanted something a bit more ‘exciting’ than a cream/oatmeal/beige combination and instead we opted for apple white paint with a variety of brighter colours as accents, such as the curtains, prints on the walls and bedding. I’m also not very keen on the matchy-matchy style of nurseries where everything is coordinated, which meant we could be more flexible on things we could buy or make ourselves.
All our main nursery furniture is from Ikea as we knew we wanted plain white and it seemed insane to spend a fortune on it if we didn’t have to (I talked about this in my budget post). We also decided not to go for a matching set and instead picked a cot, chest of drawers and changing unit/bookcase that went together but didn’t ‘match’. The main reason is that while we loved the changing unit that later becomes a bookcase, this set came with a wardrobe, which we felt wouldn’t be as useful as drawers for newborn clothes. Likewise, while we were in store we discovered a cot for the same price that could later become a cot bed (by having one side removed), a feature that wasn’t offered on the cot that was included in the original set.
At first we weren’t too sure how they would all look together, but once in place and dressed up a little, they look lovely and you would hardly notice. We changed the plain black handles that came with the chest of drawers to make it a little more baby-friendly and after much searching settled on these hand-painted animal ones from Etsy. They were a little splurge, but they really have personalised them and we’ve had so many comments on them!
Bedding and Soft Furnishings
I will confess here, the nursery bedding was a bit of a splurge (a big splurge in my husband’s eyes) as we went for the Mamas and Papas Rosie and Rex range in the end. It was so hard to find neutral stuff, but in bright and pretty colours! Thankfully we did go to the M&P’s outlet at Cheshire Oaks, but still the less said about the price the better… Despite that I absolutely love it, and think the cot looks so gorgeous and cosy now that it’s all in place.
The other soft furnishings we have are the curtains and a rug (which sadly can’t really be seen in any of the photos).
Curtains were another thing that I struggled with for a while. The main reason was that I didn’t want them to match the bedding as anything non-matching would look a bit out of place. My lovely Mum came to rescue and offered to make the curtains for us if we found some material we liked – sounds simple, but even that took a long time mainly because I refused to pay £20 per meter for fabrics that I liked! In the end good old Ikea came to the rescue again with some lovely curtain material for less than half the price of fabrics I liked less.
Decorations and Accessories
This is the part that we had most fun with as it really let us put some personality into the room, rather than it looking just like it could be anyone’s nursery. It really was amazing the difference having some prints on the walls made to the feel of the room!
For the some of the wall decorations we again called in some favours from our soon-to-be baby’s grandparents. My husband’s Dad drew the gorgeous pictures of characters from Winnie the Pooh, which we just put in these Matalan frames. I love that we have something so personal for our baby, and while we could have gone out and bought something similar it wouldn’t have meant nearly so much to any of us if we’d done that instead.
Thanks to the previous water damage in the room there were still a few marks that we couldn’t get rid of, so we opted to cover them with some fun paper pom poms from Pearl and Earl, which I personally think have worked really well.
And last we come to my favourite part of the nursery, the part that I like to call the ‘reading corner’. This was mainly inspired by a few other blogs that showed how to use some Ikea spice racks to make children’s book shelves (such as here and here). It was all made to look very simple, but my husband would tell you otherwise – it was a complete nightmare to get them up!! But now that they’re there we love them and they provide a home for all the books that our baby already has (most of which came from an NCT Nearly New Sale).
The gorgeous print is by Goldlion Studios on Etsy and again we used a cheap and cheerful Matalan frame to display it.
Still to do
The only thing we’re still debating is whether to get a comfy chair to put in the nursery. As the little one will be sleeping in our room for the first few months of his or her life we’re putting off making that decision until we see how our daily lives actually unfold with a baby. Given that we live in a three story house, with the nursery on the top floor, chances are a nursing chair won’t get much use during the day and at night I’ll be feeding in our room – at least to begin with. It might be that we feel that we really need a chair in there, or it might be that it just isn’t necessary. Only time will tell! If you have strong opinions either way though, I’d love to hear them.
Top Tips for Nursery Decorating:
- You don’t only have to use furniture or decorations that are made specifically for babies or nurseries.
- Not everything has to match – so long as you have things to tie them together they’ll look great.
- If you have people that have useful skills, use them! Generally people are thrilled to be asked and you’ll not only save a bit of money, but also end up with a much more personal result.
- As with all decorating, plan more time than you think you’ll need to get everything done…
What a beautiful room! I adore what Hollie has achieved here and it’s all the more wonderful for the personal touches.
What look have you chosen for your nursery? Any top tips you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them!