Like most home-owners, we consider our condo a perennial work-in-progress, making small additions and tweaking the arrangement of things piecemeal over time. However, this year we’re excited to have the opportunity to tackle our first full-scale design projects, decorating complete rooms from scratch to finish.
The first project in the pipeline will be transforming our second bedroom from an office/storage space to a cozy little nursery for our new baby boy. Our baby is due in December, so we don’t have a huge amount of time–or a huge budget for that matter–but I’m optimistic we can create an impressive transformation with some inexpensive furnishings and simple touches.
Having a virtual blank slate for a room, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with possibilities. Fortunately, my husband and I quickly agreed on a few key principles that will guide our design choices.
A Space to Grow Up In
One of my biggest issues with a lot of popular nursery design trends is how quickly little ones grow out of them. The pastel colors and baby animals that seem charming for an infant can seem stifling to a preschooler and downright embarrassing to an elementary or middle-schooler. Age-specific decor is fine if you plan to redecorate every two or three years, but we’d prefer to invest our time and money in quality pieces and a design that will easily grow up with our little one. We hope the main elements of our nursery design will hold up at least through elementary school. (We know all bets are off once our kiddo hits the tween and teen years!)
Most baby nurseries are very gender-specific, which is fine if each child has his or her own room, but less ideal for a bedroom that may be shared with future siblings. Although we’re not sure just yet what size our family will ultimately be, we want to leave the door open to accommodate future siblings in our two-bedroom home.
Light and Bright
Ok, it’s confession time here; our soon-to-be nursery is currently my least favorite room in the house. For the most part, our floor plan, despite being less than 1,000 square feet, feels open and bright, but the second bedroom is the exception to the rule. It only has one small window, which looks onto a covered breezeway behind a staircase, so it gets very little natural light, even in the daytime. Right now, the problem is compounded by heavy furnishing and inadequate lighting, so I’m hoping some simple design changes will make the room feel bigger and brighter and more inviting for our little one.
Modern but Cozy
For those of you who don’t know us yet, my husband and I love modern design, particularly the styles of the mid-20th century. Modern design sometimes has a reputation for being cold and uninviting, but I think if you bring in organic shapes, natural materials and a little bit of texture and whimsy, modern design can actually be warm and even playful. That’s the balance we’re trying to strike in the nursery.
Although the room is essentially a blank slate, my husband and I found that we had a few ideas about the room that came to us early and really stuck. I went ahead and created the mood board below, which shows the core elements we’ve decided are must-haves for the room. As I begin coming up with potential themes and developing mood boards, I’m going to look for a way to incorporate all of the below items into the design.
- The first item is just a warm, light green paint for the nursery wall. We haven’t selected a shade for certain, but I currently have my eye on the Freshaire Choice, a VOC-free paint, in either Northern Pear Tree or Arbor Vine.
- Next, we already own a very simple metal-frame futon that we’d like to keep in the room for cuddling, maybe changing and, eventually, for use as a “big boy bed.” Since our futon was purchased several years ago, I selected this very similar Ikea futon, as a stand-in on my mood board.
- After a bit of research, we’ve zeroed in on the Ikea Gulliver crib. We like the solid, hard-wood design of all Ikea’s cribs (as well as the excellent reviews they receive), and the modern design of the Gulliver suits us best.
- Finally, at the advice of the moms we know, we’ve decided that the nursery needs a rocker or glider. We have always wanted an Eames case-study fiberglass shell chair, and we realized that the armchair rocker version would be perfect for the nursery–small in scale, portable and stylish. We haven’t decided yet whether we’ll buy the licensed version from Design Within Reach, the unlicensed by authentic Modernica version or one of the less expensive unlicensed knock-offs, but we do think we’ll most likely choose red, which will also be our primary accent color.
Well, that’s all for now. While we have a lot more decisions to make, it’s nice to have some foundations in place to build upon. What do you think about our decisions so far? Where do you start when approaching a blank-slate room? Please share your input in the comments section and stay tuned for more developments soon to come.