I think we all can agree that motherhood is one big “live and learn” experience. And, for most of us, that applies to the way we decorated our first nursery. I remember thinking everything had to be ready and perfect for baby to come home. It didn’t. Little did I know, babies don’t give a flip about the matching crib skirt or patterned sheets. It quickly turns into survival, function and being able to locate a t-shirt free of spit up (or worse).
If I was going to do it all over again (I’m not), I would invest in more classic, longer-lasting pieces that could later be moved around the house or passed down. I just wrote an article for BHG about PB Kids’ new Emily & Meritt collection, and thought it would be fun to dream up a (baby girl and baby boy) nursery do-over plan using some of the same pieces from the line (scroll down in post). I also asked some of my blogger friends what they would do differently now that they’ve “been there/done that.”
“Do what you want now, because at this life stage, it’s really about you enjoying being in the nursery with your baby. Soon enough, they’ll have their own opinions (oftentimes involving superheroes, transformers and/or ballerinas), so enjoy it while you can!!”
“Definitely don’t overlook the importance of a comfy place to sit in the nursery. You’ll be amazed how many miles you can clock in a rocking chair! There are too many sleepless nights and early mornings when you’ve got a baby, so pick something super comfortable that you could even sleep in. Gliders, rockers, recliners, or even a daybed all make great choices.”
“What isn’t worth investing in:
1. Crazy expensive bumpers. Most likely your style will change, the bumpers will get destroyed, or you’ll get tired of the pattern. Maybe all three. Ha ha! I always had my bedding custom made because there weren’t many ready-made options, but these days there are ample higher quality, ready-made bumpers and bedding. Plus, when you see what kind of things occasionally fly out of your child, you will need washable fabric. I could tell some stories!
2. Super expensive, trendy items. Don’t do it! Especially don’t pick out trendy items when you’re super hormonal in the last stages of pregnancy – something crazy happens to your brain during this time. Trust me on this one.”
“Those little precious babies grow so quickly and before you know it you are redesigning a room. Forget the matchy-matchy sets available and infuse your own style. Let an oversized piece of artwork guide your pops of color and keep it simple. Pretty textiles go a long way and can easily be switched out as your taste and that of your growing child changes.”
“My best advice is to plan the space for you, more so than your baby. Yes, down the road your child will care what their room looks like but that first year or two, you spend so much time in there with them, and it’s important for you to love it and feel comfortable in it…especially at 2 in the morning.”
“Find the most comfortable glider and ottoman you can. If it’s cute, even better. I do wish mine was a little more stylish, but six years and three babies in, my glider set has happily seen me through some long nights!”
“When it comes to something we really loved about both of our children’s nurseries, it’s probably that we gave ourselves the freedom to be a little more playful and take a little risk in those rooms. For example we hung bold floral curtains in our daughter’s room while the rest of the house rocked white breezy cotton ones, and we built floor to ceiling built-ins in our son’s room and painted them a handsome taupe color instead of defaulting to white, which we usually do.”
“One thing that I would recommend is not to purchase any furniture for the room that is too “baby specific”, except for the crib. You’re investing a chunk of change to set up your new little one’s room, so stretch your dollar as far as it will go and use pieces that will grow with them for many years to come. Instead of a changing table, use a full size dresser (there are so many great ones on Craigslist!) with a cushion on top. The drawers are great hidden storage for diapers and all of that not-so pretty baby gear, and when the child outgrows diapers there will be plenty of storage space for bigger clothes.”
“For some reason, people love to give nurseries themes. There’s no where else in the house you pay tribute to the circus or jungle or a particular animal, so I say go ahead and choose a color scheme like you would any other room in your home, but skip the theme!”
“When it comes to the nursery I always tell expecting moms the most important piece of furniture is the rocker. If you’re going to splurge on one item let it be that — you want to be as comfy as possible during those long nights! (And make sure you have a spot to put your feet up.) You’ll spend the most special times of your life in that chair. Rocking your baby in the middle of the night, just the two of you — it’s one of those memories that still brings tears to my eyes.”
“I think it’s really smart to create a space that will grow with them. Buy furniture that can be used for other things like a changing table topper on a dresser.”
“Keep it simple. The less to tidy up when you have a tiny baby, the better. I kept my girls’ nurseries white because it felt crisp, clean and bright, and I also wanted to be able to change up the rooms bedding and accessories as my babies got older without having to repaint.”
“Don’t wait until your third trimester to start! Once ordered, nursery furniture can often take many weeks to come in, so get a head start on your design to avoid added stress as your due date approaches. I also had quite a few friends try and talk me out of a glider, and I am so happy I didn’t listen because our glider was one of my favorite (and most used!) pieces in the nursery.”
“Small touches – like ensuring your curtains have blackout lining to help baby stay asleep, putting lights on dimmers, or having a side table beside your rocking chair to put down a drink or smartphone – make a big difference and help to make those late-night feedings more enjoyable.”
“Looking back, after using our nursery for three kids, the smartest thing I did was choose a neutral foundation. I stuck with white furniture and grey or white walls and that saved me a lot on redecorating. . . As for what I would have done differently – never ever waste money on one of those diaper trash cans. The smell is never concealed and they are not pretty! Go with the pretty basket for trash and take all dirty diapers outside immediately!”
“My advice for decorating a nursery is to have fun with it! I stuck with a style (coastal neutrals) that is carried throughout my house because it makes me happy! The room is also a mix of splurges, secondhand steals, and DIY projects which helped make his room feel more one-of-a-kind and special.”
“I made the mistake of going the cheap route on the rocker, thinking it was such a short-term piece it wasn’t worth the investment. But in actuality, it was the hardest working piece of furniture in our house for almost 10 years, through the newborn all-night feedings and all the bedtime books & snuggling!”
Read my latest BH&G article—and see the new PBKids nursery collection—here.
What’s your best piece of nursery do-over decorating advice for new moms-to-be?