Nursery Rhyme [and Reason]: One Massive Nursery Reveal!!


Woah, Nelly, this is a big one!  I've been talking about the nursery project for what seems like forever... and I'm finally ready to share the results!!

Our nursery has been a huge undertaking for me.  I had it in my head that it would only take a few weeks.  Ha Ha!  Silly Emily-Grace!!  Little did I consider all of the challenges that would pop up and all of the details that my OCD would not allow me to leave incomplete.

The challenges included finding a way to combine the office and guest bedroom (clearing out the space), determining which pieces of furniture were absolutely necessary, forcibly cramming neatly organizing all of the requisite baby gear into the small and oddly shaped room, and doing it all on a pretty tight budget.

But the results?  Well worth the wait.  I love my new nursery!  And I can't wait to share it with you!  Below are the steps and pics from progress along the way.

Clearing Out the (Limited) Space

To give you an idea of where we started, this is how the room was set up in the beginning.  It was an office with a desk, large bookshelves, a printer stand, crafting supplies and a tufted leather chair.  The process of emptying the room and merging it with the small guest bedroom took a few weeks (read more about that here and here) but once I had that done, I had a blank, albeit small, canvas to work with.

The room is approximately 10 feet by 9 feet at its widest points, but the wall juts back a little over halfway through, creating an awkward alcove and a narrow wall too close to the door to use for furniture.  In addition there's a large window on the back wall which is good for light but prevents anything from being placed right there.  Finally, the world's smallest closet is to the left of the door as you enter.  Not great for furniture placement, but, Hey!  At least it provides almost no storage!  So... yeah. Not the best space in the world to work with.

Determining the Necessaries 
(I don't know why but, when used as a noun, that word makes me giggle)

I spent a lot of time looking at what furniture people recommended having for their nurseries and on their registries.  The usual suspects were there: Crib, Changing Table, Dresser and/or Bureau, Rocking Chair/Glider, Bookshelf/Toy Bin.  And, if your home doesn't have some magical 12' closet that allows for the neatest organizational system ever, you apparently need an Armoire.

Nothing like the internet to give you a good laugh! :)  The only way I was getting all of that furniture in the room was if I knocked out a wall and annexed my neighbors townhouse (which has, on occasion, occurred to me in the not-a-bad-idea category).
Blueprinting the room helped me figure out what could work

After taking a look at the floor plan, and some serious contemplation, I decided that I really only need 3 Key pieces of furniture: a Crib, a Glider to sit and nurse, and a Dresser.

"But what about a changing table?"  I'm so glad you asked!!  The single best decision I made for the nursery was deciding NOT to get a changing table.  And here's why: a changing table will only be used for a relatively short period of time; it takes up additional room and really adds no significant storage; and once you're done with it, what do you do with it?  I'm the queen of re-purposing and I have seen some decent DIY projects, but the reality is, it will always look like a re-purposed changing table.

Instead, I decided to find a larger dresser and attach a changing pad to the top.  Once the baby doesn't need the changing pad anymore, I can remove it and I still have a great piece of furniture that will work for years in any room in the house (or be much easier to resell).  In addition, a larger dresser also provides me with more storage space (as the room is also sadly lacking the magical 12 foot closet).  I cannot tell you how glad I am that I chose the changing-table-free route!

The Crib

I love the blue and white polka dot sheet in the crib!
The crib was the first piece of furniture we put on our registry.  While I'm normally all for buying used, I felt safer getting something that I knew was up to the most recent safety standards and didn't have any potential undisclosed damage.

As I'm also all about making things last as long as possible, we chose the beautiful Munire Medford 4-in-1 Convertible Crib from Amazon which will hopefully last us a few years (it goes from a crib to a toddler bed to a day bed to a full size bed).  My fabulous parents went in on it together and bought it for us off of our Amazon Baby Registry.  My husband and I love love love it.  It's feminine but classic - not babyish at all.  Well, except for the fact that it's a crib.  :)

The Dresser

I simply adore how elegant this dresser is!
Though the crib was the first thing we registered for, the dresser was actually the first thing we purchased.  This, I did not need new.  Instead, I scoured Craigslist looking for something that was well built, had excellent storage and added a healthy dose of character.  After several weeks, I finally found the perfect piece: a French provincial triple dresser in white.  At $150 it was a steal for something of this quality.  (And it's just so darn pretty!)

What do you mean it's not a cat bed?
After a good bit of research, we selected the Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad to attach to the top, and several adorable changing pad covers including, my favorite, Carter's Super Soft Dot Changing Pad Cover in pink.  It also happens to be my cat's favorite, who seems to think that this is his new cat bed.  Oh, the rude and stinky awakening he's about to have...

The Chair

Surprisingly, this was the piece of furniture that gave me the biggest headache.  At Christmas, my father had given me his grandfather's rocking chair - a beautiful old wood and leather piece that he had rocked me in when I was a baby.  I wanted so much to use it, but the rockers on the back simply made it too big to fit in the room, and the lack of cushioning might have made it difficult to nurse for any length of time.

I'm not a huge fan of the look of gliders, but spatially, they made the most sense.  I wasn't opposed to buying used, and there are a lot of gliders on Craigslist, but the more I looked, the more I realized I would most likely have to replace cushions and repaint and this would drive the cost up (replacement glider cushions are stupidly expensive!).  Instead, I wound up using several gift cards to purchase a new glider from Babies R Us.

I'd be lying if I said I absolutely love it, but it seems comfortable so far (we'll see after many nights of sleeping in it!) and the white and pink go well in the nursery.  I'm also glad to have a footstool.  I feel like that may be a very useful thing when pulling all-nighters, and it's small enough to be tucked under the window when not in use.

Pretty Little Details

Coloring in the Lines

Determining the color palette took a wee bit longer than it probably should have (I'm terribly indecisive at times).  Pink is one of my favorite colors, so it was kind of a given, and I knew I wanted to pair it with a fresh cream color.  But the accent color kept fluctuating.  Soft greys, powder blues and mossy greens all vied for position, but ultimately I scrapped them all and chose a deep sophisticated navy blueI'm so glad I did - I absolutely love the way it pops against the ballet slipper pink! 

 Valspar's Pink Ribbon from Lowes.

Walls & Windows 

After doing some research, I found that many moms and OBs and pediatricians actually recommend keeping the nursery brighter so that babies learn to sleep regardless of light and dark (translation: heavy panels are not needed).  This worked out particularly well for me, because I already owned some gorgeous sheers and I didn't have to buy anything new (yay!).  Each panel is scalloped at the bottom and patterned with a very subtle swirled embroidery. Pulling from an old technique, I overlapped them slightly in the middle to create a lovely soft V in the center.  To pull them back, I used two different navy blue ribbons and tied them in a bow at each side.  Little girls need bows! 

Above the crib, I added two large floral prints that I framed and matted myself for a significant savings, as well as a beautiful crystal mobile that I crafted (read about the artwork here and the mobile here).  

 Above the dresser, I added another Craigslist find: A large curvy white framed mirror with beautiful detailing ($65!).  I swear it looks like they came together! 

1. I've owned the Cinderella print (by Toby Bluth) ever since playing the title character back in college. I love that I can pass it on to a little one to enjoy the same magic! 2. Fab Camera  3. The Peony Arrangement on the top shelf is another DIY that saved some money but added some flavor  4. This French hook was a  purchase from Swag, one of my favorite stores in LA

For both storage and visual interest, we made the most of the vertical space behind the glider by adding two white mounted shelves.  My husband painted and built them in a few hours on the weekend and, once completely dry, I quickly used up the space for art, toys, books, lamps and, possibly most importantly, our video cam (It's amazeballs, by the way.  I can use my phone, laptop or ipad as the monitor, talk to the baby through it, take pics and videos and it has pretty incredible night vision...). 

Underneath the shelves, I added a gorgeous French wall hook to display some of the fabulously froofy dresses in the babies arsenal.

Storage Solutions

I've said it before - for being so darn tiny, babies seem to come with a lot of stuff.  In a nursery, any available space is prime real estate, and I quickly laid claim to any that I could find.

The dresser drawers became so much more functional when I created dividers for all of the tiny clothing.  This is one of my favorite projects, because it cost less than $1 a drawer and made such a tremendous difference in how easily things were stored (Read about it here).

Under the crib was another spot for some DIY magic.  The space was super short and no store bought storage container would fit under it.  A few cardboard boxes, some spare fabric and a healthy dose of spray adhesive later, and I now have perfectly sized storage for any of the baby's off season clothing.  (Read about that project here).  

One of most useful purchases for the room came from Home Goods, one of my favorite shopping spots.  In the storage section, I found a wire, wall-mount, triple basket sorter.  The narrow and tall piece was absolutely perfect for keeping diapers and supplies within arms reach of the changing pad.  Once the sorter was up, I added self-adhesive metal bookplates (by Martha Stewart) and printed out cute labels for each section.  

1. Tiny clothes look more streamlined when hung on coordinating felt hangers 2. A sweet narrow bin makes the most of a small space and corrals toys and stuffed animals 3.  This polka dotted hamper was $4 at Ross Dress for Less and it collapses completely for easy storage or travel.
The Big Picture(s)
(This is the part where I shut up and just let you check things out!)


It doesn't even feel like the same room!  Before it was so masculine and functional. Now it's so girly and fun!

I am so proud the newly finished nursery.  The whole room glows a soft pink that is so relaxing.  And I love the fact that so much of ourselves and our family has gone into it: the gorgeous rocking horse that my in-laws refinished, the shelves that my husband made, the wooden sign that my mother painted, the mobile that hangs above the baby's crib...  This little one is already so very loved!! 
For now, I'm off to finish a few more projects before the new tenant arrives.  :)  Hopefully I'll be able to get out and enjoy some of this gorgeous weather as well! 

And, as always, I'd like to hear what do you think -  I always love feedback! 

Have a fabulous week!!

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  1. Amazing! I always knew you were no home ec dummy (thanks in part to Daphne, I'm sure) but this is so much more than I imagined was possible (for anyone not named Martha Stewart). Excellent work!

    1. Thank you, friend!! I think Martha Stewart would probably have a coronary at the comparison - I'm sort of the low-end, ghetto version :) But I'm super flattered!

  2. Fantastic!! Super- stupendous!! Absolutely delightful! The room looks so appealing for the 'new tenant'... she's blessed with you as a mom! So tell her to come on any time now. Everyone is waiting her arrival!

    1. Awww... thank you! Trust me, I'm waiting for that arrival too!! :)

  3. LOVE! I'm always fond of snooping nurseries. Yours turned out great! Our nursery has a similar set up with the crib in an alcove. We also went with just three pieces of furniture. I especially love your mirror and the Cinderella print! I can't wait to hear the news on the arrival of your little girl!

    1. Thank you!! Yeah, the alcove worked out great for the crib but, I'll tell you, it was a pain in the rump before we changed the room over to a nursery. Such a random little nook!


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