Ava's nursery is where this all began
Frustratingly, I didn’t take any pictures of her nursery before it became a kid’s room (first note to self - always document your rooms!) But I’d love to share some of my processes with you and pick out a few of my favourite features of the room.
So, rewind to 2012, I’m pregnant with my firstborn (due in the Spring) and we are not going to find out the gender, so we are keeping the nursery unisex. I started looking at furniture and I knew right away that I wanted a dark walnut cotbed. I think the reason for this particular obsession, was because I longed for a dark wood kitchen (still on my wish list!), plus there were some lovely dark wood cotbeds on the market - Tutti Bambini, Silver Cross and Izziwotnot were my particular favourites. So pregnant heart fixed on this, I was happy to paint the room white, not feeling quite brave enough to consider anything else with such a dark cotbed.
Ok, dark walnut cotbed in place - now to plan the rest of the room! Back in 2011/12 I was also heavily into… wait for it, One Tree Hill. Yep, there I said it, no shame here! In one of the later series, a nursery is featured with a tree mural in pink that I loved (not the pink part) and I figured it was not beyond my painting abilities to have a go at recreating it and I decided to go for yellow.
This got me thinking about what else I could have a go at. And at this point I went slightly bonkers and decided that a mural of safari animals would be a good idea. Thankfully my madness didn’t extend to thinking I could manage whole animals, to scale and with a setting, so what do I do? Cheat of course! I decided that if it could be a corner mural with the animals coming out from behind a tree, then I only needed to draw their fronts. I also knew I couldn’t just create this from my own imagination, but I can do a decent enough copy, so I Google images and find the inspiration I need, got to love Google.
The mural was an EPIC project for me, and at some points my husband definitely feared that I had lost the plot. But as the room came together he was inspired too and decided to have a go at putting his own little stamp on the nursery. He copied a few of the animals off the changing matt, and drew them around the door frame, but then she arrived and they have never been painted, but we now love them that way, hahaha. And given that he is not a “handy-man” and I do all the decorating, it was lovely having that time together in the nursery getting it ready for our new arrival.
Once finished I was thrilled with the mural and time has taught me that I needed to seal it. Sadly a lot of the colour has started to fade and what was once a brown tree trunk is now looking a little green in places from sun fade. Live and learn, eh? And now that our daughter is five, I think we are approaching a redecorate anyway, so watch this space!
The room is a decent size and we are very lucky that it came with built in wardrobes, I had them all shelved which made them perfect for baskets of clothes, books, bumper packs of nappies, Calpol, teething granules and all the other baby bumf. As she grew up and I needed drawers for bigger clothes I removed a number of shelves from one of the wardrobes and bought a chest of drawers that fitted the space (when budget allows I would love to have them fully fitted out, but for now this does the trick). The wardrobes allowed for the room to not be too busy, so all we had was the cotbed, toy box, changing table and a feeding chair.
"it is so important to consider the longevity of the room
and ask how it will it grow with your baby"
When planning a kid’s rooms, I’ve discovered that it is so important to consider the longevity of the room and ask how it will it grow with your baby. I didn’t really think about this at the time, but luckily our nursery has served me well and a lick of paint next year will be enough to give it new life. Also, think long term on expensive items. Furniture mostly. The cotbed never became her bed as her baby sister needed it and it has only just been turned into a bed for the first time, last month. I am also certain that I will be able to sell it on when my youngest has finished with it, having kept all the extra nuts and bolts and instructions!
If you’re asked by anyone if there is anything they can get to help in the run up to a new arrival, do think about it and go for it. I’ve found people are happy to be guided on present buying and really want their gifts to be useful. Otherwise you end up with lots of presents all being variations on a theme.
Key purchases of the room were;
Silvercross cotbed – Thank you, Mum and Dad
Changing table and mat – Thank you, hubbies folks
Feeding chair – I researched so many and decided not to spend a lot of money on such a specific piece of furniture which has only one use. We ended up buying a tiny patchwork kids chair from an antique shop, and when it is no longer in my youngest’s room it will be moved to the lounge and stay in the family for ever, I love it very much!
Toy box – I found a company online which made toy boxes with different covers, I bought two. One in an animal material to match the nursery and another in faux brown leather so we could have toy storage in the lounge which would look grown up in the evening and we’d have our own space.
Carpet – As we had not purchased any new carpet for her room since moving in, five years earlier, we decided to update this for the nursery. We did go over budget, it is a really nice carpet, this does not couple well with Calpol which is really sticky stuff. My advice? Either don’t splash out on the carpet or get a rug!
I do like to get in touch with my inner granny from time to time, so I cross-stitched the Noah’s ark above her changing table which later became a big talking point with her.
My awesome sister-in-law painted us a great name feature for the nursery too and she had very sweetly paid attention to the theme of the room and used the animals from the changing matt too.
And last but not least the fabulous orange lion lampshade which my wonderful friend Jo saw in Habitat and knew I needed it.
We've had so many great times in her nursery, it has been a very special place for us.
So, there you have it! The room where the thoughts of Rooomy began. One thing I definitely learned along the way was to accept help from others, the same rule goes for parenting in general! And if you know what you want for your room then great, go for it! But if you don’t, then have fun researching - I hope Rooomy can offer some inspiration. Oh, and before you start, take some pics! Before and after photos are VERY satisfying (plus I want to see them, so do please send them in!).
Thank you for reading, and if you liked this, please do share with someone else you think might enjoy it.