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Sunday, March 2, 2014

10 Ideas for Decorating a Nursery

I didn't do much to decorate my son's nursery before he was born. I pretty much had a bassinet and a changing table when we brought him home from the hospital. While other expectant moms were buying up every charming little knickknack to put the finishing touches on their nurseries, I was eating all my meals in bed wearing maternity stretch pants while binge-watching Mad Men on Netflix.

I was uninspired. It wasn't that I didn't feel connected to the baby growing in my belly; I did. It was just that I didn't know him. I didn't know his personality (aside from the fact that he was very active in there, and still is now). Maybe some moms feel like they know their little ones in the prenatal stage, but I didn't.

Once he was born and became my sweetheart, my love, and my everything, I was unstoppable when it came to decorating. I spent most of his naps hammering, hanging, setting up and adjusting. Suddenly I knew him very well and I wanted everything he saw to make him happy.*

Here are some of the products and ideas I put together for our nursery. If you're feeling uninspired and want to get moving before your sweetheart arrives, you can peruse this (and Pinterest, of course) while eating all your meals in bed wearing your (amazing in the last trimester, BTW) maternity stretch pants.

1. Hooks for Hats and Jackets
I got this adorable hanging coat rack at Ross, which is a great store but can be pretty hit-or-miss. You may not find this exact product, but it's a good place to browse when you're out of ideas. The hooks are painted with colorful planes and cars, which fits loosely into the theme of my nursery: choo-choo trains.

2. I Love You Alphabet Picture
This is something I made myself, though I stole the idea from Pinterest. I put the alphabet into a Microsoft Word document, and with some relatively painless formatting I lined up the letters I, O and U. I changed the color of those letters to highlight them, and I used clip art to change the O into a heart. Print, frame, and you're done!

3. Train Wall Decals
My mom picked these up at Target. Caveat: they are kind of a pain to put up. I chose to place them high, near the ceiling, so I had the leverage issue working against me. They also don't automatically and flawlessly adhere to the wall, so it takes some patience. I found what works best is dampening the wall with a wet washcloth before you put the decal on it.

4. My First Year Frame
This was a shower gift, but you can find them almost anywhere. I put it up while most of the slots were still empty, and it helped motivate us to take his picture every month for the first year.

5. Train Set
My mother-in-law made and painted this for us. My nursery would not be what it is without tremendous help from both grandmothers, by the way.

6. Framed First Moments Photo
My husband snapped a picture of me holding our newborn son seconds after they handed him to me. It's one of my favorite pictures because it perfectly captures the moment (my tears; holding him gingerly; his tiny screaming face). Of course, I don't necessarily want to display my appearance after 36 hours of labor to every houseguest. So my aunt Bonnie, a photography whiz, edited the picture to smooth my tangled hair and de-red my face a little bit.

7. US Map
I found a neat kit at Staples that includes a US and world map (I have one in the nursery and one in the playroom) and stickers that indicate places you've been, places you want to go, and places where friends and family live. I think this will be more fun as Johnny gets older, but he already likes to gaze and point at it.

The sports paraphernalia came courtesy, again, of my mother-in-law (they live near Chicago, so my son is a legacy White Sox fan).

8. Man Chair
My Dad bought us this adorable chair and footstool at Babies R Us. A father to two girls, he declared, "This is a man's chair." So he was peeved at my sister's reaction: "Maybe we can embroider the baby's name on it!"
We sat Johnny in this chair every month for a photo op during his first year. It represented scale as he grew, and was pretty cute to boot.

9. Train blanket
A great solution to an empty wall is to hang a quilt on it, rather than stashing the quilt in a drawer (babies don't use anything but swaddling blankets for a long time, anyway). My aunt Bonnie made this quilt and it was too beautiful not to display. Below it is the pack'n'play so many people swear by. I put my son to sleep in the bassinet part occasionally, but he mostly hated the contraption** once he could sit up.

10. Rocking Chair
I like to have heirlooms, especially anything handmade, around the house. My Bedstafar (translation: Grandfather - for those not of Danish descent) was an excellent woodworker. He built this rocking chair when I was a baby. It's not a "man's chair," and I actually had to put it away for awhile because of my child's current Let's Climb On Everything; Safety is for Suckers! phase. But I love that this chair was made his great-grandfather, and I like to think Bedstafar will see my baby rock away in it before he's too big.

Do you have decorating tips for a nursery? Please share!

*This is around the time my Pinterest addiction got a little bit out of control, only to be reprised when we bought our house.

**Note: Pack'n'plays are probably great for most infants, but my son hates being constrained. As previously mentioned, he is extremely active. Also, the name is deceiving because setting it up and packing it in are both pretty challenging.

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