Congratulations! You’ve got a little one on the way. Let the flood of information overload wash over you and accept the fact that nine months may seem like forever, but it’s definitely not. Once you start telling people that you’ll be welcoming a miniature human into your life, you will get many questions: “Are you hoping for a boy or a girl?” “Will you stop working and stay at home?” and the one that surprised me the most: “What will the nursery theme be?” This room that I plan on keeping my child in needs a theme? Oh yes. According to Pinterest, the nursery needs to be the perfect reflection of you and your family’s aesthetic, along with a unique theme and color scheme that will match his or her personality (even though you have no idea what that will be). Overwhelmed yet? Read on, my friend!
As a self-proclaimed bargain nursery decorator extraordinaire (I’ve done two of these things, so that makes me an expert, right?), I have some words of wisdom to pass along to any unsuspecting person in need of some nursery guidance.
First, I want you to breathe. I know you want the nursery to be super cute and Pinterest-worthy, but let’s take a moment to realize that a lot of those nurseries in magazines and on Pinterest are done by professionals with large budgets and freebies from sweet little boutiques who want to get their name out there. Meanwhile, the rest of us are shopping at Big Lots, Target and the local bargain store so that we actually have some money left over to buy this baby some clothes and that new diaper bag you’ve been coveting (if this isn’t your 1st rodeo, check out my post on what to buy for baby #2).
Now that you’re expectations have been managed, don’t get discouraged! You can still have an adorable nursery that won’t break the bank and you can have fun while doing it! Here are my tips:
- Choose your theme. This might seem fairly easy, but with cute theme ideas floating around the internet like “woodland nursery” and “gorgeously glam nursery,” it can get overwhelming. If you know the gender of your wee one, that might help narrow it down. For me, I kept both nurseries pretty gender-neutral so I would have more time to work on them. Browse Pinterest and think of theme ideas that aren’t so obscure that you won’t be able to find anything that go with them. You might want to simply do a color theme. For my first child, I chose some bright colors that spoke to me and went from there. The color theme then morphed into a fruit and vegetable theme (too bad that didn’t carry over to her eating habits today…). I am a big believer in using bright colors in nurseries, especially ones with a lot of contrast. I’ve read it’s good for the baby and it’s a deviation from what most people do in the rest of their houses: neutral colors. For the nursery of our second child (that we just finished this past week!), I decided on a blue and green color scheme first and then thought that an ocean/nautical theme would fit that nicely.
- See what’s out there. The only way to know if the theme you’ve chosen is really going to work is to see what you can find that will go with it. Go to your favorite stores and see what they have. This is the fun part! I would recommend checking out Target, Big Lots, Walmart, Ikea, Bed Bath & Beyond, T.J. Maxx, Home Goods, Hobby Lobby, Wayfair, Overstock, and any of your favorite home decor stores in person or online. Remember to think outside of the box! Since my theme is “ocean,” I looked for nautical items as well as brightly-colored solid pillows and curtains in the colors that I chose. If you find some goodies that you LOVE, get them (especially if they’re on sale!). You can always return them later if you don’t find a place for them in the room. If there are some goodies that you see that you don’t necessarily want to purchase right now, add them to your baby registry! You’ll get plenty of clothes and diapers – nothing wrong with getting some fun decor items too!
- Physically prep the room. Not only will this give you a great sense of accomplishment, it will also be therapeutic in the “out with the old, in with the new” sense. Chances are, your nursery hasn’t just been sitting empty, waiting for your wee one (if it has, congrats and feel free to skip this bit of advice). Our nursery this time around was a catch-all computer room with a futon and a TV. If we had an overflow of guests in our guest room, they would stay in this room. It had no decorating scheme and was always left unfinished because I never knew quite what to do with it (also, some part of my just knew it was going to be a nursery). The closet in the room was also completely unfinished (we asked the builder to leave it that way because we didn’t know what we wanted to do with it), so that was a large project we needed to tackle. Once we cleaned out the room and moved the crib, changing table, etc. in, it started to take shape! My husband’s Dad is a contractor, so he took care of the closet by added shelving, drawers, etc. Once that was done, we could start adding some of the goodies we purchased for the little dude into the closet instead of having them just hang around in bags and boxes. Doing all of this will help you get into the right headspace to tackle the actual decorating part of the nursery… which is in Part 2 of this post!