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Decorating the Nursery

Filed under: by: Laxmisri

Decorating the Nursery

Let’s face it; the nursery is really a room decorated to the parents’ likings, more specifically to Mom’s taste. The nursery is a room for you! Your child comes in to this world devoid of seeing colors, fulfilling its own basic instincts of sleeping, eating, and so on, and I promise you, your newborn will not be critiquing your decorating when she comes home from the hospital. So, now that we know who we are really decorating for, let’s get down to the details.

There are certain steps you will want to follow when decorating your child’s nursery. Before you worry about style, themes, or accessorizing, go through these steps first.

Step #1: Go to the paint store and pull every paint chip that appeals to you. Go ahead and take bold colors, take whichever ones inspire you. You aren’t making any commitment by taking samples home, and they are free! You’ll need to examine the colors you have chosen in all light settings; for example, in the morning light, afternoon light, dusk, and when there is only lamp light. The color’s appearance will change depending on the lighting, so this will help you eliminate some of your choices.

Step #2: Narrow down your colors. It will be obvious to you which colors you love and which you hate. Don’t be shy, if you like an outrageous color, go for it. No Guts No Glory, I always say!

Step #3: Take your paint chips to the fabric store and begin to collect fabric swatches. Use the same principles that you applied when choosing paint chips, Go crazy! Don’t leave one swatch unsnipped if you think you may like it. You are going to need fabrics in many places in the room. Make a list of those items you will need fabrics for (windows, crib bedding, glider, lamp shades, changing pad covers, etc.). If the small swatch that they give you isn’t big enough, buy the smallest amount you can buy so you can make it out when you go home. It’s worth it in the long run and could save you from making expensive mistakes. (Keep in mind that you are not married to the paint chips that you chose…if you see a fabric that really WOWS you, you can always use that as your inspiration and build your wall colors around it.

Step #4: Go home and lay out all of your samples (paint and fabric). Begin eliminating the ones that are just so-so and putting aside the ones you really love! If you are still having trouble, remember that you can always enlist the help of a decorator, if it is in your budget. Ask your girlfriends or family their opinions. However, don’t forget that YOU asked for their opinions, and just because they don’t like the retro space cowboys you fell in love with, doesn’t mean that you can’t still do it!

Step #5: Once you have narrowed your fabrics and paints down, it is time to start grouping them together in groups of three or five. Odd numbers are always the best way to go. You will want to have three fabrics at the minimum involved in your nursery items. If you find that you are lacking in some complementing fabrics, go back to step #3, this time you are looking specifically for fabrics and/or colors that will match the pieces you have already selected.

Step #6: Now that you have chosen fabrics and paints, you are ready to combine them. Strive for a variety of patterns in your fabrics, ranging from large patterns, to small patterns, stripes, checks, plaids, polka dots, solids, and so on. If you have a nice combination of these, you will have no trouble making it all flow together. Choose a main fabric, the choice will be obvious to you, that you will repeat in almost each custom made item. This will help to unify your room.

Each item in the nursery is important; consider the following points when designing your custom nursery.

Windows: There is no limit to the style of treatments you can put on your windows, but I have two very important words that will save you hours of sleeplessness: Blackout Shades. Regardless of the window covering you use, these allow the room to become totally dark. This will help your baby sleep better, longer, and easier.

Bedding: There are four pieces to your crib bedding: Bumper, Sheet, Skirt, and Quilt. Typically the Quilt is optional and is used purely for decoration until your child is old enough to sleep with a blanket. You will want to combine all of the fabrics you have chosen into these items, pulling out pieces of the fabrics into the items throughout your room, including the window treatments, lamp shades, pillows, window seat cushion, etc.

I would advise upon getting at least 3 crib sheets for your bed, one to wash, one to wear, and one for the drawer. By making each crib sheet in a different fabric you can create a fun way to change the look continually. Make sure that your bumper is made of foam, which has been wrapped in Dacron, for a nice solid, and safer look. You may also wish to have a flange put on the edge of your crib skirt decking to ensure that you don’t end up seeing the white decking of the skirt. Make sure that your fitted crib sheets are pre-shrunk before construction, made of 100% cotton, have been specifically fitted for your crib mattress, and that the elastic goes significantly underneath the mattress corners, so as to meet safety standards.

Walls: You can go with a solid paint color, a multi-colored painted wall treatment, such as stripes, polka dots, a mural, or something artsy, like the child’s name painted above the crib. Just make sure that you have not made the room too busy. If you are going to do a mural for instance, perhaps you would use lighter, less powerful fabrics on the bedding.

Lighting: You will want to have the ideal lighting in the nursery: Bright light, whether via natural window light or an overhead light for play-time, soft light for bedtime book reading, and a night-light, for slumber time. Make sure that the light settings all have the proper effect on you. You should be exuberated by the bright settings, soothed by the dimmed bedtime setting, and hardly be able to see in the night light setting, so as not to create distraction for your baby who is trying to get to sleep.

Seating: Gliders are wonderful. They come in a variety of styles, from rockers to fully upholstered arm chairs. Consider putting a different fabric on the skirt and the cording of your chair than the rest of it to tie in the other fabrics you have used in the room.

Space Constraints: Believe it or not, it can be just as hard to decorate a large space as it is to decorate a small space. For the large spaces, you want to keep in mind that oversized furniture can be just what the decorator ordered. Instead of a glider, use a chaise lounge. Have built-ins installed to take up more blank walls. Install a window seat in front of the window wall to give you a place to rest while your child is at play (and later a great place for your child to snuggle up and read a book). On the other hand, if you are working within the confines of a small space, you’ll want to double up the furniture uses. For instance, the dresser can double as a changing table, while the book shelves also serve as the night stand. Use the walls for storage also, hanging canvas bags on the wall to hold diapers and toys.

Decorating on a Budget: If you are trying to decorate the nursery within a budget, don’t despair. You too, can have the room of your dreams for your little one. Visit resale shops or ask friends or relatives to borrow hand-me-downs. If you can get good deals on the fabrics and make the bedding yourself, or with the assistance of someone crafty, it is well worth the effort and will save you lots of decorating dollars. Use old nursery rhyme books that you can self-frame as wall décor. Find an old doll cradle at the thrift store, paint it, and store baby’s favorite books in it. Search garage sale sand flea markets for unique treasures and great deals. You’ll probably end up having the sweetest and most inspired nursery shopping this way anyhow. So good luck and happy decorating!

Comfort and safety of the baby are the topmost and foremost priorities while decorating a nursery. Early morning sunrays may disturb a little one's morning sleep while streetlight and traffic flow may disturb its sleep and make the baby cranky. A particular tree outside the nursery's window may cast shadows that may terrify a little child and window that sends in cold drafts may keep the child cold in winters. A crib too close to the window may cause a child to climb on the window and fall out! Here is some very practical advice for your nursery décor:

Babies cannot differentiate much between a plastic laundry basket lined with a soft blanket, expensive Victorian antique cradles and latest high-tech cribs.You may use a deep waist-high bookshelf to substitute changing table and chest of drawers. Use common sense and functionality for cheaper options of the traditional furniture pieces. The furniture essential for nursery includes bassinet or cradle, crib, changing table, chest of drawers, rocking chair and glider.

Cribs with slats or posts too far apart may cause the newborn baby to slip through it.

Corner posts should be in level with railings of the crib so the baby's clothes do not get caught in them.Mattress should fit the crib exactly to avoid the baby's limbs getting caught in them.

Never used lead-based paints for anything in the nursery as they are poisonous and babies tend to chew on everything they can find.Changing tables, potty seats and other furniture pieces for the baby should have straps to avoid them from falling.

Don't use floor lamps and put all electricity switches, plugs and sockets high on the walls so that children cannot reach them or have child safety devices fitted on them.Don't use any accessories that are small enough to be swallowed by the baby and get choked or having sharp edges.

Nontoxic paints and wallpaper patterns suitable for the nursery are available in the market for you to choose from.

Do not spend too much on nursery décor as children soon outgrow them and then you will need to refurnish it, probably with children's choice.Solid color walls and inexpensive area rugs are a good idea that can be given the funky look by adding borders and other accessories, lamps, mobiles and framed pictures.Children tend to grab at floor-length curtains or drapes and may even get suffocated by them.Similarly, blinds with long pull-cords, especially the looped ones are NOT for the nursery.


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