To create a haven your baby will love for years, think of the nursery as a bedroom that happens to have a crib in it, suggests Patrick Hamilton, a designer in New York City. He created this sleek, smile-inducing unisex space for a couple who waited to be surprised. (It was a boy!) Hamilton picked pieces from grown-up stores such as West Elm. They'll last until your kiddo's applying to college!
Hamilton had a couple of pages from a vintage Winnie the Pooh book professionally matted and placed in affordable, off-the-shelf frames. "Really wide mats make artwork look a lot more interesting," he explains.
The yellow (Benjamin Moore's Little Angel) is sunny by day and warm after dark. White stripes balance out the color. Use a 4-foot-long level and FrogTape to make sure your lines are straight.
"You can never have too many lamps in a room, especially if that room is a nursery," says Hamilton. This happy hideaway has four, each with either a high-low switch or an in-line dimmer that attaches to the cord. Flick one on just where you need it.
Serene. That's what Tracy Kalman Jordan wanted to feel in her son Grayson's nursery. To cast a low-key vibe, the Chapel Hill, North Carolina, designer of fabric and interiors covered the walls in cool gray. It's soothing after a day of baby-chasing, and adaptable too. "Gray looks great with white and with pops of color, so we can change it easily when the next baby comes along."
The room had "builder beige" wall-to-wall, but Jordan didn't think, "Floor's done!" She put a flokati rug on top, by her splurge: an Ouef crib. "It will make your floor feel more done," says Jordan. One bargain? The striking pendant lamp. Jordan scored it at Ikea!
Jordan wanted to break up the gray (Thin Ice by Olympic Paints) with a wall decal that wasn't, well, tacky. The soaring birch tree stick-ons she found on Etsy passed muster. "They're whimsical without screaming 'nursery,' " Jordan says. And if she ever tires of the trees, they peel right off!
Lucite in the nursery? Yeah, baby! Jordan wanted Grayson's lair to fit with the mod look of the rest of their home. So she poached some items, like the CB2 side table, from other rooms. "Pulling in elements you just plain like makes the nursery look more intentional -- and personal," Jordan says.
You never know when inspiration will strike. For Emily Klaparda, it hit when she bought a crib sheet in a mosaic pattern and chic color combo. The Los Angeles designer kept the sheet in mind when choosing paint and accents for her second daughter's room. "I didn't realize I'd been collecting things with the same shape until I laid it all on the floor," she says. "Then I knew I had a direction for the design."
Klaparda had a pro adorn one wall with a stencil. To DIY, sponge the paint on lightly over and over again, so it won't bleed underneath. Use a tiny brush for touch-ups.
After buying bargain frames, Klaparda had a brainstorm: Leave 'em empty! She transformed them with paint left over from stenciling, traced them on paper, and used painter's tape to move the tracings around on the wall until she hit on the best arrangement. Then she secured the frames and ripped the tracings out from underneath. So pretty, you don't miss the pictures!
Klaparda paid more for a double glider that she could pile onto with both her daughters, born just 20 months apart. "It lets me put them to bed at the same time, by myself," Klaparda says. Rock on!
Sherry and John Petersik, the Richmond, Virginia, couple behind the popular blog YoungHouseLove.com, have a knack for spinning gold out of straw. "When we spot something on Craigslist, we don't see a bad color or dated pattern, we concentrate on what's changeable!" Sherry says. That talent came in handy for creating their daughter Clara's room; they spent a total of $717.
"We painted the ceiling a light teal -- Mythic's Adanna Aire -- which reminded us of the sky," Sherry says. Between that and an aqua chandelier, Clara has no shortage of places to peer at while she dozes off.
Chocolate, aqua, tangerine:
Bring it on. Rebecca Propes, of Fresh Chick Design Studio in Gilbert, Arizona, went for a mix of shades for her son Blake's nursery. There's a variety of animals too: a dog mobile, giraffe blocks, and bird wall art. "We had an owl theme for the baby shower," Propes says, "and kept it going in the nursery." What a hoot!
The designer devised this handy spot for clothes or towels with exterior house numbers and hooks from The Home Depot. "I love something decorative, useful, and educational in a room," Propes says.
Propes painted canvases in various sizes the same color as the walls (way to use leftover paint!), pressed on cool vinyl decals, and "framed" them with orange paint. The canvases will be easily changeable through the years, and Propes won't have to add holes to the walls.
Want a room you won't need to redo for a big boy or big girl? That's the request these parents had for designer Caitlin Creer, of Salt Lake City. They chose to stick with the earth-toned walls (String by Farrow & Ball). Creer added lavender touches -- girly and soft, but not juvenile. "I've seen a lot of purple rooms gone wrong," she says.
"You have to decide what's going to be the star of the show in a room and what's in the supporting cast," Creer says. In this case, the bold honeycomb pattern on the chair is the headliner, and the pillows are the featured players. The elements blend seamlessly because they're in the same color family.