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I absolutely loved designing, decorating, and organizing our son’s nursery. And actually, I kind of got to do it twice since we moved more than halfway through my pregnancy. I had started on the original nursery before we made the decision to move to a different house.
One thing I knew was I wanted to incorporate storage solutions. I hate clutter, so I needed a way to organize all his clothes and toys, both present and future. My nursery isn’t perfect. I would have organized it even more thoroughly if we had the resources, but overall, I’m very pleased with how it turned out!
The other unique thing about this nursery is that it was designed to be gender neutral without being boring. Between you and me, I’m glad we had a boy. I left the nursery as is. However, had it been a girl, I was ready to throw in pops of pink and orange after she was born. But really, isn’t it cute?!
We chose a neutral greige (beige/gray) color and accented with pops of green, blue, and yellow. My overall theme was owls, and I think it turned out pretty cute. I especially love all the patterns and colors, which I was told by optometry students are good for brain stimulation in babies. If we had had more time, I would have painted our trim white as well. I would definitely advise getting some kind of room darkening curtain or shade. We have a pull down shade that blocks out light really well. But, I hate dark rooms for any time other than sleeping, so I incorporated light, translucent curtains for when the shade is pulled up to let in as much natural light as possible.
Starting in order of importance, I’ll begin with the changing table station.
I actually had many people tell me I didn’t need a changing table. While it’s true that a changing table isn’t necessary at all, I think a changing station is. We opted to just buy a dresser tall enough and wide enough to temporarily serve as a changing table until the baby was old enough to no longer need one. Once we hit that point, I’ll just store the changing pad for the next baby and use the dresser as, well, a dresser. We were trying to stick to a low budget, so new furniture wasn’t an option. The only new furniture piece we bought for the entire nursery was his toy storage cube organizer. Everything else we either found at garage sales or re-purposed from other rooms in our house.
The key points to keep in mind when designing the changing station include:
- Storage: I love my mini cube organizer above the changing table. This is where we keep diaper cream, lotions, medicines, the nose frida, everyday shoes, combs/brushes, and extra supplies like outlet covers, filters for the nose frida, batteries, etc. Anything we need for either the nursery, Landon, and diaper/clothing changes.
- Diapers/Wipes/Clothes: The dresser is where we keep everything else we need for diaper changes. The top drawer houses extra diapers, wipes, towels and wash clothes (we strip him down in his room and then transport him to the bath from there), and socks. These are all neatly organized with drawer organizers. All of his everyday clothes, bibs, and burp rags are stored neatly in the second drawer, making morning and night dressing sessions easy.
- Diaper pail or trash can: Keep this close to the changing station. I have this diaper pail and we love it. It takes regular trash bags, making it waaaay cheaper to actually use a diaper pail than those diaper genies with expensive refills.
- Laundry basket/hamper: toss in dirty clothes as soon as they come off the baby. Keep this close to the changing table as well for easy use.
Next up, rocking chair and end tables.
I reaaaaallllllyyyy love our rocking chair. I wish I could give you a link that takes you to the exact site it came from, but we found it at a garage sale for a steal. The closest thing I can find is this chair, but I can’t personally attest to how comfortable or functional it is. The other things I love having are end tables or table surfaces on both sides. This was especially helpful during nursing sessions. I’d always have a water, my phone, and the iPad with me during these, so depending on which side he was eating from, I’d keep all my stuff on the other side so I could easily reach it with my free arm. This set up works really well because I use the end table on one side and the cube organizer on the other.
I love the cube organizer. Right now, just the three storage bins are enough to keep his toys organized and tucked away. I really like that there are still three more spots available for future toys. We’ll add bins as we go. I also have a 1×3 cube organizer closer to his crib for storage purposes. I looooove these cube organizer things, if you couldn’t tell yet!
The bookshelf is really unique since it’s a corner bookshelf. Again, this was a garage sale find, and I love how easily it tucks into an otherwise useless corner of his room. I did find one that I like from Target, but I don’t think it’s near as heavy as the one we have. Make sure to secure tall things like this to the wall. I definitely recommend a book shelf, though. If that doesn’t work, then maybe a bigger cube organizer with more storage spaces. Books would fit just as well in one of those.
Moving on to the crib area now.
I’m really pleased with this crib find. Again, it came from a garage sale, saving us over $100. A lot of sites said to only buy new cribs, as used ones can come with all kinds of problems. This crib was in fairly good shape. There were bite marks along the top rail and a few other paint chips elsewhere, but a simple paint match from Lowe’s matched us with the near perfect color, and those blemishes are now hidden. We used the leftover paint to paint other furniture pieces so they all match. The key to buying a used crib is to make sure the slats meet the current crib regulations, the structure is sturdy, all pieces are included, and the railing is fixed (not a drop side kind). There are also other regulations on crib mattresses. This crib did not come with the mattress, and even if it had, we probably would have just purchased a new one for peace of mind. This crib met all of those standards and now looks good as new!
I have several items stored underneath the crib, which is part of the reason why I was very adamant about purchasing a crib skirt. I needed a way to hide it all when not in use. The only problem with this crib is how far down it comes to the ground. It makes it hard to store larger, bulkier items underneath it, but we still make it work.
I also want to throw in my opinion about crib bedding here. All of those expensive bedding sets contain crib pieces that aren’t safe or necessary. To decrease the risk of SIDS, it is now recommended to eliminate any kind of crib bumper and to keep all toys, blankets, foreign objects, etc. out of the crib for safe sleeping. The first two months, we were able to keep L’s crib decorated like this because he wasn’t sleeping in his crib yet. Once we moved him to the crib, though, the quilt was draped over the back of the rocking chair and all the stuffed animals found new homes in his cube organizer. So, the only bedding we actually purchased for the crib was two fitted sheets, a fitted waterproof mattress protector, and a crib skirt. That’s all – way cheaper and more functional than any of those crib bedding sets for sure!
Lastly, the closet.
I’ll be honest, I’m not including a picture of his closet because I’m not super proud of it. I used my budget to supply the nursery, not increase the functionality of the closet space. If I had the funds, I would have added another shelf; purchased clothing dividers by size; added two storage tubs with clear vacuum bags to organize outgrown clothing and other baby items; incorporated bins for baby items we use often; and included a cloth door organizer for blankets, shoes, and other miscellaneous items. Maybe in our next house I will get the functional closets I dream about!
There it is! The smallest bedroom in our house serves wonderfully as a nursery. What other design tips and organization tricks have you had luck with? I’d love to hear them in the comments!