Talk Baby To Me: Designing a Gender Neutral Nursery
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At long last we are giving you a little tour of our son’s nursery! This post was a long time coming; in fact, we shot this video a few short weeks before his arrival. Man, does it feel like a lifetime ago. And now that we’ve had a couple weeks to test-drive the space, I’ve included some tips and tricks to offer up to anyone who wants them.
Before we get into the nitty gritty, a little bit about concepting this space. We had a couple challenges with this one…the first being we didn’t want to design a gender specific nursery. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with blue and pink, it’s just a personal preference of ours. Instead we embraced all the adorable kid stuff by focusing on designing a space that would promote creativity and wonder.
The second challenge was the sheer size of this space. It’s 9′ x 7′ and in the shape of an “L.” The closet door swings outward towards the same wall a long radiator sits against, which makes one of the four walls almost unusable.
We did a lot of planning and measuring and second-guessing ourselves on furniture choices, and we ended up with a space that Joe and I are equally excited about. I gave up my need for everything to be clean and uncluttered and instead embraced the “stuff” that comes with raising a child. I mean, he can’t have enough books, am I right??
Originally we were only going to use the Cole & Son’s wallpaper as an accent with a lovely gray color from BEHR but loved the look of it so much, we decided to really go for it and turn this small room into a little forest full of fun, colorful toys and books. We enjoyed tapping into our own inner child and selected wooden toys that were reminiscent of what we both grew up playing with.
We were also fortunate enough to partner with Target to finish off the space and dive into the more practical aspects of building a nursery, from selecting a changing table to designing a “play area” in a room that barely had space for a crib.
Now that we have a couple weeks of parenthood under our belt, here are some hard and fast tips/tricks we used to build a nursery that was functional, beautiful, and full of creativity for our son:
- Select the right size glider for your space. This nursery is SMALL. While we would have loved to get a giant recliner, we found one that fit the space perfectly at Target. The Eddie Bauer® Upholstered Wingback Swivel Glider looks tailored and sharp as well. We opted to place it by a window so we can get a little vitamin D while feeding. Having room to move was more important than having a chair to sleep in. We have enough of those around the house and this isn’t the only place we feed. More often than not, it’s used as a place to rock and soothe.
- Add task lighting for late night feedings. During the last few months of pregnancy, I did a lot of research around infant sleep patterns and how to slowly acclimate them to a circadian sleep cycle. Many resources recommended daytime naps in broad daylight with normal noises– the vacuum, phone calls, dogs barking, and in a brightly lit space. For nighttime, they recommended sticking with bathing and feeding rituals, a quieter ambiance, and dim lights– especially when doing midnight feedings. Task lighting has helped keep the lights dim and soft but bright enough that I’m not tripping over Winnie or anything that was left on the floor.
- Add pillows for a bit of personality and back support! I absolutely LOVE what Target has done with the Pillowfort line. So much personality and sweetness in these soft pillows and stuffed animals. This bear is a keeper.
- Create a dedicated space for toys, books, and knick-knacks. Kids are tiny; their gear is not. While we plan on opting for pots, pans, and brown boxes for keeping this guy occupied, books and wooden toys were two things I wanted to bring into our home. There’s a little bit of nostalgia that came with building this library, from Curious George and Babar, The Little Engine that Could and I am a Bunny. These shelves from Pillowfort have a great modern look that works for the nursery but also fits with our decor choices throughout the rest of the house. Win, win.
- Find a great dresser that will work as a changing table. Again, who knew babies could need so. much. stuff. We like the compact nature of this Rowen Kid’s Dresser because it didn’t look like a changing table. This way it can transition into other places in the house (should we want to create a changing station in the basement, too) or keep it around when he doesn’t need diapers anymore. Shout out to the Munchkin STEP™ Diaper Pail– does the dirtiest work for us and you wouldn’t even know it’s stuffed full of you-know-what.
- Swap out the hardware to update the look to suit your space. One easy edit you can make to kids furniture (or any piece that needs to be refreshed) is switch out the hardware. We had brass accents around the space, so to further tie the dresser into the decor, we used these Threshold knobs for a more sophisticated take on the changing room table.
- Keep your drawers stocked. Diapers, wipes, onesies, oh my!! The best advice I got was to shop for this stuff online. Target makes it easy for you to put in orders for all your essentials for pick up or delivery. A lifesaver for busy working moms. Big thanks to our moms who didn’t have online delivery and had to drag us all over town just to keep up with daily errand!
- Stock up on crib sheets. Seriously– you can never have enough crib sheets on hand! Keep them close for late night blow outs. I love the Sabrina Soto and Circo crib sheets. Neutral and classic.
- Nurseries need plants, too. Plants help purify the air in the nursery, just keep them out of reach.
- Have fun with the toys and embrace the clutter. We want this space to be full of opportunities to play and learn. Let life get lived in these nurseries. That’s what they’re for!
Shop this collection here
Circle Shelf – Pillowfort™ // Munchkin STEP™ Diaper Pail, Powered by Arm & Hammer™ // Gerber® Onesies® Newborn 5 Pack Short-Sleeve Bodysuit // Bear Character Throw Pillow – Pillowfort™ // Fox Square Throw Pillow 14″X14″ – Orange // Fox Table Lamp White – Pillowfort™ // Fitted Crib Sheet – Various styles from Circo collection at Target // Sabrina Soto™ Lola Changing Pad Covers – Otomi // Rowen Kids Dresser – Delta Children (Gray) // Circle Shelf – Pillowfort™ // Eddie Bauer® Upholstered Wingback Swivel Glider – Gray // Boone 3 Shelf Kids Console Bookcase – Pillowfort™