When I was pregnant with my first baby we were living in a small, two-bedroom terrace house in the inner city. It was a gorgeous house but there wasn’t much space. Our would-be “nursery” was a multifunctional room (read: spare bedroom, study and junk room all in one). We planned on having the baby in our room for the first few months, only it was so small that we couldn’t fit a bassinet or cot in it. Poor Miss A spent the first few weeks of her life in the pram bassinet, half in our room and half poking out in the hallway! It wasn’t sustainable. So, off to the spare bedroom/nursery/junk room she went. I never really got to set it up as a nursery as when she was just 8 months old I fell pregnant again and we decided to farewell our inner city pad and move out to the burbs where grass and space were aplenty.
For many expectant parents, (particularly those who have a dedicated room for the baby!) setting up the nursery is a lovely experience. Planning a nursery to welcome your newborn baby is an exciting time. Setting it up, however, can be confusing. And then, within a few years you need to transition your baby from cot to bed and transform your nursery into a kid’s bedroom. I spoke with Nicole Rosenberg, founder of Little Liberty an interior decorating business specialising in children’s spaces, about how to set up the perfect space for your baby, and then transform it into a stylish and functional room for your toddler. And yes, those years in between really do disappear in the blink of an eye.
Top tips for designing and decorating your baby’s nursery
1. When designing a nursery what are recommended neutral palettes to use if you don’t know what sex baby you’re having?
These days there are no rules! Colours for specific genders have become blurred so you can really go any color (except maybe pink for boys!!). If you want to go for something conservative you can go greys/whites/yellows or red/white or keep it really simple and neutral and bring in white/taupe/wooden details.
2. What are good alternative classic colours for a boy or a girl, staying away from blue and pink?
For boys, try: Yellow, Grass Green, Orange, Cobalt Blue, Navy, Black
For girls, try: Yellow, Red, Mint/Turquoise, combo of Black/Pink
3. Do you use any Feng Shui principals when designing nurseries? Is there a particular flow the room should follow?
No not really – I’m not a Feng Shui expert at all – I’m more about how the room functions practically. Keeping the cot away from windows and air-conditioning vents is very important, for example. Also, try to avoid having all your furniture along one wall – just makes the room look cluttered and un-balanced.
4. Which items should parents invest the most money in?
I think getting a good cot that can last you through a few babies is important – also a sturdy well-designed change table is critical. I don’t advise skimping on items that the baby will actually be touching such as the cot bedding and blankets. Try purchasing organic sheeting and pure wool or 100% cotton blankets.
5. What items should parents be bargain hunting for?
I think you can hunt for cheaper decorative items such as art, decals, rugs etc. These items will change in time as the baby grows so you don’t want to invest a lot in these items. You can also be really smart now with paint colors and removable wallpaper that can give an amazing effect on the room without spending a fortune.
6. What things should parents stay away from in the nursery?
Steer away from paints with chemicals. Ecolour is an amazing paint brand with zero toxins or chemicals and they deliver Australia wide, perfect for baby nurseries.
I would also be very careful about purchasing cheaper bedding brands that are made overseas which often have chemicals such as formaldehyde. Some soft toys that babies put in their mouths are made from cheaper materials once again and can also have chemicals in them.
7. When should parents start planning the nursery?
Whenever the parent feels comfortable. Some people are superstitious and don’t like planning the nursery until the baby is actually born. It’s pretty easy to put a baby nursery together in a short amount of time so I wouldn’t be stressed out about having a plan for the room before hand – also keeping in mind that most Mum’s keep their baby in their rooms for at least the first 6 weeks so you do have some leeway there. In saying that, it is however good to have some idea of what you want for the larger furniture items such as the cot and change table – all the rest can be worked out after.
8. Do you think it’s important to keep the nursery design in line with the aesthetic and design of the rest of the house? Or is this a room parents should have more fun in?
Definitely have fun! Your baby is only a baby for a short time and soon they will have their own opinions on what they want and don’t want!. I definitely recommend decorating your baby nursery in a way that parents want since they will be spending a lot of time in there! I always say to clients that you change kids rooms around every 5 years or so; from birth to 5, then 5 – 10, and the 10 – teenage years.
Top tips for transforming nursery to kid’s bedroom
1. If you buy the furniture fundamentals at birth, the transition from baby to toddler need not be difficult or expensive. Do you agree?
Absolutely, especially if you get a cot that converts into a toddler bed; Oeuf make two classic cot-to-bed conversions for instance. The beautiful Oeuf Rhea Crib is inspired by mid-century design and the Ouef Robin Crib is more modern and modular. Both convert easily from a cot to a toddler or day bed. It does get a little pricey when the child needs to go into a proper bed as the mattress, bedhead, doona and bedding do add up, but I guess its something they need and do use everyday!
2. What are the essential furniture items for a toddler’s room?
Toddler Bed – Once the child is older you may want to buy a doona and a pillow
Reading Chair – its nice to be able to read with your child in a comfy chair
Play station – For example, teepee, play tents, etc.
Book Area – it’s great to start nurturing a love for books and reading at this age. If you set up a mini library or tree bookcase then this can make it really fun for the little ones.
3. What are some fun decorating tips you can share for a toddler’s room? What are the hot trends right now?
Art is a great and inexpensive way to decorate your child’s room. You can even get them involved and give them coordinating paint colors that are in the room or get them to do some finger painting and then frame it! Decals are also a great and inexpensive way to decorate a wall and give a wallpaper effect. I always say the most inexpensive way to decorate a room is through painting a wall – you just need to get the color right! House and hexagon shadow boxes are really on trend at the moment and are a practical way to store little knick-knacks and fill wall space in a decorative way.
4. How important is functionality in a toddler’s room? Can you share some tips for how to create a stylish but functional space?
If you have room it’s great to divide the room into sections:
Sleep Zone – where you would have the toddler bed and a reading light/night light and a side table of some sort.
Reading Nook – where you would have a reading chair and a bookstand or mini wall library is also a great idea
Play area – where you might have a teepee or a play tent
5. How important is storage and what are the best storage items to invest in?
I think it’s important to be able to store all your child’s books neatl, you still want them to be easily accessible for them so having them on open shelves is your best option. Other items such as toys and other play items can be stored away in large storage boxes or cupboards so that the child can get out and put back easily when needed. If these are all out on display it can make the room look really messy and untidy.
6. Can you please share some tips for creating a fabulous kids bedroom without breaking the bank?
– Choose a wall color and get some inexpensive wall decals to create a wallpaper look.
– Get your toddler involved in making some wall art for their room – you can choose the colors!
– Pom Poms and lanterns are an inexpensive decorative item and can be hung from the ceiling with 3M wall hooks.
– IKEA have some fabulous kids furniture and if you choose wisely, can make the room look very designer without breaking the bank. You can mix up IKEA items with pricier items and get a really fabulous outcome! Sometimes even changing knobs on IKEA dressers can really spruce up the look.
– If you’re handy you can make some shelves, a storage unit or a mini library out of plywood, also really on trend at the moment!
– Paint one of the walls with chalkboard paint – hours of fun!
7. Finally, I am a big believer that a child’s bedrooms should reflect their personality. Have you got some suggestions for involving kids in decorating their room?
Yes I absolutely agree, I always consult the child when I’m decorating rooms! We usually start with what colors they like, what hobbies they have, what their interests are, etc. I think present a mood board to them and we tweak it from there until they (and the parents) are 100% happy!
You can also watch this video Nursery 101: How-to set up a nursery where Nicole shares her top tips with parents on designing the most comfortable, stylish and functional spaces for wee ones. Or download this handy tip sheet here.
Now, for the REALLY exciting bit. Drum roll please….
Exclusive NASD Reader Giveaway!
To celebrate the launch of QV Skincare’s Nursery 101 video I’ve partnered with Qv Skincare and Little Liberty on an amazing giveaway for a NASD reader! We are offering this amazing prize pack for one lucky winner:
- A free one-hour style/design consultation (value $190/hr) with Little Liberty founder, Nicole Rosenberg on a child or nursery space of your choosing*
- An RRP $150 gift hamper of QV product, including the new launched QV Baby range
- A pair of the beautiful white basket organisers featured in the Nursery 101 video by Ava.
*Consultation can be conducted via email or Skype if winner is located outside Melbourne as Little Liberty is a Melbourne-based business.
It’s simple. All you need to do is like the NASD Facebook page and complete your entry here a Rafflecopter giveaway
Winner will be randomly selected using rafflecopter.
Open Australia Wide. Competition close Dec 8. GOOD LUCK!!