Rachel and I are at that age when every time we turn around, another one of our friends is pregnant. Not that I can say anything: as I write this, I’ve just turned the corner, flipped the page, whatever, into 31 weeks pregnant with my second baby, a girl who is due June 9. Every time I turn around, there’s a Bundt-cake-ish sized protuberance revolving with me.
And babies bring all sorts of inevitabilities, the most psychologically arresting of which is, no, not that fact that one is going to be for all time a parent to a complex, somewhat inscrutable human being, but that one will have to assemble a practical and attractive nursery.
Well: I am assuming. A nursery doesn’t HAVE to be attractive. But I am hoping that a small measure of hubris on my part is allowed in assuming your interest in this because you are here reading a decorating blog.
(No, really, it’s a decorating blog.)
I was particularly thrilled to prep this baby’s nursery because we were renting when we had Oliver. I did ask my landlady at the time if we might paint a room or two in our duplex—I was excited to try out a color palette in Oliver’s room-to-be. Her response? “Oh yeah, if I can pick the colors.”
Oh. Huh. Okay…never mind.
Our house isn’t large—it’s a two-bedroom home—so my husband and I decided to put the baby in the little bonus room off our bedroom—my Virginia Woolf room, the room of my own, that was initially loved and adored and persuasive in our home purchase because it would be a space for me to work and write. (Now I work and write on the couch…the laptop made me do it.) Here’s the room as we first saw it, before we bought the house:
Since the room was initially intended for me, I decided on wall color as I always do: I wanted something saturated. We opted to paint our bedroom Sherwin William’s Drizzle (a bluey-green), and my VW room one color down the color swatch, Lagoon. Here are a couple of pics, taken shortly after we bought the house and began customizing, that show the colors we chose and the relationship of the VW room to the master bedroom.
When we found out it was time to convert the VW room to a nursery for Baby Girl, I was determined to keep the same saturated color I’d initially chosen for the room. I can’t wrap my brain around wanting to paint a baby’s room a light color—I don’t generally care for them to begin with, and, further, babies don’t particularly respond to pastel colors as newborns because their eyesight isn’t fully developed yet. And I admit I tend to be opposed to what mass culture says I ought to do in my child’s room. So no light pink, light blue, light green, light whatever for me.
Not that pastels can’t be okay—I have an Indy friend who painted her daughter’s nursery a pale pink—but she didn’t pair her pale pink with myriad other pale colors, instead opting for a bold black and white zig-zag rug for the floor and other color-rich prints and pictures for around the room. So if your particular aesthetic says, oh I must have light walls in my little one’s room, see what interesting non-pastel accessories, etc, you can bring in to contrast with that. (More on that later.)
Once I knew I’d be keeping my Lagoon room, I got to choose a set of colors to go with. I headed off to Michael’s to stand in the aisle of acrylic paint—to wait for inspiration to strike me. (Why there and not Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sherwin Williams, you wonder? I knew I’d be using the colors on small projects, where a tube of acrylic paint would come in loads handier than a bucket of interior.) Here’s what I settled on: Light Blue Violet, Brilliant Yellow Green, and some kind of Orange (that’s the top of one of my fav vases shown in the pic). These three colors have guided all subsequent decorating/accessorizing choices for the room, the first of which is here in the picture: I redid a shelf that’s been around in my family for YEARS in Light Blue Violet.
When my brother Addison first saw a posted pic of the completed shelf, his response? “That shelf is still around?!”
Oh yes, brother. It would be cobble-remiss of me not to re-purpose perfectly good shelving—here’s our first glance at the “thrifty” part of the Thrifty-Stylish Nursery: look for items you already have and see if you can “refresh” them for a new decorating scenario. And the shelf was my first opportunity to enact the accent palette—more opportunities to be detailed soon; I’ve got to bail now to go play outside with my nap-spurning Oliver.