Apart from packing your hospital bag, another very important item on your pregnancy checklist is decorating your baby's nursery. If you thought the hospital bag was a tussle, try decorating a nursery! But GreatWonderful to the rescue! Let's help you take the guesswork out of the how-to with our detailed guide plus some helpful hints.
STEP #1: FIND YOUR SPARK
Every work of art starts with an inspiration and so must your nursery. So the first step to decorating your nursery is to find a source of inspiration or something to spark an idea or switch that light bulb in your brain on regarding the kind of nursery you want to decorate. This can be an image or picture or even your next-door neighbour's baby nursery. You can search on the Internet for sites like Houzz that have a gallery of tons of baby nursery pictures to get your creative juices flowing. Another great place to check is Pinterest, and the good thing about Pinterest is that you can create an inspiration board and pin all the favourite baby nursery pictures you find on their site on it so you can refer to it later. Get as many sources of inspiration so you have a wide variety of options to choose from. Be sure to jot down these options in a notebook.
STEP #2: SHORTLIST YOUR CHOICES
Once you've been inspired and have dozens of choices of concepts or themes bursting in your head, it's time to be realistic. It can be very tempting at this point to want to do everything but time, budget and other factors may make that an impossibility. Pick two or three choices out of your tall list and dwell on these. Then out of these two or three, brace yourself to decide only on ONE that is most suitable or feasible for you taking into consideration your budget, time, size of your house or space you're using for the nursery, the sex of your baby and how available the materials, furniture, etc. you'll be using are. When in doubt let your spouse, a friend or relative second-guess you on your decision.
STEP #3: CHOOSE YOUR COLOURS
You have the best choice for your baby nursery and that's about 50% of your work done. Now you must settle on a simple colour scheme which can be a bit of a battle (unless you're colour blind, you can swing this!). A trick which works like magic is to go back to your inspiration image or photo of your best choice of concept or theme and here Pinterest comes in handy since you already have it pinned on your inspiration board. Go back to your board and select this image or photo. Now upload this photo on to a colour palette generator to extract colour palettes (a set of colours and their codes) out of which you can select a simple colour scheme for your baby's nursery. Then check to see if these colours are trending. Do not however buy your paint just yet! For now, you just have your basic colours, you are yet to pick the shades of these colours which you'll use for painting the nursery. These will be determined by your choice of textiles and even furniture. Looking for a colour palette generator? Try Canva, Adobe and Coolors.
STEP #4: VISUALIZE THE NURSERY
The next step is to create a visual representation of your baby nursery choice (concept or theme). The best way to do this is to create a collage digitally or physically using images, text and objects that best summarize your idea (you can again use Canva or Pinterest to do this if you decide to go digital or simply cut and paste materials on cardboard or pin them on a notice board). Visualizing cuts your workload in half because it helps you to actually plan into detail your nursery project from start to finish; you get to find out how your baby nursery will look like when it's actually done; this way you can reduce your margin of error because you would have identified and sorted them out when you were creating the collage. Visualizing can also help you to explore different ideas until you settle on a specific theme or concept.
STEP #5: GET THE USUAL SUSPECTS
The usual suspects here are the crib, changing table and rocker. It's advisable to buy this furniture because they will take the bulk of the space in the nursery Buying your furniture ahead of time will also help you to visually imagine your nursery better, decide on the attention-grabbing part of your baby's room and what kind of bedding to go in for and also determine how much space you'll have left for other stuff.
STEP #6: FIND THE STAR OF THE ROOM
You need to figure out what will be the attention-grabbing part of your baby's nursery and how you can turn it into a point of interest. Just like the centerpiece of a dining table, what will be the 'centerpiece' of your nursery? You need to put a lot of thought into it because it is what will make the nursery come alive for you and your baby. This emphasis point of your design or theme will also determine everything else you do. As a rule of thumb, cribs, windows and walls make great emphasis points for a baby nursery.
STEP #7: GET YOUR FABRICS AND WALLPAPER FIRST
Whether you're opting for paint or print (wallpaper), as a rule of thumb, buy your textiles before buying your paint or wallpaper. It's much easier to get your textiles and shop around for matching paint or wallpaper than vice-versa.
STEP #8: PAINT THE NURSERY
This is the moment you've been waiting for! It's time to set that paintbrush to work or fix that wallpaper you've been on pins and needles to put up. Start first by covering your furniture and clearing out your space. Then paint with your desired shades of chosen colours or fix the wallpaper or paint and fix wallpaper if you opted for both. Let the paint dry up and make sure you have a lot of air coming in to take out all the fumes. Clean up the room thoroughly afterwards.
STEP #9: SPICE UP THE NURSERY
The rule of thumb here is that less is more - do not clutter up (be a minimalist)! Focus your décor on the best parts of the room so that those parts are highlighted more. You can start by first decorating your main emphasis point and then work your way to other parts. Do not splatter décor all over but group them to create themes or patterns in these specific parts; that is more eye-catching. Pay particular attention to design elements such as lines, forms, shapes, textures, colours of these décor and how they match up to form themes, patterns or accents in the nursery. Remember also to leave a lot of space in between décor – it's your baby's bedroom, not a shrine! You can also throw in a rug or carpet to spice up the décor.
STEP #10: THINK STORAGE
Babies come with excess baggage – diapers, wipes, clothing, blankets, bibs, burb cloths, toys, etc. and you need to have enough storage for all these items. Storage helps to tame clutter and keeps stuff organised and this adds to the beauty of the baby nursery. Options for storage for a baby nursery are dressers, cubbies, baskets, cabinets, hampers, built-in drawers, wall shelves and multi-tiered side tables. Buy storage with the future in mind – you will need more room for more stuff as the baby gets older.
STEP #11: GET THE SUPPLIES
Make sure you've stocked up on all supplies that your baby will need. Start with the essentials – diapers, wipes, blankets and then get anything extra that may be needed later.
STEP #12: THINK SAFETY
You must also ensure that the nursery is a safe environment for the baby. Take care to remove anything that may be a hazard or may injure your baby. Ensure the room has enough ventilation and that there are no leaks or room is not exposed to the elements like rain. Do also fix smoke or fire alarms, a camera and CO detectors in the nursery. Put window guards on all windows and check to see they are secured. Buy a crib that was manufactured after June 2011 (the manufacture or sale of drop-side cribs was banned on this date) so chances are such cribs will not be a drop-side crib which can be a hazard. Make sure all electrical gadgets especially wall sockets are adequately covered and out of reach of your baby.
Here are some hints that you may find helpful:
- Make sure your nursery has a nursing area and that it is as comfortable and convenient as possible – the bulk of your routine with your baby will be spent at this area.
- Make sure your nursery has a cleaning area with an effective disposable system – trust us, with a newborn you'll be changing diapers a lot!
- Start your baby nursery project early so you can finish before baby arrives, in this way the paint would have dried up and the room aired well. It will also take less toll on you so you can reserve your energy for the bigger project – having your baby.
- Do buy VOC-free paint as these contain low levels of harmful chemicals.
- Cover up lightings so they are not too bright, especially those placed near your baby's crib; this may make baby unable to sleep. Do also have a nightlight for late-night feeding or changing.
- Think of the future; the baby nursery must grow with the baby. Will you have enough space for a change in furniture when baby grows older?
- Buy stuff or materials that are eco-friendly and baby-safe.
- Do put some covering on your windows such as blinds or curtains to keep out sunshine or rain.
- Do make sure nursery is well-ventilated. It can save your baby from SIDS.
By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team
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