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Decorating Your Nursery

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Jaimee Livingston

modern gender neutral nursery with black crib

As an expectant mom, I started researching baby sleep the second I discovered I was pregnant. That’s how I found Taking Cara Babies. As a designer, I started planning my son, Teddy’s, nursery even before I was pregnant. Ok, maybe you’re not crazy like me and decorating your nursery is last on your list. If the task seems daunting, don’t stress! I’ve put together a list of a few things to guide you through the process and help you create a nursery that’s personal to you and your family.

modern decorated nursery with lamp, glider, black crib

Photos by Mol Goodman

1. Consider how you want the space to feel.

Do you want it serene and neutral? Whimsical and elegant? Or maybe fun and preppy? If you’re not quite sure how you want it to feel, look through nurseries on Pinterest and save your favorites! Look for similarities within the photos and use those as a starting point. You will be spending a lot of time in your nursery, so it is important to be thoughtful about how you want it to feel.

2. Splurge on the pieces you want to last.

In those early months, you’ll be spending a lot of time feeding and cuddling your newborn, so a comfortable glider or rocker is so important. It can be an expensive purchase, but I promise you won’t regret it when you’re cuddling your little one. I recommend finding one that reclines or comes with an ottoman to throw your feet up. Pick something with a durable fabric that can withstand spit up, blowouts or any of the other mysterious liquids that come out of that tiny human ;). Take a look at the fabric content before you buy it! Look for 100% polyester or polyester blends and stay away from 100% linen or cotton. A piece of durable fabric is going to make your glider or rocker look new for longer.

toddler in nursery sitting on rocker with stuffed bear

3. Think practical, easy, accessible storage that can grow with your child!

  • If you have room to use a dresser as a changing table, go for it! The closed storage is amazing for diapers, clothes, swaddles, and the other 100,000 things that come with a baby! Consider one that can grow with your child and transition into their “big kid” room.

  • I love having 1 or 2 baskets throughout the room that I can throw stuffed animals, toys or extra blankets into.

  • A fun book caddy or shelf is a great option to showcase reading books without things looking cluttered!

happy toddler on changing table playing with mom
toddler putting stuffed bear into a toy basket

4. The best way to personalize your nursery is to pick pieces that are meaningful to you and your family.

When I was planning Teddy’s nursery, I knew I wanted something lightweight over his crib in case of an earthquake (Southern California anxiety!). When I saw this banner, I fell in love and knew it was a message I wanted to instill in my son. I created the large ‘Tt’ graphic in Adobe Illustrator and framed it in an inexpensive Ikea frame to add a more personal piece. My husband loves cars, so when I found the vintage red car at a local flea market, I knew it was perfect for the nursery because it’s something he could resonate with. Be thoughtful about which pieces you want to put in your child’s room. I promise it will make the room more meaningful!

5. Make sure your nursery is conducive to baby sleep.

We all want our babies to sleep well and incorporating the guidelines from Cara’s classes were a game-changer for baby sleep in our house. Here are some of the ideas that impacted our nursery:

  • Add blackout curtains or shades. You can purchase blackout curtains or add a blackout liner to any drapes. It’s so nice to be able to easily pull them shut and create a dark space for naps and nighttime and open them for natural light during awake time.

  • If you would like to incorporate a mobile, consider hanging it above the changing table instead of the crib. The crib is for sleeping, and a mobile can be very stimulating. Putting it above the changing table could add a positive distraction during diaper changes!

  • Safety is of utmost importance, so be sure not to hang anything within arm's reach of your baby's crib or play area. Don’t hang anything heavy over the crib that could possibly fall onto your baby while they’re sleeping.

toddler boy standing in the middle of the nursery with book shelves full of colorful books and toys

The good news is that no matter how you design your nursery, your baby won’t care! So don’t stress about making it perfect immediately. Design takes time and evolves with your taste and changing budget. Like I said, I began designing before finding out I was pregnant and my husband can attest that I’m still not finished!

mom sitting in the middle of the nursery floor with toddler in her lap reading a book before nap time

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