One of the nicest things about having a baby is nesting; setting up a space to welcome them into the world. It’s a chance to have fun, get those creative juices flowing and most importantly ready for the big changes that come with a new arrival.
We moved to Colchester (from East London) in May 2019 when I was 30 weeks pregnant and then the nesting began. As renters it can be hard to make a space really feel like home, but there are some clever solutions out there these days – you don’t have to live in a Magnolia box.
As you can see, we started with a small, white (and quite light) room – it was a good base, but definitely lacking in personality. With our baby on the way, we got excited and stuck in to creating a little safe space for them. At this point we didn’t know if we were having a girl or a boy (we had a boy, Baby Dylan btw), and I’m not really a believer of ‘pink for a girl and blue for a boy’ – I just wanted it to be colourful and playful. We chose yellow and shades of blue and turquoise/aqua for our palette taking inspiration from a card that I received from a friend.
From brilliant white to shades of blue…
We wanted the nursery to be ready before the baby arrived (even though they don’t usually move into their own room until they’re 6 months) because we figured that there wouldn’t be much free time afterwards. Between moving in at the start of May and Dylan’s arrival mid-July we managed to get most of the nursery ready – furniture assembled, painted and filled with clothes.
As renters, painting the walls a bold colour wasn’t really an option for us – I would’ve painted a mural if allowed/it was practical at 30+ weeks pregnant! Instead we added some DIY paint magic to the furniture (more on that later), but we still felt like there was a little something missing…
Attention to Decals
You’ll be pleased to hear that if you can’t paint, you can still add colour to plain walls! Say hello to these amazing geometric vinyl decals by Casa Sunshine (a small business that has sadly closed since – gifted) – I really love them. They came on sheets cut out as separate shapes and then Jack & I got creative with our own colour and shape combinations by overlaying them.
They’re really easy to apply (and to remove in case you change your mind) and really effective too, I’m sure you’ll agree. We just applied the decals to 2 walls as we felt that this was enough for the size of the room. I think they’re great and would definitely recommend them – such a quick and easy way to add a splash of personality to a room.
Who needs wallpaper when you can have decals? I’m trying to think of ways to work a few different designs into the rest of our flat.
As I mentioned, we decided to get creative with the furniture because of our renting restrictions. We bought the cot second hand (it’s an East Coast Anna Dropside cot) from Jack’s sister and used Eggshell paint by Earthborn (gifted) to give it a new rainbow life. We chose to use Earthborn paints as they are environmentally friendly, have no nasty smells or emissions and carry the Safety of Toys Standard – perfect for furniture and toys for little ones.
I have a couple of regrets on the cot to be honest – it’s not what I would have chosen and I don’t really like the shape of it. But in an attempt to bring on labour (it didn’t work) and help me like it, we decided to paint it on my due date. Initially the idea was to paint the whole thing but I asked Instagram what they thought and they said to leave some of it white. I wish I’d just gone with my gut as I think it would look so much better in full colour – you’re not always right Instagram. I often think about how much nicer it could have been when I’m sitting in Dylan’s room at bedtime but never mind, lesson learnt!
For the cot I bought The Baby Mattress from eve as they are great quality (we love our eve mattress) and I thought it would be a good investment – its suitable from birth until 6 years old and it wasn’t much more expensive than other random ones that I found on Amazon.
You might’ve spotted the cute clouds & raindrops mobile above the cot? It was kindly made by Dylan’s Great Grandma & Great Grandad and is amazing – a few visitors have commented that they should open an Etsy shop! We’ve had to move it out of the cot now as Dylan can stand up (and chew on it) but he spent many nights under the clouds once we moved him into his cot/room (at around 6 months).
My favourite thing in Dylan’s nursery is the statement chest of drawers. We bought the plain pine Tarva drawers from IKEA and went through a few stages of ideas – I had a whole Pinterest board of designs including ombre, block colours and geometric patterns. I have a whole Pinterest board on Gender Neutral Nursery too if you’re looking for ideas.
In the end I decided create a remixed homage of my sunburst mural (the original is at my co-working space). I’m so happy with how it turned out – I love it! I’ll be sharing more detail on how we created it, again using the child-friendly Eggshell paint from Earthborn (gifted for the project) in a blog post soon.
I want to change or paint the drawer handles when I have a bit of time… if I ever have time again? ha
Dylan seems to be a fan of it anyway and it’s perfect for storing all of his clothes, accessories and bedding in. We have our drawers organised by age and rotate them in/out as he grows – eeek!
Above the drawers we created a little display area using the Mosslanda picture ledges from IKEA. The benefit of this option over a gallery wall is that you can easily change the display to keep it fresh. From prints and books to mementos and polaroids, it’s a creative area that I’ll keep updating as Dylan grows and his interests/achievements change.
Of course, life with a baby can’t always be minimal and picture perfect, so we also have a bookcase to store ‘everything else’ – soft toys, books and trinkets. I wanted an amazing bright yellow Billy bookcase in my original nursery moodboard (yes, I made a moodboard!) but unfortunately they were limited edition and we couldn’t get our hands on one. Instead, we bought a white one and I thought about lining the shelves with wallpaper. Maybe that is an option in the future?
The finishing details include Schottis concertina blackout blinds, the big yellow Strandmon wing armchair (a compromise after we missed out on our pop of yellow bookcase), an oversized cardboard lampshade (all from IKEA) and some giant Lego storage bricks. I think it’s fun to play with scale in kids bedrooms – remember when everything seemed so big as a little one?
Overall I’m happy with how the nursery has turned out. There are a few details which I would still change but can’t due to rental/room restrictions – this room suffers with a lot of mold in the winter months so we are limited on the layout.
I know that as Dylan grows (and hopefully we can buy our own place) the room will evolve but pretty sure that those drawers are staying with us FOREVERRRRR!
Thanks for joining me on the tour/journey of creating Dylan’s nursery. If you’re looking for inspiration then don’t forget to check out my Gender Neutral Nursery Pinterest board for lots of ideas! Oh and check back soon for a behind the scenes tutorial on how we painted our furniture.