February 13, 2012

House Tour: Nursery

Little Smith's nursery is a colorful little jewel box of a space. When we learned that we were going to have a baby, we considered using our larger second bedroom, currently a studio/ office, but decided this little room (my closet at the time) was the perfect small space for a cozy nursery.

The lay-out was very challenging, not only due to size but also because the room is not a perfect square. There are odd angles and a built-in bench which provides head room for a stair below and couldn't be removed. There is also an unused door leading to a screen porch next to the window which was too much visual clutter for such a tight space.

Our strategy was simple; cover the window-wall in floor to ceiling curtains to conceal the extra door and unify the space, lots of wall mounted storage solutions like shelves and pegs, and use a playful array of colors to tie everything together.

left: favorite sweaters and hats hang on star shaped pegs  right top: high shelves help with storage in the small space  right bottom: a ledge provides extra storage for a growing collection of books

We painted the walls a very pale blue-ish gray and chose all white for the basic furniture and shelves to keep the background light and simple; showcasing the colorful accessories, collectibles, and special pieces that we love. The crib is an old fashioned wood model gifted from my aunt (and yes we fixed the side so it doesn't drop). The small dresser/ changing table does actually hold Little Smith's entire wardrobe. We make it work by boxing away clothes that don't yet fit and using wall pegs (above) for hanging sweaters, hats, and coats.

top: wall mounted shelves and pegs help keep things organized over the changing table/ dresser  bottom left: vintage stuffed animals by Steiff, the '60s penguin gifted by the Parsons and the monkey (an exact match to mine as a child in the late '70s) gifted by my mom  bottom right: diapers and wipes are kept accessible in colorful bins in the dresser

Rows of pegs over either side of the changing table provide easy access to our hanging bags for dirty cloth diapers (in cute fabric so they're fun to look at) as well as everyday items like sleep-sacks and towels. High shelves and ledges keep lamps, the monitor, and an ipod dock (on a constant loop of "sounds of the ocean") out of reach, and also serve as much needed storage for extra toys and books which are rotated out as Little Smith wants to play with them.

bright splashes of playful color are balanced by muted walls and white furniture. the wall of curtains conceals an unused door and creates visual simplicity in the small space

The palette of primary colors was inspired by the large print that hangs over the crib by artist Brice Marden. The Eames style rocker was the first purchase I made as soon as I got pregnant. I would have loved a vintage original but that was out of the budget so I decided to embrace its new-ness by choosing a bold glossy blue. The night stand also works as a book cubby to make the most of the small space.

The full wall of colorful flag curtains are four inexpensive panels from Ikea. We did use a more substantial and pricey curtain rod in order to withstand the occasional tug from a toddler and to achieve the span of the wall without sagging. The height and texture help the space feel cozy and bright when the curtains are closed and the room is darkened for naps and bedtime.

clockwise from top left: an inexpensive desk lamp was twisted into a knot to echo the colorful ribbons in the print,  the view looking up from the crib with fun colors and shapes,  the foam floor tiles accommodate the awkward corners in the small space,  the Eames style rocker is perfect for storytime and the book cubby is a DIY project

We covered the floor in bright foam mats in lieu of a rug and ran them all the way under the furniture for a "wall-to-wall foam" look. The interlocking tiles allowed us to work with the room's odd angles. It's also great to lie down on this soft floor with pillows for family story time, a definite bonus since there wasn't space for any lounging furniture.

The room is so small that it's very difficult to photograph without a wide angle lens, but in person it's my favorite place in the house, sometimes I wish I could take a nap in there. I've done my best to document the details that make it so sweet, the sweetest of all being Little Smith of course!

sources: print is Chinese Dancing by Brice Marden,  curtains and dresser by Ikea,  mobile by Flensted,  Eames style rocker by Inmod (color: indigo has been discontinued),  foam floor tiles by Skip-Hop


  1. What a beautiful nursery! I love the play between the bright colors and muted walls. I am currently trying to utilize the vertical space in our nursery, so I will definitely be using this as a reference point!

  2. Love it. Looks like it gets a lot of light.

    It is very cheery....

  3. How PERFECT! You've created such an awesome little space for your little man. Can't wait for the rest of the house tour!!

  4. What a bright and cheery place! I love how creative you are with color!

  5. What a sweet space for your little guy! Westley's nursery, though never this cute, was a converted laundry room, of all things, so I'm very partial to tiny rooms for tiny kiddos.

  6. Vety, very cool! I love all the colors!

  7. What a gorgeous nursery room! I'd love to feature it at Baby Lifestyles. Email me if you're interested to discuss further. Amazing job!