Getting Ready for Baby! How I Designed My Dream Nursery

Like many of you, interior design has always been an interest and passion of mine. Having been fortunate enough to work in the industry for four years, I got to witness just how much effort it can take to turn an idea into a reality, and how much joy it brought when someone was able to visualize and step into the space of their dreams. Needless to say, I knew that my next job was going to be different. This time I wasn’t going to help design for someone else, but for my own baby girl, who I have been dreaming about my whole life. Of course, I instantly got designers block!

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First, I decided to make a list of the themes I wanted to include. I love starting my designs with simple lists like this, because it can really help break me out of mental blocks. Once you start a list, you can also start a collection of designs with themes on sites like Pinterest, and it will always be there for you to reference.

So after I finally got down to putting pen to paper (aka finger to keyboard), here are the words I came up with:

  • Traditional
  • Vintage
  • Whimsical
  • Soothing
  • Calm
  • Magical

For inspiration, I used these keywords and started online by searching through blogs, catalogues, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. I even checked a few local consignment shops for ideas. As I came across things I liked, I would add the images to a collage. Doing it this way allowed me to see all my options and looks next to each other so I could easily compare and mix and match ideas without having to juggle between pages. Eventually I came across a timeless look that I loved, and it would serve as a template for my design – a crib and chandelier that was framed out by shadow boxes vertically aligned on both sides. Now on to the details!

To achieve the soothing and calming vibe, I decided to use my color choice. Color choices can make all the difference when it comes for setting the mood in a room. While bold patterns and sharp colors can bring in energy and excitement, I was looking to create a nursery that was a more relaxing space. For this design, I went with shades of one of my favorite color palates – blush, greys, whites, and nudes – all in more soft and muted tones.

Moving down my list, I came to traditional and vintage. I think that larger furniture pieces are a great way to express themes, especially when being blended into a nursery. Sometimes you can find a piece of furniture that you love so much that you just start with that and design from there. Another option is to start by planning out the spacing and placement of the furniture, and to search for pieces that fit your scheme afterwards. This was the case for me. Next, it is always important to consider the shape and dimensions of a room. I personally like to tape things out in the empty space to get a visual idea of how things will look and how the flow of the room will be when moving through it. The shape of this room is more rectangular than square, so I decided to choose one longer piece and more narrow but tall piece on a neighboring wall. I wanted the crib to be the focal point, so I placed it squarely in the center of the wall you would see when you walked in.

When searching for the specific pieces to fit my design, I narrowed my search to designers and stores that offered traditional and vintage options. I also looked for a matching set to keep my look cohesive, which can also be calming to the eye. Eventually I found what I was looking for at Restoration Hardware. I went with a tufted crib, dresser, and bookshelf in an antique grey rustic-wood patina and I absolutely love it!

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A key component for every nursery is also comfy chair or rocker for those late night cuddles and for nursing. Having always been a fan of rocking chairs, that is where I started my search. It turns out I didn’t have to go far, as I found a simple yet stunning rocker and ottoman set from Restoration Hardware. I went with a soft, white linen color for these both for the style and because these are slip-covers that can easily be removed, washed, and bleached. It was great and fortunate to find all my large pieces from the same place, and I got to save on shipping!

Now with the heavy lifting out of the way, I moved on to decor. To express the rest of my themes, I was going to search for art and objects that were fun, functional, and that I knew my baby would love!

For the shadowboxes on opposite sides of the cribs, I decided to use white linen dresses that I had custom made from a shop on Etsy. They had a timeless, vintage feel and fit in great with the color tones I was looking for. I love shadowboxes because they allow for modifications and when she’s old enough, Saylor can add her own stamp on her design!

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Next, lets get whimsical! For this, I wanted to find a show-large scale art piece that she I knew she could cherish forever. I searched all over for the perfect piece, and kept finding myself drawn to floral wall art pieces with reflective name designs. There are several places where you can purchase these or have them custom made, but for the sizes I was looking for, the cost was pretty way out of the budget I was working with. That wasn’t going to stop me though, so my husband and I decided that we would make one ourselves. We couldn’t think of a more special, and practical, way to get exactly what we wanted. For more on how we did this, you can check out my DIY post (click here). The finished design came out perfect and we hope that our baby girl feels the love that we put into making it.

Now what would a nursery be without a little magic? To create this feeling, I knew that I would have to find a piece that just spoke to me. Then, like a rabbit out of a hat, I came across this enchanting chandelier in a Pottery Barn catalogue. It reminded me of a fairy-tale and I knew that with softer bulbs it could really warm the room up and enhance the colors I had chosen. Once it arrived and my husband installed it, we found that it lit up the room with an almost breath-taking glow. We couldn’t take our eyes off it!

On to the details! For the floor, we chose a plush, soft pink rug that occupied a large part of the room. This would be a comfortable surface for her to play on and also wouldn’t feel too bad on our feet!

But what about the toys?!? No nursery would be complete without them. We were fortunate to have been given many gifts (stuffed animals, books, etc) and baby essentials that fit perfectly within our design and color palate. We bought a few decorative sea-grass baskets from Home Goods that matched well and filled them up with toys. Decorative storage pieces are a great way to integrate function into your art pieces and they can be used in so many different ways. I also had a couple huge, oversized stuffed animals that my husband had won for me at the San Diego Fair, that we had set aside just for this occasion. We placed them on the floor, but in the corners of the room to not make them a huge focal point, but still a part of the playful vibe. To round out the look, we sprinkled a few choice toys and signs on the bookshelf as display pieces.

I hope you enjoyed reading about our design as much as we enjoyed creating it. For those interested, here is a list of our purchases and clickable links for you to find them online!

Saylor’s Nursery Purchases:

I would love to see pictures of your nursery designs!



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All images and content, unless otherwise stated, are property of Josie Schub. They are not to be reproduced for individual or commercial purposes. Please do not use any of my images without proper links back to my site. Josie Schub also contains affiliate marketing links. This means that when you click links or purchase items, I may receive a small commission for the referral. I only post and recommend links from companies and brands that I LOVE! 

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