Making Room for Baby
By Sherri Blum, CID (Certified Interior Decorator) and owner of Jack and Jill Interiors for Children and Sherri Blum Designs, Heirloom Quality Children’s Wall Art and Rugs
Let’s face it; the majority of us don’t live in what we consider to be our dream home when our first or even second baby comes along. Many of us are still in the process of saving for our family home and in the interim are living in an apartment, townhouse, or even with our own parents. We’re likely already short on space and now wondering where we’re going to put all of the little goodies that come along with a baby. Well with a little creativity, you won’t need to sacrifice style to provide your little miracle with a wonderful and welcoming space.
Whether the baby will be sharing a room with parents or a sibling, doubling his room as a guest room, or will simply be given a small room of his own, there are several things to consider when space is limited. First, determine what can be removed from the space that is to become the nursery. Clean out closets and remove unnecessary furniture. The only items you must have in a nursery are a crib, chair or other area to feed or soothe your baby, and a changing station.
Before you begin shopping for your nursery furniture, create a furniture layout to ensure that all items will fit properly in the given space. Make a ¼” =1’ scale drawing of the room on graph paper. Measure beds and other items you wish to use in the room. Place cut outs of these items made to scale on the graph paper to be sure that they will fit properly and to avoid costly mistakes.
Once you’ve determined which items will fit within the room, begin shopping for versatile furniture. Many cribs have drawers built right in. When purchasing a dresser, consider one that doubles as a changing table. Traditional changing tables aren’t practical because they serve no use once your child no longer wears diapers. An armoire can easily be used as a changing station and later used to store clothes, a TV or computer. When purchasing a rocking chair, go for neutral. Find a chair that can later fit in nicely with the décor of your family room or other room of the home. Consider the future use of any furniture you purchase.
Make the best of the closet in the baby’s future room. Closets are designed with adult needs in mind. Most baby clothes don’t need to be hung and even if you do have lots of tiny dresses, these take up little space. Local home stores such as Home Depot, have closet systems with hanging bins or shelves to hold shoes, blankets, sweaters, etc. A back-of-the-door shoe holder can keep socks, pacifiers, hats, toys and books. Place a dresser or book case inside the closet. If baby is sharing a room with parents, siblings or a guest bed, consider removing closet doors and placing a double size bed or daybed in the recess to provide a sleeping area for the baby’s roommates. Dress it up by placing drawn back curtains on either side of the closet opening to frame the bed beautifully and dramatically.
Bedrooms of any size can benefit from the addition of built-in wall units and window seats with cabinets. By building a wall unit you are converting the room’s vertical space into storage with shelves for toys and books as well as cabinet storage below or a desk/vanity area for use by others who share the room. Window seats can store toys or blankets while providing a cozy area for reading.
Seek out all storage opportunities. Purchase under bed storage bins for keeping baby clothes or toys under a sibling’s or guest’s bed. Use dresser tops to stylishly store small baby necessities such as cotton swabs, lotions, etc. in painted flower pots, sand pails or wicker baskets to coordinate with other design elements in the room. Place a trunk with a cushion on top at the foot of a bed or under a window to use for seating and storage.
When sharing a room with baby, you should consider privacy issues. A shared bedroom can be tastefully divided to allow everyone some privacy while baby is sleeping. Place the crib in a corner of the room with a privacy screen in front. Fabric covered screens, tall shutters hinged together, book cases, and even curtains suspended from the ceiling can provide privacy for baby’s roommates while also providing a dramatic decorative element to the space.
A few tricks can be used to make small or crowded rooms feel more spacious. In a shared room, define the baby’s crib space with a decorative area rug. This makes the crib a focal point in the room and emphasizes the importance of the baby’s space. Visually enlarge cramped quarters by painting walls a cool light color. Cool colors such as blue, green and lavender tend to visually recede, therefore giving the illusion of a larger space. Strategically placed mirrors will also make a room feel larger by reflecting space and light.
And finally, any family member sharing their room with the new baby doesn’t need to sacrifice style. Choose crib bedding in fabrics that coordinate well with other decorative elements already in the room. You don’t need to match the baby’s bedding with your own, but rather coordinate the fabrics and colors. Florals coordinate beautifully with stripes, plaids and gingham. If your bedding is a plaid with red, green and gold, complete the baby’s bedding with a floral or toile in one or more of these colors. Toile is a traditional pattern that is very popular in baby bedding today and works well as bedding for all ages. Dressing all fabric elements in the room in a beautiful toile fabric will bring sophistication and harmony to sleeping quarters for everyone.
Regardless of the space you have to work with, you can provide your new little angel with a practical and stylish nursery that both of you will be proud of!
Sherri Blum is a Certified Interior Decorator and children’s artist. She is the owner of Jack and Jill Interiors for Children and Sherri Blum Designs, her line of heirloom quality children’s décor. She provides interior design and decorative painting throughout Maryland. Visit her websites at www.jackandjillinteriors.com and www.sherriblumdesigns.com.