Axel's Room: Subtle & Affordable Changes To Grow Up a Nursery

Kids Room Transitions

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Name: Axel (2)
Location: Denton, Texas
From: Nursery To: Toddler Room

Anna's plan had always been to make a room for her son Axel that could easily grow up with him. We all know 'the best laid schemes of mice and men go often awry', but not in this case! With another child on the way, Anna began to slowly make some tweaks, updates and rearrangements to Axel's room as well as transition him out of his crib and into a bed. The changes are subtle and budget-friendly and the outcome is as stylish as the original room - a wonderful reward for all of Anna's planning.

The New Room

What was this space before the transition?
A nursery - I actually really loved Axel's nursery. When I was designing it a couple of years ago, it was really important to me for it to be able to grow with him over time. I wanted it to be fun, but not too baby-ish. I'm happy to report that that plan actually worked out! The chevron wall, rug, paint choices, and art all stayed. I had refinished the dresser, made the fox painting, bunting, and several other art pieces for his nursery that we all still liked (although the dresser found a new home in my daughter Eden's nursery). The only thing that didn't survive his nursery was the mobile that I made. As soon as he could stand, he got to work tangling up all of the thread! It turned into a big clump of leaves, and we had to take it down :)

I'm notorious amongst my friends for changing things up at my house on an almost constant basis. Every time anyone comes over they look around for what's different. Amazingly, I still liked everything about Axel's room after two years, so transitioning it to a toddler room didn't take as much work as I assumed it would.

What prompted you to change this space?
When my husband and I found out we were expecting our second child, I started working on how to best transition Axel from his crib to a big-boy bed. I wanted the room to be really fun and stimulating for his toddler mind, but I didn't want to have to change too much since I was also working on his baby sister's nursery at the same time. I still really loved his chevron wall and the overall colors, so we decided to work with a lot of the features that were already there, just grow it up a bit.

Tell us about the new space:
We already had a full sized bed and dresser in our guest room. The bed was really low so we thought it would work well for Axel's new bed. That way we could reuse his crib and dresser in his sister's nursery, and we wouldn't have to buy any new furniture! We literally just swapped out the furniture in the two rooms and suddenly Axel's room looked fit for a little boy (it was actually one of those "my-baby-isn't-a-baby-anymore!" moments). At that point, it just came down to accessorizing. I purchased almost all of the new items at Target and IKEA. With a new baby on the way, and her room to decorate also, I needed to stick to a small budget. I really don't feel like I compromised on style, though!

Since Axel was only 18-months-old when we made the transition, I was able to make most of the decisions in regards to decorating, although I plan on adding a few Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater items to the room over time. He's obsessed! I wanted there to be easy access to his books while he laid in bed and lots of pillows so he felt nice and cozy. The full-sized bed has actually been really great for bed times. My husband and I are able to comfortably lie down with him to read books, and it provides some really sweet one-on-one time with him.

Any advice?
I feel it was very helpful that we made the changes gradually since Axel was pretty young when we started the transition. He was able to get used to each change before the next one came. The crib was out of his room long enough before Eden got here, that he didn't feel like she was stealing his bed. I don't think he even remembered that he used to sleep in it!

Source List:

Thanks Anna! Readers, Anna let us tour Axel's nursery last year - see it here - and visit her blog, Shelter & Shine, to see more of Axel's newly reworked room. And, find her great Etsy shop here.

(Images: Matt McElligott)

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Main, Family, Nursery & Kids, Toddler

As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.

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