Welcome to Mia's airy, loft-like nursery. It may not be big, but it sure is bright, fresh and inviting. If you think wall decals are over, Mia's mom Meg (say that five times fast!) begs to differ and proves her point with well-chosen and well-placed decals which give the room a sense of gentle motion and draws the outdoors in with their nature motif. Like many of our favorite nurseries, Mia's is a mix of a few investment pieces with more affordable ones and is sprinkled with wonderful handmade accents made by herself and others. Meg shares some great advice and her resources below the jump...
What was your inspiration for Mia's room?
I wanted a very modern, clean looking room, and shopped around for bedding for quite some time as I wanted that to be my starting point. I had both boy's and girl's bedding picked out in advance of our 20 week sonogram, and ordered Mia's bedding the day we found out she would be a girl. I chose the Charlotte bedding from Dwell's collection and used the colors from the bedding as my inspiration for the room. Particularly the gray and the pale green, but also the bright pink and pale blue in smaller proportions.
What are your favorite elements?
The modern light fixture, the gray crib, and the bird decals coming up the wall. As part of the room renovation, I also had a new Craftsman style window put in that makes me very nostalgic at night as I'm looking out while rocking Mia. Finally, just before Mia was born, my hair dresser and friend knitted me the gorgeous gray blanket that is on Mia's rocking chair. It's so beautiful and makes that corner of the room look very homey.
What would you say was your biggest challenge?
The horizontal portions of each wall are very low, and therefore it was a challenge to find furniture that would fit around the perimeter of the space. Also, given that the room is fairly small, I wanted to ensure it felt open and uncluttered, so storage was a key. Finally, we have a home built in the 20s and our staircase coming upstairs to Mia's room is very narrow. Consequently, all the furniture needed to arrive unassembled so we could take it up in sections. Perhaps the most difficult item to find was a rocking chair. I desperately wanted the Storytime rocker from Nurseryworks, but there was no way to get it upstairs. A few months before I had Mia, Dwell came out with its modern rocker at Target, and that is the one I ultimately selected. With a little recovering of the cushions, it was perfect!
We love how you've used so many decals without overwhelming the walls - any advice to others on choosing or placing wall decals?
The key is to order them one at a time, and put them up individually once you have the furniture in the room. I spent the most time of all shopping for decals. I had bookmarked probably 20 that I wanted to buy. I was concerned about making the room too busy, and therefore ordered the decals one at a time. I started with the decals of the birds flying up the wall and the birds sitting over the closet door, then the dandelion decal for over the chaning table, and finally the plant decals coming out of the baseboards. I also stuck with a single color for the decals so the room didn't look frantic.
What do your friends say about the room you've put together?
That they would not have thought of gray as a color for a baby's room.
What's your proudest DIY accomplishment in Mia's room?
Selecting the various gray decals from Etsy and placing them on the walls and recovering the Dwell rocking chair from Target.com (which came with plain white cushions) in Amy Butler's Midwest Modern martini fabric. Also, working with a local carpet retailer to have the gray, round rugs cut and bound to pull the gray into the floor, without having the standard rectangular carpets.
Your paint choice is daring especially considering it's on the walls and ceiling. Can you tell us what it is and why you chose it?
The paint color is Frolic from Sherwin Williams. Initially, the room was quite dark, with taupe on the walls and taupe berber carpet [see a few "before" photos in the slideshow]. We pulled up the carpet and put in a very dark bamboo wood floor. Consequently, I wanted something bright on the walls, given the dark floor and the single window. I matched the paint color to the bright green in the Charlotte bedding. Initially, when the paint was on the walls, it looked very "post-it" like and I was a bit concerned. However, once I got the gray decals on the walls, it made for a beautiful and warm contrast. It ended up being just the right color once the room was put together.
What was your biggest indulgence?
The gray crib from Oeuf. I desperately wanted the matching pieces, but could not justify the expense. Therefore, I attempted to match the birch elements from the matching Oeuf pieces with birch pieces from Ikea.
With only one small window, how did you manage to make the room seem bright?
I wanted a bright, daring light fixture that wouldn't overwhelm the room. I shopped around and found a less expensive version of a designer modern fixture on eBay. The white, globe fixture gives off quite a bit of light and is a nice visual element for the room, and I purchased relatively inexpensive modern styled lamps for the side tables that came with daylight light bulbs (from smartbargains.com). In addition, as part of the renovation, I added the Craftsman style window that let in more light, and had the trim painted bright white. The bright paint color helped too!
Best advice: Pick one or two very nice, quality, key pieces that you must have and will use for a long time (like the Oeuf crib that converts into a toddler bed), and then find more affordable accents, including some home made, to finish out the room (like the Ikea furniture and items from Etsy). I am of the belief your baby's room should be a beautiful and one-of-a-kind hideaway for your child, that can be changed to grow with him or her. A mixture of both handmade and carefully selected manufactured pieces can make a room look incredibly homey.
What would your dream source be?
Etsy. If I could do it all over again, I would have had the bedding custom made from one of the many retailers who offer that service.
Etsy (decals and decorative odd and ends, like the art prints and metal mobile), Ikea (birch, mounted side tables, changing table, toy box under the window, and low dressers), Target (Dwell line rocking chair and the mobile), eBay (light fixture), and Oeuf (crib).
Thank you Meg and Mia!