Tag Archives: neutral nursery

nursery transformation + tour.


This post is long overdue! I actually took the majority of these photos at the tail-end of my maternity leave with hopes of getting this post up before October, but lo and behold, here I am 3 months later typing these words… Better late than never, huh? At least I got around to posting about the DIY driftwood mobile!

The “then” pics you see in the adjacent photos are from when our home was listed on the market back in 2012. Up until we found we were expecting, the room was a dismal space used for occasional guests and storing the hubby’s clothes (read about how we created a walk-in closet in our bedroom to mend this issue).


Prior to now, I had never put much effort into this room knowing full well that it would eventually be a nursery, and guests tend to use our basement bedroom anyways since it has an attached bathroom and is a little more private. The room was comprised of my old bed from college, two side tables, and a chair. In fact, it was such a ‘blah’ spot in the house that I never even took the time to take a photo of it. After letting it sit in that state for almost four years, transforming it into a nursery turned out to be even more gratifying than I anticipated and it ended up being the perfect space for our baby Fern.

So without further ado, here’s the grand tour:

nursery tour

I initially struggled with a “vision” for the room. I knew I wanted to use neutral shades and take notes from nature, but that was about it. I also knew what I didn’t want — a set “theme.” Think of it this way: your baby doesn’t start forming its own opinions for what it wants in its room for quite some time, so my No. 1 piece of advice for designing a nursery is to make a space you as the parent will enjoy since you’ll be spending a lot of time in there.

After finding out I was having a girl, the creative wheels started turning.

DIY driftwood mobile

I started with making a driftwood mobile. That, combined with subtle floral curtains, set the tone for the whole room. I also took a lot of inspiration from other nurseries that I found via Pinterest. View my fave picks here.

nursery tour

One of my favorite things in the nursery is the faux board and batten on the focal wall. I used a similar process to what I did in the basement guest bathroom. This was a super easy (and affordable) way to up the charm factor in the space and make it feel more custom.

nursery gallery wall

I created this gallery wall using a variety of frames and items collected over time from thrift stores and garage sales. For the “f” wall art, I simply traced a stencil onto a mini canvas square and painted it black. The two botanical prints are made with pieces of nature I found in my backyard that I simply pressed into the glass. The “bloom where you are planted” print is actually a .99 greeting card from Trader Joe’s. And what would a nursery be without a framed sonogram pic?

wall art

I was particularly drawn to this thrift store find because of its poeticness, and it just so happened to fit my yellow/gray color scheme and was yet another ode to nature. Score!

nursery tour

Sources from this space: The antique window + washboard are from a cousin’s farm; The vintage globe is from my grandpa; The book holder is a $3.99 spice rack from IKEA (all books were found via garage/rummage sales); The rocker was a $10 garage sale purchase (we painted the wood white and threw a Target throw over the cushions), The rug is from Hobby Lobby which I scored for 50% off; The side table was a purchase made several years ago from Home Goods; The floor lamp was a wedding gift via Target that was previously in the living room; The rattan IKEA ottoman was a Goodwill find.

nursery tour

Sources from this space: The vintage ladder was $20 from a flea market and the blankets hanging on it were gifts; The antlers were from a consignment store (I currently have this teething necklace I received as a gift handing on it); The armoire is IKEA and was left behind by the previous homeowners (it’s currently being used to store clothing items that are too big for Fern); The stitched lullaby art was from my nursery when I was a baby; The laundry basket is from Home Goods.

closet then and now

The closet got a fresh coat of paint and I screwed a shoe holder onto the interior of the door to store baby shoes, socks, tights, headbands, etc. I also added a 4-cube shelf organizer from Target for added storage of books and toys. The old suitcase holds extra blankets and bed linens.

nursery closet

fern embroidery

I had a local artist make this fern embroidery. Also, PSA for all new parents: dimmer switches are strongly recommended for the nursery (and mom & dad’s room)! They are super easy to install and prevent the need to blast a bright light when changing a 3 a.m. diaper, which is not fun for anyone.

nursery tour

I got the changing table for $15 from a garage sale and outfitted it with quatrefoil contact paper that matches the rug under the rocker. Eventually I’d like to replace the changing table with a cool vintage dresser, but I have yet to come across one I like.

The little door to the right of the changing table is a storage space that I can already see becoming a cool hideaway fortress for Fern.

nursery wall art

These shelves ($2.49/ea at Goodwill) were an ugly blue shade, so I painted them white and gave them a slightly distressed finish. It should come as no surprise that the majority of what you see on or surrounding them also came from a thrift store or garage sale, hehe! However, the butterfly print and faux plant at the top were IKEA purchases.

nursery reading nook

This DIY built-in reading nook is my favorite part of the room! After admiring all the quaint nooks I had pinned to my Pinterest board, I decided the nursery would be the perfect spot to install one. It was simple — we just anchored three pieces of custom cut 2×4 to the wall and topped it with wooden planks that we stained an espresso brown color to match the blinds.

The swagged light fixture was a $2.50 thrift store find back when I was in college. The repurposed chalkboard on the left is made from a vintage crib headboard that I bought for $10 from a garage sale. (I made chalkboards out of the headboard and footboard and a picture display from the crib spring which now hangs in our eat-in kitchen area).

chicken feeders as book holders

The books are stored in old chicken feeders that I picked up for $10 at a local antique shop. Fern’s book collection is made up a lot of vintage editions and classics that I am on the constant look out for at garage sales and thrift stores.

butterfly wall decor

These wooden butterflies were a thrift store find. I see these all the time at Goodwill!

nursery reading nook

So cozy!

light fixture update

The ceiling light fixture was in major need of an update so I went with this industrial-feeling one I found online from Home Depot.

Other items to note:

  • We had new carpet installed to match the carpet in our bedroom across the hall which also got a mega makeover during the walk-in closet project (an ‘after’ of that part of the room as yet to be posted). I wanted to keep the hardwood floors, but aside from the fact that they were extremely scratched up and would need to be refinished, there were areas that were missing chunks of wood and filled in with cement, so the easier option was just to get matching carpet in both bedrooms on that floor and make them cohesive. We also have poor insulation upstairs so the carpet helps with the warmth factor in the winter.
  • New paint color. I went with a light and neutral shade to give the room a fresh feel. The color is called ‘Stony Path‘ and is from the Valspar Hydrochroma line which is low odor and zero VOC. It’s a light gray with subtle blue undertones.

nursery tour

Thanks for reading!

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