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Interior decorating for the nursery

Tracy Wharton calgary clean air cribs decorating nursery

Although I don't decorate a lot of nurseries, it is something I get asked about from time to time. They are a temporary setup, but it's important to get a nursery right for both the baby and the parents.  

I was recently interviewed on this topic and with spring coming up, it seems as good a time as any to talk about the important considerations to keep in mind when creating a space for baby. First and foremost, although it's such a strong temptation to go all out decorating this room, keep in mind this is a pretty short phase in the child's life. It is probably also the last time you are going to have full control over what your child's room looks like (and how tidy it is) so enjoy it, but don't go overboard. If you can borrow a crib and change table that meet code, consider doing so and saving your money for when you and your child set up their "big kid" room a few years down the line. 

In some ways, this room is really more for mom and dad than it is for baby.  At least, that is certainly the case at first.  Keep colour palates fairly neutral (I know I sound like a broken record) and add punches of colour. 2D artwork or decals work well as they can't be pulled off a wall and fall on little heads. There needs to be something for the child to look at and do while on the change table or lying in a crib, but mobiles and toys can do just as good a job of that as anything wall mounted. 

I know rockers are popular, but I am going to put in a plug for the chair and a half. I had one in my daughter's nursery, and all these years later, it's still big enough for the two of us to sit in and read. It has always been a popular spot for both she and I to nestle down with a good book or to have a chat. I had it slip covered in a washable fabric that had good longterm appeal and that was certainly a good decision as it needs a good wash every once in awhile. Just be aware that slip covering usually costs about the same as reupholstering.  

Installing a dimmer on the light fixture is a lifesaver. It's jarring for the baby and for the parents when they have to have full light on in the middle of the night for a feeding. That will preclude using compact most fluorescents, but it's well worth it. If that's not a possibility, consider putting a small, low wattage lamp in the room where it can be used during bedtime or for late night feedings. 

I am so glad that crib bedding has become more sophisticated in the last 10 years or so. I ended up using small sized throws and even making some of the bedding for my daughter, but now companies like Dwell make interesting textiles that appeal to children and parents alike. Find your textiles first and let those dictate the wall colours. Use toys and fun inexpensive artwork (where it can't be reached) to give your child something to look at without making a big decor commitment.  

Think about your floor and if it's easy to keep clean, but still has a soft spot for landings when your child is learning to walk.  Although a shag rug might seem like fun, it's easy for children to pull up fibres and (probably) eat them. 

Lastly, try and set up your nursery early (especially if you are painting) so that VOCs have time to dissipate. Most paints are only low or no VOC UNTIL pigments are added, so there's a good chance they are in there in spite of your best intentions. Plants such as peace lillies, gerbera daisies and many tropicals "scrub" the air, and so I think plants in a child's room are a great idea for more than just aesthetic reasons. Just make sure they are out of reach as some plants are toxic. 

If you have more questions, please feel free to contact me here.



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