This is a Guest Post by the super amazing One Hundred Dollars a Month reader Mel whom we’ve all gotten to know over the years in the comment section and through her wonderful guest posts.
Mel had a baby over the summer and is now sharing pictures of the nursery she has worked so hard to create.
And all I can say is WOW! Well done Mel! 🙂
Here is her latest post:
When we bought our house in 2014, I intentionally did not decorate our guest room (or let it get co-
opted as an office or filled with junk) in case we ever wanted to use it as a nursery.
We also very rarely had guests (unless you count the 24 chicks we raised in there a few years ago—long story), so the room more or
less went unused.
So, when I set the goal of converting the space to a nursery earlier this year, I was starting
with a blank slate: builders’ white walls, builders’ carpet, a guest bed, and a few odds and ends.
I’m not really sure how the theme or color scheme came to be, but I decided to go with a subtle space theme (so it can be changed later) in navy, gray, and teal, and I tried to look for ways that our baby could grow into the room without us having to change much.
Since the room doesn’t get much natural light, I began by painting three walls a bright gray (Icicle by Sherwin Williams, which we also have in our basement) and just one wall teal (Fore and Aft by Sherwin Williams) as an accent.
The teal looks very blue in photos, but it’s actually more green in person, and I think I would have gone with the same colors for a girl as well.
Since the gray is such a great neutral, if our son ever wants a different color scheme, I will likely only have to re-paint the accent wall. I also went with scrubbable paint (and later we installed waterproof flooring), so all the surfaces in the room should be both easy to clean and quite durable.
(Sidenote: our house is FULL of random antiques like that spinning wheel that I don’t really want but can’t get rid of since they are heirlooms. The spinning wheel now resides in the other guest room).
The room is a good size, but it’s a little awkward because both the door and closet are on the same wall in opposite corners, and then there’s a window on the opposite wall.
The triangle created by those features makes furniture placement a little tricky, and it really eats into the floor space because of the doors having to swing open. To work around that, I made the accent wall a library wall with narrow book ledges so we wouldn’t need a freestanding bookcase (down the line these could serve as photo ledges or hold other items for an older kid).
I did have a little trouble getting the door not to hit the ledges (I bought a longer doorstop) and keeping the doorknob from getting caught on the bottom ledge (removing the carpet actually realigned the door a little and corrected that), but it worked out.
I realize the shelves are too high for a kid to reach, but the books are roughly divided by age, and I keep a stack of the ones currently in rotation on the floor for story time.
As a fun accent, I added a decal of a mouse reading a newspaper on the baseboard under the book ledges (shown above with the original carpet before the floors were redone).
And the reading area also got a navy rocking chair which is big enough for us to rock the baby but also small enough to probably stay put for several years.
I made a slipcover for the pillow that came with the rocker in a neat teal alphabet fabric (although why I didn’t line said slipcover in waterproof fabric, I will never know). I went with a brushed nickel floor lamp behind the chair because the sort of industrial look of the metal made it feel more space-themed while still being neutral and useful for many years.
I put a similar but smaller floor lamp over by the changing table to assist with late night diaper changes, and both lamps have floor step buttons to turn them on and off, which is a feature I’ve really come to value while carrying a baby around in the dark at night.
Above the chair and lamp is the mobile I made, which was the first thing the baby seemed to really notice in the room, and I often find him gazing at it. The original storage bench I ordered to go under the book ledge ended up being the wrong size, so I opted for several of barrel-type storage tables.
They work great as end tables now, but down the line they will also add additional storage for stuffed animals and whatever else.
To further maximize space, I removed the closet door and replaced it with curtains that match the oneson the window so that we would gain back the floor space needed for the door to open and close. This swap allowed me to go with a crib with a changing table built in to save even more space (he has already outgrown that table, as I knew he would, but it’s still useful to hold the diapering supplies).
The curtains have a silver design that sort of looks like comets or shooting stars, but it’s really just lines and dots, so they suggest a sort of space-like vibe but can likely be reused even if we change the theme later.
Inside the closet I used a low cube organizer with plastic bins and chalkboard sticker labels to hold toys, a humidifier, crib sheets, photoshoot props (I’ve done monthly photos and some seasonal ones), and blankets. I can easily change out the contents of the bins and the labels as needed for an older kid.
On top of the organizer, I have white bins for laundry and outgrown clothes. I may have to switch to a single larger basket at some point for laundry, but otherwise I think the concept will work well for many years. The top shelf holds more white bins for clothing in future sizes and extra diapers.
Above the crib I added decals of stars and a moon, some 3D paper stars, and a print of polar bears stargazing. The decals peel right off, so if we ever rearrange the room or want to refresh the theme as he grows, we can easily relocate or remove them.
My original plan for the dresser was to get one that would fit under the window so that when our son is a toddler he would be able to reach all his drawers and use the top as a play surface, but IKEA did not want to cooperate with that plan, so I could never actually purchase a dresser that fit that goal.
In the short term, this actually probably worked out for the best due to some minor furniture rearranging we’ve done since and because we use the top of the dresser to hold bottle supplies.
But I’m still bitter about IKEA (though grateful to everyone who commented offering to help us track down the specific piece I originally wanted!).
Above the dresser, I hung this framed print of space-themed ice creams I found at Crate and Barrel. The print is FAR cheaper if you buy it elsewhere on the internet and frame it yourself, but I was not in the mood, so I just ordered it framed.
I’m not sure what medium the print is, but it looks like crayon, so it feels both child-friendly and whimsical but also clean and modern.
The final wall in the room has a folding bed for me so that I can room share with him for a while (we have a very elderly dog who stopped being able to do stairs about the time the baby arrived and needs to go outside several times a night, so my husband has been sleeping on a second folding bed downstairs with her).
When I move out of the room, I will replace the bed with toy storage (shelves, bins, etc.). Above the bed, we have more book ledges, which we’re currently using to hold some keepsakes and other items (including some astronaut sculptures and an Apollo 13 art canvas), but down the line they could hold books or photos.
Just underneath the ledge, we installed a magnetic strip, which echoes the metal accents throughout the rest of the room. Right now, it just holds bunting I got off Etsy, but I imagine it will hold finger paintings and elementary school artwork when he’s younger and then also serve as a place to put up posters (without damaging the walls!) when he goes through that phase as a teen.
This photo looks a little jumbled and smudgy because it was taken shortly after the new floors went in, so I was still getting everything put back together and cleaned up.
They weren’t really part of the nursery itself, but I did sew some baby booties and a matching quilt in the same colors as the room (the fabric looks a little minty in photos, but it’s more teal). The booties didn’t even fit him until he was 2 months old!
That’s about it!
We’ve had to make some minor adjustments here and there due to some unforeseen changes to how we needed to use the room, but it has still worked great.
We have not baby-proofed yet, so that will be the next step now that things are in a more stable configuration, and eventually I may get a real rug for the floor, but we currently use a variety of play mats for tummy time, so we haven’t needed one. The nursery is currently the nicest room in our house, and I really love how it has turned out.
Our baby also seems to really love it; he actually asks to be carried up to his crib each night, and he has play time and story time up
here every day, and I hope it will continue to grow with him.
More Guest Posts By Mel