Wednesday, May 1, 2013

36 Reader Space: Oh Baby! An Organized Nursery

This girl has babies ombre on the brain!  And today's nursery fills my happy heart with oodles of ombre and organized goodness wrapped in a pretty blue bow!  Say hello to Angela of blue i style blog!

Angela has done a divine job at creating the most dreamy nursery around!  She mixed style with function and did it flawlessly! 

The teal ombre stripes set the tone for the entire space, and make the room for nice and cozy.  Angela layered in fun accents and accessories, a superfab rug and beautiful storage to finish it all off.  Here she is now to share more details about the process and her happy space.

What is the main function of the space?

"When we were pregnant with our first baby, we decided not to find out the sex, which meant designing a gender neutral nursery.  Many of my family and friends, who are well acquainted with my Type A personality, were surprised that I wouldn't want to know whether we were having a boy or a girl so that I could plan the nursery accordingly.  But the way I saw it, creating a gender neutral nursery would actually be the ultimate form of planning for the future!  Knowing that we planned to have a second child in the future, I wanted to decorate a nursery that could become baby number two's room without the need to spend the money to redecorate.

Right now, this nursery belongs to our 16 month old son, Beckett, and baby number two {gender also a surprise} is due to arrive soon!  Baby number two will stay in a cradle in our room for the first months before moving into this nursery when we create a new "big boy" room for Beckett.

This nursery sees a lot of action each day - between diaper changes, playtime, reading LOTS of books, naps and bedtime.  When Beckett was younger, the nursery was also where we did most of his feedings."

Any superstar tips for keeping it organized?

"Since every inch of this room gets used on a daily basis, the key to organization has been having a designated space for everything.  Each part of the room serves a specific function, which makes it much faster and easier to find things and to put them away.  The changing station is located right by the closet on one end of the room, while the rocking chair and books are together at the other end of the room. We spend a lot of time playing on the rug - so toys are kept in the cabinet right there in the middle of the room.

When it comes to the nursery closet, the first thing that made a world of difference was removing the sliding doors and replacing them with doors that pull open.  With the sliding doors, only half of the narrow closet could be accessed at the time - making it really hard to get things in and out.  Just switching out the doors made the closet seem much bigger and allowed us to add a custom Elfa closet system with drawers right down the middle {the sliding doors wouldn't have allowed for these drawers}.

But the real superstar of the closet has turned out to be the clothing rod dividers that separate and label different sizes of clothes!  Many generous family and friends gave us clothes for Beckett, in sizes ranging from newborn up to 18-24 months.  And when I see a clearance rack, I like to pick up cute items that I know he'll eventually grow into.  But having so many different sizes in one closet can be a challenge, and, without the clothing dividers, I know we'd run the risk that he might outgrow something before I realized it was the right size.  The left side of the closet has three rows for hanging - I use the middle row {my eye level} for his current size of clothes, the bottom row for the size he'll be growing into next, the top row for bigger sizes that he'll wear further into the future.  Dividing the clothes this way also helps to ensure that I don't over-buy in any one size."

What items did you find were essential in organizing the space, and why?

"For the nursery, the essential organizing items all come in the form of furniture.  I opted to buy an inexpensive Ikea dresser and add a changing tray to the top, rather than buying a traditional changing table - so it will serve as functional storage for many years to come.  The top drawer holds diapers and all of the diaper changing essentials, which keeps them concealed but still within easy reach without every taking my hands or eyes off of the baby.  The cabinet in the middle of the room - called the Eiffel Bookcase - is great for organizing toys in the nursery because the open middle creates a fun display space while the doors around the edges help conceal the toys and giving Beckett easy access.

There are also many necessities in a nursery that can't easily be hidden away in a drawer or cabinet, but that can create visual clutter - so I found other ways to "hide" some of these items within the room.  For example, little things like nail clippers and the nasal aspirator are stored in cute decorative jars by the changing tray, our white noise machine is tucked behind a grouping of picture frames and the Diaper Genie is tucked in the corner behind the door leading to the attached bathroom.  The clothes hamper is also somewhat "hidden in plain site", since it looks like a monkey rather than a typical hamper.

In the closet, in addition to the clothing rod dividers, the baskets and drawers have been essential.  The drawers hold items that get used on a daily basis, like socks and pajamas, while the baskets sort and store all the clothes that have been outgrown, but which might be used for baby number two or handed down to friends and family in the future.  I hesitated about spending the money for the Elfa closet system, but I got a great deal at the annual Container Store Elfa sale and I think it was a worthwhile investment because it allows the flexibility to reconfigure the set-up in the future as our kids grow and their storage needs change."

What did you do to go the extra mile and "Make it Pretty"?

"I would say that we definitely went the extra mile by painting the ombre stripes on the walls.  It was a big project, but once we came up with a good game plan, it turned out to be very manageable - albeit time consuming.   The goal was to design a gender neutral nursery, but I'm not much of a neutral color person - so we went with shades of teal on the walls, and added pops of red, yellow and green throughout the room.  But I think it's really all the white in the room - including the furniture and the white animals throughout - that ties the space together and balances out the bright colors.

My mom is a fantastic quilter and I really wanted something handmade by her for the room, so she and I collaborated to create the quilt that hangs above the crib.  I came up with the idea for the white animals on the bright blocks of color, and I drew all of the animal silhouettes by hand.  Then she worked her quilting magic!  I especially love the hand stitching around each animal!  My mom also made the elephants for the mobile, and used some of the same fabrics from the quilt for the elephant ears.

I also put in a little extra effort to tie together some of the pretty elements of the room.  I used red washi tape with white numbers for the drawer labels in the closet - which ties in with the red numbered drawer pulls that we added to the Ikea dresser.  And I made custom labels for the closet rod dividers using the same animals that I drew for the quilt."

What items did you DIY to stay on a budget? 

"We definitely saved money by painting the room ourselves.  I don't know what it would have cost to pay someone to paint the stripes - but I am sure it would have been much more than the cost of ten quarts of paint, a couple rolls of painters tape, and our sore backs.

The changing pad cover was another great budget DIY project.  Really cute changing pad covers can get pricey - especially when you want to have a couple of extras for when one goes into the laundry.  But my mom can always be counted on for sewing projects, so I enlisted her help.  By cutting apart one crib sheet with cute red, yellow and grey animals {purchased on clearance}, and adding some super soft red minky fabric, my mom was able to make us four changing pad covers.

DIY'ing the labels for the closet dividers was also very budget friendly.  I bought the plastic dividers for only $.99 each and custom made my own labels using some glossy, printable sticker paper that I already had around the house.  By making my own labels for the dividers, I was able to design them to match the quilt above the crib for no added cost."

How has it impacted your life for the better?

"I can't even put into words how much we enjoy hanging out with our little boy in this room, and how much we look forward to sharing it with baby number two.

Now that Beckett is mobile and becoming a toddler, it's so much fun to watch him explore his room, and to see how much he loves being in that space.  His favorite game these days is the "Look! That?" game, where he points and says "Look!", and then when we take him to what he is pointing at, he says "That?" and waits for us to tell him what it is.  Nowhere do we play this game more than his nursery where he points at all the different animals around the room.

Having the room well organized makes getting ready in the mornings and at bedtime much simpler, and cleaning up after playtime is quick and easy.  This allows more time for us to just enjoy being in the room, spending quality time together as a family."

Such a feel good story right?  So much to heart about this!
  • Those walls.  Sigh, I could kiss them!
  • Any room that can create smiles for the entire family, and promote play, wins big!
  • I adore they replaced the bi-fold doors with doors that open out, to create more effective storage and access.
  • The jars on the changing table make my heart pitter patter with joy.  
  • The handmade elements will be treasures to cherish for life.
  • Angela's system for organizing clothing by size is so super smart.  I love that it ensures that no clothes are left behind.
  • The girl can label!  So good!
  • She was resourceful in her use of space, ensuring she won't have to reinvest in nursery items a second time when their new baby is born.
  • The room has a great mix of open and concealed storage and display.
  • Did someone say Elfa?  What's not to love about the versatility of the fabulous Elfa systems?  Closet systems really allow someone to utilize the entire space within the closet vs. being left with standard shelf and rod issues.

Isn't the space just overflowing with amazingness?  It left me grinning and grinning and grinning some more!  And it makes me so happy to hear how loved it is by the entire family.  That is what it is all about my friends, creating spaces that you want to spend your time in.  Kudos to Angela for doing just that, and a huge congrats to her and her growing family.

You can snag all of the nursery details on Angela's blog here.

ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life.  Please submit your story and photos here and I would heart to feature them right here, on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited.  Please include a description of the project, including any costs, inspiration, and how it has changed your life and routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!


  1. Oh my goodness, this room makes me want to do a nursery! So many special touches and smart choices! Those striped walls and animal lid jars are to. die. for. This is an amazing room, Angela and congrats on baby #2!!

  2. Thanks for the feature, Jen! IHeart You!

  3. This is SUCH a cute nursery! I might have to redo my son's room!

  4. This is great!

    What label maker do you have that you could make those labels for dividing the clothing based on age?? I love it!

    1. Ariela - I designed the closet divider labels on my computer and printed them onto full page sheets of glossy sticker paper. I then cut them out and stuck them to the plastic dividers (I labeled both sides). I posted a tutorial on my blog, as well as a blank template that you can download:

  5. My six year old son is named "Beckett!" When we used the name, we'd never heard of anyone else using it...and just in the last month or so, I have read or heard of it three times! I love it!

  6. Adorable!! Where do you purchase the blank clothing dividers?

    1. I bought the blank clothing dividers at The Container Store for $.99 each. You can also find them on Amazon.

  7. This is ADORABLE!!! I want to have this room so badly!! Maybe later - when I have a baby.

  8. Angela,
    Your babies' space is fabulous. I have just finished a rather extensive overhaul of my older boys' room, and have been putting off starting on my toddlers' room because they are a boy and a girl, and coming up with something gender neutral when they are both SO gender typical (super girly girl who loves baby dolls and shoes, and MAJOR boy who loves sports of all kinds) has been challenging. You've reawakened my inspiration with your space. I seriously HEART your ombre stripes!!

    Congratulations on baby number 2!

    1. Thanks, Rachel! That definitely sounds like a challenge, but I bet you'll come up with something that they'll both LOVE!

  9. Aww this is so, so cute! The elephant mobile... ADORABLE!

  10. Sometimes I have technical issues on my iPhone posting comments so if this gets posted twice so sorry but I am loving these ombre walls! Adds so much dimension to the room!

  11. Love the closet organization! Need to steal a few ideas as my 10 month olds clothes are currently scattered all over our spare room in my millionth attempt to organize them.

  12. I adore the elephant mobile, the quilt and the walls! What a great space!
    I also would like to know where did you get the dividers. Thanks!
    Congrats and have an easy labor and delivery!

    1. I bought the blank clothing dividers at the Container Store for $.99 each, but you can also find them online. I designed the closet divider labels on my computer and printed them onto full page sheets of glossy sticker paper. I then cut them out and stuck them to the plastic dividers (I labeled both sides). I posted a tutorial on my blog, as well as a blank template that you can download:

  13. The Elfa storage is incredibly useful. I used them in my three kids smallish bedrooms and all three have taken them to college and now in apartments. They are durable, fit into closets, and provide huge amounts of storage especially if you use the double height. I use one for fabric storage in my sewing nook and another in my husbands office for tech fiddly bits like cables and surge protectors with a printer siting on top of it. They are an investment but have held up well and grow with kids.

  14. I love it all! It's always fun to see a nursery that shys away from the typical baby blue and baby pink!

  15. I love what you did to the nursery. Very nice.

  16. WOW! Such great organization! I am going to have to keep this in mind for when I have a baby! Thanks so much for the ideas and inspiration!

  17. When I used to paint wall murals, children's rooms and baby nurseries were my absolute favorite to work in. I love the color choices & the simplicity of the teal ombre stripes. The organization is incredible. Love everything about it & great blog Angela!!!

  18. I am totally speechless, the walls by far has to be my favourite thing about this room, and the way you put it all together with accessories like the mat. Love how it all looks

  19. With so much else going on being a new mom, this room must make it a whole lot easier. Love the walls and all the special touches. (Almost makes me want to have another one- okay, maybe not LOL!)

  20. Some great ideas! I'll be reorganizing my babies room this summer and I will definitely use some of these ideas.

  21. What a beautiful nursery! I love how even all the tiny details tie together so well! And that ombre wall--gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing this space with us!

    ~Abby =)

  22. The striped ombe effect on the walls is so creative and not overwhelming because they chose such a soothing color palette. I agree on having a pot for EVERYTHING! I am a nursery designer and one of the biggest design elements I tackle is storage and more storage. Kids need to be creative and that often means messy, so you really have to have a plan to keep all of that under control. Love the nursery design and i recently did a post on storage for the nursery with some great ideas and products!

  23. Love this!!!! Could you share where you got your measurement giraffe? And the zebra behind the alligator and next to the picture and clock?

  24. Hi Amanda! The zebra (as well as the alligator and several other stuffed animals in the room) all came from Pier 1 Imports. It looks like the zebra is on clearance right now:,default,pd.html.

    The giraffe growth chart is a wall sticker that I got from an Etsy store called LookSugar. They even customized it for me based on the height of our baseboards so that the measurements would be just right:

  25. I love this nursery! Can I ask where the decorative jars are from?

    1. Sorry for the delay, I just saw your question. The jars are from Pottery Barn Kids, but ages ago. It was a really popular PBK collection though, so you might be able to find someone selling them out there on EBay.

  26. Wondering how you made the book canvas above the bookshelf with the pages?

    1. Hi there, this is my nursery, so I am happy to answer your question, but I'm not sure I understand what you are asking. If you want to shoot me an email at blueistyleblog (at) gmail (dot) com I can give you whatever info you are looking for. Thanks!

  27. Jen, Thanks again for featuring my nursery a few months back!!

    I just learned that this nursery is in the running for the Apartment Therapy "Room for Color" contest. If anyone sees this comment and liked this nursery design, please considering voting for it before noon on Friday, September 27th by clicking here, then scrolling down below the photos and description to click "Favorite." You have to sign in to vote, but can sign in with your Facebook account. Thanks for the support!


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