Wednesday, November 20, 2013

20 Reader Space: A Neatly Organized Nursery

Hello lovelies!  I am here to bring you a little happiness on this Wednesday, in the form of a nursery!

Getting ready for a new bundle typically includes nesting, planning and organizing!  But how do you make the most of the room that is going to be your snuggling sanctuary when baby comes home?   The place where diapers are changed, stories are read and outfits are selected?  When Laura of Oakland Avenue shared her nursery with me... first, my smile grew so big that it was touching both of my ears... and second, I knew I had to share.  She really did a great job creating a mix of simple sweetness and organizational bliss.

Here she is now to share more.

What is the main function of the space?

"This space is a nursery for my now seven month old son, Eli.  I wanted a light, bright and colorful nursery for us to spend time in, that could also grow with him.  We didn't use the room a lot after Eli came home from the hospital, but about the time he turned three months old we found ourselves spending countless hours in it, not only for him to sleep, but to play, nurse, read, change diapers and more."

Any superstar tips for keeping it organized?

"The room is very small {8.5' x 9'} so space was at a premium and we had to be organized to fit everything we needed in the room!  The changing table is actually the IKEA Hemnes three drawer dresser that I DIY'd and it works harder than any other piece of furniture in our home.  We placed it right next to the closet, making it easy to grab clothes, socks and hats when getting ready for the day or changing his clothes after a dreaded blow out.  I put the items in the drawers based on frequency of use; the top drawer has diapers {both cloth and disposable}, the middle drawer holds other items that see a lot of use such as nail clippers, lotion, burp cloths and wash cloths, and the bottom drawer holds extra lotions, baby wash, pumping supplies and more."

What items were essential when organizing the space, and why?

"Our home was built in the 20's and when we purchased it, the closet in the nursery didn't have a door.  At first, I considered covering it with a curtain, but since the room is already so small, I was afraid closing it off would make it feel even smaller.  So, I set out to make it both pretty and functional without needing to be covered.

I've always been a big fan of baskets for hiding visual clutter and hard-to-store items, and I've loved the rugby stripe bins and the grey bins from The Container Store.  They are perfect for hiding everything from clothing he still needs to grow into to extra crib sheets and changing pad covers.  There are also hooks on the sides of the closet that hold his baby life jacket, hooded towels, ties and things like that.  The white Algot storage system from IKEA was a great addition to the space to give us just a bit more drawer space, because you can't hang all baby clothes!  The drawers are organized by clothing type an size, onsies, layettes, footed p.j.'s and pants, making it easy to put together an outfit each day.

The step stool in front of the bookshelf is not just so much son can someday reach some of the higher books.  We actually use it all the time because the very top shelf of the closet {which you can't actually view unless you are literally in the closet} still holds our towels and washcloths, which can't reach on our own.  So that stool gets used nearly every day.

In addition, I know I mentioned it above, but the dresser has made all of the difference in keeping my sanity each day.  It is definitely a workhorse in keeping Eli's things organized."

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

"While on my mission to keep the closet from being an eyesore, I decided to add gold polka dot wall decals to the interior, just to add an unexpected punch of fun to the walls.  I also created clothing dividers to separate my son's clothing by age, helping us to easily find the clothes that fit when getting him ready in the morning.

While I was sourcing items for the nursery, it unintentionally started to turn into an animal theme, so I rolled with it and changed out the knobs on the IKEA dresser to fox knobs, added prints from The Animal Print Shop over the crib and framed a few cards that matched the animal theme that I received at my baby showers for additional artwork.  I hand-strung the garland over the crib with felt balls I found on Etsy, and made the mobile by using the leftover felt balls and a few felt ornaments I picked up on after-Christmas clearance.

The clear bookshelves from Clear Solutions were also a fun addition, and were a great way to add storage to the room without making things visually-heavy and still allowing access to the closet." 

What items did you DIY to stay on a budget?

"The entire room was pretty much one huge DIY, mostly all IKEA hacks.  I live near an IKEA {which means I go to it way too often} and think it is a great solution for purchasing furniture on a budget.  With a little elbow grease, it becomes a custom-made piece for your home and everyone asks, 'Where'd you get that?'

As I mentioned above, I DIY'd the IKEA dresser by painting it with Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint in Graphite {which looks like a dark, muddy, navy blue in person}, and added gold fox and stump knobs from Anthropologie.  I also hacked the step-stool in front of the bookshelf.  It is the IKEA Bekvam detailed out here.  I painted it in a mint green color I custom mixed and added some leftover gold wall decals from the closet to the top. The curtains are the IKEA Ritva curtains, dyed kelly green with Rit Dye, more on those here.  I tweaked and DIY'd a whole host of other things in the room, but those are the big ones."

How has this space impacted your life for the better?

"My husband and I are constantly commented to each other that we're shocked at how functional the room is without sacrificing design.  We love having a beautiful, organized space to spend time with our son in, and it is great to have a place for all his things that we also know can easily grow with him."

Simply fantastic right?  I love all of the subtle little touches that work so wonderfully together to make this space shine.

  • The room is not jumbo sized, so it was really important to use it adequately.  Small spaces can quickly because cluttered and hard on the eyes, however, this nursery is clean, simple and fresh.
  • Although turning a dresser into a changing table is not the newest trick in the book, Laura shows that it is always a win.  It doubles the use of the furniture, giving you oodles of storage below and a place to change above.  And that beautiful blue paint really transformed a common IKEA piece.
  • I adore that Laura thought out how to use each drawer, keeping everyday items up top and less frequently used things at the bottom.
  • Got a supersized closet?  No problem!  But trying to maximize those itty bitty closets always poses more of a challenge.  Laura handled it perfectly!  I love that she used soft sided bins above, hooks on the interior sides and drawers at the bottom.  It offers flexible storage and a variety of ways to keep items organized.  Her solution can also evolve and grow as her little Eli does.
  • I have a few of those rugby stripe bins and they really are the best.  Good pick Laura!
  • Clothing dividers?  Win every time.  And her DIY is sweet as pie.
  • Love love love that she went with clear book holders.  They are fresh and timeless while giving her a place to keep all of their favorite reads within arm's reach.
  • Those curtains!  Can you believe they are dyed?  So beautiful and inspiring!
  • I am certain I need felt ball garland in my life.  I love the joy it brought to the space.

Laura is local to the twin cities area, so she better be prepared for a giant Jen hug if I ever meet her in person.  I am so honored for feature her charming nursery which I am simply smitten with.  Looking for more details?  You can read all about it over on her blog here.

Anyone else nesting and eagerly designing and organizing a sweet nursery?  What is one life saving nursery organizing tip that the world must know about?

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. This nursery is gorgeous!
    Love all the ideas :)
    Life with Baby Sophia

  2. Great space, I've got a nursery to design soon and I need some inspiration!

  3. I'm so inspired by the Ikea hacks that were used to give this nursery such a custom look! I tend to go into Ikea and get so overwhelmed. This is such a gorgeous room and makes great use of the space!

  4. Wow! What an amazing job! I love every detail!!

  5. I especially love the organized closet--it's so fun to have baby things neatly organized. One thing that instantly made me nervous, though, is the ball garland hanging above the crib. I picture a baby that's slightly older grabbing those pretty balls, and getting them wrapped around their neck. Yikes.

    1. Hi Kathy!

      I agree it is always important to put safety first. I am guessing that just as the crib mattress can be lowered as the baby grows, the strung garland can be easily raised out of reach or moved all together. Thank you for stressing the importance of being cautious.


    2. Yes, I love this and am totally inspired by her "hacked" dresser and curtains... BUT I feel compelled to say that seeing an un-lowered crib for a seven-month-old was a bit of a red flag for me! Maybe he doesn't sleep in it though, or maybe he's nowhere near sitting yet. I don't know. Just an annoying internet stranger worrying about your baby!

    3. Something worth mentioning is that these photos were taken and posted to her personal blog back in April when the baby was still a newborn. Let's trust that she is adjusting the room as he grows. :)


    4. Sorry for being late to this, we just got home from traveling for a week and I wasn't able to respond! Thanks everyone for your concern. Jen, you are absolutely correct, the photos here were taken even before my son was born. It was something I knew I'd need to change in the future, but at the time, it was just too cute not to do! Now that he's older and can sit up, the crib is lowered (although at it's highest level, he still could not reach them) and as soon as he can stand I'll raise the garland far, far above his head. All of it is secured by knots on nails, so there is no chance of it sliding off or accidentally coming down. Thanks again for your concern - it's valid!

  6. Love this! So fun, functional, and beautiful!

  7. This is so cute! I am currently working on baby #2's nursery, so this post is very timely. :)
    The Grass Skirt

  8. Oh my goodness, I love the clear bookshelves!!

  9. Love this nursery - the dresser as changing table is key. And you still had room for a chair and ottoman - nice job!

  10. I love seeing an adorable baby boy room! It seems like you see so many girl's rooms that I'm glad to see a cute boy's room.

  11. This is all so adorable Jen & Laura. Fabulous job on the organization of this nursery. My daughter in law is expecting another little one soon so this will be my 2nd excited! When I painted wall murals year ago, I painted more nurseries than you can imagine, they were always my greatest joy to paint! I got to share in many a baby's life & was somewhat immortalized on the walls at least for awhile...great fun!

  12. love this room! Where is that gorgeous crib from?

    1. Thank you! The crib is the Babyletto Hudson crib from Target. Hope this helps!

  13. love that pom pom garland so much!


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