Out of all the rooms in our tiny home (there are not many), Sophie-doll’s nursery is really our favourite.
This is my second post on the nursery – the first being from before she came along, almost one year (how time flies!) ago!
We spent the last weekend rearranging and re-purposing the furniture around the house to make it more safe and also more interesting for her since she is now almost a toddler and extremely active 🙂
The nursery started as a real labour of love. It used to be K’s man-cave – full of discarded electronic gadgets, his unwashed clothing (barbarian!) and random junk.
Together with my siblings in law, he knocked out all the ugly old cabinets and repainted the entire room and also parts of the house! The entire nursery is DIY and we got inspiration from sites like Pinterest and other beautiful nurseries from around the world 🙂
Previously I didn’t share how we got the whole project done, and quite a few of you readers have asked, so this entry is here to help you get started or maybe hopefully inspire you to go DIY the nursery of your dreams 🙂 Good luck! Remember all you need is time, determination, lots of love and a vision!
This is Sophie-Rose’s nursery right now 🙂
Step 1: Vision
Go to Pinterest and get a nursery board, search for inspiration and pin it up! I printed out my Pinterest Nursery Board so that I could visualize and dream about it throughout my entire pregnancy. Its exciting and makes it feel like a journey in progress. Try to get an idea of your color scheme, the look and feel you are going for, and the kind of space you will need to make your dream nursery happen 🙂
For us, we wanted a nursery which could be easily converted to being a unisex one in case #2 is a boy. So we decided that the palette should be neutral – blonde wood, white furniture, bright morning sun, and pastel walls. Although this photo of her nursery looks very girly, but if you take a closer look its the items on the furniture and bed that make it so – it can be easily re-purposed to be for a boy!
Our final color scheme? Pale Lavender, White, Blonde and Cream with a central theme of Stars.
Step 2 Nursery Furniture:
When planning for the furniture in her nursery, space was a real issue. So after lots of research, we decided on getting a Stokke Sleepi Cot.
Obstacle? The cot really is prohibitively expensive at almost $2,000 !
Pro-Tip 1: Hunt for second-hand cots. Admittedly, it was really hard for us to find a Stokke Sleepi on the resale market because they are keepers and can be used until the baby is almost 5 (and no longer a baby!). But we started early, scouring forums, classified sites, etc and eventually we found this beautiful dark wood Stokke Sleepi going for about $1,200. It is still a lot, but if you intend to sleep train early and have baby sleeping in her own room from young, it is a great investment!
The wheels allow it to be pushed in an out of our room easily and the round shape prevents scratching and takes up less space (not too bulky), and it fits right through our tiny HDB doors, so even when we’re stumbling in the dark, we can push the cot from her nursery to our bedroom easily.
For the rest of the furniture, remember that if you’re working in a tiny space, you need all the furniture to be practical as well as pretty – don’t clutter up the space!
I would recommend taking the measurements of your room and bringing it along with you every time you head out to go furniture hunting, as well as a little floor plan of your room. It will go a long way in making the process of furniture hunting a lot easier 🙂
Pro-Tip 2: Multi-function furniture. For example, our IKEA diaper table can be rebuilt into a lovely display shelf and cupboard which we use to keep her shoes and knick-knacks after she outgrew the changing table. It also has rounded edges and no sharp corners so its baby-friendly 🙂
Sophie-Rose has a HUGE amount of clothes, so instead of hanging everything up in her cupboard (not shown here) we decided to buy a big chest of drawers where her clothes could be folded and kept, taking up less space. Access is also easier as you won’t have to wrangle with hangers or walk away from the changing station to change your baby.
Also, I feel that a chest of drawers is important because it contains your ‘mess’ – baby clothes, mittens, booties, etc look untidy when just folded and left in the open and can also collect dust or dirt.
Step 3 Decorating our Nursery
Pro-Tip: Be imaginative! Don’t confine certain pieces of furniture to certain categories in your mind! For example, her Star night light is also from IKEA! It was sold as a Christmas decoration, and we waited until Chinese New Year to buy it when it went on sale for $10 down from $30. If you pick soft warm light bulbs, it makes the perfect night stand (you switch it on by tapping a foot switch) and looks perfect in our room, too.
Pro-Tip: Do-It-Yourself ! To save money, I decided to dig through my boxes of knick knacks and handicrafts to see what I could re-use for Sophie’s room! Almost all the stuff here are made from things I already had. From my Kid’s floral Cath Kidston suitcase which is now holding all her furry winter things, to the photo frame holding a hand-painted postcard we bought from a dear old lady in Paris, and the rattan ballerina pomander which I also made by hand for my wedding. The bunting occupies particular pride of place – I made it ! From scraps from my drool-pad projects.
Old rattan gift baskets can be cleaned re-used to store baby clothes and towels, too!
You’d be surprised what you can dig up, and I personally feel that making some old into something new and beautiful will give you a lot more satisfaction than simply buying it 🙂 I do intend to tell Sophie what each and every item means when she’s older and hope she will develop the same spirit for re-using and recycling, too. 🙂
The beautiful pale lavender wall paint in our nursery was customized for us. We simply went down to the nearest DIY HomeFix store and asked the man nicely if we could work with him to come up with a color mixture we wanted, and he obliged. 🙂 Painting is really not that hard – my hubby thinks its quite therapeutic, actually ! You just need thinner, good brushes, lots of newspaper, masking tape, and free weekend afternoons. Rope in your baby’s godparents or uncles and aunts to help so they can be part of his/her arrival, too!
More recently, we also had to revamp our living room area to make it more baby friendly and as a playing-place for Sophie-doll.
Here’s the partly finished version!
So I guess the question is, why not just make her nursery her play area, too?
After reading lots of books on baby raising, I have come to my own (non-expert) conclusion that until Sophie Rose is older, we are going to keep her play and sleep area separate. This is because we want her to associate her nursery with cleaning and sleeping time. If she’s surrounded by all her toys and stimulus in her nursery, we find that its harder for her to get to sleep. So we keep her nursery uncluttered and bring all the fun out into our living room.
So how did we convert our living room into a play-area?
First Step: Baby-safe your living room
This meant all things with sharp corners, and any decorative objects smaller than the palm of our hand were removed and kept away in the storeroom. I did this by simply using the length of my arm as a gauge – anything lower than the length of my arm from the ground that was hazardous was removed.
Furniture which could be pushed easily was also kept, in case she tried to pull herself up and it collapsed on her instead.
My IKEA sofa bed is an absolutely awesome purchase. I’ve blogged about it before, and I love it even more now. Its wide enough for me to do work on my laptop, keep folded laundry on top and for me to put her down for short naps, and Sophie Rose absolutely loves climbing up her ramp to the sofa-bed for story-time. Every time I get a book from her baby book case and sit down on the couch, she bursts into excited giggles and scurries up the ramp next to me to have her story.
We have lots of comfy cushions for baby to hug and roll around in, and we put a baby playmat below as well to cushion any bumps and falls as this is the highest surface in the room. You can find our playmat at Agape Babies 🙂
If your baby is crawling, you can consider investing in ramps, stairs or foam play forms so you can train their mobility and spatial awareness without them even realizing it because they are so fun! Our foam ramp is from Foamnasium and you can find them on Amazon 🙂
I’ve blogged before about how we are into experiential play and learning instead of rote or memorization 🙂 I’ve been trying to encourage experiential learning by introducing many different play surfaces and “stations” so Sophie-doll can move about the room, playing different things and returning to each “station” with a different skill or understanding.
We have her KidKraft kitchen, which she is still too young to play with properly but she loves opening and closing all the various different sized doors and putting things in and out – apparently this is a milestone, too!
Her bookshelf filled with books, which actually requires a lot of skill for her to tug each book out sideways. She obviously cannot read, but she can turn the pages of her board book and will babble away.
Her Radio Flyer, which she pushes around the house like a tai-tai on a shopping trip! 🙂 I really love this purchase – it’s sturdy enough to support her without her falling flat on her face – most push-walkers are not stable enough for babies who cannot walk. It has a great CG and we bring it out to the parks so Sophie-doll can push Benjy around =x
Baby Toys do not need to be garish, noise producing affairs! It does take a bit of work, and research but we have managed to find toys and baby furniture which match our own home decor. Fit baby into your home and not the other way around 🙂
Creating the right environment:
We’ve tried Sophie on a little Baby TV but so far, no interest at all 😦 Instead, what I do when I start every morning is to put on a CD firstly of happy nursery rhymes with an upbeat, lively rhythmn. I later change this to a Baby Jazz CD during feeding time and finally, just before her nap, I put on a Disney Lullaby CD.
You’ll be amazed at what different it makes! After a few weeks, Sophie starts to kick happily when she hears the Jazz CD and when I take out our Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair for her breakfast because its “YUM” time! And when I strap her into my Tula and turn on the lullabies, she almost immediately drifts off to sleep (only 15 mins, but I will take what I get).
These CDs are widely available but I like to get them off Amazon, too!
With that, I’ve reached the end of my post 🙂 I hope its helped or even inspired you a little if you’re just starting your baby’s nursery or play area. Please feel free to drop me a comment or e-mail if you need any suggestions or support ! None of the items found here are sponsored, all were sourced and paid for by me 🙂
I personally find that with a clearly demarcated play and sleep area and a focus on experiential learning, Sophie-Rose has been thriving and it also gives her a routine to follow – I feel so blessed every day to see her blooming – she may not be a genius baby who can identify shapes and alphabets at 1o months or start walking early, but I see that she is happy, curious, bright and healthy and that inspires me to do what I think is best for her!
Libby and Sophie Rose