Lead Interior Designer of Ali Budd Interiors and Mom to daughter Joey and son James, Ali Budd shares her insight from over a decade of industry experience, coupled with her own first-hand tips on designing the perfect nursery.
1. Start with a plan
Most things in life go better when you have a plan. Designing a space is no different. Having a plan in place before a single item is purchased helps avoid the terrible feeling of falling in love with something that just doesn’t fit the space, or making a costly mistake. There are lots of great, user-friendly computer programs available, but even simple graph paper and a measuring tape will do the trick. Just make sure you bring your plan/room measurements with you when you shop – it never works out well when you hope for the best while purchasing furniture.
2. Stick it up
Wall decals are your friend. They’re a really simple and cost effective way to add life, colour and whimsy into a nursery. Smaller decals can have the effect of wallpaper, or be mixed and matched to achieve different schemes and patterns. A large decal (over the crib or dresser, for example) can create a statement and make a big impact. The best part about decals? They’re not permanent, easily and quickly removed without damaging the wall - especially helpful if the next inhabitant of the space is a different gender. My favorite place to look for decals is U.W. Decals - I find their designs fresh, fun and always on trend.
3. The only rule? There are no rules!
Just because a baby will be living there, don’t feel like your nursery needs to be “babyish”. Gone are the days where pastels and cutesy graphics were mandatory fare. There are so many amazing fabrics, wallpapers, rugs, decals and paint colours at your disposal - have some fun and make it a special place for you and your baby, because you’re going to spend lots of time in there together. Great resources like Project Nursery give you access to thousands of nursery photos for some inspiration. Check out Etsy and Minted for affordable and beautiful artwork. Pinterest is also a great place to keep your ideas organized, and a perfect reference to have at your fingertips when shopping.
4. Storage and Surfaces
Babies may be small, but their little stuff can really pile up. Having the closet outfitted with some shelves and/or drawers can be very helpful, especially when you need to store items they have outgrown. A good dresser with lots of storage will also help you stay organized with items like diapers, creams, wipes, wash clothes, blankets, sheets, and sleepers. Whether you’re in a small or large space, it’s great to utilize your wall space for storage - Pottery Barn Kids and Restoration Hardware Baby & Child have some stylish wall mounted bookcases for the crazy accumulation of baby and kids books you’ll suddenly wake up to. And there’s always quick-and-easy Ikea wall shelves for displaying frames and toys. Having a small table beside your glider or chair is key for placing water, your phone, or a book while your feeding the baby. Cute baskets are great for toys and give the child access to them as they get older.
5. Chair Choices
If my two kids are any indication, the most important piece of furniture in your nursery will be your glider or some version of a comfortable chair. In the early days, you will spend countless hours feeding the baby in this chair, and as they grow it will become a place to read stories and cuddle before bed. With inexpensive upholstery, you usually get what you pay for: they’ll always show wear and tear more than casegoods. If you have to pick one investment piece, let it be this. There are areas you can save to make sure you stay within your budget: pair an inexpensive white crib with great sheets, do an Ikea dresser (the Hemnes is a great choice for most nurseries) and premium it up with beautiful knobs (Anthropologie has a fresh and stylish hardware selection that is perfect for children’s spaces) - and get the chair you want. If you find yourself with a little more left in the budget, another place to invest is in black-out shades or drapes. Sleep is extremely important…for everyone involved.
Ali Budd Interiors is one of Toronto’s fastest growing and most sought-after boutique design firms. Their philosophy of “beautifully functional, functionally beautiful” is reflected in a clean, timeless, contemporary aesthetic that can be found in award-winning spaces in some of the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods.