Monday, November 8, 2010

DIY Ideas for Jazzing Up The Nursery

When I started planning our daughter's nursery, I knew immediately what I wanted.  I just didn't quite know how to get it.  We were on a tight budget, but I wanted her to have a room fit for a princess.  I have always loved decorating and creating projects, so I knew I would have to make things myself if my vision were to become a reality.  Naturally, we would have loved to spend tons of money making her little room perfect, but I think it's pretty cute, and we really only splurged on one thing... the bedding.

As inspiration for the entire room, I started with the baby bedding.  I didn't really start putting her room together (or making my husband build things) until late into my pregnancy, but I found her bedding within the first few months.  I simply fell in love with the classic florals, polka dots, and stripes.  It was everything I had imagined.  However, it was expensive.  I continued shopping around for similar yet cheaper bedding but just didn't love anything else.  I talked with my husband, and we decided we would splurge a little on that one particular item.  Everything else would have to be super cheap or created by us.  Luckily, since I found the bedding early on, I was able to stalk the price for months until it went on sale!!  We ended up getting almost $200 of the original price.  Once I had the bedding in my hands, I was able to start the little things that would complete her room.  

The Inspiration:

First Project:  Letters

I've seen these letters used in many nurseries.  They're so easy to decorate and hang.  This is what I did...
  1. Buy (or cut) plain, wooden letters from a craft store or convenience store.  I bought plain, white letters in the craft section at WalMart because they were the cheapest.  
  2. Use craft paint/wood paint to decorate!  Again, the bedding was my inspiration, so I continued with the flowers, polka dots, and stripes.  For the "A", I needed to incorporate a little more green but didn't want to repeat a pattern.  I went with blocks because I felt it was a solid conclusion since the "E" had thick stripes.  
  3. Add ribbon!  I always save ribbon and had this pink ribbon in my craft box.  If I had bought some, I probably would have gone with a thicker, more prominent type, but this worked just fine.  I cut the pieces, tied them into bows, and dropped a tiny bit of wood glue on the back of each letter where the ribbon met the wood.  
  4. Obviously, the ribbon wouldn't be strong enough to hold the letters while hanging on the wall (as they were only glued on), so I used the built in nail holes on the letters to hang them.  Then, I hammered a tiny nail into the knot on each bow to make it look as though the ribbons were actually hanging from the wall.  

Second Project:  Bookshelf

This isn't a very good picture, but this is the bookshelf I painted to coordinate with the wooden letters.  We weren't able to purchase additional furniture for Emma's room, so I decided to recycle an old bookshelf we had planned to get rid of.
  1. Find an old piece of furniture.  I used an old $10 bookshelf from Walmart (college apartment decor).   :-)
  2. Sand it down.
  3. Paint a base color.  We had paint left over that had been used in the house, and since I wanted a white crib, it worked.
  4. Decorate!  You can paint specific designs, quotes, use stickers, or whatever else you like.  I wanted the shelves to match the letters, so I kept with the floral and polka dots. 
  5. Since we went with a classic, vintage looking bedding, I was able to use keepsakes and toys from my childhood to decorate the shelves.  
Third Project:  Accent Pillows

We knew the futon would need to stay in the nursery for visitors, but it didn't match anything in the room.  Futon covers are expensive, so I simply found a fitted sheet for a few dollars and used it as a new "futon cover".  It actually pulls the room together by balancing out our green accent wall.  However, I needed accent pillows.  
  1. Buy pillows at a craft store or use accent pillows from your house.
  2. Choose fabric.  I found this quilter's fabric on sale at Walmart.  It goes well with the bedding on the opposite side of the room.  
  3. Sew!  I don't have a sewing machine and could have done it by hand but sought the help of a friend.  There are many different ways to make pillow cases, but these are simple and easy to clean.  They're made with an open side, just like pillow cases for bed pillows.  You don't even have to worry about zippers or buttons.  However, you could use buttons to jazz up your pillows even more.  
Fourth Project:  Wall Art

This is kind of embarrassing to post; I'm not the best painter.  I can draw and thought it would translate into painting.  It didn't work out as well as planned, but I still used the pieces. 

I found some beautiful painted canvases online and used some of the elements as inspiration for these.  I love birds and wanted to incorporate a little more blue to bring out the tiny bits of blue in the bedding.  You could do any type of wall art and create your own, but for these, I just used canvas paper from a pad.  I would have loved to have painted a mural directly on the wall.
  1. Think of a design or find a design to use as a model.
  2. Choose your type and size of canvas or fabric.
  3. Paint a picture, scene, image, or text.
  4. Take a razor blade or scissors and cut 4 small slits in each corner.
  5. Take some spare ribbon (again, I just had this sitting around the house) and cut a rather long piece.
  6. Pull the ribbon (from the back) through one of the bottom slits and create a knot.  Leave as much ribbon hanging from the bottom as you like.
  7. Pull the remaining ribbon (from the back) through the top slit on the same side.
  8. Tie a large bow with the ribbon at the top.
  9. Take the remaining ribbon and repeat the process of pulling through the slits in the other side.  
  10. There are different ways to hang these, but you don't want to simply hang it from the ribbon or the canvas will pull in the middle or corners.  I used a small nail to hang the ribbon and used Scotch removable stick-ups on the corners of the canvas to attach the actual canvas to the wall.  
Again, these are just some examples of how to fix up your nursery for less money.  If you're looking for  a dresser, try buying a kit where you can build it yourself.  Yes, it is a pain, but it's MUCH cheaper than buying ready assembled.  Also, if you're wanting shelves on the walls, try making your own or buying the pieces from a Home Depot.  

Hope you've found some tips to help with your nursery!  


  1. SO pretty. Geez I wish I had one artistic bone in my body to come up with cute ideas. Guess I'll just have to hire you to come over and design a nursery when I need one lol.

  2. s o cute! i had mine all set up, once they become toddlers, forget it. all the cute stuff on the bookcase will be everywhere lol.
    happened to me...

  3. Thanks guys! Ashley, I would LOVE to help you with your nursery someday! And Jackie, I have no doubt Emma will tear everything down when she's able. Hah. :)

  4. This is such a cute room. I love the painting with the blue bird.