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DesignerTips- Create the Perfect Nursery

Feb 08, 2013 | By

Maybe you've seen local Interior Designer Becca Gaines posting over at Bella Vita...or maybe this is your first introduction. Either way you will love her unique style and amazing tips that you can implement at home.

Since designing a nursery is such a huge part of your pregnancy, we asked Becca to give us her favorite design tips to help you through the process. We won't stall any longer-- here she is with her top tips!

Becca Gaines' Top Nursery Tips

I'm so excited to be posting at Itty Bitty Bella- I love designing nurseries! There are so many options and really, who doesn't love a baby?! For obvious reasons, the nursery I designed for my daughter (who will be 2 years old this summer!) is my favorite. Between her nursery and those I've done for friends and clients I've learned a lot. Lucky for you, I managed to squeeze it all into 7 helpful tips. Here they are!

1. Get Started

I feel like there are three basic necessities to any nursery, so this is usually where I start when designing one:  the crib, the "changing table", and the rocking chair.  Then, I fill in with fun accents including a mobile, lighting, and art.

When I found out I was pregnant with a little girl, I knew I wanted her room to be girly, whimsical, and a little spunky.  I had had my eye on sweet iron crib, that reminded me of my childhood daybed.  I know a lot of moms prefer cribs that convert into toddler beds, but my favorite styles are simply just cribs. 

2. Changing Tables

Jovie's Dresser

I really prefer to use a dresser in place of the traditional changing table.  Dressers are larger, with drawer storage, and they will still look great after your baby is potty trained!  Little ones will grow out of their crib, and the rocking chair may get moved out to make room for more toys, but a dresser is one piece that can be purchased to last through childhood.

Dresser- BeforeDresser- Before

Dresser- PaintedDresser- During

We were definitely on a budget while designing our Jovie's nursery, and I wanted to splurge on the crib and rocker...  That meant there weren't a lot of funds left for the dresser.  We searched high and low - Craigslist and garage sales! - for a beautiful old (and of course, well made!) dresser.  We actually found one for $75 with aged brass hardware and dovetail drawer joints.  Then, I convinced my sweet husband to paint it, but not with just any paint...  It had to be hard and shiny, like a candy coating.  He cleaned, sanded, prepped, primed, and painted the cabinet with an oil-based industrial pipe paint from Porter Paints.  This proved to be quite a task in the rainy month of April, but I know Jovie will cherish this piece and all of the love he put into it, just like I do.

3. The Rocker

Jovie's Nursery 

When it comes to nursery rockers, my first pick is usually a slipcovered swivel glider.  I know the word "slipcover" can be scary, but when a slipcovered piece is made well, it's hard to tell it isn't upholstered.  Slipcovers can be removed and cleaned when spit-up, spills, dirt, juice, and other unmentionable messes occur.  So convenient!

I chose a fabric for Jovie's swivel glider that coordinated with our living room.  Like I said, we were on a budget, and I wanted the chair to be ready to work in any other room of our home.

Itty Bitty Bella has a great resource for both slipcovered and upholstered rockers. The best part is you can keep it easy and choose from the hundreds of fabric samples on hand, or you can bring in your own fabric and have it  made to fit the chair.

4. The Bedding

Pom Pom at Home Crib Bedding 

There are two companies at the top of my list for nursery bedding, and actually both can be purchased at Itty Bitty Bella.  Bella Notte and Pom Pom at Home have luxurious machine washable fabrics.

Pink, Grey and White Crib Ensemble

I recently helped a friend design her nursery with Bella Notte bedding.  Baby Ainsley's room is precious pinks and greys, but Bella Notte's endless combination of colors and cosy fabrics make their bedding line perfect for baby girls and baby boys.

Jovie's Crib 

For Jovie's room, I wanted something clean and feminine.  I chose white Pom Pom at Home bedding with a few of their grey accents (throw pillow, duvet, and curtains).  Her bedding style is very simple, but the hand and drape of the white Belgian linen adds rich softness and character to her room.

5. Personal Touches

Framed Bird Art 

When it comes to art, I love to include paintings in a baby's room.  Jovie has a pair of bird paintings by my friend Briana, that she loves to study and talk about every morning.  There are also twelve patchwork birds framed in a shadow box above her changing table.  These were made by my sweet sister and two dear friends as decorations at our baby shower.  Baby's first outfit, mom or dad's own rattle, or Christening gowns are just a few more sentimental items that could be framed as art in a nursery.  

6. Eye Candy

Bird Mobile Jovie's Mobile

Ainsley's MobileBaby Ainsley's Mobile

The crowning piece over a little one's crib should truly be a piece of art.  My husband and I went to New York City on a "babymoon" when we were 13 weeks pregnant.  We ran across Jovie's mobile at a small boutique in Soho.  There is no better way to say this - I was obsessed.  Shortly after we returned home, Itty Bitty Bella held it's grand opening, where I was surprised and absolutely ecstatic to run into an entire collection of these amazing mobiles, right here in Collierville!

7. Storage

3Sprouts Storage Bins

My last nursery design secret... As an interior designer, I need both creative freedom and extreme organization.  I wouldn't survive parenthood without the 3Sprouts toy bins from Itty Bitty Bella!  They're cute, fun, and safe for Jovie to play around.