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THE ART OF DECORATING THE NURSERY
by Allison Hutton
It is a rite of passage. Once you find out you are pregnant, you must immediately begin planning for the nursery. Will you paint or use wallpaper? Maybe stencil? How about the matching lamps, curtains, rocker cushions, wallpaper borders and crib set? It is easy to see how one could drop at least $500 on decorating a nursery without blinking an eye. And after all, doesn't the little dear deserve the best?
When I was pregnant with my first child, Hannah, I had such an urge to begin nursery-planning very early on. Obviously, I had to go neutral, because I didn't yet know the sex of the baby. I thought that Noah's Ark was a nice, neutral theme. What I didn't realize was that there are, conceivably, hundreds of different types of Noah's Ark themes and sets. So, as you can see, narrowing down the theme didn't necessarily narrow down my choices! I set out to find the "perfect" Noah's Ark crib bedding. I knew I wasn't going with the matching curtains, dust ruffles, and the like. After all, we were in the midst of building a house, and money was in short supply! I simply wanted the "innards" for the crib; sheet, mobile, comforter and bumper. Nothing fancy.
I began my quest on the Internet. There are several reputable sites that offer hundreds of choices, and options for whatever theme you choose. Trust me when I say that all you need to do is go to a search engine, and type in the keywords "Crib Bedding." You will get dozens of results. You may want to visit Baby Depot, at Burlington Coat Factory. If you don't have one of these stores in your area, visit them online at http://www.babydepot.com. This is where I bought Hannah's crib bedding, and got the whole thing for under $40.
Once you have selected your theme, you will need to decide what you are going to do with the rest of the room. As I stated, money was an issue for us at the time, so I went simple. I bought a very pale yellow paint, and painted the walls of the nursery yellow. I did the ceiling white, and used the same lace curtains found throughout the rest of our house. I had also bought some stencils of the moon and stars that I had planned to do as a border, but I became far too fat to attempt this feat. Some people thought the room was rather plain, some thought it was "too yellow," and I thought it was just right. Hannah didn't care one way or another. My philosophy was this - make it look like a nursery for minimal cost and effort, because by the time Hannah is able to recognize what "decoration" is, she is going to want her room her own way. So, I have opted to wait until she knows what she wants, and get a bit more extravagant then.
I think it is wonderful when women go "all out" on a nursery. And I can't say that if we weren't in a different financial position at the time, I wouldn't have too. At the same time, don't feel obligated to bankrupt yourself while decorating a nursery. Here are a few suggestions that are creative and inexpensive:
If you or your partner have any friends or relatives with artistic abilities, ask if they would consider painting a mural or theme-related pictures on the wall of the nursery. A friend of mine decorated his daughter's room with "life-size" paintings of Pooh characters. It was amazing. Once people saw that, many asked if he would do something similar for their child's' nursery. It became his own personalized "baby gift."
If you, a friend, or relative have a knack for sewing, consider making the bedding and curtains for the nursery. Fabric stores have a wonderful selection of materials, and you are also able to mix and match. For example, you may want to have patterned bedding, but solid curtains. Making these things yourself allows for that option. Additionally, you can use flat top-sheets for curtains or comforter covers.
Finally, if you know what you want, and can't afford it all, consider adding nursery items to your baby registry. In fact, you could probably acquire all of the items you need for the nursery by receiving them at your shower.
These are just a few suggestions for cutting corners while decorating your baby's nursery. If you think long and hard about it, you will come up with a solution for getting just what you want. But remember, whether the nursery is decked out from top to bottom, or just a plain white room with a crib, your baby will be happy. So, don't stress yourself out, just have a good time!
Allison is a contributing editor for The Baby Corner as well Editor of Pregnancy after Miscarriage at Suite 101.
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