Nursery Design on a Budget

A couple of weeks ago my friend Whitney asked if I would be interested in helping her get her littlest one’s nursery together. She was having a bit of a block, both with ideas and moreso with time, as far as how to go about finishing it. And when the room is for someone this cute, how could you resist?

(Photo from a shoot I did with her at 5 weeks. What a cutie)

The room was currently being used mostly as storage, but it had some great things to work with.

There is a fabulous old textured wallpaper on the walls, right over the original lathe and plaster. We knew that was going to stay, but I thought it would be good to touch is up with a fresh coat of paint. Check out that light fixture, isn’t that amazing?

Whitney had a lot of family heirloom and special items that she really wanted to have incorporated into the room.

On the left wall is a sketch of the baby’s namesake, which definitely needed to stay. The crib wasn’t going to move, as this was the best spot for it, and the small doll and toy trunks were to stay as well. The couch, which is used as a pullout guest bed, would be staying as well.

From the other direction you can see that there is a large shelf which held all kinds of good stuff. But a lot of it. My idea was to pair that down to the favourites.

The changing area, which was a kitchen cabinet, needed to be more incorporated into the room and more functional as well.

Whitney really wanted a “vintage baby” kind of look in the room, which is completely appropriate for her house style. She also knew that she loved the quilt that I made for her, and wondered if we could work those fabrics and colours in. Also, the room needed to function as a guest room in a pinch, or for another baby in the future. With all that in mind the design came together. It is great when clients have a good idea of what they would like to see, but leave the details of the design up to me! The whole design needed to be completely on a very tight budget as well, so I needed to keep that in mind.

Many hours of painting, sewing, framing and install later, I finished everything up on Wednesday and did the big reveal! (as always, click for larger pictures)

I went with Benjamin Moore Hancock Green HC-117 on the walls, as it was important to Whitney that the paint colour be from the historic collection. Furniture placement remained the same, but pretty much everything else changed. I put up an antique clothes rack in front of the crib with the two handmade baby blankets that were given to the baby.

The crib area is my favourite spot. Whitney had a book that she said she would like to have some of the pictures cut out of and framed. They work perfectly above the crib.

Each one has a ribbon tie at the top, and I used fabric from some of the other pieces in the room to create the matte. I used spray starch to stiffen the fabric so it wouldn’t sag and then attached it to the print using double sided tape. It was just the perfect colour of green to go with the prints.

Inside the crib is the quilt that I made, and two pillows that Whitney made out of our collection of fabrics. Aren’t they great? Whit knew that she had enough time to be able to make those, but left the other items up to me. Like the curtains.

Because the crib is right up beside the window, I didn’t want to make a full length curtain in case the baby decided to try to pull on them or climb them when she got a bit older. So these sweet little tied valances soften things up and add some brightness to the room.

For the changing area, I picked up a curved changing pad and made a patchwork cover for it that is removable and washable. I put some hardware on the cabinet to make it fit into the room better (I also switched one of the doors, which was swinging the wrong way).

Donovan could not be left out. 🙂

Over the changing table, I painted out a simple wall hook piece and hung the vintage shoes as well as a handmade sweater. I figured this would be a great place to hang little things as the baby gets a bit older.

Way over the changing area, the large room length shelve was pared down and turned into three vignettes with only the most important items.

The light fixture of course remained the same, but it looks much prettier against the soft green paint.

The final touch was to add some pictures from our photo shoot in the corner along with the sketch of the baby’s name sake. A rug that we repurposed from elsewhere in the house finished things off.

And that is my nursery on a budget! For those of you who are local. KSC Designs (aka, me) is now available for design consultations. If you are interested in having me come and look at a space in your house, feel free to email me. Thanks Whitney for the chance to work on your lovely home! You can see this room and all the other rooms in Whitney’s place this weekend on the historic home tour in Rocky Mount VA.


  • Sally

    What a sweet room, Dani! I love the idea of the book pages as art — and what a sweet book (it’s a favorite around here!!)! It’s the small things that I always seem to be drawn to — the choice of a clothes rack instead of the typical quilt rack, for instance.
    Great job to you both!!!
    If I had a a gazillion dollars, I would have you come and do my entire house!

  • missbedora

    Wow, this is even more stunning than I imagined! The little touches are just gorgeous. I think the wall colour is perfect too! Nice work!

  • Mom

    Gorgeous, I really love the textured ceiling as well. One doesn’t see very many older homes like this around here, but they have so much caracter! The baby is sooo sweet, make you want to sniff her little head and kiss her all over.

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