Okay, so technically I'm not an interior designer, but I did go to the U of MN for 4 years to become one (yes, people, it's a full-blown, respectable, 4-year BS degree), even though the post-graduation market pushed me to other means of employment. Regardless, here's how I worked through both of my nursery design projects for my boys:
Decide on a timeless concept, one that may seem a bit old for a baby but will not need to be changed every few years. Baby's don't care about what their rooms look like, but you will. For my second son's room, my concept was Vintage Trains meet Industrial Design. Leighton's room concept was yachting and Ralph Lauren.
Find a focal point piece (image 1) to base the design around (kind of like those pretentious Kohler commercials where the person says, "Design my house around THIS!" as he presents a piece of bathroom hardware). The focal point for Baby #2's room was the artwork. Selecting artwork first helps to choose colors for a room and is often a great place to start.
Set a Budget. This is a toughie for me since I'm more of a spender than a saver, and when I see something I have to have, I have a hard time not buying it. That being, said, kid's rooms and nurseries can get way out of hand if you don't at least set some sort of budget. Spreadsheets work well, especially if you're a little math challenged like myself.
Select the necessary items but stick to your theme! This is where the design board comes into play (image 2). Yours doesn't need to look like mine. You can print, cut, and paste or you can cut and paste from the web into a spreadsheet, Word doc, or whatever you choose.
Floor Plan and Layout (Images 3-7)
This step may be a challenge for all of you non-designers, but with some graph paper or an architectural ruler, you can do it too (or if you're more tech savvy, you can download a FREE version of Google Sketchup like I did)! Graph paper allows for a 1/4" scale floor plan so just divide your total inches by 4, and you'll be able to space plan accurately. Always keep in mind how the room will change and evolve as your child does (see Image 7). Note: If you have a small room, working step 4 and 5 simultaneously will save you time.
As you plan out your room, try to visualize each wall in the room, and try to incorporate things of visual interest at varying heights, creating a sense of motion and flow in your space.
Implementation (Images 8-12)
Step 6 is the most fun because it means SHOPPING and seeing all of your hard work come together. A tip for women who want to get help from husbands with the least amount of complaining: try to group project requests together (i.e. hanging curtains and blinds and installing a dimmer switch). The less back and forth with tools he has to do, the happier and more willing to help he will be. Yes, I put "Top Secret" over the personalized baby blanket in the nursery... the name will be revealed at the time of birth. Why? Oh, that's another story...
If you want plan wisely up front, you can end up spending less in the long run if you invest more initially than if you are constantly changing the room as your child grows.
Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn Teen, Land of Nod, IKEA, Restoration Hardware Baby and Child, Home Depot, JC Penney, Amazon.com, Art.com, SelectBlinds.com
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This lifestyle blog is my outlet to share and advise about the things I love. I always have an opinion!