Today we’re happy to welcome Melissa Coleman, aka The Faux Martha, to the blog to share her tips for creating a cohesive nursery. Melissa is a whiz in the kitchen, a design genius and master of cozy minimalism. She recently welcomed a darling baby girl, Linden June, to her now family of four. Congratulations, Melissa—we’re so happy to have you.
Hello from the land of life with a newborn, where pictures of Linden’s almost put-together nursery feels so distant from the sleepy, messiness of life right now. Where designing a room during a quarantine, that felt hard two months ago, suddenly feels so easy compared to breastfeeding, compared to giving birth during a pandemic. Even still, one of my favorite parts about preparing to bring a new life into this world is creating a space for them—a cozy space to sleep in, play in, and grow in. And, under normal circumstances, designing a cohesive, unique room from scratch can be difficult. So, I wanted to share a couple tips that hopefully make creating a special space for your little one easier.
P.S. Remember the days when designing a room was as easy as buying a big ole plastic zipper bag that barely fit between two arms to decorate an entire room? My three-year-old bed-in-a-bag room was clad in Beatrix Potter—Peter Rabbit was on my bedspread, Mother Goose stood tall on my lamp, and Mr. Tod and other friends wrapped around the wallpaper border of my room. We still have the Peter Rabbit stuffed animal (pictured above) from my childhood room that has now been passed on to my girls.
Knowing where to start is the hardest part. Do you pick the sheets first, or a rug, or a color palette, or a piece of art? The answer is E, any of the above. Just start by choosing one focal item—an inspiration piece—to build your nursery design around. For Linden’s room, I started with a color I’ve been smitten with lately—a muted yet soft sage green. You can see it in the buttery soft Solly Baby basil crib sheets, the lamp, the bookshelf.
Create a color palette based on your inspiration piece. In order to do this, you might need to choose one more thing for the room to pull colors from, like a piece of art or fabric. As you choose colors, start with around 5. Try sticking within a similar tone of colors. For example, because I went with a muted green, I chose additional muted colors, like muted pink, muted mustard yellow, and linen grey. Include wood tones and metals as well. I used a mix of walnut and unfinished wood.
Now that you have a good direction, begin taking visual notes by way of a moodboard. This will allow you to see everything together before you make any purchases. (I make a lot less mistakes this way. It shouldn’t go without mentioning, mistakes are to be expected in the design process.) If you don’t have an application like Photoshop, create a Pinterest board to visually see everything together. Moodboards are also helpful during the execution phase when you have to change things up. For example, when I went to purchase artwork for Linden’s room, I realized it was too small for the space. So, I went in search of something with a similar color palette, knowing it would work in the space.
Designing a whole room is intimidating, even for a designer. To keep design decision making from feeling overwhelming, use the one-more-thing approach. Choose one more thing, one more item, at a time, using your inspiration piece and color palette to make decisions. You don’t have to make every decision at once. In fact, I design about 60% of the room before execution and the last 40% comes together once the base of the room is in, once I can see it all together in the space, adding in one more thing at a time.
Speaking of cohesive, the key to a cohesive design is repetition. Repeat colors and textures and wood tones throughout the space. Leaning on repetition will also help to inform and limit your design decisions.
I’m sharing Linden’s room reveal over on my blog just as soon as the curtain rods arrive. Who knew trying to track down white rods during a pandemic would be so hard.
Thank you for having me, Solly Baby! And thank you for saving my sanity and my hands, especially since my husband started back to work last week. The Solly Baby wrap is glued to my body. Here’s proof of survival by way of the cutest wrap, the crazy unkempt mom hair (it’s a good thing you can only see a little), awkward cropping, and a very grainy photo. We’re making it!