How did you go about planning Tallulah's room? Where are some of your favourite places to get nursery design inspiration from?
Ah yes, so exciting and planning her room was definitely at the top of my priority list! I left all the practical things to my husband – the stroller, capsule, monitor etc, and I spent pretty much my whole pregnancy thinking about how I was going to set up her room!
I am a real homebody and had a huge urge to nest. I wanted her room, and actually our whole house to be cosy and perfect since I was about to be spending a lot more time in it.
We fell pregnant a lot sooner than expected so we fast-tracked our house reno, meaning our budget was pretty tight! We were so lucky to have a beautiful rimu cot and change table lent to us by my sister, which had been used by all three of her babies, so that was really special and I used those as my starting points.
We didn’t know whether we were having a girl or boy, so I did try and keep bedding, wraps and other furnishings fairly gender-neutral, but I couldn’t resist a few floral designs to add a bit of personality to the space. One of my main pieces of décor was this print from banabae.com. I had it framed in a retro-style, thin timber frame, and used the colours in it to build the rest of the room’s vibe around.
As Editor of OHbaby, you must see some incredible baby rooms. Do your favourites have anything in common?
I do! And honestly it’s very hard not to get clucky and want another baby eeeeeek! I love anything whimsical and earthy. Those newborn and baby days go by in such a blur, I think it’s really lovely to have a soft, calm and cosy space to curl up with your wee one.
Something I didn’t realise till I had Tallulah though, is that your baby’s nursery will most-probably not look like the ones in magazine and on Instagram - ours certainly didn’t. There are monitor wires, extension cords, white noise machines, stuff up over the curtains to make the room dark etc. Practicality (and the desire for more sleep) do end up trumping aesthetics!
What are some important design elements parents should keep in mind?
Plan your layout for function and safety, instead of for looks - prettiness can come after! For example, your cot should ideally be far away from the door (for successful ninja sneak outs) but also not near the window/curtains/blinds for safety reasons.
As your baby grows, you’ll also need to be wary about things like drawers, making sure they are sturdy and won’t topple over when being played with by a determined toddler. Also think about what electronics you will need (monitor, white noise machine, cool mist humidifier, heating etc) and where they will be plugged in/wires hidden.
Good storage will help keep all the baby paraphernalia under control, and perhaps some little easy-access baskets for your everyday-use stuff like nappies, wipes, creams etc.
One thing I wish I got was black out curtains. I didn’t want my baby to have to rely on a totally dark room for sleep so I just got normal, almost-sheer blinds. Absolute rookie. We ended up fashioning all sorts of hideous makeshift black outs in our desperate attempts for more sleep.
Trends come and go, how do parents ensure their baby's space doesn't date before they even start solids?
This is such a biggie and I guess it comes down to personal preferences. I know for myself, I get sick of “trendy” things quite quickly, so for big investment pieces like the cot, change table, chair, drawers and if you need them installed - carpet and curtains - go for the best quality you can afford, in a style that is timeless and matches in with your interior style/the rest of your house. Décor things like prints, toys, books and bedding can be your pops of colour and personality, and you can change them out to keep things interesting.
For parents who are waiting until the birth to find out their baby's gender, how can they create a neutral nursery with personality?
I love, love, love gender-neutral nurseries. Even if you do know what you are having, I think it’s still really nice to keep things neutral.
Girl’s rooms don’t have to be pink and frilly and boy’s rooms don’t have to be blue and filled with trucks - I think we as a society have moved well passed that. It’s also a good idea if you’re planning on having more than one child, so all the items can be used for your other babies as well.
Earthy tones like warm browns, sandy beiges and crisp whites are all great base colours for furniture and wall, floor and window coverings then you can add colour in via the things I mentioned earlier – prints, toys, books and bedding.
What's your advice for renters who might not be able to go crazy with feature walls etc.?
I would say a blessing in disguise, sometimes simple is best!
What are your top tips for parents on a budget? Where should they invest and save?
Invest in things that need to be safe for your bubba. Do your research into the safety of your cot, drawers, heating and cooling appliances, window coverings etc and get the very best you can afford.
Bedding and sleepwear for babies should be 100% cotton or merino, breathable fabrics that help with temperature control.
Second-hand baby goods is a huge market because babies are only little for such a short amount of time – get on TradeMe, join a second-hand baby goods selling page on social media - there are so many bargains to be had!
It’s really hard not to go overboard when it comes to your new little bundle - you want ALL the things! But just remember, all your baby really needs is you. I found that advice a bit annoying when I was pregnant (because I desperately wanted to buy all the things), but it’s so very, very true.
I'm pretty sure all parents acknowledge that baby/ kid stuff is never just confined to their bedrooms. Do you have any tips on making sure your home doesn't slowly but surely start to resemble a kindergarten?
Oh man, I feel this one. Like every first-time parent before me I swore I was only going to have the wooden, neutral-coloured toys and everything would be neatly packed away when not in use. Needless to say that has not been achieved. Just surrender to it – try to find a certain magic in the chaos.
For more information on setting up your nursery and style inspiration, check out the Lifestyle tab at ohbaby.co.nz And make sure you take a peek at Wriggle Crew's range of stylish and practical messy mats and play mats designed to blend seamlessly with your home.