Which comes first, the baby, the furnishings or the…art? The only thing that can send a self-respecting architect/designer mom-to-be into a tizzy more than the prospect of having a child, itself, is wondering what the room will look like! Believe me, I know… I’ve been there. And since we recently moved, I’ve already had a chance to re-think and re-invent my daughter’s room. A few things I’ve learned (or already knew):

Experiment with color. Who says all girls want pink, ponies and princesses, and all boys want blue, puppy dogs and fire trucks? You will spend as much time (or more!) in the nursery as your child will. Choose a design that accommodates & appeals to you as much as you hope it will appeal to them.

Flexibility is key! Kids will grow and change; their rooms should, too. Nobody wants to have to completely redesign/refurnish the room every time change comes calling….

Pick a point of inspiration
My husband and I chose not to find out the sex of our bundle-of-joy to be, so gender-based design wasn’t an option for us [and the thought of pale green or yellow (typical gender-neutral colors) left me, well…. flat]. Inspired by a coffee-table book of artist Rex Ray, I started with a mural of riotous colors executed by my close friend, Lichen Frank. “Frolic”, “Turquish”, “Mandarin”, “Toasty”, “Cheerful” and “Verve Violet” – even the names of the paint colors put a smile on my face. From this jumping-off point, I added a fun, graphic rug and a mix of high-design and mass-produced furnishings to create a room that appeals to everyone in our design-oriented family and fit our budget.

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  • The floor is a kid-friendly version of a cowhide rug. Carpet tiles are extremely stain-resistant and durable. They also offer the flexibility of replacing only a small portion of a rug should something catastrophic happen! Available through FLOR showroom, Atlanta.
  • A storage system/changing table/shelving unit is from Ikea’s “Stolmen” system. Besides being cost-effective, we like that it is versatile and has enough components to endlessly morph to meet our changing needs. The storage baskets on the floor below hold small toys for now…
  • More Ikea shelving holds additional books in a corner anchored by a Vladimir-Kagan-inspired table. A bright orange, plastic Kartell “La Marie” chair adds a splash of color. Hey, even toddlers appreciate cool pieces! The orange lamp is a vintage thrift store find. It’s mate sits on the adjacent Stolmen storage system.
  • A hanging mesh cylinder from Ikea neatly stores stuffed animals and small toys off the floor. Adding to the work-in-progress idea of the room, a hand-me-down glider will (hopefully!) soon be replaced by a cool, designer chair under the window. There are TONS of cool, modern cribs; but since most were out of our price range, we went with this reasonably-priced, clean, simple Amy Coe design available through Babies R Us. It will convert to a toddler bed, adding to its lifespan.

A recent move provided the opportunity test the flexibility of our design a little over a year after its first inception. Toys in the baskets may have changed [and our daughter now helps herself to everything], but all the furnishings made the cut, though now configured differently. Our only real change is the design of the custom mural. Lichen departed from the surf-inspired theme of our original nursery to create the mural you see now that recalls circus tents and botanical shapes. Our daughter LOVES it!

As the old adage goes, there’s nothing constant in life except change, so why not model your space with the flexibility to rearrange? Re-IMAGINE elements that may seem adult; it’s a fun way to use age appropriate pieces that are kid friendly yet inviting to parents and will work through the years. Stay tuned for future developments and the evolution of our “Not-So-Baby” nursery…..

To read more about our nursery, click here for our press release.