If you want the baby’s nursery to be more than a cookie-cutter compilation of the latest offerings on the store shelves, the best solution is to pick up a paintbrush. Your own hand-painted nursery designs can embellish anything and everything from the walls to the bedside lamp.
You don’t have to be an interior designer or master painter to turn a bland bedroom into the nursery of your dreams – all it takes is a little understanding of color theory and some basic know-how on paint techniques.
Choose Your Colors
You are not stuck with pastels or primaries when choosing colors for the nursery. Many top nursery designers feature sophisticated palettes that include shades like espresso, raspberry and cobalt blue. The easiest way to pick a color scheme for your nursery is to find a line of crib bedding that you love and pull colors from the design. Choose a neutral as the main color for the walls, an second color for moldings and woodwork, and one or more accent colors for “punch.” Use your punch colors in design accents, such as hand-stenciled borders, wall murals and hand-painted furniture knobs. Some unusual color combinations to consider include chocolate brown, pale blue and yellow or steel gray, cotton-candy pink and bold, bright green.
Try a Theme
Basing your design around a theme gives you a framework for choosing colors, patterns and accessories. Accent a circus-themed nursery with a hand-stenciled border of tumbling clowns parading around the room at chair rail height. Paint railroad tracks around the top of the walls in a choo-choo train-themed room. Paint wainscoting to resemble a barnyard fence and add farm animal decals to the wall, or use a sponge-painting technique to create an undersea world populated by tropical fish and treasure chests. Paint a tropical mural on one wall to play up a jungle theme and accent it with brightly colored parrots, turtles and a happy hippopotamus:
(You can buy cute wall decals like these on Etsy)
Research Paint Techniques
Hit the aisles of your local home improvement store to check out unusual painting techniques. Nearly everyone is familiar with stenciling, an easy way to create borders and motifs on walls and furniture. Less familiar techniques include glazing, sponge-painting and marbling–three ways to create depth and dimension on walls. Each of them involves an undercoat of one color topped with a second color applied in different ways for different effects. Don’t discount seemingly simple techniques that you can use in creative ways; a grid of masking tape makes it easy to create pinstripes on one wall, for example, and use them as a background for baseball caps and bats in a sports-themed nursery.
Get the Right Tools
The right tools make the job of painting much easier and quicker. The local hardware or home improvement store is your friend again. Sheets of self-adhesive plastic and a craft knife let you cut your own stencils–and keep them in place while you dab on the paint. Specialty rollers take the guesswork out of creating two-color textured effects on your nursery walls–some even feature rubber-stamp cutouts so you can roll out a checkerboard without the tedium of laying out the pattern first. Try rolling out one checkerboard wall, then filling in every third or fifth square with a stenciled letter to create alphabet blocks.