Last year when I was pregnant with Maggie I spent hours on the web and reading magazines looking at nursery room designs to get inspiration for our little bambino’s room. Never mind that the duck wouldn’t sleep in the room for at least another six months, I still wanted it to look pretty and be a relaxing space for both of us during feeding, changing and playtime.
Here are the 5 key pieces I think make the perfect nursery:
A statement nursing chair
I searched high and low for the perfect nursing chair that would 1. Look the part 2. Be practical, comfy and good for feeding 3. Not cost the earth. All those I saw in magazines were very expensive and I was almost tempted to buy one (as an ‘investment’ of course) when I spotted my perfect chair at The Pine Box in Coalisland. It was covered in ugly velvety material and was a bit scuffed, but Fergus from The Pine Box arranged to repaint and reupholster it in the fabric of my choice.
I splashed out on material from Harlequin which wasn’t specifically for kids but was bright and beautiful and just what I wanted! It was neither too girly nor too blue, as it included little pink and green flowers, and I fell for it. The company who upholstered the chair had a bit of material left over so he also made me two cushions to match. Result = a designer-looking nursing chair without the price tag.
If Mummy Bear is allowed her very own chair it goes without saying that Baby Bear must have one too. Again, Fergus at The Pine Box comes up trumps, selling cute wooden chairs and painting them in any colour you wish (you just provide the paint). But it’s a very personal service so unless you are near Coalisland, Northern Ireland it’s not much good.
The child’s heart chair below by Rose & Grey is available online from notonthehighstreet. My little niece Anna used hers in different ways as she got older – first as a pram to push about the floor when she was learning to walk, then as a seat to sit and cuddle her doll and then to sit at the coffee table and draw her pictures. Her brothers Fionn and Daniel now have one too so the three chairs sit side by side just waiting for Goldilocks to turn up.
There are lots of options available to suit your taste and your budget.
We originally looked at the Hemnes nursery range at Ikea, as we currently have the Hemnes bed. Their 8 drawer dresser is apparently a good choice as a changing table as it is wide enough for a changing mat and has so much storage but it was too big for our needs.
Mamas & Papas have an extensive range of nursery collections, in pine or painted white depending on your preference. Individually the pieces tend to be more expensive but they often do reduced nursery collections when you buy the cot, dresser and wardrobe together. Their Fern white range is currently on a deal at £599 for all three pieces, which is a saving of £400.
The fifth Nursery picture shown above is from Chic Shack, a wonderful but pricey furniture shop in Putney. If you have spare cash to invest in your nursery then you won’t baulk at their prices like I did, but what I ended up doing was trying to replicate their nursery designs with slightly cheaper items.
A wooden shelf with pegs makes a nice feature on the wall – again there are lots out there at a variety of prices. I found a very reasonably priced one at Benardout Interiors in East Sheen – just ask Rob for his furniture catalogue and pick your favourite!
Maggie slept in her Moses basket in our bedroom for the first three months and then upgraded to her cot while she was still with us. But if you plan to have baby’s crib in her own nursery, and you have money to invest in a truly statement piece that wouldn’t look out of place at Buckingham Palace, then check out this incredible willow crib from Natural Mat. It is truly fit for a prince or princess.
We opted for a cot bed for Maggie, as we thought it would be a more practical solution in London where space is a luxury. The first night she slept in it she was completely lost – although she is a big baby, there was room for 6 Maggies in the huge space. But it’s quite incredible how quickly she has grown into it and how she now loves having all that room to wreck about.
I had a frustrating search to find the perfect mobile for Maggie’s cot which would look the part but still keep her engaged. A few years ago I bought a beautiful hand-crafted wooden seagull for my niece Anna that gently flapped its wings when you pulled the cord. It was similar to the one in the the Nursery 1 picture. She was transfixed by it and it looked beautiful in her room. I had found it in a small toy shop in the south of France, and I just never again found something as pretty. Until now. Natural Mat stock a range of interesting and quirky handmade wooden mobiles including the Dinghy Regatta one that lives in Maggie’s room.
A Rocking Horse (or other animal)
Ok, so we all know that full size rocking horses are hugely expensive, often thousands of pounds. But there are some very cute baby versions out there.
This handmade mini version complete with carved wooded nose is available at Kiddisave has been reduced to £117.
We were very lucky to get our Moulin Roty ride-on wooden horse as a gift from Auntie Mairead and the Macs. It is an adorable piece of furniture and takes pride of place in Maggie’s nursery with its little wicker basket at the back for storing toys or bunnies or stones. We also have a mini Steiff rocking horse that sits on the window, something I won at an auction and had always planned to give away as a gift. I’m so glad I kept it.
Of course the modern-day rocking horse is the Magis puppy shown in the second nursery picture above. The plastic dog is often used as an ornament but it can also used as a kids seat. It comes in a range of colours and sizes; the small costs £46 and the medium size costs around £78.
I have to laugh. So much effort and thought, and yet the little monkey still sleeps most nights in our bed! I’m sure some day she’ll appreciate all the effort.