An Idea-Packed Nursery

Charm, function, and staying power -- what more can you ask of a nursery? This colorful room has the whole package, with plenty of ideas you can apply to your baby's special space.

By Jody Garlock

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teal nursery with white crib and stitched artwork
Color Connection

    There's no fear of "here today, gone tomorrow" in this room, thanks in part to the homeowner's color bravado. Sure, it's blue and pink. But instead of baby-boy blue, it's turquoise. And rather than little-girl pink, there's bold magenta -- used sparingly but with impact. Sans the stereotypical pastels, the room will easily transition to a cheerful room for an older child.

Up for Renewal

    Dare we say it? It's okay to paint vintage furniture. You'll get maximum pleasure and mileage out of old pieces when they become one with your room. This vintage dresser got a jolt of the new and now with magenta paint; another old dresser received a coat of lime green -- not exactly colors that hark back to the good ol' days, but ones that are in sync with the rest of the wood. For durability, we recommend using a semigloss enamel paint. The real beauty? A jazzy color doesn't hide the old-fashioned style, which means that the vintage charm of the pieces isn't totally compromised.

Changing Spaces

    Remove the diaper changing pad from a conventional changing table and what do you have? A useless piece of furniture destined for the basement. Remove the changing pad from this dresser and you're left with a functional furnishing. Don't feel compelled to buy baby-specific furniture when you can adapt existing items. A slim mirror below the top shelf will occupy baby while the diaper is being changed. A guard rail could easily be added for an extra measure of safety. The changing pad covering is made from fabric designed for patio furniture, so it's stain-resistant and durable -- great for wiping up little mishaps that don't warrant a trip through the washing machine.

Artful Endeavor

    You don't have to spend a fortune decking the walls of a nursery. This grouping of original artwork doesn't cost much more than a bit of yardage -- bargains from the remnant table can work wonders. Cut coordinating fabrics in desired shapes, then hand-applique the shapes to a square or rectangular piece of fabric until your masterpiece is complete. Stretch the artwork over frames used for artists' canvas and staple the fabric to the back of the frame. Coloring books can provide inspiration for simple shapes.

Sitting Pretty

    New cabinets, built to look original to the house, offer much-needed storage space and create a window seat that begs for something special. Adding an awning, breezy panels, and a comfy cushion fit the bill. Reproduction glass knobs on the curtain holdbacks and cabinets are in keeping with the home's original glass doorknobs. The cordless wood blinds are a safety-conscious choice.

History Lesson

    Family heirlooms offer comforting connections to the past, but too often languish in boxes and drawers. The homeowner, a master at repurposing, salvaged an embroidered pillowcase from her great-grandmother and turned it into an envelope-style pillow. The floral turquoise pillow was an old feed sack.


    Though an ordinary valance would have brought color to the window top and effectively broken up the expanse of white cabinetry, these homeowners went the extra mile with an outdoor-inspired awning.

    Get the Look: Make a paper template in a slightly triangular shape so the awning will gently bow and allow a band of wall color to show. Then build the structure by connecting three plywood supports to 1x2 boards placed at the front and back of the alcove. Staple the awning fabric to the back board, and use fastening tape to adhere it to the front board.

Basket Beauties

    Wicker baskets keep diapers and other necessities at your fingertips. Lined with fabric, the baskets are tidy and pretty enough to be seen out in the open.

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