We have a small room at the front of our house which was originally meant to be my husband’s study. As with many couples who have a baby on the way, it soon became another space the adults lost. No stylish furniture or stupidly expensive leather chair (sorry Mark.)
It started off as an empty, boring room to contain my little monkey with a piano squeezed in at the back. In fact, once a baby gate was placed at its entrance, it swiftly gained the title of ‘baby jail’. However, with just a few simple additions it has become a funky environment for Harris to thrive. Here are the thoughts behind the decor.
Add to it as they grow
Forget spending hours on Pinterest scrolling through ideas and purchasing luxury storage boxes because when you have a baby, it’s all about inexpensive practicality and adding as you go along.
Newborn’s tend to have a sickly stage and you may be treated to wee wee and pooh explosions too so we kept it cheap. Wipeable tiles on the floor (ordered from Ebay) to protect the carpet felt like a good place to start.
I also bought a £5 light bulb from Aldi to create some home baby sensory. It has a remote control so you can opt for different colours and strobe/flash/gradual light settings too. Good activity for letting a baby experience the change in light.
As Harris grew and became mobile at 7 months it was clear that he needed more to entertain him. We put some things on the Christmas list which we thought he’d enjoy such as a train, musical instruments and other noisy items we now wish didn’t exist. And when the window sill came into his reach (this happens much faster than you plan for), we quickly added some box shelving to keep photo frames and other objects away from his grasp!
While a baby’s vision may be one of the least developed senses at birth, visual input during the early months can have a profound effect on his or her developing nervous system. An emerging trend for nurseries and playrooms is to help stimulate vision by using black and white stripes or light and dark contrasting colours. Monochrome spaces can make it easy to experiment with colour later too so a room can be transformed as baby grows older. I made sure I implemented black and white into the room where I could. With the piano as my inspiration, I used monochrome accents, high contrast cushions and black and white photography.
Harris now thrashes his toys around and one area of the wall gained some marks and dents. I decided to cover this up by painting him a blackboard area under the window sill. He’s not able to draw on it yet as prefers to eat the chalk – good one! The paint I found is available from B&Q and the Range and was a bargain at £11.90 a tub. It’s magnetic too so you can add coloured shapes and attach things to the wall for an extra fun-factor.
I found lots of toy boxes on Etsy, personalised ones too which would have looked amazing but found them to be very pricey and not many were soft close to protect his prying fingers. My storage box hunt led me to Ikea – of course it did – where I stumbled across a flat pack pull-out drawer which also doubled up as a seat. A bonus for grandparents who may grumble about being made to play on the floor. It enables me to get just a few toys out at a time so not to overwhelm him.
Something else which has come in real handy for whacking stuff away when visitors make an impromptu call is my giant toy bag with ‘H’ initial from Sorcha Sews a lot. Sorcha has a shop on Etsy and I’ve ordered clothing from her too which I love. You can choose fabric from quite a selection to match your theme.
This may sound non-maternal but I’ve never been one for all the kiddy crap. While my Prince’s painted hand prints and first scribbles will of course be beautiful in ‘ahem’ their own way, I’d rather not showcase it in the adult spaces.
I understand that I’m unable to bin the stuff he makes at nursery, it’s a tad too harsh so I made a little notice board to hang such creations. I just found some chicken wire and spray-painted it chrome for effect. I attached the so-called artwork, his old scan pictures and some inspirational mum quotes with funky clips and pegs. This is probably as far as I go with DIY but it’s come in handy for holding any of his appointment letters too so they don’t get lost. Really cheap to make too.
As a relatively new mum myself, I’d love to see your play rooms. From babies and pre-school to how you have created space for your growing brood, comment below or tag me on social media. You can find me at @emmarawly on Instagram or mrsemmarawlinson on Facebook.