Here’s something I thought I might not ever do… plan a nursery

How the hell do people pull together these picture perfect nurseries I keep seeing online and in decor magazines?

Oases of calm and tranquility, with witty, on-trend artwork and fluffy rugs… I WANT one of those nurseries but am fairly certain I won’t end up with one.

My first handicap is, alas, I do not have the means to shell out a fortune for a designer who can do it for me. There are so many chi-chi types out there who could whip up a dreamy nurturing babyspace for me in minutes. There are even such things as “baby concierges”, who I assume can take care of your decor, flog you into going to your pre-natal yoga classes, force you to do kegels and get you tickets to Adele. ( Part of me thinks “Why bother having a baby if you can’t be arsed figuring out these things for yourself?” The other part thinks, “What a fabulous idea.”

In Peru, our current home, all wealthy women have nannies and servants – usually dressed in white uniforms and paraded about supermarkets, hotels and parks like yet another status symbol. A lot of middle class women also have home help. It’s one of the perks of living in a country where a third of the population is still dirt poor.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having home help – in fact, I think mothers should have as much help as possible. Many of us get that help from family and friends. They usually don’t get it from hospitals, which are under so much pressure they turf women out as quickly as possible. In the old days, my mum tells me, they used to keep mothers in for a lot longer, giving them support and advice and a chance to get some more sleep. I also read a fascinating article about a foreigner giving birth in Japan, where a team of cheerful doctors and nurses actually cheered her through labour as if it was a sporting event, and she then spent two weeks being looked after, eating serene meals with fellow new mums, having her breasts massaged daily to aid milk production – you get the picture.

So no “concierge”, Japanese breast massager or interior designer for us. Which brings me to my second major obstacle – I am not a gifted craft, arts or design type.

Walking into the paint aisle of the hardware store this weekend had a paralysing effect on me. Green tea, Azul, passionfruit, champagne, rose pink?  Does any of that go with terracotta tiles? At the moment I am leaning towards off-white. Which the paint sample calls Granito. Ridiculo. I know… boring!

And even if we have off-white walls, we will need some kind of colour scheme. Rufus and I orbited a baby stuff shop for an hour or so looking for inspiration. My theory was that if we found one thing we absolutely loved, we could work from there. In the end we left with a sea-green soft net to hang over the crib. So now we’re working with terracotta, off-white and sea-greeny-blue. Is that good? Can any talented artistic types out there give me guidance?

I had set my heart on a vinyl wall decal to set the tone of the room, but as the walls in that room are painted-over brick, I have a feeling they won’t stick. So no lovely cherry blossom branch over the crib for us. Or dancing penguins, cute owls, elephants, giraffes, birch trees or hummingbirds.

I guess that means we are on the prowl for nursery “art”. Or even art, without the quotation marks. There is a lovely whimsical cartoonist here whose drawings could make a beautiful keepsake for Lola when she grows up. But they sell for about $250 apiece. Not too bad, but how many nappies would that buy, I wonder?

There are loads of beautiful drawings and prints on Etsy, too. As well as mobiles and paper pom poms and other strange things that would have never occurred to me to hang over a crib.

Then we’ll need a rug, and a “glider” apparently. Never heard of a glider until I started prowling baby websites. Why not just call it a rocking chair?

And why am I bothering with all this anyway? I ask myself.

Lola is not going to care one jot for her decor, I imagine. At least for the first several months, all she’ll care about it having lots of milk, hugs and nice soft warm clothes. The murmur of familiar voices, perhaps some music. And nappy changes.

Maybe I should just leave the spare room in all its mustard-yellow painted glory, clean it from top to bottom and use whatever towels, sheets and accessories come my way, no matter the colour. The colour-blind approach to rearing a child.


7 thoughts on “Here’s something I thought I might not ever do… plan a nursery

  1. Reading your post I realise there are advantages to not having a nursery to decorate 🙂 I would just use things you like (i.e. like the sea-green net), receive as gifts or think you’ll need. It will all look lovely in the end because you put it together. It will have soul and be unique rather than be polished and ‘perfect’ like in an interior design catalogue.

    • The nursery is still mustard-yellow Irene! But have made some progress with some essentials etc. How are you getting on? xx

      • I’m ok, sort of… Thanks for your sweet message on my post!! It’s just that living with my mother-in-law is driving me a bit crazy and the husband still haven’t found a job here in London. I have had some freelance work that’s about to finish but after that… well just worries financially and I just so want to have a home with the baby coming. xxx

      • Oh hon that is really tough. I do have an inkling of what it’s like – I had my mother in law staying with me for a whole month, part of which time my DH was away for. She’s not a bad woman at all but I was ready to strangle her by the end! I’ve also been fretting madly over money because my boss hasn’t been that receptive to the pregnancy and IF woes (to say the least) so I’m not sure I’ll even have a job after she comes. It’s not how I pictured it either. And it’s hard not to worry about such a fundamental thing – with a baby on the way there’s a lot more pressure to get these things right! I’m sending lots of good vibes your way, I am sure it will all come together in the end. And as my friend said to me, the baby is not going to care about anything other than food, soft warm clothing and lots of hugs.

  2. Yes well…. We’re renting at present so no foamy green walls for us. I want a room that looks nice, but a matchy matchy nursery ? Not gonna happen. I love people that say ‘we’ve chosen our nursery theme’. Really?

    I’m on mostly bedrest, so we’re online lots and hardly ever in the shops for inspiration. I know a lot of the baby shops here that sell wall decals sell artwork that matches it: inexpensive , cute, easy to change when you get sick of the sight of it!!!! Like the sound of the greeny tones, I’d go green and whites…but remember this is a BABY. Baby doesn’t care much if it matches. Baby sees high contrast best ( black and white), baby wants to be warm and comfy. And remember it isn’t actually locked in stone if it isn’t done before bub… You can add things, esp via online shopping, that you need LATER. Think about somewhere comfy for night feeds (any kind of chair or spare bed), easy access for night changes, keeping the cot out of the draft, and keeping good air flow. ie NO cot bumpers, toys in the cot, pillows for baby. :-). Good luck… Googke lots of pictures, But don’t let it stress you out.

    • You’re totally right, I know. The baby is not going to care. It’s just when I see some of those beautiful beautiful rooms in photos online I imagine myself in one, sharing peaceful moments with the baby, and it’s just such an irresistible notion. Also, I just want to get everything right… feeling so lucky to be in this place, expecting her, that I don’t want to muck it up. Thanks for the tips re the cot and air flow… so many things to think about! How are you going?

      • Alive and kicking and leaving the house occasionally. We had a huge delivery from a friend yesterday so we’re geared up without leaving the house: pram, bouncer, the works. Very lucky. Still not allowed back to work, but we’ve hit 23 weeks and we’re counting. I think we’re going to try and organise the chaos that is the spare room in about 5-6 weeks, if we make it…..somehow without me lifting anything! I’d better get a clipboard!

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