MC Classic Collection: Making a Space for Baby

 One thing I have always loved about Nell Hill’s is it’s classic approach to design. What you might have found on the shop floor years ago might still pop up today and look perfectly current. Mary Carol’s design advice is equally as timeless! Since we recently (and quietly) launched our Baby and Kids area in the shop, I thought it would be another great time to share some tried and true advice from our Mary Carol!  As you read in Picking the Perfect Sofa, her words of wisdom are still just as relevant now as they were when she first wrote them.

Which brings me to today’s MC Classic on baby spaces – who would have thought all those years ago we would be bringing baby back?! In April (wow, that feels like a whole lifetime ago, does it not?) we were excited to be launching our new Baby + Kids department here at Nell Hill’s.  As with many things this year, we had to adapt to our new normal and change plans (and then change plans again) and were unable to celebrate with you all when we had originally planned.  I am so excited though, that the space where our design library once stood on the second floor, is now a children’s wonderland of goodies! While I still hope that come Spring 2021 we can officially celebrate together in style, for now I want to give a chic peek into the new shop area for those who can’t visit us during this time and (re)visit some of Mary Carol’s classic advice on decorating your space for baby. Take it away, Mary Carol!

Tired of doing your kids’ rooms in the latest comic book character or TV show theme? A growing number of parents are passing up on passé approaches to decorating their children’s rooms and are instead creating fabulously stylish spaces. At Nell Hill’s, we’ve got a serious case of baby fever and are having a blast helping moms, dads and grandparents create wonderful looks for their little ones’ rooms.  If you’re in the process of decorating a kid’s room, here are some tips for creating a space that will celebrate your child, grow with him or her through the years and, best of all, reflect the sensational decorating style you’ve established in the rest of your home.

Pick a Palette that Lasts.

Primary colors and pastels will always work for babies, but if you want your child’s room to grow with him or her, consider picking a more enduring color palette. I recently helped a young mom create custom linens and furnishings for her baby’s nursery and was thrilled as she gravitated toward navy and cream patterns. This smart mom knew her son wouldn’t care for light blue and tan when he was a rough and tumbling toddler and savvy grade schooler, so she wanted to go with colors that would keep pace with him. She picked a geometric pattern in navy and cream for the drapes. To carry the color scheme into her son’s bedding, she had us make custom fabric slipcovers for the crib’s headboard and footboard that sported the baby’s monogram. When he grows out of his crib, she plans to remake the monogrammed slipcovers into keepsake pillows.

Mary Carol has it right! I love an unconventional color palette for a children’s space, like Navy or even a lush Forest Green.  Earthy and grey neutrals are always great for kids’ rooms, too!  Using this subdued palette lets your little one grow in a quiet and soft space and allows for additional fun pops of color as they grow.  Re-using materials from baby to toddler to teen is a beautiful and sentimental way to recycle your favorite pieces.  I can’t wait to do this with my own little one!

Select Fabulous Furnishings and Creative Bedding

For older kids, wrought iron bed frames are a great pick. Thanks to their timeless style and solid craftsmanship, these classic beds are a perfect fit from the moment your little one is ready for a big bed up until he or she is ready to leave the nest. A great way to make your child’s space truly unique is through custom bedding. Whether you’re outfitting a baby crib with a skirt, rail guard, and quilt set or spicing up your pre-teen’s pad with a funky duvet and loads of crazy pillows, this is your chance to let your child’s personality shine through. Pick an interesting mix of textiles for your bedding and pillows, being sure to incorporate touchable fabrics and trims like chenille stripes, pom-poms and rick rack. For fun, personalize a pillow or two with your child’s name or monogram. We’re also using lots of outdoor fabrics for kids’ rooms right now because it’s virtually indestructible. Another perennial favorite of mine is a good matelassé. Just toss them in the washer and dryer when they need a good clean. The more you wash them, the softer they become.

Furniture and bedding for kids has never been so fun!  From brightly colored cribs (we currently have a parrot green one in the shop that is truly adorable) to classic wood and wicker twin beds that can transition from a child’s room to a guest room pairing in no time at all, it is such a joy to see what is offered! We’ve searched high and low for furnishings fit for a prince or princess and came across the most precious mini upholstered chairs.  Perfect for relaxing next to mom or dad, these furniture pieces are the perfect size for a mini-me.   The recent introduction of performance fabrics has also changed the game when it comes to bedding and furnishings.  These fabrics are remarkably soft and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.  They also repel liquid, stains and resist wear and tear – could it get any better for littles?!

Finish off with Accents. 

What would a nursery or kid’s room be without huggable stuffed animals? Instead of making them an afterthought, why not pick cuddly plush animals that harmonize with your color scheme? There is so much “stuff” to sort in a kid’s room, you’ll want to pick containers that work hard but also add to the style of the space. Store cotton balls in graceful glass apothecary jars (at least while your little is too tiny to want to grab said glass off the shelf). Keep baby’s jacket on an adorable hook or coat tree. Put diapers and wipes in antique wooden boxes. Store toys in lidded baskets. Another way to heighten the style of your child’s room is to replace the generic ceiling light fixture with an unusual chandelier. Don’t forget great accent lamps, which work perfect as night lights. Bring personality to the walls of the room with great artwork.

I adore using toys as accent pieces for kids.  Not only does it allow them to touch, play and explore in their own space without fear of breaking something, but you always end up with more toys than can fit in a drawer anyways!  Artwork and wall sculptures are one of my favorite things to source for our kids area.  There are so many different aesthetics you can bring to a room with the right addition! One of my current favorites are the vintage planes we have featured in our Baby + Kids room.  It adds a whimsical but sophisticated touch and can play into many different room themes. 

I find it so enjoyable that we finally have a Baby + Kids area in the shop after all these years! As my own young cub is moving quickly through his toddler years, I am constantly on the search for goodies to make his spaces as enriching and enjoyable as they can be.  With the way time is moving right now I swear I will blink, and he will be a pre-teen before I even know it! That though alone makes me want to go cuddle him right now! Until next time – happy decorating!