A Gender-Neutral and Budget-Friendly Office Turned Nursery

A Gender-Neutral and Budget-Friendly Office Turned Nursery

Nora Taylor
Jan 15, 2016

Name: Baby B (18 months)
Location: Oak Park, Illinois

Living as a family with two great danes in a tiny 1.5 bedroom 750 square foot apartment posed many challenges—one of them carving out a quiet nursery for a baby. So when we found out we were pregnant, we knew we would have to get creative in converting our old office into a quiet nursery for our baby. The room proved to be challenging not only size-wise (it was a tiny 8 x 9 foot room with no closets and door); but also stylistically: we wanted to keep the space gender-neutral and budget-friendly. We knew that we wouldn't be in the space forever as it was a rental. Luckily, with some creative small space living hacks and some good design choices, we ended up with a cozy gender-neutral nursery on a budget proving that you can make small spaces work!

By utilizing our old desk as a changing table, and buying cute boxes to hold the inevitable baby paraphernalia, we were able to utilize the vertical space in the room. To store clothes, toys, and books without a closet, we hid four IKEA wire shelving units under the changing table surface behind a custom DIY curtain. And to save space in the small room (8 ft x 9 ft with 8 ft ceilings) we utilized a mini-crib and a small retro Eames-inspired rocker instead of a full size crib and rocker.

Stylistically, we wanted a color that a) made the space feel larger b) went well with the cherry stained existing woodwork (appropriate for the Craftsman style 2-flat we lived in) and c) was not yellow. For some reason I did not want a yellow nursery. So we ended up going against what conventional decorating advice extolled, and painted the small space a dark navy. And we absolutely loved it! The dark navy (Gentleman's Grey by Benjamin Moore) made the walls recede, creating a larger feeling room than the actual diminutive size. And the navy blue walls together with the white curtains, and dark woodwork, gave a subtle nod to a boat—reflecting the fact that the two of us met while teaching sailing and were avid sailors.

Although the small nursery was challenging to design, it ended up being a wonderful example of how creative storage solutions and interior design can make any room functional and beautiful.

We have since expanded our family and moved out of our beloved two-flat apartment into a much larger house. However, we continue to document our designing and DIY ventures on our blog, www.AllThingsBigAndSmallBlog.com a DIY Lifestyle Blog where we embrace big style on a small budget!

Source List:

  • Paint: Gentleman's Grey by Benjamin Moore
  • Trim: Simply White by Benjamin Moore
  • Shelving: DIY shelves on Elfa
  • Wire Storage Dresser: IKEA
  • Toys: see post
  • Rocking chair: Amazon.com
  • Sheepskin throw: IKEA
  • Crib: Babyletto mini-crib
  • Curtains: Pottery Barn Kids
  • Curtain Rods: Pottery Barn Kids
  • Artwork: Etsy and Design Darling
  • Frames: IKEA
  • Mobile: Diapers.com
  • Lamp: Threshold Collection at Target
  • Rug: old West Elm
  • Diaper bin: Diaper Dekor
  • Storage Boxes: 3 Sprouts on Amazon.com
  • Striped soft-sided baskets: Land of Nod

Thanks, Annie!


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