Gender Neutral Nursery - by @home.with.nicci
Hello! I’m Nicci from @home.with.nicci, a guest blogger here on prettyinprintart.com.
Without chewing your ear off, I’m a mum of two little ones, Ophelia who is 3 going on 13 and Rupert who is very almost 2 - and boy do we know about it! The terrible twos have hit hard already.
I love to create magical rooms for my children in which they can be anything they want to be. Spaces catered for their passions and interests where the only limit is their imaginations
Rupert’s room was a gender neutral nursery designed for his sister before him. He was the quintessential second child inheriting hand me downs, but in this case it wasn’t just clothes or toys, but a bedroom. We didn’t find out what gender we were having with both our babies, I guess we felt it didn’t matter and it would make for a nice surprise. I remember people asking me when I was pregnant what I was having and I would respond with “a baby”.
Designing a gender neutral nursery would be dual purpose as we always pictured ourselves with two children, and were luckily enough to be blessed with one girl and one boy. It was also more cost effective - not a term I like to familiarise myself with, but it pleased my husband to think we were saving money with the prospect of not having to redecorate the second time around.What is it they say about interior design? “The best rooms have something to say about the people that live in them.” This was exactly what was wrong with Rupert’s room. He was no longer a baby, he was a boisterous, active, inquisitive little boy and his room didn’t reflect HIM. It was a mishmash of inherited too large for the room furniture with no personality. It was purely a space to sleep and be changed in and not a space to play. I tried my best to fill the walls with my favourite small business items in a somewhat vain attempt to inject some personality, but it always felt disjointed and I was never happy with how it looked.When designing a room, I like to start by acknowledging what I liked about the room. Rupert’s room is south facing, and I loved the warmth that aspect brings, and I wanted to emphasise that with the design. I took inspiration from the clothes I liked to dress him in, as well as nature and my saved pins and posts from Pinterest and Instagram. This gave me my colour palette – warm earthy tones with just a hint of green.
I knew I wanted to have a warm neutral on the walls (Little Greene Slaked Lime), nothing too fussy, just something to warm and brighten the space and enable the focal points of the room to sing. Once I had decided on a colour palette, I found choosing soft furnishings came really easily. I had chosen the canopy, bedding, blankets, and rugs before I had even settled the final wall and wardrobe colours.
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When you are designing a room for a function (in this case a bedroom for sleeping) you have a list of requirements you need in order to fulfil that purpose. So, a bedroom needs a bed, as well as most likely clothes storage of some sort. Rupert is still in nappies so a place to change him was also required as well as somewhere to store all the unsightly nappies and accompanying paraphernalia. With the functional aspects out of the way, I thought hard about what I thought Rupert would use the space for and how he would use it. What his interests were and how best to design a space that would evolve with him as he grew.As with Ophelia’s room design, I wanted to promote independence. Making sure he felt empowered to explore his room and to have things accessible, such as a low bed, bookshelves at floor level, toys on low shelves and floor baskets. I wanted to insert some fun (every room has to have a focal point right?) and this came in the form of his wallbars. It added the fun element whilst also giving a nod to him being such a lively and active toddler. I liked the fact that it could also be multifunctional and that I could display items from it for styling, and in future create a collapsible desk which could be height adjustable and grow with him.His bedroom is a small room, measuring 3m x 3m, with one wall being almost entirely taken up with the window. I knew I wanted to maximise storage without compromising space or design. His original furniture was big and bulky and took up far too much room, with his wardrobe being used less for storing clothes and more as a dumping ground of baby items he has outgrown, and we hadn’t got around to passing on. The @mustardmade Twinny was the perfect solution which offered hanging storage (when needed) and modular shelf storage which could be pretty much configured to suit any requirement. I opted to purchase two additional shelves to maximise segregated storage space as it turns out he has very little clothes that need hanging.
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The hardest part of the entire room was deciding what colour Twinny to opt for. This is where the mood board came into its own as I was better able to visualise the different colours with the other furniture and furnishings I had already decided on. I’m pleased I also ordered the colour swatches as the olive colour I eventually decided on appeared much brighter and warmer in his room that it did online – inspired by the beautiful pothos satin plant that seemed to thrive in his room with its dark olive colours leaves and silvery-sage underside.Slowly but surely his room started to come together, one element at a time. His room makeover didn’t happen overnight. Doing even the most normal and mundane tasks with little ones in tow can seem impossible and take an age, then throw an entire room makeover into the mix as well as a completely new set of furniture, and the job that would usually take a weekend without kids stretches into weeks/months. We had to save for pieces such as his wardrobe and round shelves, and there wasn’t enough left in the budget to rip up the carpet and replace with engineered wooden floors. But it helps to serve as a reminder in an age where things appear to magically tidy themselves with a click of the finger, that good design takes time – and that’s perfectly okay. Not everything happens overnight and sometimes you have to make compromises.