Nursery - Before & After

Updated: Aug 20, 2018

Our second week transformation is of our first home's smallest bedroom.

When I say small, I mean small. I don't believe you would be able to fit anything larger than a twin sized bed in there. It's still technically a bedroom because it has a closet, but the room had a lot of challenges.

First off, the room is directly off of the kitchen and across from the pantry. That means a lot of noise and not a lot of privacy. Also, the room was tiny. It was 9'x9', which I honestly believe is the same size of a jail cell. Also, there is only one window in the room that directly faces the neighbors, and when I say 'directly faces' I mean, probably less than 3 feet away. The homes were so close together that they actually shared a downspout!

Because of these challenges, this room got neglected for the first 3.5 years we lived there. When we renovated the downstairs, the only thing we did in this room was paint. We painted the walls gray with a yellow accent wall (I am putting that design choice in the list of 'never again'). It was awful. A bright crayola crayon yellow and a pretty dark gray. Mix that with old, tan carpet, a $50 navy craigslist futon, an old primitive nightstand, and canvas art from hobby lobby and you got yourself a pretty gross 'makeover'. I must of really hated this room, because I literally do not have one picture of what it look for a solid few years.

When we found out I was pregnant, we struggled to conceptualize where the nursery would go. The layout in our house was very awkward. We had three bedrooms on the first floor, both directly off of the kitchen and living room. Our master bedroom was on the second floor. We decided to take the 2 smallest rooms, that were directly across the hall from one another, and turn them into the nursery and the playroom.

It was definitely a design challenge to try and figure out how to fit the furniture we needed in such a small space, as well as make it feel less like a dungeon and more like place we were excited to bring our baby home to. There was nothing we liked about the room, other than it had a closet which was enough storage space for small baby clothes. So, we got to work.

First off, remove the ugly decades old carpet. I was SO excited when we ripped up the carpet and found this. It was the first time we had seen original hardwood flooring anywhere in our house. I wanted to salvage it so bad.

We called a couple of professional companies, and unfortunately they all agreed that although this hardwood was original, and super cool, it was not salvageable. Here's a bigger look at what we were looking at.

There was a large patch of floor missing in the middle, and the plywood patch to the left of this photo was our entrance to the crawl space. Also, I spy the gray and yellow walls. See what I mean? Was I crazy?! Probably.

Because we knew we were covering the floors. I decided to paint first. This way, I could be a little more sloppy with my paint job! I used Valspar Reserve paint from Lowe's and had it color matched to Sherwin Williams Alabaster. Alabaster is a nice creamy white that doesn't feel too stark. It does have slight yellow undertones, though, so make sure to get a sample on your wall before committing.

We decided to do white plank flooring. In order to keep costs down, we did this by getting large sheets of plywood and ripping them down to 8" planks. This whole process is lengthy to explain, so I will cover it in a future blog post! In a nutshell, we painted the floors with a heavy duty primer and used liquid nails and a brad nailer to install them to the existing floors. Here's what it looked like after.

The next step was re-installing trim. We removed the trim from the floors, window and closet because it was builder grade and short. We wanted chunky trim that felt more like a farmhouse or craftsman style. We used 1x5 boards for the baseboards, and 1x2's and 1x3's for the window and closet. These were painted with a pure white paint in Semi-Gloss.

We were finally finished! Now to the decorating.

I wanted to keep the room bright, airy, and clean. I also was drawn to the Scandinavian design of white walls and floors with natural wood accents. What's better than when you're on a budget and Scandinavian... you guessed it, Ikea! So, that's where we headed.

The only 'DIY' we did when it came to his furniture was paint his dresser. The dresser we purchased was the Hemnes from Ikea (source list below) in white. I knew there would be too much white int he room with a white dresser, so I wanted to give it a pop of color. Once I put it together, I sanded it with 80 grit sandpaper, painted it with 2 coats of white primer and then two coats of Clivenden Forest by Valspar. After it was dry, I put two coats of satin water based poly over top. I also changed out the hardware from black knobs to brass ones that I found at Home Depot (oops, I don't know why one knob is missing!). Also, in the picture below, you can see the yellow undertones I was talking about on the walls. This picture was also taken in the dark with just the ceiling light on so the shadows casted on the walls weren't 'true' to how it looked during daylight.

I drafted up a Moodboard from You can find that here. Moodboards are a really helpful way to compile all of your design ideas in one place to see how they all fit. I will do a future post on why they are so important and how I utilize them anytime I am designing a space.

Once we got all of the furniture in, here was our finished product!

Although our son was only 10 weeks old when we sold our home, I am so glad we put forth the energy and time to making his nursery what it was. We will always remember the memories we had with him there. I spent a lot of time in his nursery during those first 10 weeks and every time I opened the door I immediately felt a sense of calm. It was like that room was meant to be a nursery and although it was small, it was the perfect size for our little man.


crib | dresser | drawer organizers | rocker | changing pad | floor lamp | ceiling light | curtains | hexagon wood shelf | crib sheet | stool | sheepskin throw | boppy cover | ceramic elephant | stuffed llama | dreamcatcher

Higbie Maxon Agney

83 Kercheval Ave

Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236

(o) 313--886-3400 

(c) 248-515-2201

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