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How to decorate your dream nursery

Melissa is the assignment editor and contributing writer for SheKnows Home and Living. While other little girls were playing dress up with Barbie, Melissa was busy remodeling Barbie's house. She now lives out her dream covering design an...

With tips for the type-A mom-to-be

See how SheKnows contributor Melissa Dunlap put together her dream nursery and get inspiration for creating your own.

Decorating a girl's nursery

As a home decor writer and blogger, I couldn't wait to start decorating my nursery. There were tons of creative craft projects I was itching to try, but there was one problem — crazy pregnancy hormones temporarily froze my decision-making abilities and I was an overwhelmed new parent-to-be!

I found myself wandering local baby superstores staring at the crazy selections of baby gear and walking right out without buying anything. I knew we were in trouble when my husband and I spent over an hour in one store and barely managed to register for a mini cooper toy car for kids. Our baby would have a sweet ride, but no place to sleep. Sigh.

Parent lesson #1: Accept help

My first parenting lesson as a new mom-to-be was to learn it’s OK to accept help — a troubling lesson for a type-A control freak.

I was able to practice this lesson when the folks at Pottery Barn Kids invited me to try their complimentary design services and write about the experience on their new blog, Building Blocks. I was a little nervous about working with a designer on my space (see type-A control freak above), but found the experience really enjoyable. It helped this stressed-out preggo lady relax since there was someone else there to take measurements and make sure all the furniture worked. It was also fun bouncing around decorating ideas with designers who offered fresh perspective and helped accessorize.

Having just moved to an old house where there were windows, doors and vents everywhere, I appreciated the help in space planning and reviewing all my options. Since the high-backed crib would be in front of a window, we made sure the window treatments were secure and there were no hanging cords or choking hazards. A new mom has so much to worry about!

Nursery projects: DIY crib skirt and pouf

Parent lesson #2: Embrace kid clutter (with style)

Initially I envisioned a neutral, regal nursery with plush fabric. Then reality set in and I realized it would turn me into a paranoid mom who always worried about getting stains on the velvet crib skirt or putting away cluttered toys that don’t go with the room’s neutral color scheme.

Instead I chose this Cuzco by Kate Spain Sanctuary Orchid print since there are oodles of potential accent colors for different looks and it looks great with colorful kid toys. Plus, I loved how it coordinated with the bright pink rug (PBK, $149+) I’ve been obsessed with since before I was even pregnant.

I made a three-panel crib skirt inspired by this DIY crib skirt and added long Velcro strips at the top to make it adjustable for various mattress levels. The long crib skirt can also conceal kid clutter hastily shoved under there in a pinch.

A pouf I made using an Amy Butler gum drop pillow pattern doubles as a foot rest in front of the glider. Darker fabric colors will hide dirt from grimy little hands and a zipper insert makes it washable.

Parent lesson #3: Always look on the bright side

Nursery craft project:Sunshine wall art

Since the furniture is all white and walls are gray, I wanted wall art that would add a burst of color. A sunshine art piece was the perfect choice since it's a family nickname I share with my aunt.

After consulting my BFF Pinterest for ideas, I came across this piece from Dangerously Domestic Jen (who was originally inspired by this project from AKA Design). I loved the layout, but wanted it to have more dimension so I took a cue from View Along the Way and used large chipboard letters for the saying.

Once I finished the project, I realized the lines weren’t exactly straight. Oops. Oh, well. It gives the piece “character.”

A flag banner with the same fabric as the crib skirt and pouf tie the decor together. I made an extra flag banner to trick out a plain gray toy storage tote.

The piece hangs over the changing table, a glam regency dresser (PBK, $599) with a tabletop changing pad, and is currently my daughter’s favorite spot in the room.

Next up: More from Melissa's adorable nursery

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