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How to decorate your dream nursery

Melissa Dunlap is a writer, editor and blogger specializing in lifestyle communications. Fueled by curiosity, and a tad too much coffee, Melissa enjoys dissecting current trends for the modern woman. When she's not having dance parties w...

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.

Parent lesson #4: Two becomes three

After being married for seven years, adding a third person to our family was an adjustment for my husband and me. As a reminder of how our family was growing and changing, I asked my talented graphic designer brother-in-law of dunlapstudios.com to create a custom illustration with one of my favorite sayings. I first heard this baby quote on Sex and the City when Trey gives Charlotte an engraved silver rattle that says (break out the tissues):

First we had each other
Then we had you
Now we have everything

It's a sweet sentiment that reminds us of our gratitude for our growing brood.

Girl's nursery: Wall art

Parenting lesson #5: It takes a village

Since all of our family is out of town, it’s important we surround our daughter with reminders of loved ones.

Cupcake painting

Nursery art idea: Cupcake painting

Rather than playing games at my baby shower, my family came up with a creative activity for guests. My stepfather made a beautiful oil painting of a cupcake and each guest added a painted thumbprint as a “sprinkle.” Not only did it melt my heart to receive, our little one now has a custom painting to remind her how loved she is by family and friends from afar.

Baby girl sign

Nursery craft project ideas

My crafty sister made a Baby Girl sign using different pieces of ribbon and scrapbook accents on individual wooden letters which was used as baby shower decor. I hung it from a chalkboard to create instant wall art. The blue ribbon in the sign matches the fabric in the accent owl pillow, which I made in this step-by-step tutorial on SheKnows.

Parenting lesson #6: Time will fly by

Being a sucker for nostalgia, I love seeing family heirlooms incorporated in nurseries. Adding a few of our childhood toys to the room made me realize how quickly time will pass and in a blink of an eye we’ll be watching our daughter raise her first child.

Rocking horse

Rocking horse for girl's nursery

My husband’s old childhood rocking horse got a girly makeover to match the room with new wooden button plugs painted aqua. The blue buttons also tie in with the polka-dot sheer curtains (PB Teen, $29+). A fabric flower and bow finished prettying up the pony.

Framed childhood book

Nursery art idea: Framed children's book

I got the idea for framing my favorite childhood book Cinderella while interviewing Good Morning America lifestyle anchor-turned-flea-market-maven Lara Spencer who mentioned she liked vintage children book covers framed as nursery art. A painted shadow box holds my cherished book intact.

Parenting lesson #7: Create your own rules

Nursery artwork ideas

A classic decorating rule when adding an accent color is to make sure it’s repeated three times throughout the room. When my mother-in-law surprised us with a stunning angel print by artist Anne H. Neilson, I adored the peaceful print, but the orangey-red background colors stood out from the rest of the room’s color palette.

The mint green color is highlighted with a few other accessories, but we chose to not repeat the warm colors or gold frame throughout the room. It added an unexpected element of surprise.

Sometimes rules are made to be broken. A lesson to hold on to while being bombarded with parenting styles, books and rules.

Tip: Ask your newborn photographer to include some of your accent colors in the props. Our photographer Jackie Baughman of Cream n’ Cocoa Photography let me pick accessories that coordinated with our room.

Photography by KK & A Camera
Writer’s note: I was provided with products by Pottery Barn Kids. All opinions are my own.

More nursery ideas

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3 Easy nursery DIY projects to personalize your nursery
What I'm loving this week: 5 Popular nursery trends

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