Emily Winters: A Nursery Transformation (AFTER)

My friends Heather and Tracy have been excitedly working to update their third bedroom/office space into a lovely nursery for their daughter. I previewed their efforts a few weeks ago (you can read about it here), and today you’re about to see the grand hurrah.

Their design approach offers a lot of great suggestions for parents to-be in the same conundrum: How can you make over a bedroom on a budget and create a comfortable space for your new baby to grow in? How do you make it safe? How do you organize it efficiently for both parents and baby?

What they came up with is downright adorable.

A nursery makeover, before + after.

I think you’ll enjoy seeing the full transformation. Keep on reading to see more.

It’s easy to assume that transforming a room means changing the paint color and adding new furniture; in this case, the homeowners left the wall color the same as it has been for the past few years, a dark gray that offers itself as the perfect neutral color to complement the pops of oranges, blues, yellows, and greens, and any color of the rainbow that their daughter may choose to bring into the room herself over time.

What you wouldn’t necessarily realize by looking at the before and after photo is that the trim was repainted a crisp white, and the windows were entirely scraped, caulked, primed, and repainted to eliminate drafts and  flaking lead-based paint. Like many families, Heather and Tracy opted for the safest route and went the extra mile to ensure they were buying zero-VOC primer and paint. If you’re shopping around for a zero- or low-VOC option, we’re all fans of Behr’s new formula which, in my own experience too, still has great coverage for only about $25 per gallon.

Modern gray nursery.

You also wouldn’t necessarily notice that they had an extra electrical outlet installed using surface wiring that extends across the top of the baseboard, or upgraded the room to tamper-resistant outlets, but both modifications help to make the room safe and efficient. Surface wiring is great in older homes, and an efficient way of extending electrical service into a room without damaging plaster walls (curse these old homes with only one outlet in each room!). In addition to updating the wiring in the room, they (with the help of Pete) replaced the old halogen ceiling light that had a tendency to get very hot; in it’s place now hangs a white ceiling fan and light with a dimmer, a friendlier and safer option all around.

The main shelving unit in the room received a makeover with white no-VOC paint, and the round frame that hangs above the glider is filled with special mementos, like gift wrap and cards that the couple received during their baby shower that coordinate with the other colors in the room. I love the contrast of white on dark gray as emphasized in the shelf, the frame, and the lampshade, and the assorted storage bins that sit in the shelves add a lot of color and utility to the space.

I love the white accents against the dark gray wall.

Other wall art in the room was sourced from their personal collection; the bird print above the bookshelf came from a local art festival and was professionally mounted for the nursery, and a photograph of their dog that was transferred onto canvas hangs securely above the crib.

Adding personal touches in art around the room.

Wall graphics from Skip Hop’s Treehouse Friends collection coordinate with their sheet set. It wouldn’t be obvious at first, but these treehouse friends decals are hidden all around the room, like on their heat run…

Hidden bird decals and Skip Hop bedding.

… and on top of the window.

Bird graphics on a windowsill, and cute, cute roller blinds.

Speaking of this window, how great is Heather’s DIY makeover of their roller blinds? Originally just white, she embroidered and attached these orange details herself using store-bought ribbons and heavy quilt binding). These window shades were already my favorite thing about the room in its “before” state and it’s so nice to see that they were embraced in the room redesign.

DIY roller blind accents! Such a pretty detail.

The other window in the room received special attention too – Heather’s cousin is a seamstress and was able to cover a store-bought roman shade with custom fabric which ties the curtain in to the room, and also will become a serious daylight-blocker when naptime rolls around. The dark blue of the curtain complements the blue in the IKEA area rug, the wall decals, and the teal storage.

Custom roman shade for a nursery.

The 1930′s home natural aesthetic doesn’t stop with these original windows and period-appropriate roller blinds – their home also has hardwood floors and gumwood doors throughout, both of which were left intact in the nursery. Doesn’t the hardwood look wonderful against the bright white and warm gray?

Embracing original gumwood doors.

It’s evident that this couple considered everything, even the tiniest of details. Heather decoupaged the light switch, and Tracy swapped out the knobs that came with their changing table for a set from Anthropologie that ties in perfectly to the other colors of the bedroom. (Psst, I want those exact knobs in my home!)

Upgraded drawer pulls and light switches.

Hope you enjoyed the after. If you missed the “before” tour, check it out right here.

Catching the home improvement bug at an early age, Emily Winters is a now a devoted DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects she covers on her blog Merrypad range from painting a wall to building a deck, so it’s only natural she landed at DIYNetwork.com. You can follow Emily on twitter at @merrypad and like her on facebook at facebook.com/merrypad.

8 Responses

  1. essay center says:

    This blog very interesting and informative site. So many students and peoples open this blog. The essay center is very use full in our carriers, developing education skills and knowledgeable skills.

  2. Bethany says:

    Where is the frame from? We are looking at a similar round frame, but I like this one better.

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  4. merrypad says:

    @erin The crib is by Baby Mod! Isn't it awesome!?

  5. Erin says:

    Love it! What kind of crib is that?? We just redid our 3rd bedroom and turned it into a nursery, just looking for furniture. Thanks!

  6. Chelsey says:

    Absolutely beautiful. Well done! That baby will be living in style.

  7. Kathy k says:

    Oh I love what you've done here!! So cozy and pretty and practical! Almost ime now….xo

  8. Danielle says:



About Emily Fazio 


I caught the home improvement bug at an early age, and now I'm a full-time DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects I cover on my blog Merrypad range ...

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