Yesterday Katy left a comment with the following questions.
How do you feel about all of this “infant stimulation” stuff? I keep reading that your baby’s nursery should be all in bright stimulating colors (I thought that room was for sleeping.), and that they need these stimulation toys and videos (like Baby Einstein). What does Caroline play with? How do you keep her environment?
They spurred me on to finally take pictures of Caroline’s room and post them. I have been meaning to do a post about decorating her room, so I’ll kind of mix that in as well. I thought I would also add a few other photos that relate to some of my answers.
Please keep in mind that I am not a professional psychologist, child development expert, yada, yada, yada. I am a certified elementary teacher, but I think my greatest qualification is that God gave Caroline to me (and David) to raise so He must think we are the best equipped people to raise her. So I’m a Caroline expert-in-training. What works for me might not work for everybody else. But I’m happy to give you my take on things.
Caroline’s room was David’s office. The floors were already refinished and we had already painted all the trim, put in new windows, etc. All we had to do was change the walls and other decorating items and we would be done. When we were looking for nursery decor, I knew that it was going to be all girl! I was interested in pink in some form. I looked around a long time and finally ordered something I found online. It came and I didn’t like it. I wanted something soothing, but this was washed out looking. We kept looking and finally found something we really liked at Babies ‘R Us! I didn’t necessarily want something cutesy, but ended up with bunnies and rose buds! And we love it. Since Caroline is too young to sleep with a blanket, we used the quilt for her bedding as a wall hanging.
It was our intention to look for a used crib and changing table that we could paint. Money was squeaky tight at that time and that was all we could afford. My parents graciously gave us money for a crib, mattress, and changing table so we were able to find something nice and new at Target. I didn’t specifically look for a crib with a drawer underneath, but I love it!
My mom suggested that we put white beadboard on the bottom of the walls and we were so pleased with how that turned out. The pink walls are two colors. We painted on a base coat and then ragged on another pink color with cheesecloth. It far exceeded my expectations. It is beautiful and we were tickled pink (!) when it was done.
We already had a very nice glider in David’s office (that we had actually purchased at an upscale baby store!). We simply bought new light green cushions for it (and sold the denim ones, which were like new, on eBay). The heart-shaped wooden stand next to the glider was one we already had. It was stained a light oak color and I simply painted it white.
I wanted a bookcase in her room so we asked David’s father (who is an incredible craftsman) if he had any extra wood we could use for a bookcase. Our intention was to paint it so we weren’t worried about whether it was super fine wood. He had plenty of wood that would work. So we purchased a piece of beadboard for the back and the rest of the bookcase came from scrap wood David’s father had. He made the bookcase components, David put it together, and we painted it. So it was a very inexpensive bookcase, made to order with high shelf space to easily fit larger picture books.
The dresser is also one we already had. It was my grandmother’s and I had stripped and refinished it years ago. It was a nice oak color and I cringed a bit when I put white paint on it. I remembered all those hot hours I spent stripping and sanding it! But it was just right for Caroline’s room so it was painted. I really wanted to put glass knobs on it, but in the end just spray painted the knobs I already had on there.
So that’s most of the room! We also put in a new light fixture/ceiling fan from Lowe’s. The curtains and rod are from Target. The green sign and the white baskets with green and white checked liners were from Babies ‘R Us. My mom bought the rug from J.C. Penney and the wooden letters above Caroline’s bed were purchased at Michael’s and then spray painted white.
So all in all it was a fairly low cost room. We were able to use many things we already had and then supplement them with some things we purchased and other items that were gifted to us.
So, to get back to Katy’s question, I think a bedroom should be soft and peaceful whether it is for an adult or a child. I can’t for the life of me figure out why a child’s room should be stimulating. I agree that a child’s room is primarily a place to sleep. Yes, they might play in there too but they can play in a peaceful room and be stimluated by the toys rather than the decor.
Well, it is late so I am going to have to do the rest of this in another post sometime soon. I’ll get back to the toy and stimulation question then.