This post about how I transformed a
This post features several little projects I did to help transform a bedroom into an art gallery themed nursery.
Once upon a time, my husband and I were ready to move out of our small apartment into a shockingly rent affordable townhouse down the street in our fave neighborhood. There would be enough space to set-up an art studio in a spare bedroom that had the best natural light. A day after we signed the rental contract, we found out I was pregnant. The timing was universally perfect. Without hesitation, instead of planning out a dream in home art studio, I began envisioning a fun nursery.
Of course throughout the coming months and trimesters, that spare room did take on the role of temporary art studio as I took on everything from upholstery to mural painting. All of the projects I created there became a part of what I dubbed the Art Nursery. Unfortunately, I lost all the original photos I took of that room sans baby (and we’ve moved since then), so the pictures featured in this post are compressed copies I had uploaded to insta years ago! (I think this is another thing I can blame mom brain on. Yeah, mom brain.)
A bunch of small projects went into the creation, so I’d like to share with you how I put this together with a low budget!
The Art Nursery
First off, since I knew I’d be spending insane amounts of time in this room, I had little bits of my personality and basic needs strewn about. Punk rock records framed on the wall, a Tower Records basket re-purposed into a toy bin, a speaker system to play my music on, and a TV to binge Parks & Rec while breastfeeding all the live long day/night.
The main focal point of the “gallery” wall is a mural I created to use as a gender reveal prop. Previous to the reveal, I had painted a mural leaving a bare space in the middle for my husband to spray paint with the surprise gender associated color. I knew ahead of time it’d be neon pink, so I incorporated a lot of other colors throughout.
The mural features a breakdown of some of my favorite things that I hope to share a love of with my daughter: outer space, pop art, kawaii, the beach, and music. Prince and Bowie had passed away the year she was born, so I painted them as tribute into the mural. After the reveal, I completed it with a quote from Carl Sagan that I hope will encourage her.
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
To make it, I used a large canvas, acrylic paint, spray paint, pen, color pencils, sharpies, card stock paper, and Mod Podge.
I curated the gallery wall using fun pop art prints from some of my favorite local artists, framed greeting cards, framed records, and even framed calendar sheets! If it was cute and frame-able, it was going in the gallery! (For more on this, check out Fun Frame-able Ideas to Art Up a Kids Room.)
A fun feature of the Art Nursery are the gallery shelves. They are full of mini paintings created by friends and family that came out to our baby shower. At that party, we had a table set-up with a variety of paints, brushes, crafting paper, and mini canvases. Everyone had fun making their own mini masterpieces, and I love that everyone was able to contribute in brightening up the room! (If interested, you can check out more about that here: How to Host Your Own Kick-Ass Baby Shower.)
A Rockin’ Chair
When I was putting together my baby registry on Amazon, they (as in Amazon ads) were really pushing the glider style rocking chair on me. I couldn’t find any under $100 bucks though, and those chairs looked too big, clunky, and just not my style in the long run. So I went to several thrift stores and garage sales until I found this old cushioned rocking chair for $20!
I found some cool fabric on sale at a craft store and got to work. Ok, so, I’m not an upholsterer. This project involved lots of fabric glue and a staple gun. I cut the fabric to the proportions of each section of the chair and tucked in pieces to get an eye of where everything should be affixed.
If using a staple gun, make sure to use it only to adhere fabric to a sturdy surface. If you just staple the fabric onto the other fabric, it will come apart and potentially be unsafe for a little kid.
After gluing the blue felt onto the seat cushion, I hand sewed the seam edges to reinforce it (because it’s a high traffic butt sitting area that would be prone to coming undone.) It never unraveled! The back of the cushion already had a zipper on it for easy removal, so I left that exposed in case of potential spit ups/accidents.
This chair ended up being in a series of home photos I took every month to document my baby’s growth. It held up really well for a whole year of breastfeeding, nightly story time, singing to sleep sessions, cat scratches, and toddler climbing. When we moved, we had to curb it. It was gone before the next load of garbage was set out. I hope it ended up in a fun home.
To store all the adorbs clothes and blankies that were rolling in, we used my own childhood dresser. I’ve had this dresser since I was an infant, and it has been used by every other sibling after me. As it is over 30 years old, my husband refurbished it, and secured it to the wall for safety. If I hadn’t had access to this dresser, I would have likely scoured garage sales/thrift stores, and painted it similar to this.
Before I even thought of attempting to DIY a crib mobile, I spent days searching for the “perfect” one online. Damn, these things can be pricey! I ended up making mine with string and colorful paper. It’s still hanging in her room 2 years later. To make one like it, check out How to Make a Paper Mobile.
The last spot of art added to the wall are painted canvases featuring her name. I used 5×5 canvases and acrylic paint to whip this together. Check your local craft store for deals on canvases (I go to Michaels.) I tend to stock up on these basics during their mega sales, where you can get packages of canvases for up to 75% off.
For a fun behind the scenes look at how this room went from bare walls to a colorful gallery explosion, check out the transformation in the time-lapse video I created (and here’s how I made the video.)
Did you create a fun bright nursery? Or a themed nursery? What are you planning on doing with your upcoming babies space? I’d love to hear about it, so please share in the comments!