Nesting: Here’s How I Created My Baby’s Woodland Themed Nursery

Don’t worry, our little guy does have a view out his window– I’ve edited it out to protect his privacy!

Most expecting moms (and some dads) like to dream of their baby’s nursery and pass the long weeks of pregnancy with planning the space.  As soon as we found out that we were expecting a baby boy, my imagination ran wild with possible themes for the little guy’s nest. 

In 2016 we bought our home, gutted a significant portion of it, and then found out we were expecting on the same day we got some unexpected news about the scope of our renovation. One of the rooms that we transformed was the baby nursery, and I’ve posted a “before” picture here for reference.

We ripped up the hardwood and replaced it with carpet. We changed the walls from yellow and brown to Benjamin Moore Chalk White and Timberwolf Grey. We also added window coverings to match the decor.

During our renovation we created an interior that is modern, minimalist and largely white and grey and I wanted to stick to that in the baby’s room as well.  I tossed around ideas of doing an abstract, geometric theme, a mountain theme, but I kept circling back to an outdoorsy/woodland theme.  However, I wasn’t sure how to keep it modern– so many woodland accessories for babies are cutesy because the animals are cartoon-ish, and that wasn’t quite what I was looking for. 

Luckily, after lots of Pinterest browsing I came across some inspiration.  It didn’t take much to get husband’s buy-in to my vision, and soon enough I’d ordered the wall decals to create a feature wall of birch trees behind baby’s crib.  I ended up having our painters paint the feature wall Benjamin Moore’s Timberwolf grey, and through I found a wall decal set that had enough birch trees to cover the 8 foot wall, as well as birds and deer.  I didn’t end up using the deer because I felt they were a little too mature for a baby’s space, but saved them for when he’s a bit older.  The decals themselves took my husband and his dad an afternoon to install, with my mother-in-law and me sitting behind them chirping instructions about the tiniest details.  But hey- it turned out perfectly!

The other themed decor I had in mind for the room was a children’s tee-pee for baby to play and read in when he is a bit older.  Before he was born I went so far as picking out the fabric to match the room, and left it at that.  No 8-month pregnant mama wants to sit behind a sewing machine over the Christmas season to make a tee-pee the baby’s not going to use right away anyway!  The tee-pee was finally completed when baby was about 10 months old– that’s a post for another day!

For furniture, we also wanted to maintain a minimalist, modern look. Again, as soon as we knew we were having a boy, I started thinking about nursery furniture.  Soon after the gender-reveal, I was browsing baby furniture stores and found the perfect crib and change table, the Hudson line, by Babyletto.  My in-laws were super generous and made the set a our baby gift.  The change table is also a dresser with a cupboard where we keep all of baby’s bedding and diapering supplies, and the three drawers have been sufficient for holding all the clothes that are baby’s current size.  

Mama Tip:  When choosing a crib, consider a convertible crib that your baby can use beyond infancy.  Many cribs convert to toddler beds, and the one we chose even included the conversion kit and rail.  Ours also has an option to buy a kit to convert it to a junior bed as well.  We are excited about extending the life of his bed likely until he’s in preschool!

We wanted to have an area where we could do baby’s bedtime routine, including feeding, reading, and rocking him to sleep.  We were generously gifted a modern Gus Modern Sparrow glider and ottoman by husband’s brother and his wife for our baby shower.  That chair has rocked many, many, many miles since baby was born and still looks brand new.  If you’re debating whether a chair is necessary in the nursery and you have the space– do it!  And make it a rocker of some sort.  With an ottoman.  It makes holding and tending to the baby so much more comfortable.  It’s not a lie when people say the first months of baby’s life are eating and sleeping– and most of that is done in the rocker!

Of course next to the glider it’s handy to have somewhere to place bottles, your phone or tablet, a nightlight, and a glass of water.  We opted to get baby some little cubbies from Pottery Barn Kids that matched the grey paint colour of our Babyletto crib and change table perfectly.  We stacked two of the single Market Bins to create a nightstand of sorts where we store his books in the bins, and have a lamp on top that we use to make night-time wake ups a little less overstimulating.  The bins will grow with them and he’ll be able to continue to use them as his own toy storage and nightstand when he’s older.

Finally, we brought an eight section bookshelf into his room that we had in our old condo.  It doesn’t match the rest of the room in terms of colour, but it’s so practical.  I ended up buying six IKEA SKUBB bins that fit perfectly into the spaces, and have two spaces that are open for items that we use constantly.  The bins are perfect for storing all of the accessories that come along with a baby, and I use the one nearest his change table as a laundry bin.  Babies are tiny and don’t need much space to store their laundry!  On the open shelves, out of baby’s reach, I keep his non-board books so that he can’t rip the pages out, as well as supplies like his thermometer, hair brush, lotion, hair gel, etc.  If I had the energy I’d paint the shelf out grey to match his feature wall, but I don’t envision the shelf staying in his room beyond the crib stage, because we’ll eventually need room for a larger bed and room for him to play.

As we know, babies come with a lot of stuff, and we are lucky that baby’s nursery has a closet with double doors, so there’s enough space to hang and store the clothes that he’s yet to grow into, as well as to keep bins of supplies that we don’t use on a regular basis.  I bought matching IKEA storage bins to make the inside of the closet look neat and tidy, and printed labels using our computer to avoid the need to rifle through bins to find what I’m looking for.

Mama Tip:  When organizing baby’s closet when you’re in the nesting phase, sort and box the clothes by size so that you know what you have, and when baby sizes up you simply put those clothes in his dresser, and move the clothes he’s grown out of into the empty bin. 

My sister suggested the bin system and helped me sort and prep– but it really only dawned on me how important this was once we brought baby home and I realized that either (a) I was looking after baby and didn’t have time to sort through his clothes, or (b) I wasn’t looking after baby but he was in his room sleeping and I couldn’t be in there sorting clothes. 

Ultimately, I’m happy with how baby’s nursery turned out and I think it can grow with him through the toddler and preschool phase.  If you’re just starting to plan your baby’s space, here are some of my favourite brands and shops:

Crate and Kids– they’re definitely on the pricey side but if they’re a little out of budget, at the very least their ideas are inspiring for nursery themes!  Sidenote:  Is anyone else mourning the loss of Land of Nod?! The nearest Crate & Barrel to Hamilton is Square One in Mississauga.

Pottery Barn Kids– also expensive, but good quality and classic pieces for outfitting baby’s nursery.  Check the clearance section and floor models! The nearest PB kids to Hamilton is at Sherway Gardens in Etobicoke.

Target– my favourite place to buy nursery decor.  Their products are modern, inexpensive and of good quality.  I know they’re not in Canada any more, but for some of us it’s just a hop, skip and jump across the border.  AND!  Occasionally, Target offers duty-free, free shipping to Canada.  No need to mourn the loss of Target, especially if you’re a Southern Ontario mama! The Target we frequent most often is at Amherst, NY.

Babyletto– obviously, I’m a big fan of their modern and mid-century modern baby furniture.  Check out their Instagram for some nursery decor inspo! I got my Babyletto furniture through The Baby’s Room. Their closest location to Hamilton is in Waterloo at the St. Jacob’s Outlets. We got a great deal when we bought a combo of crib, change table and mattress!

IKEA– your one stop shop for nursery organization!  Their caddies and bins are perfect for keeping baby’s tiny and plentiful belongings organized. Our nearest IKEA is super close in Burlington!

What theme are you thinking of or did you pick for your wee one’s nest?  Tell me your favourite local spots for nursery decor!

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