October 15, 2012 by Decorum DIYer
When Chris and I purchased our home five years ago, we were only a family of three (five, if you count our two kitties). Having a four bedroom home seemed like too much space, even considering we didn’t have a finished basement. Even though one of our bedrooms was utilized as a laundry room, we were able to appoint the smallest bedroom as a home office. This is what our third bedroom looked like when we purchased the home:
The room is only 9′ x 10′, but does have a sizable closet. All it took to turn this room into an office was some elbow grease, two gallons of paint, window treatments, a spray painted ceiling fan, and our own mismatch of furniture. We were even able to squeeze in space for a lounging area with television and a makeshift play center in the closet for our then 18 month-old son. Of course, I neglected to take a photo of the room as the ‘office’, but do have a few everyday shots taken by my son. These should give you an idea of what the office looked like then:
As I mentioned, I had no idea I would be expecting a second child in less than a year. I happily painted the now office with a sense of ‘whatever’, as it was just an office. Had I known a little girl, or any child for that matter, was on her way, I would have been way more specific about my choices. I knew one day it would probably be a child’s bedroom, but that was in the distant future – so I thought.
I chose the two shades of tan-ish brown, ‘Gobi Desert’ (lighter shade) and ‘Harvest Brown’ (darker shade) from the drapes. They aren’t exact matches to the colors in the drapes, but I used my drapes as a guide and then tweaked the colors a bit to coordinate with the orange-y trim. At the time, I wasn’t sure what to do with the trim and my husband was anti-‘trim painting’. No biggie, I knew the room would look ten times better with just a little color, albeit neutral color, on the walls.
I painted the entire room, ceiling and closet interior included, with the ‘Gobi Desert’ (lighter shade). I thought that stripes would look nice, give the room some visual interest, add width to a small room, and be playful against the vertical striped drapes. I thought it best to have five stripes total in terms of scale. I didn’t do any form of higher mathematical thinking to arrive at five stripes, it just seemed appropriate to me, so that is what I did. This meant that I only needed to paint two stripes on the wall – easy. I used a ruler and a level to arrive at the height of my stripes (being mindful of things like window casings and light switches). After penciling in my level lines to create stripes, I carefully adhered 3M’s blue painter’s tape just outside of the pencil line, so that the pencil line would be covered with the paint. I was sure to press the tape firmly into the wall to create a tight seal. I also painted a primer coat of the base color, Behr’s ‘Gobi Desert’ over the areas where the tape met the wall to minimize bleeding of the darker paint under the tape. Once the primer coat of the base color was dry, I painted my stripes between the lines of blue tape in Behr’s ‘Harvest Brown’. I immediately removed the tape, and voila! I really loved the look and enjoyed being in my office.
Fast forward a month later when I realized I was growing an itty bitty baby inside.
Normally, I am all about painting and decorating, and the like, but for some reason, the first thing I said was, “I am NOT repainting that room!”. I don’t know why, I guess I really liked the stripes. So, a baby’s room design was planned around the neutral color scheme and striped walls. We reused the dark-toned nursery furniture that we used for our first-born. I had a bit of a New England seaside vibe going in the office, so I decided to play on the northeastern nautical theme in my daughter’s nursery and add touches of coral for femininity. Here is how my little girl’s room looked for about a two years…, until we found out we were having another little one.
The artwork above the changing table required the following supplies:
- Images of seashells printed from this website: Vintage Printable, a great resource for all images.
- Three inexpensive frames with glass from the dollar store (so, $3 @ $1 each).
- Two Glidden paint color samples. I received these for free during a promotional sample give-a-way. I chose light gray and coral colors.
- Scrapbook or photo adhesive corners to adhere the prints to the frames backboard.
Books to Baby Nursery Budget Breakdown:
- Nursery furniture – already owned, $0
- Drapes – already owned, $0 (They were originally $10 per panel, so $40 – Nautica brand)
- Blackout cellular shade – $120 (This was a necessary expense, as the shades in the room when it was an office were only light-filtering. Thanks to my odd-shaped 71 7/8″w x 26″h windows, any shade is a custom order. Thankfully, I was able to purchase the blackout, cellular shade 75% off with free shipping during JCPenney’s ‘Black Friday’ sale just weeks before Claire was born.)
- Shag ivory rug (8×10) – Home Depot, $40 (By the way, the rug was too long so about 2 inches is tucked behind the dresser wall to make it fit)
- Crib bedding – Overstock, $40
- Artwork – $13
- Name decal – $12
- Sea horse statues – $45 (but free to me, as I used gift cards from my baby shower)
- Closetmaid wire shelving – $30 (only a portion of what I purchased was used in the nursery closet)
- Paint – already painted, $0
Total Cost: $300 (remember $120 of that budget was due to the blackout, cellular shade*)
* Quick note: For my odd-sized bedroom windows, I usually opt to purchase two shades and mount them side-by-side, as it is cheaper. There is only a slight gap that is usually not noticeable. However, in the application for my daughter’s nursery, even the slight gap allowed too much light into the room during the day (especially in the morning), as her window faces east. It is usually cheaper to purchase two, standard-sized, off-the-shelf shades, than to order one, large, custom shade. Keep this in mind, if you are on the hunt for odd-sized window shades.
Obviously, already having the nursery furniture, walls painted, and draperies made this office to nursery transformation easy and budget-friendly. Had I started from scrat.ch, I could probably accomplish the same for $500 or less. The downside is that it would have probably taken more than a weekend to pull together and require a lot more diy frugal craftiness – but it is doable.
I hope you have enjoyed this little trip back in time to visit my daughter’s nursery. I have a plan in the works to show you how I transformed this same nursery with coral accents into my son’s nursery with red accents, keeping much of the room the same. Until next time…, happy painting!