My gender neutral, not color neutral nursery

The Husband and I decided to keep our first baby’s sex a surprise. For one thing, we like surprises, and for another thing, it bought us some time before the entire world started pushing its gender stereotypes on our little (what turned out to be a) guy. No “Daddy’s Little Princess” or “Big Man” onesies, etc. This, of course, drove some people totally crazy, but I don’t care.

When we started trying to figure out our nursery, I ventured over to Pinterest to search for gender-neutral baby ideas. There are, of course, tons of awesome nurseries showcased all across the Internet. One thing I found was that often times, gender neutral also meant neutral-neutral: grey, beige, white, etc.

I love neutral colors, but I wanted something a little brighter for our babe-to-be. I also tend toward eclectic decor (and admittedly a lot of hand-me-downs, cheap Target stuff and finds from our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Find one of these in your community – they are so awesome!)

Pinterest completely overwhelmed me with ideas (though you can check out my nursery pinspiration board here.) Finally, I got the idea to use this vintage opera poster that my mother-in-law had picked up at a thrift store and gifted to us a few years ago as the basis for the nursery’s color scheme.

Puss in Boots vintage opera poster
The inspiration for our nursery: colorful, vintage, eclectic and gender neutral without being neutral-neutral.

[Soapbox second:] Yes, you won’t be the first person to notice there is a “scary” looking demon-creature on this poster. But guess what? The Baby LOVES staring at the poster while he gets his diaper changed, and as we don’t point to the creature and say, “This is something you should be scared of!” he probably won’t be scared of it. And maybe it will be a lesson for him that just because something isn’t beautiful doesn’t make it evil. [/soapbox second]

Anyway, we decided to paint the walls a light blue to mimic the background of the poster. Yes, The Baby could have been a girl, but I am a girl and I like blue and again with the pressure of gender conformity!!!

We scored two cool dressers at ReStore, one a perfect little wooden chest of drawers with cutouts for handles and the other a low, wide dresser to serve as our changing table. The latter was painted two shades of butt-ugly green, but The Husband meticulously painted it a yellow also pulled from the Puss in Boots poster. There was a big sale going on at ReStore the day we went, and we got both dressers for a total of $65.

I found a rug at my favorite online source for rugs, on sale I think for $99, Rugs USA. (Not a paid advertisement, I’ve just gotten some great deals there!)

Rug from Rugs USA
The rug from Rugs USA.

I’ve always loved the classic beauty of a Jenny Lind crib, and went with white. I registered for it, just to keep track of what I wanted, and before I could order it, I found it delivered to my doorstep as a gift my very dear best childhood friend.

Inspired by a friend who made awesome dropcloth curtains for her apartment, I bought a bunch of dropcloths that were on sale when we were buying paint and made curtains and a matching crib skirt.

We finished it off with an inexpensive rocking chair I found on Overstock for about $200. It’s not a plush upholstered chair, but I have two jerk cats who scratch up every piece of furniture we buy so I didn’t want to put too much money into it. This chair actually walks backward across the room whenever I rock in it, so I wouldn’t glowingly endorse it, but it’s pretty comfortable for what you pay, and if I ever get around to sticking some non-skid pads to the bottom of it, it will probably quit scooting so badly.

We accessorized with, of course, the poster (VERY securely hung… I know it looks a little scary hanging over the changing table but I pulled on it while super pregnant and it didn’t budge), a cool wooden duck I found at a thrift store, a framed set of six vintage postage stamps I found in the back of a desk drawer (another ReStore find) and a “Cleveland Born” print also from my BFF.

I knitted a very simple block color blanket to match the colors in the room, bought some pretty neutral Burt’s Bees jersey knit crib sheets, and there you have it – nursery complete.

I think we spent just about $600 for everything. Not bad, eh?

Here are some photos of the nursery (in our old house). Of course, everything but the paint came with us to the new house, so once we get around to painting, it will be home sweet home again for our little guy.

How did we do? Let me know what you think at @arkayokay.

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for more nursery and baby ideas.

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My gender neutral, not color neutral nursery

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