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project nursery: before + after

So almost three months ago we started the switch over from office/guest bedroom to nursery/office. One of those slow and steady makeovers, and I’m happy to report that a week before our baby girl is due we can call this one done-zo.

Let’s take a little trip back at this room, shall we? Here it is in it’s crazy turquoise glory, full of mis-matched leftover University furniture that we shoved in here when we first moved in. I think it stayed like this for the first 6 months or so of owning our pad.

office 1

Then we did a bit of a makeover – keeping the same general layout, but changing out the wall colour, DIY’ing a desk, creating a headboard, and better storage solutions.



Then when it came time to change up the purpose of this room, I happily got to tackle it again. I think it might now be my favourite room in the house!


I’m really happy with the way the colour scheme came out. Lots of white to keep it feeling bright and airy, but strong hits of pink, yellow, mint (and a smattering of gold!) make it all kinds of playful. And the subtle grey in the wallpaper and window frame add a nice additional neutral layer. I wasn’t too concerned about things matching exactly as I was putting the room together, and I think that eclectic vibe works well in here.


I’m also pleased with the layout. We struggled a bit with how best to configure the room, and in the end, this scheme really worked best. We were able to get a nice long dresser in to serve as a changing table and major storage area, but left enough room to squeeze in that little desk. Dan has already spent a fair bit of time sitting at the computer there and says that the space is just fine for him. The chair has just enough room to pull out, and we keep the screen on a bit of an angle so that it’s user-friendly. DSC_0441

Removing the closet door and making the closet curtain definitely saved us a bunch of space, as it meant we didn’t have to leave enough room to have a door swing open. Plus, it adds some nice pattern to the room and I actually find the curtain is super accessible – grabbing clothes and diapers from in there will be nice and easy!


The artwork is a jumble of photos and personal pieces, which makes it extra special for us. I’m not sure how long the little gold lamp will last there once this gal gets to be big and kick-y, but we can always move it over to the desk if need be. The laundry basket and garbage bin both tuck in nicely on either side of the dresser, keeping things close by.DSC_0449


One thing we don’t have in here that I know lots of people have in nurseries in a comfy chair of some kind – like a glider or rocker. Frankly, we just don’t have the space. Since we live on one floor, if I need to sit in a chair at night, I’ll just go out to the living room. It’s about 8 steps away, so not a huge deal. You win some, you lose some, right?DSC_0438



One other thing we have yet to install are the blackout blinds we have for the window. There wasn’t really room for curtains, and although I tossed around the idea of doing a roman blind, frankly I just got a little lazy and bought a very discrete blackout blind from a big box store. Since the baby will be sleeping in a bassinet in our room for the first little while, it hasn’t been high on the priority list… but we’ll get on that one soon.



You can’t do a before + after post without the side by side collages, right? nursery- before and after collage2

nursery-before and after collage1

There is just so much cheeriness to this room now. I’m totally smitten.

The budget came in well under on this makeover. We had projected $1000, but with so many good deals (crib, desk, dresser!), using items and supplies we already owned, and DIY’ing our little hearts out, it meant we came in at $560. Here is the budget breakdown:

  • paint (walls, closet, dresser, window trim): $0 (already owned from previous projects)
  • desk: $115
  • wallpaper: $0 (complimentary from Chasing Paper)
  • dresser: $80
  • crib: $175
  • spray paint (gold, 2 cans): $20
  • rug: $30
  • laundry basket: $20
  • frames, artwork, garbage bin, shelving, etc: $0 (already owned)
  • ribbon for garland: $30
  • crib sheet, change table pad and cover: $0 (received as gifts)
  • fabric for closet curtain, rod, hardware: $45
  • felt and embroidery thread for mobile: $10
  • artwork: $10 (for gift wrap paper and printing photos – rest were already owned)
  • baby velvet hangers: $25

TOTAL: $560


And just in case you missed any of the steps or projects along the way, here are the links to all of the nursery related posts:


Source List

  • paint colours: walls are in an off-the-shelf white from Sico brand, pink was a mistint from Home Depot
  • dresser: found used on Kijiji
  • desk: Micke from IKEA
  • wallpaper: Chasing Paper (link)
  • crib: Sundvik from IKEA
  • laundry basket: HomeSense
  • chevron rug: HomeSense
  • frames: white ones are Ribba from IKEA, gold ones were garage sale finds
  • crib sheet: Pottery Barn (link)
  • closet curtain fabric: Amy Butler Love Water Bouquet in Mint (link)
  • chalkboard print in gallery wall: audrey + gem etsy shop (link)
  • light fixture – DIY tutorial here


And that’s it! Just in the nick of time to welcome this little girl to the world. Happy mama over here!

**This post has been linked up to East Coast Creative’s Crafting with the Stars series!**

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  • Alana

    Love this room Gem, amazing job!! :)

  • I LOVE IT! The dresser and mobile are my very favorite. Good luck with the birth. You’re going to great! Baby Sweetest Digs is one lucky girl. I’m excited to get started on the nursery for our little girl. I hope it’s beautiful like yours!

    • gemma

      I’m sure it will be!!! Have so much fun :) And thanks for the lovely words.. I love “baby sweetest digs” — may need to start using that :)


  • Ali

    I love it! Sooo beautiful :) The colours are perfection.

    I have to ask – WHERE did you get that awesome chevron rug?!

    • gemma

      Thanks! It’s from HomeSense (Canadian version of HomeGoods)!! Such a great deal.


  • Your nursery looks so great!! I love that you made it a dual purpose space and kept the desk and computer in there. Not everyone (like me) has a room for every particular thing or purpose! We are slowly getting to work on our nursery. I’m due in January so we have some time. Congratulations to you and I hope you have a safe, painless delivery and recovery! Exciting times!

  • oh wow! it is so beautiful! i love the soft colors, the rug, dresser, tassel garland… beautiful!

    • gemma

      Thanks Cassie!!


  • The room looks amazing! That is one lucky little girl to have a mama who put so much love and attention into creating the perfect spot for her to come home to!

    • gemma

      Thanks Amelia!! So sweet!


  • Looks AMAZING! You should link it up to design in your home!! The color combo is fabulous!


    • gemma

      Done! Thanks Samantha! :)


  • Mandolyn

    This is fantastic! I’m bookmarking this as inspiration for my own future babes, thank you for sharing such a gorgeous setup!

    • gemma

      Aww – thanks!


  • This is so lovely!! I keep looking over the details over and over again. I’m off to look at your other posts about it! Thank you for sharing!

    • gemma

      Thanks Megan! It was such a fun room to do! :)


  • D yager

    It is so cute. As a mom of a young one, when yours starts to explore the crib, i would take off the cute garland. I would hate for your peanut to pull that over the top and get tangled. One less thing to worry about..

    • gemma

      Great tip – thanks!!


  • Carrie

    Lovely! Love the not-too-matchy eclectic vibe. I’m particuarly smitten with the art collage and ribbon garland.

  • Katrina Fly

    I love this nursery. I was just wondering if you know the name of the paint you used on the dresser. Thanks!

  • i’m so happy to find your blog! you have a great style and i’m totally “digging” this room makeover. can’t wait to read all the info on each diy!

    • gemma

      Aww thanks! So happy to have you, Carissa! :)


  • Jennifer Bleck

    How did you get the wallpaper complimentary?

  • Abbie

    Beautiful! What size is the room? We have a home office we plan to rework into the nursery for our second and this would work great for our small space.

    • Thanks Abbie! The room was pretty small – I want to say something like 8×8 ish? Although it was slightly rectangular rather than square. Our house has now been gutted and renovated, so the room no longer stands and I don’t still have the measurements – sorry!

      Good luck with your nursery, and congrats on #2!! :)