Nursery to Shabby Chic Big Sister Room

For this mom, Lori, the fun of creating her shabby chic nursery for her daughter EJ was a sentimental process and involved using many elements from her own childhood.

Lori has now updated EJ’s room to be a big sister room with the arrival of baby brother T, and she couldn’t be more pleased with the results. (Honestly, neither could I!)

When you found out you were having a girl, how did you decide what “theme” you wanted to go with for her nursery?

It started with an antique lamp from when I was a toddler. I have a twin brother so our nursery was together and done in 1970′s burnt orange, chocolate brown and avocado green.

When I got my own room around age two my mom bought an antique lamp in a second hand shop. I’ve kept that lamp with me all these years (even though I had thought for most of my young adult life that I’d never have children of my own) and once I found out I was expecting a girl I knew I wanted to use that lamp in the nursery.

The lamp base has wooden figurines— a mama reading to her baby as it rocks in a cradle. There’s a wind-up music box that plays “Rockabye Baby” and the mechanism rocks the baby’s cradle and there’s a nightlight in the mama’s skirt.

We’re still using the lamp daily, and EJ is almost 2 and a half now— she loves it! It’s pink and baby blue and I knew it would work well with the aqua blue velvet curtains I already had hanging in the room from when we were previously using as an office.

We were renting our home, so I needed to leave the walls already painted— a toasted almond color. The lamp lent itself to a vintage, shabby chic feel that sort of became the theme of the room.

I found a Lane Swivel/Rocker/Recliner in dusty pink/mauve for $50 on Craigslist so I had pink/blue/white and tan going on.  I added in pops of pale green to balance it all. I bought a white iron daybed with a pop-up trundle off Craigslist and added a patchwork quilt from Target’s Shabby Chic Fairytale line. It had a coordinating crib set which I added once EJ turned one (we bed shared in our room until then).

I also found these adorable fabric decals depicting woodland animals in shabby chic prints on Etsy and then sewed some little softie birds in coordinating fabrics with a pattern I found online for free.

I had intended to make them into a mobile, but ended up putting them on a tree branch instead. The branch had fallen from the tree in our backyard during a windstorm so I cleaned it up and hot glued the little birds on it. I also added some faux cherry blossoms and little grapevine nest purchased from the craft store. So the “theme” turned out to be vintage, shabby chic woodland.


How did you make it all come together? Did you use inspiration boards or did you do it all in your head or some other way?

Basically I just bought what I loved within the color scheme/theme. We were on a budget and our big splurge was definitely the rug and the decals. Both were gifted to us though.

The rug ended up being too delicate for the nursery and we swapped it out for interlocking foam mats once EJ was mobile. We’re using them today (although I am considering switching them out and back to an area rug). I did create my own inspiration board.

What were your main colors?

Pink and Aqua/Robin’s Egg Blue with white, apple green and tan.

When you decided to change it to EJ’s big girl room, how did you decide whether you were going to continue with your theme or start a new one?

We already had the daybed, side table (upcycled, garage sale find), lamps, linens and wall decor and frankly, with purchasing our first home and another baby on the way (and nursery to outfit) it was a no-brainer to stick with the decor we already had.

How did you change it from a baby room to a toddler room?

We transitioned her to into the twin daybed that had been in her nursery at our rental and put the crib in her soon-to-be brother’s room next door.

The IKEA shelves I had used for her nursery to store blankets, diapers and some toys were also put in her baby brother’s room. So, I bought a Circo 9-cube organizer from Target to store her toys and books in her big sister room (as we called it). I filled the fabric covered bins that had been used in her nursery to hold her diapers and toiletries with her dress-up clothes and costumes and placed them on a the floor between her closet and the shelf. Then, I mounted a mirror on the wall there since she loves to play dress up and look at herself.

There are some hooks hung at her height so she can hang up her favorite fairy wings, purses and other accessories. The smaller bin on the floor holds her shoes and I put an upcycled dresser in her closet to hold all of her clothing.

Her room is only 10 x 11 but the closet is fairly large, so it holds everything neatly while also freeing up floor space in her room for toys and play. The pink rocker met its demise in our move (to be fair it was 20 years old and we put A LOT of mileage on it in her first year and just plain wore it out!). That was a bit sad since we’d been taking her monthly photos in it from day 1 and the last ones I took of her in that chair were at 20 months. She also loved to sit in it, rock and read her books.

But Santa gave her a Pottery Barn Anywhere Chair embroidered with her name to add to the room this past Christmas (just before her 2nd birthday). But essentially, everything else was in her original nursery.

I did make a valance from her crib skirt ruffle for the windows in her new room and they helped to make the grommet topped aqua blue velvet curtains we had been using to look a bit more girlie and shabby chic. The coordinating bunting flags I had tied to her crib when I first brought her home as a newborn I’ve tacked up on her walls above her closet and along the wall perpendicular to her bed. They add a fun touch and pull in the fabrics and colors from her bedding.

She’s currently obsessed with Winnie the Pooh, so just recently I’ve added a framed print of Classic Pooh as well as a couple prints quoting “You are my sunshine” since I sing that to her at night and she adores it. They were free downloadable printables that I popped into Target frames.

My idea is to make a little collage wall for her.

Where did you find most of the items in the room(s)?

Target, Craisglist and eBay. For the crafty things I made (customized lampshade, fabric basket liners, decoupaged letters and bird branch) I got the supplies from Michael’s Craft Store and JoAnn Fabrics. The area rug I ordered online (after seeing it at I searched and searched for the best price and found it here. Later, I bought the interlocking foam mats online too. The wall decals came from Etsy seller LoveMaeStore.

Were you on a budget?

YES! We were gifted the crib ($260) by my father and my mom bought us the daybed ($125) and rug ($300). The IKEA shelves I already had so I just added changing pad/cover to the top ($30) and made fabric liners for baskets I already had. The liners coordinated with a custom lampshade I made ($40).

The quilt was no longer available at Target so I got it on eBay for $25 and later, got the crib quilt/bumper/skirt at Target for $149. Sheets and such I got on consignment (several for $20). The aqua velvet curtains and coordinating chenille throw pillows we already had from a few years back (but they were also originally purchased from Target) and the little embroidered pom-pom pillow was also from Target, again from their Shabby Chic Fairytale line.

The dresser for her toddler room I bought from a neighborhood garage sales and painted it white ($20) and added new drawer pulls ($30). The Circo organizer shelf and three fabric bins were $60 and the white wall shelf by KidsKraft was purchased from Amazon for $30. The baby bird print was ordered from ($7) and in a Target frame ($15). The wall decals were a gift but came to $250 from Etsy Seller LoveMaeStore.

Any tips for moms on how to make their dream nursery/toddler room come to reality?

Dream big for your inspiration, but find a way to execute it for le$$!

Like weddings, it’s easy to get emotionally caught up in planning and that can mean your budget flies out the window with every “ooh and ahh” and twinge of your heart! This can be true also of planning for your baby’s nursery.

In reality, a new baby doesn’t need much. But if you want to have a nicely decorated space for baby just find your inspiration in things you love and look to eBay, Craigslist, garage sales and consignment shops to bring it all together.

Obviously I am a HUGE fan of Target and if IKEA were close, I would have shopped there too.

What does EJ love most about her room?

She loves her big girl bed (she calls the trundle ”the step” and she hangs out on it with her toys and books). She also LOVES her lamp (that was mine when I was her age), which basically launched the whole theme. And she loves her bird branch that I made for her and her decoupaged name letters… in fact they’ve helped her to learn how to spell her name!

Did EJ give any “input” on the room?

Nope. Although I am SURE the day is coming. I think if she could have her way, it would be redone with Winnie the Pooh and Tinkerbell everywhere with LOTS more stuffed animals and books!

Ladies, I think we can all agree that EJ had a stunning nursery and now has a great big sister room! I particularly love the use of elements from Lori’s own childhood, as well as recycled items— like the curtains she already had in her home. As Lori mentioned, it’s easy to get carried away with all of the details and to really drive up the costs. I think we can all take some advice from her on how to design a beautiful nursery, but accomplish it on a budget!

Thank you so much, Lori, for sharing EJ’s beautiful room with us!  Stay tuned for baby brother T’s nursery in the coming weeks!

3 Responses to Nursery to Shabby Chic Big Sister Room

  1. I love the big girl room!

  2. What a sweet room! I love the bookshelves

  3. Pingback: 30 Blogs with the Best Ideas for Organizing Kids’ Bedrooms | Full Time Nanny

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