Blue Suit Mom

Repurposing Family Furniture for Fresh Nursery Décor

Photo courtesy of M Sundstrom

Photo courtesy of M Sundstrom via Flickr

We bestow relatives’ names on our newborns, compare features to fathers and grandfathers, and revel in the passing down of books and quilts, so why not introduce family furniture pieces to your infant’s world as well? Often, with just a coat of paint and some creative repurposing, bound-for-the-attic pieces can be transformed into nursery essentials.

Here are a handful of upcycling ideas for fashioning baby bedroom décor from furniture you likely already have on hand:

Changing Table
With a coat of paint and the addition of a contoured changing pad, any mid-height case good (think sideboard, dresser, or console table) can be transformed into a changing table. Antique dry sinks or washstands also work quite nicely, as they boast raised edges that keep the changing pad in place.

If your furniture piece doesn’t have some sort of upper lip, I recommend putting a small nonslip rug pad underneath the changing pad to prevent it from shifting. Want more modern appeal? Tap a tool cart or industrial kitchen cart to do the duty. Just be sure to lock down the wheels.

*Tip: To nurture a non-toxic space, turn to eco-friendly paints and stains like odor-free, water-based chalk paint or VOC-free milk paint.

Looking for a ledge to hold your little ones’ books? There are plenty of off-the-wall places to create a perch for those pages, from a vintage ironing board to a tower of tipped-over produce crates to a repurposed living room end table.

Have a broken ladder-back chair? Don’t toss it; transform it. Remove the front legs and seat, then hang the rear ladder/legs on the wall to create a shallow unit for shelving board books and keepsakes.

*Tip: Whatever your choice for creative book storage, be sure to secure stacked pieces together with industrial strength glue and affix the structure to the wall using anti-tip furniture straps to avoid a dangerous topple.

Wardrobe cabinet
If the closet storage in your nursery isn’t so sweet, create your own clothing wardrobe from a bookcase, small entertainment center, or china cabinet. Infant clothes only need about two feet of vertical hanging space, so any large opening can be converted into a mini closet with the addition of a rod.

*Tip: Dress up the front of an open cabinet with fabric panels, which can be easily draped from a tension rod to hide away clothing clutter.

Toy Storage
All you need for stowing toys is some sort of sturdy container, so get creative with the cubbies and crates in your garage. Try removing the drawers from a short dresser for open-style storage, and then add a bevy of baskets to organize things. Or attach casters to the bottoms of dresser drawers or wine crates to create bins that can be rolled out of sight under the crib. I’ve even seen wire trashcans and wall-mounted planter baskets tacked up for stowing stuffed animals, balls, and other bright playthings.

*Tip: Use a stencil to create labels for each wooden container, and then organize toys into groups.

Easy Upcycled Accents:
1. Paint a vintage bird cage in a cheery color, then clip hair bows to the bars for easy access and a sweetly feminine touch in a baby girl’s nursery.

2. Spray-paint an old chandelier in a bold color, and top the bulbs with fun fabric shades for a bright addition to baby’s space. To keep the air fresh, opt for a non-toxic spray paint. (Many paint dealers can create a custom can for you using their zero-VOC products.)

3. Strap a woven bike basket to the outside of your little one’s crib for corralling stuffed animals, pacifiers, small blankets, and the like. Or hang it from a towel bar just above the changing table for stowing extra diapers and creams.

4. For a creative and eclectic makeshift bunting, string a clothesline along an empty wall and fold vintage handkerchief squares over the line.

5. Round up grandmother’s old embroidery hoops, then stretch a cheerful swatch of fabric across each one. Group them on the wall for a perfect polka-dot art installation.

6. Turn retro flash cards into wall art by clipping them from a line with clothespins — hang up the alphabet, spell out your wee one’s name, or create a rainbow row.

7. Repurpose a wine rack as a rolled-up-blanket holder.

Be sure to share some of your big ideas for your small one’s space!

About the Author:
Jay Harris has been helping customers as a Home Depot store associate in the Chicago area since 2005. Jay is a contributor to Home Depot’s Home website. His interests include providing home office advice ranging from home decor tips on bookcases to area rugs.

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