It was finally time for my little girl to have her very own big girl room. We moved to our new home when Mila was two and half, and therefore officially ready for an upgrade from the nursery. I wanted her room to have little areas for all her needs. Such as a reading nook, a dress-up area, a play area and of course, her rest area, the bed. The room is not big, so it was a bit of challenge fitting it all in, but I managed to give her everything she needs. A little due to budgetary constraints, but mostly due to my desire to use pieces we already owned and loved, I didn’t buy any new furniture for this room and instead opted to use hand-me-downs and other pieces that weren’t being utilized in our home. Decorating in this way can be dangerous, since a room made up of hand-me-downs can look like a bad thrift shop. Therefore I had to come up with some creative ways to ensure that all the pieces were cohesive and worked well together.
I happily painted the Pepto Bismol pink coloured walls a warm grey, the same colour as Marlowe’s nursery. I decided to go with black as a main colour in the room, which probably isn’t most people’s first choice for a little girl room, but it made perfect sense to me. I knew that I would be infusing plenty of colour in the form of toys, books, pillows and dresses. Bright colours pop even more against black, so actually, using black can make a room feel quite bright (I know, it makes no sense). I decided to stick to a neutral palette of black, white and grey, with some red and silver accents. I found the bold black and white rug at Urban Barn and knew that it would work well with my old childhood day-bed. I love the look and feel of a day-bed, it makes a room feel inviting, like there is a large couch in the space and anyone can sit in it to read and play. It also happens to serve as a perfect spot for photo-shoots.
In addition to my old day-bed, I poached a dresser and nightstand from my husband’s childhood room and covered them with floral shelf-liner (read about it here: Shelf-Liner, the Best Invention Ever).
I also covered an Ikea book-shelf I had previously painted white with the same floral shelf-liner to help make the room feel more cohesive. This piece houses Mila’s toys in black fabric boxes. This is the BEST way to house toddler toys. The boxes can be easy pulled out and taken to other rooms in the house. Once playtime is done, the toys can be put back in the box by Mila and neatly tucked away. In her room, she can play with her toys on top of the shelf, or on the cozy rug.
Above the shelf and the chaise lounge are photo ledge shelves with Mila’s extensive book collection. This is a great way to house children’s books, since they come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are therefore hard to keep straight on a regular book-shelf. Also, this way Mila is easily able to see her books and pick the ones she wants to have read to her at bed time. The books work double-duty as art work, injecting colour in the room and using up wall space, since blank walls drive me crazy.
Under the window is a chaise lounge chair that was once navy blue. I covered it in a grey fabric to better blend with the room. This little area is a perfect reading nook. I changed the light fixture to a black chandelier to help make the room feel a little more feminine, but of course because it’s black it has a bit of an edge. On the window sill I displayed Mila’s name, framed by black curtains which serve more function than fashion, since Mila still naps and needs a very dark room to do so.
In between the reading nook and toy shelf is Mila’s dress-up area. Mila loves dressing up probably more than any other activity. She actually dressed up almost daily for an entire year straight, we started to forget what she looked like in regular clothes. I wanted her to have this space to house her favourite dresses and accessories and have it all accessible to her whenever she felt like being a princess. The dresses are hung on a vintage red clothes stand, which is shaped like a body. This is Mila’s mini-version of Carrie Bradshaw’s closet.
Above the bed is a painting I painted for Mila when I was pregnant with her. I completed about two thirds of the painting before deciding that it was a little too colourful for the neutral nursery. So I scraped it and painted another one for her instead. That painting is in Marlowe’s nursery now. When I was putting together Mila’s big girl room, I remembered that I had this incomplete painting in storage, so I set out to finish it and display it in the room. It immediately became clear to me I had always painted this one for her, since it was in fact a perfect fit for the room.
The chandelier, the name on the window sill, the painting and even the stuffed owl and elephant are pieces that are repeated in both Mila and Marlowe’s rooms. I wanted their rooms to mirror each other, by sharing similar elements, while having distinctly different feelings. After all, one is for a big girl and the other is for a baby. For some people, Mila’s room might feel too mature for a little girl, but I think I’ve included enough whimsical elements that make it clear that this room is in fact a fun space, perfect for my little girl to grow big in.
Check out Marlowe’s Nursery to see how these rooms mirror each other!