Creating A Soothing, Nurturing, Nature Inspired, Scandinavian Nursery – The Reveal! (ad)

The wait is finally over! Here is the first glimpse of Emilia’s nursery! I have worked so hard on decorating and furnishing this room, I’m delighted to be sharing it with you now. It took me almost a year and a half through pregnancy and early motherhood — quite a long project, but it’s been such a joy to create. I often find myself pausing to admire this soothing space, it’s my favourite place to be while I’m breastfeeding Emilia for that very reason — perfect for catching a moment of quiet.

When we first moved in, it was on the top of my list to freshen up the entire house by tackling the magnolia walls as soon as possible. We live in a rental and from past experience, not much time is available to do anything more than a quick clean — let alone redecorate every room before they’re inevitably filled with boxes of our belongings and empty furniture. Our landlord was incredibly gracious (and continued to be… so very lucky to have such a kind landlord!) to our requests to redecorate first before moving in. I wanted to make the new place feel more like home for us, and for this I felt especially thankful, as looking back, it was the biggest stepping stone in helping me to settle ahead of growing our family.

THE ROOM

Our home has two attic bedrooms upstairs, both with wall-to-wall mirrored fitted wardrobes. The wardrobes themselves are very plain — not my style at all, however the hidden storage they provide and illusion of more space from the mirrors is definitely appreciated. Emilia’s room is just across the landing from our bedroom and in the time we lived here before her arrival, it was an empty room with only a spare chest of drawers from our bedroom furniture set. It was essentially a beautiful blank space for us to create into a really special nursery.

The room itself is on the whole very bright and airy, mostly due to the large Velux window and wall-to-wall mirrored wardrobe at the opposite side bouncing back all that stunning light. It’s quite a narrow room, with only two walls where we can place furniture against, so we wanted to make the most of this and create a simple, modern space, featuring accents of warm colours and earthy tones. An ode to nature was very much my inspiration.

Aside from the building of the solid oak dresser (I was heavily pregnant by the time this needed doing), I did everything myself. I’ve always had a passion for interior design and having learnt some diy skills from my carpenter-joiner Dad, this nursery project was my personal journey in nesting for Emilia’s arrival. Completing the nursery once she was here wasn’t planned, but this seemed to help me transition into motherhood much easier — and I loved every minute of creating this beautiful space for my little girl.

THE OAK CHEST OF DRAWERS

This solid oak dresser by Nobodinoz was the first piece of furniture we bought for the nursery. James and I spent ages browsing my favourite independent concept stores online and I discovered so many beautiful brands via Instagram. It was probably the hardest purchase we made! I have a bit of a love affair with oak furniture — it ages beautifully, while also being easy to maintain… and 95% of the furniture in our home is made from solid oak, so it felt like the safest decision for us to go with the same material for the nursery furniture too.

This piece of furniture is elegant, well made and even has customisable drawer sliders (we chose white), which is a lovely detail — however functionally, it’s a lot more compact than either of us anticipated.

We initially used this as a changing table and it can also be purchased with a removable changing top — which at the time of us buying was only available as a half top. We added a beautiful Olli Ella changing basket on top, and once Emilia was born and we began using the unit multiple times an hour in those early months, we soon realised just how little space it had to adapt to our evolving needs…

As Emilia reached the stage of rolling and wriggling a lot more (she was early to roll at just 3 months old) it became difficult to change her nappy or dress her without feeling uneasy about items falling on the floor mid-change. Until recently, we’d been using this dresser for storing any spare nappy supplies and bedding.

It’s a beautiful piece of furniture, but we outgrew it far quicker than we hoped we would, especially for a piece of this quality and price… I feel a little embarrassed to say that it has sat empty for the past few months. We haven’t decided if we’ll move it to our spare bedroom or simply sell it… so if you happen to be in the market for a beautifully designed (and immaculate) dresser, please do get in touch with us!

THE DRESSER

I discovered Oliver Furniture through Scandibørn and instantly fell head over heels for their beautifully simple, delicate designs. My favourite style is the Wood collection which combines their classic white lines and soft edges with touches of natural Nordic oak. I especially love how all their furniture is designed to grow with your child’s milestones and easily adapts as your family’s needs change too, creating products that are longer lasting and therefore sustainable through design.

This dresser has absolutely been our saving grace. Growing out of our previous dresser so quickly, we knew what we wanted and this new piece ticked all of the boxes for what we needed. We chose the unit with the full changing top, which works best for us as we have always changed Emilia’s nappies side facing, and even now into toddlerhood, Emilia is (usually) very happy to sit on top for her post-bath massage. This design has given us plenty of space without the worry of her falling and the changing top can be easily detached if we decide we no longer needed to use it with this dresser in the future.

The drawers themselves are incredibly spacious — this entire dresser stores everything we currently use… from all of Emilia’s clothes, to nappies, towels, spare toiletries, bedding, blankets and even a chunky winter duvet! Inspired by the KonMari method, I folded and tidied everything neatly into each drawer and it highlighted to me just how much this dresser is capable of storing for someone so little! It doesn’t feel at all overcrowded and being a key piece of furniture in the nursery; used at least half a dozen times a day, it makes me so happy knowing everything we need is organised in one place.

I really feel like Oliver Furniture thought of everything when creating this piece of furniture. The discreet leather pulls are a beautiful detail which softens the design even more and there are two integrated rounded oak hooks on either side which can be extended for hanging clothes. All the details on this dresser are exquisite, even down to the soft close mechanism on the drawers… which feels like an added luxury for me, but is definitely ideal for preventing curious little fingers from being pinched (something which Emilia recently discovered on the oak chest of drawers!). It’s been part of the nursery for almost a year now and it’s definitely the most used piece of furniture. Oliver Furniture’s focus on simplicity and function has made our moments using it so carefree and I love this piece a lot — honestly, I don’t think I can sing its praises more!

THE COT BED

The cot bed is another beauty from Oliver Furniture. We picked it out when I was pregnant and decided to wait until Emilia was at least a few months old before buying and adding it into the nursery. I planned to co-sleep and we already had a co-sleeping crib set up in our bedroom, so it felt a little too indulgent to add a larger cot into the nursery when we probably wouldn’t be using it until she was at least 6 months old. We co-slept for around nine months, so waiting before buying gave me a little extra time to be doubly sure on my choice.

This piece is no different to the rest of Oliver Furniture’s collection; beautifully ergonomic and designed to evolve with your family. There are two height settings (but since we didn’t move Emilia into her new bed until 9 months old, we have yet to try the newborn setting) and a clever ‘shortcut’ function, whereby removing three spring-loaded bars in the centre of the rails, your little one can find their own way in and out of bed easily without the need to climb. We have briefly tried this function but as Emilia still adores the comfort of her sleeping bag this didn’t quite suit her. We’ll soon be adapting it to the short grid side — which means she will be able to climb in and out without the worry of falling out while sleeping — and I much prefer the overall appearance of this. Emilia loves climbing up and tucking herself under the duvet on our bed, so I’m intrigued to see how this will hopefully encourage her independence at bedtime in her own bed.

THE MATTRESS

Oliver Furniture recommend purchasing their cold foam mattress with the cot bed as the corners are rounded and some of their other bed designs are also extendable, which means that a standard child’s mattress won’t fit. All the mattresses we’ve used with Emilia — her Moses basket, co-sleeper crib and Bugaboo carrycot — have all been from The Little Green Sheep. Having owned several mattresses and used them from birth, we’re familiar with their quality, and really love their timeless style, simplicity and natural ‘ingredients’.

Thankfully, The Little Green Sheep offer a custom mattress service in any size, which is easy to complete yourself on their website. You simply select which type of furniture you’re creating your mattress for and enter the dimensions of the base of your bed. You’ll be given a price and the checkout process is the same as any of the other products in their shop. They’re handmade in around 3-4 weeks — though it’s worth noting that if the mattress you require has rounded corners (like ours does), you will also need to create a paper template and post this to them in order for them to accurately make it for you.

We chose the Natural Twist mattress for Emilia’s cot bed. It offers double-sided support; one firm side for babies (up to 12 months) and a softer side for toddlers (12 months+).

The biggest reason for my love of The Little Green Sheep’s mattresses, is that they’re made entirely from natural materials. Simply made from a springy coconut coir, surrounded by layers of naturally insulating and breathable wool (there are so many benefits to the use of wool, well worth reading on their website) and wrapped in a super soft organic cotton, it’s the perfect recipe for a natural, comfortable mattress — especially for our precious little ones. These mattresses have always felt like the the right choice for us, and being created without the use of nasty chemicals is another reassuring factor.

Emilia has been sleeping on her mattress for over a year now and we couldn’t be happier with our choice! I also highly recommend pairing their mattresses with one of The Little Green Sheep’s flat mattress protectors. They’re also natural; made from 100% organic cotton, waterproof and beautifully soft. We never go without one and have been using them since Emilia was newborn too. We’re yet to put those fully to the test (fingers crossed we won’t need to anytime soon!) but I love how brilliantly they wash and it’s always good to have that extra peace of mind.

THE NURSING CHAIR

I was so indecisive about what style of chair to have in the nursery. I had seen a few rocking style nursing chairs, but I struggled to find one that ticked all the boxes of what I was looking for upholstery or style-wise and that was also available within the UK. At the time of researching nursing chairs, we’d also been looking at potential new sofas for our living space and I discovered the lovely UK based brand, Loaf. We eventually decided on a squishy armchair from the ‘Snuggalump’ collection — which sadly appears to have now been discontinued!

The armchair is beautifully made, and very comfortable. I opted for the vintage linen in a pebble grey, so style-wise it’s lovely and neutral and fits into the nursery space seamlessly — as it will also do in any other part of our home. The seat cushion does tend to slide out slightly after each use, but it’s quite a deep seated chair in comparison to most armchairs and probably part of its ‘squishy’ character.

In hindsight we should have tested out the chair in one of their showrooms, but at the time of buying it this was a trade-off for it being so highly recommended by friends. Another point that I’ll be remembering for future reference is the width of the armchair… Breastfeeding a small baby in this chair was a breeze and always super cosy, however now Emilia is 23 months old, breastfeeding a toddler has become quite a squeeze! I still adore this chair and it will likely be relocated to either the main bedroom or living space, so still very much a worthwhile investment for us.

THE READING NOOK

I really love how this little corner of the nursery turned out. It’s actually the alcove above the stairs (we have one in the main bedroom too) and initially it felt like quite a wasted area of space. Before the room became a nursery, this corner used to sit empty and then briefly stored an improperly-fitting bookcase filled with books we’d forgotten about. More recently it was the practical but not very aesthetically pleasing shelf unit for Emilia’s collection of board books. As the nursing chair sits just in front of it, it’s not the most straightforward of spaces to utilise. I’d been thinking how the overall space can grow with Emilia’s needs for a while, when one evening while I was researching a few pieces to update this space (and accommodate Emilia’s growing interest in playing in her room), I had the idea that it could work really well as a little reading nook!

We have a spare changing cushion (previously used in the car when travelling), which by a stroke of luck fits into the wooden base of the alcove exactly. I plan to make my own cushion pad cover, so I’ve temporarily covered it with a thick cotton throw and some layers of muslin blankets from Main Sauvage to keep it cosy. The whimsical prints of the blankets help create a inviting reading corner and on the wall of the alcove I hung a beautiful cloud lamp from Konges Slødj. All of Emilia’s books now live in her toy chest, tucked just behind the nursing chair for now, and I’m surprised at how these really simple changes have instantly created an imaginative corner for Emilia to read. I have to say, I’m a little smitten with this charming part of the nursery!

STORAGE SOLUTIONS

Aside from the huge wall-wall fitted wardrobes (which I’m so grateful stores all the baby-related items, out-grown clothes and toys that aren’t currently in rotation, completely out of sight yet still easily accessible), the nursery doesn’t have a lot of space available for large storage units. I have really tried to avoid overcrowding the room or limiting any of that lovely light coming through the single window, and so I purposely chose smaller items that can be used for storing objects she uses daily, but with the possibility of other functions. Essentially, I want these pieces to grow with Emilia without the need to replace them.

The different sized Neutra baskets from Olli Ella have been very handy — from being used as a laundry hamper, nappy storage on top of the dresser, to now storing all her toys. Keeping soft toys and wooden toys separate has made it so much easier for Emilia to find what she’s looking for without pulling everything out onto the floor (though that does still happen sometimes!) and it also makes organising them easier for James and I. The smallest lidded basket has recently been very useful for organising wooden cubes and some small wooden animal stacking toys that would otherwise get lost in the bottom of the larger baskets.

This wooden toy chest from Ooh Noo is a great addition to the nursery and is beautifully discreet for what is actually quite a large storage piece.

I particularly love that it’s on wheels, making it simple to move when it’s full to the brim with books and it can be easily moved around by Emilia with the help of a little pull cord if she chooses to use it solely for her toys in the future.

Another beautiful piece from Ooh Noo which we often use for storage (when Emilia’s not playing with it) is this sweet wooden toy pram. It stores just a small selection of her soft toys, which is a lovely way to have a few of our favourites out on display and has been a great way of encouraging role play — Emilia is obsessed with playing ‘bedtime’ and sweetly tucks her sleepy animals from Main Sauvage under her bedding (usually just the pillow) from her cot bed.

This basket is actually another changing basket from Olli Ella and is the perfect size and shape to double as storage for toys such as wooden play cubes, under the cot bed.

A variety of baskets are always a lovely way to store toys and also a brilliant way to bring some earthy tones and natural texture into a light, modern room, whilst still keeping the overall space looking soft. They’re often an inexpensive way to update a room and I definitely think you can never have too many! They’re versatile and easy to use by our learning little ones too.

I’m grateful that our dresser stores the vast majority of Emilia’s clothes, but for keeping extra clothing or accessories tidy, I’ve found the peg rail beside the dresser to be a brilliant solution. It’s especially useful for those bits and pieces that are needed everyday. I like to display all of Emilia’s pretty seasonal bonnets (if you follow me on Instagram, you may have notice how I collect these gorgeous Briar Baby linen bonnets) and a few of our favourite linen dresses so they’re in sight and don’t go forgotten — though this is definitely more for James’ benefit than mine when he’s dressing Emilia for the day.

ARTWORK

I had so much fun selecting artwork for Emilia’s room. Choosing the artwork was the easiest stage and quite an organic process for me. I wanted the art on the walls to reflect my love of nature and the small brands/artists I’d discovered during my years as a designer-maker. The majority of the pieces came from my existing collection of wall art which I’ve purchased over the past 8 years or so. Some of those pieces have been displayed in different parts of our home, and in different houses, but having them now displayed in Emilia’s room feels like they’re where they were always meant to be and that feels incredibly special. It brings them to life again.

The main space I wanted to use for displaying artwork is the wall beside the nursing chair, where I created a gallery wall of some mixed art. Again, this space will change with Emilia to reflect her interests as she grows, so I didn’t want to overcomplicate it with too many permanent pieces.

I maintained an air of lightness by avoiding frames or heavy fixtures and instead opted for some clever oak pinch clips from Moebe to hang a couple of unframed prints, an ultrasound scan and (as a hook) a linen banner. They’re so easy to use — simply fix together with a rubber band, attach to the wall with a small pin and ‘pinch’ onto paper. These clips can also be used freestanding and are decorative by themselves — a beautifully unusual detail to the gallery wall which I feel works really well with the space. The ceramic wall hanging at the top of the gallery wall has been attached to the wall using a clear drawing pin (which I find quite amusing) as this was the most discreet way to display it without the fixture being distracting — one of the perks to having plasterboard walls!

These two 50x70cm watercolour prints by Silke Bonde were the first pieces of artwork I added to the walls — always destined to be proudly displayed above Emilia’s cot bed, I framed each print with a simple, narrow frame made of solid oak from Habitat. I discovered Silke through Instagram many years ago and have admired her beautiful work ever since. I knew I wanted to add a at least one of her creations to the walls of the nursery and these two prints from her ‘Looking Closer’ collection (I chose ‘Leaf Lines and ‘Cove’), mirror perfectly my focus on the creations, patterns and changing life in nature and its elements in the furnishings, while also reinforcing the sense of calm I wanted for the space.

In the corner of the nursery above Emilia’s largest toy basket, I arranged a little flock of wooden wall birds, beautifully crafted by Anna Wiscombe. Similarly to the reading nook, this was a tricky corner to style as the sloping ceiling of the attic room meant that anything larger simply made the space look too overcrowded. These oak wall birds are a stunning little detail to the nursery and the perfect solution for decorating this blank corner — I absolutely adore the hint of magic they bring too.

I also use the Dorm Shelf by Ferm Living to display some little trinkets, photos and small toys. I’m particularly fond of Raduga Grëz who create wonderful wooden children’s toys which they highlight can become art when they’re not being played with. They look so beautiful on display, and I have to admit that for that very reason they haven’t been played with very much at all!

AN ODE TO NATURE

Drawing from what I notice most within nature, I really love how symbolic certain aspects of the nursery have become — the delicate watercolour patterns in the large prints and on the nursing chair cushion inspired by the details of leaves and flowers; the cloud mobiles and oriented linen bedding inspired by the elements; the knitted animal toys inspired by life in nature. When you look closely it’s easy to see why so many children’s brands (and artists) are inspired by nature.

Bearing this in mind, I’ve tried to keep things as simple as possible, so the nursery feels light and as joyful as possible. The space is mostly neutral but with touches of colours introduced by the artwork or furnishings (items that can be changed if need be) and a mixture of earthy tones included in the natural materials, added some needed warmth into the space.

From the very beginning of decorating this nursery, I’ve been hugely influenced by those intricate details and elements of nature. It was important to me to create an inspiring, soothing and nurturing space which I now hope will also help foster creativity in Emilia. In the early days, being able to introduce some of those magical details from nature to my baby through my passion of interior decoration and styling was so special to me. It continues to be an absolute joy to see Emilia happy in this space and I truly hope it inspires her imagination to the same extent it did as when I was creating it.

As part of this collaboration I have proudly partnered with some of my favourite children’s brands. An * indicates where products have been very kindly gifted or ** where a press discount has been received. Includes affiliate links.

Source List

Oak Chest of Drawers – Nobodinoz | Scandibørn

Dresser & Full Changing Top – Oliver Furniture | Scandibørn*

Changing Cushion – Konges Slojd | Scandibørn

Round Dorm Shelf – Ferm Living | Scandibørn

Wooden Stackers – Zuri & Jane

Lidded Baskets – Olli Ella

Wooden Peg Rail – Loullou | Studio Kala

Cot Bed – Oliver Furniture | Scandibørn**

Canopy – Konges Slojd | Scandibørn

Cloud Mobiles – Konges Slojd | Scandibørn

Small ‘Sienna Pyjamas’ Knitted Teddy – Main Sauvage*

Custom Natural Mattress – The Little Green Sheep*

‘Starry Night’ Linen Bedding – Ooh Noo*

Cloud Cushion – Nobozinoz | Scandibørn

Quilted Bed Pocket – Konges Slojd | Scandibørn

Souk Rug – West Elm

Under-bed storage Basket/Changing Basket – Olli Ella | Scandibørn

Wooden Play Blocks – Konges Slojd | Scandibørn

Wooden Pull Along Bear – Sarah & Bendrix

‘Meadow’ Muslin Blanket – Main Sauvage*

‘Love’ Muslin Blanket – Main Sauvage*

Small ‘Sienna’ Knitted Bunny – Main Sauvage*

Armchair – Loaf

‘Kitten Bandit’ & ‘Pansy’ Portrait Prints – Emily Winfield Martin

Wooden Wall Birds – Anna Wiscombe

Watercolour Leaf Prints – Silke Bonde

Toy Chest on Wheels – Ooh Noo* (Also available from Scandibørn here in the UK)

Wooden Alphabet Blocks – Ooh Noo* (Also available from Scandibørn here in the UK)

White Toy Pram – Ooh Noo* (Also available from Scandibørn here in the UK)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *