It’s funny how we’ve only been living in our new house for five months, but I already feel nostalgic about the home we had rented for two years. It was the first place we lived that truly felt special to us and it was the first home Dessa had ever known. Looking back at photos of her old nursery brings back so many happy memories of when my big toddler girl was just a tiny baby and I’m so happy to finally share a tour of Dessa’s gray and white nursery from the rental house with you. I’m still working quite hard to write a complete tour of our new house and I’m hoping this post will help keep you entertained while you wait ever-so-patiently for that big update.
This post contains affiliate links. We earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of our links, which helps to support the blog (and our family.)
As we prepared for Dessa to arrive, countless friends and family members asked what theme Dessa’s nursery was going to be. I received my fair share of sideways glances when I replied, “neutral.” I didn’t want to invest in a lot of theme-specific decor pieces that would quickly be outgrown or cast aside in a few years time. Instead, we kept things clean and fresh with a gray and white nursery color palette that could grow and and evolve with Dessa and perhaps a younger brother or sister one day (not today or ten months from now … but maybe one day).
One of the first things you will notice is how tiny her bedroom was. Our entire house was only 950 square feet and sweet Dessa resided in the smallest room in our home. Her nursery measured 9×10′, which was cozy but the perfect size for a nursery. I value simplicity and I loved how effortless the space was to transform with only a few pieces of furniture, a rug, and some basic accessories. Dessa’s nursery had two windows which provided great light and I loved how bright the space looked with a coat of white paint (Tibetan Jasmine from Ralph Lauren) on the walls.
We love a great bargain in the Gavin household, but we decided to splurge on a high-quality crib for our baby girl. I spent hours researching white cribs with top safety ratings and a simple design. The Kendall crib from Pottery Barn Kids was very highly rated on Consumer Reports and it featured a compact design that wouldn’t overwhelm the room. It was the perfect fit for our style and needs and the fact that it converts to a toddler bed means that we will be able to get a few extra years of use from the crib.
I wanted to adorn the walls above the crib with a budget-friendly personal touch, so I snapped a few photos of Dessa wearing a sweet little set of floral-embellished pajamas and framed three large prints above her crib. Three Silverhöjden line of frames from IKEA were an easy, inexpensive way to fill an empty wall and it always made me smile to see Dessa’s silly expressions hanging above the crib.
I searched all over the internet to find the perfect rug, rocker and curtains to soften the nursery. The simple gray and white quatrefoil rug (similar here) added a layer of coziness without demanding too much attention and these light gray ruffled curtains were a great find on Wayfair that added a subtle girly touch to the room. They aren’t quite blackout curtains, but they darkened the room considerably when we drew them closed for Dessa’s naps. The curtains are listed as “white” online, but they have a dark gray lining, which shows through the white curtain and creates the perfect soft shade of gray to accent the room.
The glider took a bit more time to find. I searched high and low and visited multiple furniture stores in search of the perfect rocker for our gray and white nursery. I found so many gorgeous options, but the room was so tiny, I knew that that any chair we purchased would need to have a very small footprint. It was also important that the chair be as comfortable as possible for late-night feedings and fit within our budget. This gray and white glider proved to be absolutely perfect for our needs. It was beautiful, affordable, small enough to fit in the space, but also comfortable for Rob or I to sit in for long stretches of time. I cannot say enough good things about this chair. It has side pockets to hold a cell phone, book, or other necessities and we quickly learned how easy it is to clean up spilled breast milk or formula which had plenty of time to sink in to the upholstery. The budget-friendly glider even came with a matching ottoman, which was quickly tucked into our basement storage due to a lack of extra space.
At fourteen months old, Dessa already loves to read books and I’m sure it is because we started a daily routine of reading to her in the glider when she was only a few days old. We kept a selection of favorite board books tucked inside a gray and white striped fabric storage bin next to the chair for easy reach.
The other great thing about board books that they are perfect inexpensive decor for a baby nursery. We bought a few white floating shelves from IKEA (similar here) and styled the shelves with some of Dessa’s board books and framed photos of our little family of three-to-be.
On the opposite end of the room, we used a small white two-cube storage shelf to tuck away extra books and toys.
We kept the shelf just far enough away from the crib to remain out of Dessa’s reach and used the shelf as a side table to display a nursery light, Dessa’s Owlet (our top registry pick for any expectant parents), a set of baby milestone cards for all of those “firsts” and a cute pair of baby shoes (which also double as an adorable nursery accessory).
Our little gray and white nursery tour ends with one last corner of the room – Dessa’s dresser and changing table. The extra wide white Emerson dresser was another investment piece from Pottery Barn Kids. The quality is outstanding and it’s a classic piece of furniture that will grow with her for many years to come.
I will happily save my pennies to purchase a high-quality piece of furniture, but I’m always looking to save a little money on the smaller details of a room – especially a nursery that is likely to be updated and restyled after only a year or two. The wall above Dessa’s dresser felt very bare and needed something to bring to bring the space to life. So I created a simple strand of bunting by repurposing some of the cards I received at my baby shower. The single swag banner only required a little leftover ribbon from our wedding decor and a pack of gray mini clothespins. The bunting took 10 minutes to create and it was the perfect sweet touch for the little changing nook. Dessa was always happy to stare at the cards when I laid her down for a quick diaper change.
The top of Dessa’s dresser was simply styled to create a functional space. Rob and I are both right handed, so we used the right side of the dresser to store diapers, wipes, lotion and other baby-care necessities.
To the left, we displayed a few more books, a white stuffed bear she received as a gift, and a white noise machine. Our Fisher Price nursery night also plays a variety of sleep sounds, but the Dohm sound machine is essentially a specialized fan that produces various sounds by blowing air, which we prefer to the recorded sounds of most products.
And there you have it – a sweet walk through of Dessa’s gray and white nursery.
Click any of the images below to read more about each product that we used in Dessa’s nursery so you can recreate the look in your home.
Last year I quickly discovered that one of the greatest challenges of being a new mom who works outside of the home (in addition to creating content for two blogs) was finding time to juggle all of my passions. This was one blog post that I desperately wanted to write and share last year (while Dessa was still a baby and we still lived in the rental), but I could never quite find the time to sit down and write it. Now that I’m staying at home with Dessa full time, I am so excited to have a little more time to slow down and share more glimpses into our life at home (in addition to soaking extra daily snuggles from Dessa.)
I know I keep saying it, but I promise that an updated home tour really is coming soon!
Beth Laughlin says
Maria, I love how you used the board books and the baby shower cards as part of the décor!! It is simple and perfect! And, I bet you will be like me, and cherish those board books on and on. My “baby girl” is 24 years old now and I still have her board books. :)
I also applaud your idea to take a teaching break and have some family time! I’m so happy for you! Enjoy!
Maria Gavin says
Thank you so much Beth! Sometimes the simplest, heartfelt items make the best decor. And I love that you kept your daughter’s board books! I bet those hold so many sweet memories for you! This year has been exactly the breath of fresh air that I needed. It isn’t always easy, but I am so thankful for trusting my heart and deciding to stay home with Dessa.
Cynthia K Lasater says
Aren’t the Sandra Boynton board books just the cutest?! My husband read them to our boys a gazillion times – he memorized the lines! I was sad when we donated our board books. To this day as our boys are ages 13 and 14, my husband reads to them every night before bed.
The nursery is gorgeous! Love the grey and white. I’m glad you shared these photos.
Maria Gavin says
Hi Cynthia! YES! We comment all the time on how much we love Sandra Boynton books. As a kindergarten teacher, she wasn’t even on my radar until a few people gifted me books for Dessa. We love Sandra so much! Our current faves are Pajama Time, The Going to Bed Book and Blue Hat, Green Hat. But we REALLY need to dig out our copy of EEk! Halloween! now that it’s October. So glad you loved the tour.
I love the chair.. it looks so comfortable! And the handmade ribbon above the dresser!
I like the room, I find that smaller rooms are warmer and cozier, or maybe it’s just me? At least at these ages when they don’t need a lot of space yet.
Later things get rougher especially if they have to share with a sibling. But that’s life living in a flat!
Maria Gavin says
Yes to all of those things! I absolutely prefer a cozy room to a big one that never quite feels full. And a part of me is dreading what I will do when we try to fit two kids into the same tiny room, but we will figure it out :)