My approach to art is all about keeping it personal and affordable. When it came to the nursery, I had so many ideas that I couldn’t fit them all on the walls.
I thought it might be helpful to share the ideas here–including some that we did and some that we didn’t. I’d also love your input on what art you’ve incorporated into your babies’ rooms and other ideas you have.
Family mementos – The most sentimental piece of art in the room by far is Matt’s first pair of sleepers. These were what he wore home from the hospital. Can you believe it?
I built a simple shadow box, which protects and displays the sleepers and hung them in the little nook just inside the door. (I’ll be sharing more details on this project in an upcoming post.)
Anything can go in a shadow box–and a shadow box makes anything look artsy. Consider displaying a special toy, a small collection or a hospital bracelet. They would all make beautiful art.
Baby animals – Is there anything as cute as a baby animal? Before we considered having children, I knew if I was ever decorating a nursery I wanted some prints from the Animal Print Shop–they’re a nursery staple for a reason. The photos are so crisp and full of personality.
I picked three animals that you may find someday on our farm. They make me smile every time I see them–although Matt thinks the duck is scheming something. Paintings, drawings, illustrations or photos, there are lots of options online–or even on your own camera–to get some cute animal art.
Animal busts – While I’m not advocating taxidermy for a baby’s room–not that there’s anything wrong with that if that’s meaningful for you–I love the different options that are available now for displaying animal heads on the wall. Most are really fun and whimsical.
Way back, before the third bedroom became my office and before my office became the nursery, I bought a papier mache goose head on Etsy that reminded me of the pet goose I had growing up. Bill has made the transition from office to nursery, and I think he’s a perfect fit for our farm theme.
A favourite story book – There are so many great children’s stories out there. Consider scanning or cutting pages from your favourite story book, framing and displaying them. This isn’t something we’ve done in our nursery, but I know exactly what story I’ll choose if I ever change up the decor.
Growth chart – While it’s not applicable to an infant, I love a growth chart to track Ellie as she grows through the years. I made growth charts for both of my sisters when they had their first children, and I was excited to make one for our own baby.
Alphabet/numbers art – Babies and children are learning so much, and we want to start them off right. So educational art is a natural fit for nurseries. Plus so much of it is pretty cute too. I found these animal alphabet flashcards through The Grit and Polish and knew right away they’d be perfect for the baby’s room.
Like many of the commenters on Cathy’s blog suggested, I had them laminated so if they ever go on to a life as actual flashcards, they hopefully won’t get too tattered. Rather than framing 26 individual cards, I strung a pair of twine clotheslines and clipped the cards up with miniature clothespins. Etsy is a great source for beautiful flashcards (my set are by Susan Windsor).
Ultrasound print – Ultrasounds are very special moments in our journey to being parents. For me, the first ultrasound was the moment our baby became real–“holy moly, there’s really something in there.”
Remember that moment you first “met” your baby with a print of an ultrasound picture. If you have a bit of Photoshop or design skills, this is something you can DIY fairly easily. Or there are lots of services that offer ultrasound prints these days. Chris Loves Julia shared one in their daughter Polly’s nursery.
Quote – I admit I’m not the biggest fan of typography art. A sign with a word or two just isn’t my thing. But these longer quotes that I first saw on The Painted Hive are absolutely lovely and really speak to me.
You could use a quote from a favourite story (this would go great with the storybook art idea above), a song verse, an inspirational wish for your child or something that is particularly meaningful to you. For a different treatment, The Handmade Home does beautifully coloured quotes.
My mama choice would be this poem from Kahlil Gibran On Children:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
A talisman – This idea may be a bit abstract, but sometimes there’s something that we associate with our children. At the baby shower Matt’s family hosted for me, his sister-in-law decorated each table with sunflowers and sent every guest home with a packet of sunflower seeds to plant in their gardens. Sunflowers have now become something that I associate with our baby, and I love the idea of incorporating a photo of a sunflower or an artificial sunflower into the room. Nicole at Making it Lovely wears a special piece of jewelry for each of her children, which I think is absolutely… lovely (of course).
Online printables – There is so much beautiful art available online. Minted and Jenny’s Print Shop are popular sources, but there are many more too. Don’t forget free printables as well. This pencil drawing from Shades of Blue Interiors is an extremely moving image for me. I printed and framed this as a gift to Matt’s brother and sister-in-law just before they had their first baby, and I still may find a spot for it in our baby’s nursery too.
Silhouettes – Anyone remember tracing their profile in silhouette in grade school for art class? A silhouette of your child’s profile is a super easy DIY and super personal. I spotted this silhouette via Shailey Murphy on Instagram, and I love how the artist Kendra of Lilac Paperie incorporated flowers (including Shailey’s daughter’s birth month flower) and other elements to make it even more special.
Family tree – I made this fan family tree for our master bedroom, but I think it would be perfect for a baby’s room too. Put her name and birthdate in the centre and then branch out from there. It’s a lovely reminder of the heritage you’re carrying on in your family. (Martha Stewart has a free template).
There are so many more creative ideas out there for creative, affordable, personal art. You can make a space that perfectly fits your style and is meaningful for your family.
What’s your favourite art idea from this list? What other ideas would you add? Have you tried any of these? What art did you use in your baby’s room?
Oh my goodness those prints are adorable. I will have to show this site to my daughter.
There are so many cute options!
You’re so creative!! Little Ellie will be in awe of all the pretty decorative and inspiring items to look at as she grows older. I really like the laminated sheets of educational art on the twine clothesline and also the framed baby animal prints. That’s totally up my alley.
The flashcards seem to be the biggest hit so far. Matt makes the clothesline jiggle a bit when he changes her diaper, and it holds her attention… for a few minutes.
These are beautiful ideas. It’s such a fun space to get creative in. We were given an absolutely gorgeous picture which we had framed for our granddaughter’s room, of lots of little mice living in the forest. There are so many details that you could look at it over and over and spin many a story. Art made by loved ones is also special. My daughter had (still has) a watercolour that her dad painted for her that came out of his weird and wonderful storytelling involving her favorite stuffy, a rat. If I was furnishing a child’s room now, I’d probably make some alcohol ink tiles Their colours are so incredibly vibrant and pure! I love your storybook idea too. A children’s poem from a vintage book might be a good candidate for that. My favourite poem as a child was “The Lost Doll” by Charles Kingsley, and the illustrations in the book I had were heart-meltingly evocative, and would make wonderful wall-art for a child’s room. It’s a very cheesy poem, but that certainly didn’t matter to me at the time! I guess I really like things that tell stories, or that I can use to tell stories. That, and colour. This is an interesting topic! Your nursery does a beautiful job of melding content and presentation, and is a beautiful, stimulating yet calming space.
I love that you made up stories to go with the art. Ellie and I have conversations about a different animal every day when we’re doing diaper changes.
Oooo are you going to frame Ellies’ coming home outfit? I love the way you have decorated the nursery. It’s so unique and non-stereotypical, giving your little girl every opportunity to develop into the person she wants to be and not what society expects her to be 🙂
What a wonderful sentiment. Thank you.
I haven’t decided if I’m going to frame her sleepers yet. Maybe.
The nursery is so inviting Ellie has so many unique things to look at
Thank you Susan!
I love all of your ideas. I have not decorated a nursery, but I can see some of the prints being fitting for teens too!
Absolutely. These ideas are suitable for more than just babies.
Our son has only one piece of art hanging on his nursery walls…a print colored by his aunt with an inspirational quote. I could never decide and commit to what other art I wanted to hang but this post have given me some inspiration and motivation.
I love that his aunt made the art for him. That makes it even more special.