Nursery Decor… Teach Me Your Ways!

Nursery wallpaper Earlier this month Jeremy and I completed our dossier, which unlocked a new level of baby prep—NURSERY DECOR.

We intentionally saved this whole she-bang for this stage in our adoption because this is where it gets REAL hard. Yeah… filling out hundreds of pages of paperwork is easy when you compare it to waiting. And we have no idea how long our wait will be. We’ve been told to prepare ourselves for up to ten months before we may be matched with a baby. So while we’re, of course, hoping for a shortish wait, we’re preparing for the long haul.

So we saved this nursery decorating process for now…. to distract me! And what a beautiful distraction it is. My husband knows me so well!

So far I only have a few things picked out. I know I am using a wallpaper from Lulie Wallace’s new line (pictured above). She’s one of my favorite artists of all time, and shortly after we decided to adopt, she announced she was doing a wallpaper line. So it was a no-brainer. Her prints are so gorgeous, I had a really hard time choosing. I love the bugs and the swans (and honestly a bunch of the floral prints too—she did NOT make it easy). But I decided to go with Lulu.

As far as a theme, we don’t want to make it too theme-y, but there’s a bit of an animal theme that just kind of happened. I like it because teaching our kiddo to love animals is almost as high up on my priority list as teaching her to like Justin Timberlake.

Similar to our own bedroom, I want to make our baby’s nursery a light, airy space. To me, that just feels like comfort and SLEEP.

Wicker animals The week last summer that we told friends and family we were adopting, Laura gave me this giant wicker giraffe (you can’t see the whole thing here, sorry, but it’s a planter too). It was such an insanely risky, but perfect gift. It made me realize that she really does know my style because this giraffe is now the inspiration for the rest of our nursery. (Love you, gummergal!)

This elephant hamper was the first thing I ordered, just recently. I felt like they made a good pair. I’m probably pretty close to filling my wicker quota now. Planning to focus on white wood for the furniture, and I’ve been eyeing a blush pink glider.

So far it’s turning out very soft and pretty, so I’d like to add some elements that are on the fun and bold spectrum as well. Or maybe I’ll save that for the playroom since I’ve already got a head start with that rainbow wall.

My friend, Cayt, gave me the advice to create a low, accessible bookshelf. So I am definitely planning to do that. I’ve already got a few cute board books added to my collection.

I want to hear your mom advice! When you put together your nursery, what things did you love OR regret in the long haul. What was useful? What wasn’t?

Also! Where do you love to shop? I’m already a verified stalker of The Land of Nod.

Oh, and while we’re at it—I’d love to hear what shops you like for kiddo clothing as well!

Keep in mind our baby will most likely be above the age of one, so we’re not planning for a newborn (but Laura is, so I’m sure she’d love to hear your advice!). It’s definitely a priority to me to create a space that can evolve throughout our daughter’s childhood.

I’m really excited to spend A LOT of time on this room in the coming months as well as the playroom! It’s my favorite project ever. xx -Elsie

ps. If you missed the news that we are adopting, you can read our announcement here!

  • Congratulations!
    For nursery decor I love animal prints, or orginals watercolor! Like these


  • Such an exciting time for you both! I am obsessed with keekaroo changing pad, it wipes clean (literally wet wipe and done) and is MAGIC. Also, for late night changes we installed a light strip (IKEA; used for closets) behind the dresser. For clothes I love the quality of Boden. As far as decor we kept it pretty theme-less, crisp white walls and pops of color (dresser is turquoise). Happy shopping mamas!

  • Congratulations!!! I’m an adoptive mama to one sweet baby boy who will be 2 next month. 🙂 The adoption process can be challenging and emotional, but I’ve always felt lucky that I got to see my community surround and support me in a way my friends who didn’t adopt never got to experience. And you will find yourself (as my husband and I do, pretty much every single day) saying, “How did we get so lucky?? Why were WE chosen to be parents to the most amazing child of all time??” There is just nothing like it, and I am so happy that you and Jeremy get to experience this soon! <3

    We did a domestic infant adoption (where birth parents choose adoptive parents) and didn’t know how long our wait would be or which gender we would get, so we did a gender-neutral nursery. I tried to decorate the room with art and accessories I’d use anywhere else in the house so that when our son got older and wanted to fill his room with trucks and cartoon crap, I could move everything elsewhere and re-use it, ha ha. But I also tried to make it a nurturing space with sweet artwork and lots of things that would reiterate visually how much we love him (if that makes sense).

    But I agree 100% with the black-out curtains! and the white noise machine!, and for us, a glider has been so special for night times and reading books, etc.

    Congratulations again! This is going to be one of the most amazing times of your life! 🙂

  • Like others have said keep the room simple and mostly uncluttered. A white noise machine is good and we diffuse lavender (or other essential oils if our little one is sick) to help aid sleepiness. Fleece footed pajamas are a must at this stage to keep them warm. Also I always suggest self closing outlet covers because if they pull out anything plugged in then you have a hazard outlet. Anchor furniture safely, accidents can happen even with a mellow kid. We keep our kid room very minimal with the only toys being a few nighttime board books and a small basket of stuffed animals at the foot of his floor bed (I should mention that we do a Montessori setup). Other items in the room include a rocker, footstool pouf, mini armoire(where he has his in season clothes accessible to him) and a small/light side table that holds his night water cup. If it were me I’d skip the crib all together and just go to a low floor bed if they’ll be 1 or older but it really depends on your kids personality and personal preferences.

  • For us, storage is everything. Different kinds of storage for different kinds of toys and stuff. It must be easy to do the everyday “cleaning” (i.e picking up stuff from the floor). My 3 year old loves to “read” so it’s important that he can reach all the books that he wants. Apart from storage, my best tip is to create flexible solutions so you can adapt the room as the child grows.

  • I was wondering where exactly that rainbow wall was! 😉 Love it.

    Can’t wait to see what you do, friend. Xo


  • Those wicker animals are the cutest! I love the idea that the giraffe is also a planter. I don’t think you can go wrong at all with animals. I have a teenage son now, but if I did the whole nursery thing again, I’d keep things simple. Listen and learn from your child, you’ll grow with them. I too LOVE the Cat & Jack line at Target – they almost make me want another kid.

  • I have that elephant hamper but in a bigger size. It works really great as toy storage too. I like Smallable for baby and kids clothing. Wishing you all the happiness and love in this new journey, Elsie!

  • I’m so excited for you guys! I have an infant son, but my husband and I would love to adopt someday!
    My only advice would be, don’t stress if you’re not finished decorating when your baby arrives. If she’s under the age of 3, she won’t notice or remember, and you can start to learn her personality right away and include things that she enjoys. Just some encouragement! Nesting is never really finished 😉

  • What an exciting time for you. For a glider, you have to test them out in person before buying because comfort is key. My son and I spent a lot of time in our glider – LIKE A LOT OF TIME – for the first year of his life. We ended up buying a Dutalier (secondhand cuz they are SPENSIVE!). I also find the BEST sweaters for my little guy at thrift shops – think really well made cable knits, vintage Mickey Mouse. A diaper pail/genie is key because diapers really stink and you want to contain that smell. Also, I don’t know how old your baby will be when she finally comes home to you, but I wouldn’t have survived without my Solly Baby Wrap. The Ergo 360 is amazing as well. Congrats!!!

  • Do not waste money on a changing table, I didn’t. Buy a dresser you love and the child can use for their entire childhood, if not life. Then buy a changing pad.

    This one is from Target but they sell them everywhere in a variety of styles. You can accessorize it with different color and patterned covers.

    Second most important thing, a soft rug that doesn’t have to be dry cleaned. It will be spit up on, puked on, and if there is ever a bad case of diaper rash you will need to throw blankets over it and let the baby crawl around naked. Which leads to pee and poop on it. If your child is a budding artist like my daughter was, she will paint a picture with poop on it when she wakes up from a nap early.

    My kids are now 13 and 11. Enjoy the baby toddler years. They are so very easy and fun and they go so quickly.

    Congratulations to you both.

  • Congratulations on your upcoming adoption! I am so excited for you! Being a mom is seriously the best thing ever. That elephant hamper is also the first thing I ever bought for my son’s nursery! He is 18 months now and loves it. He figured out how to take off the lid at about 12 months. He enjoys “helping” me clean up by throwing his dirty laundry in it… but he also stashes small toys in it, so look out for that when you are throwing clothes in the wash. 🙂

    Every kid is different, so listen to advice, try some things out, and find out what works for you and your child. For instance, most parents seem to use room darkening shades, but my son is the exact opposite. He loves having nightlights so he can see his stuffed animals at night (only include in crib as your child gets older.) During his daytime nap, he loves to have the window open so he can look out while he’s falling asleep. He sleeps 12 hours at night and takes a 2-3 hour nap during the day, so that’s working well for us. 🙂

    There are some really obvious things you should “baby proof” but you’ll find out more as soon as the baby starts moving around. Things you never thought would be a problem will start getting pulled down, and everything goes into baby’s mouth, so you’ll learn quickly what you need to move higher or put away.

    There is one bit of advice I’d heard about pets that has worked well for us. As you prepare for the arrival of the baby, start pulling on the dogs ears and tail and legs, especially as your dog is eating. The baby will love your dogs and want to tug on them and sit on them, so it’s good to get them used to this so they don’t bite the baby.

    And lastly, I echo the advice from a commentor above: all a child really needs is loving parents. The rest falls in to place. It is fun and exciting to plan and decorate the nursery, so go all out. But remember that in the end, the baby won’t care about a perfectly decorated nursery (or a perfectly clean house) as much as it will matter that they are able to sit in your lap and read their favorite book with you for the 100th time that day.

    I’m sure that you are going to be a great mom!

  • So happy to hear your great news. As the mother of a beautiful adopted girl who is now 14 I can only tell you that what ever the wait is it is worth it – the best and most wonderful thing you can do in life.

  • So exciting! Please checkout Atelier Choux Paris’ organic cotton, extra-large illustrated swaddle blankets and nursery decor (wall stickers, bedding coming soon) on and on our Instagram. The perfect way to add a touch of luxury to any nursery and diaper bag. We are proudly Made in France and based in Paris with our two little ones! And we are happy to offer A Beautiful Mess readers a discount, just let me know here and I’ll add a code.


  • Love the wicker animals!

    My daughter is turning 1 in April. We went for a simple yet whimsical nature-y nursery.

    Baby/kids clothes are my weakness! I swear her wardrobe is so much better than mine. I like H&M, Old Navy, and Cotton-On for basic everyday baby clothes. Janie and Jack for fancy wear. Then there are tons of small business clothing shops I follow on IG: Aggieandfrancois, sadiethenty, kaikaicreations, tutudumonde, cleobellalittles, moonfacecrew…omg! the list goes on!

    Congrats and enjoy the journey!

  • We bought a change table … what a waste of money! The storage isn’t great underneath and we wish we had just bought a dresser and placed a change pad on top. You will be putting down/lifting up your baby multiple times from the change surface so make sure you consider the height of the surface with your/your spouse’s height. I’m an occupational therapist and I can’t believe I didn’t think of the ergonomics of this activity (baby brain)! Make sure the surface isn’t too low or you will be getting back pain!
    Good luck – I’m sure it will be a beautiful nursery! ?

  • Don’t buy clothes until you know what size your child will be in. My toddler was in 18 mos clothes before he was a year old. I bought most of my children’s clothes at garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment sales.

    Our sound machine and black out curtains have been great tools for getting our children to sleep easily. Our Ergo carrier has been great for carrying our toddler on our backs when walking or hiking in places which aren’t stroller friendly.

    I wouldn’t invest too much into decor until you get to know your child’s personality. My older son changes his mind every few months as to what he’s really into, so we keep things simple on the big items and change out little things to match his interests.

  • Mabo Kids has the sweetest clothes! And Willaby Clothier! And Tiny Cottons! Oh, I could go on forever.

  • My cousin and his wife adopted two babies—both newborns and two years apart—and each time they were matched within a month of completing the paperwork! It was insane, and I have a feeling it will happen sooner rather than later for you two =)

    Even though I don’t have kids (sorry, no help on the decor), I’ve been loving all the paper you’ve shared on your Instagram! I can’t wait to see what direction you go with that room.

  • I love shopping the MoMA store online for unique toys and sometimes nursery items. I buy most of my little’s basic clothes at Gap and American Apparel, but love Threadless and of course Etsy for their fun and quirky tees. I’ve found that as much as I think certain clothes are cool, what really matters is that my son thinks they’re cool. His favorite shirt is a dinosaur boxing a robot from Gnome Enterprises. 🙂

  • Some friends of ours adopted a 2 year old girl from China who also had special needs (she’s had surgery on her spine and one leg and will probably wear some kind of brace for the rest of her life). Because she didn’t know any English, they made a book with pictures of frequently visited places or activities so that all the unknowns weren’t so overwhelming. Every time they needed to leave the house or were about to do a new activity around the house (like bedtime or meal time) they would show her the picture in the book to help explain what was next. I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to ‘meet’ this little girl you will be blessed with!

  • Two words: Blackout curtains. Forget bright and airy. You want dark, cozy and ready for sleep.

  • This best thing my parents did for me was buy me adult furniture instead of kid furniture. No need to replace it as the child grows and I still have a few of the pieces today which a) saved me so much money as a poor college student and b) carries so many memories from all the different phases of my life. There’s no point in buying a kid’s sized bed or “kid” dressers, etc. in my opinion!

  • Dimmer light, black out curtains (Pillowfort from Target are amazing!), and white noise machine…yes to these!!!!

  • My baby was born a few weeks early, before we had any sort of nursery put together. Not having a dedicated “baby safe space” was SO STRESSFUL for me that first month! I think your goal for a calm, gentle nursery design is great — peaceful vibes are what you want the most when baby is cranky and fighting sleep.

    It might be something that you wouldn’t put any thought into, but we absolutely LOVE our changing table, and so does our four-month-old! Laying her down there never fails to elicit kicks of joy — it’s her happy place. We have the DaVinci Jenny Lind changing table in white (and the matching crib as well) from Babies R Us.

    Our baby isn’t in her crib yet, but some advice for Laura — it’s good to have a few options on hand for safe sleep spaces when you bring baby home from the hospital, since you won’t know what baby will or will not like. Anything that makes it easier for baby to get some good sleep (so you can sleep, too!) is worth its weight in gold. We put our daughter in a Chicco travel crib next to our bed for her first few weeks, but she ended up HATING it and would scream every time we tried to lay her down. So then I bought a Fisher Price Rock and Play, and she slept so much better in that. I also bought a DockaTot, and she sleeps in that on our bed now that she’s too big to fit comfortably in the Rock and Play. We LOVE our DockaTot, that’s definitely one of my favorite baby purchases to date! Even if you are 100% against bed-sharing, it is great to have on hand for naps and for nights away from home. Highly recommended.

    Good luck, and savor this time before the baby arrives! It’s such a unique experience to be “expecting” for the first time, and one you’ll never have again. Your life will change completely once your daughter arrives. It is quite an adventure! Best of luck to you!

  • a big, fluffy rug because you will be on the floor all. the. time. a comfy chair to hold bebe in while you read to or rock her.

  • First of all, congratulations on your decision to adopt. I am so happy for you and Jeremy!
    I am not a parent, but I have worked extensively with very young children, as a childcare provider.
    For the child’s bedroom, I would focus on keeping it as peaceful and calm as possible.
    Make it a room for sleeping…….the playing can happen in the play room!
    Also store most of the toys in the playroom rather than the bedroom.
    This will help you create a healthy sleeping rhythm and sleep habits for your child.
    I hope these tips are helpful to you.
    I like the rabbit wallpaper you chose- it is fun and pretty, but also peaceful and cosy looking.
    Have fun and good luck!

  • Everyone’s nursery ideas are so so cute! It’s a little intimidating for a minimalist like me whose motto during the super young ages was “less items/clothes/accessories = less things to keep organized/clean”, haha!

    I think simplicity is key with young kids as they don’t care about stuff and are completely satisfied with love from their parents, but I do think it’s important that the space make YOU feel calm and happy and organized. Parental sanity is so so important! When parents are sane, calm and happy, they are able to care better for the babies 🙂

    Wishing you nothing but the happiest and the best.

  • Totally agree with a little table or desk. Babies are babies for such a short time, you start to need functional pieces in their rooms much quicker than you imagine! And really make sure that whatever shelving or cubbies you use are easily accessible and easy for baby to see (and the opposite with items like diapers and whatever else you DON’T want them getting into). I love your decor choices! It is hard to decide on those types of thing- I painted my daughter’s room with different coral hues, pale green, and white (when she was a baby)- but (now, at 5) she’s a huge tomboy! Her favorite color happens to be green, so I lucked out there!

    My sister makes these hats and baby items on Etsy, I couldn’t go without recommending them because I think they’re different, adorable, and my babies have always gotten loads of compliments whilst sporting them! Especially the foxes!

  • Russian dolls!! My kids love playing with them – they come in really cool modern designs and look really good on display xx

  • I agree with the idea of not doing too much of a theme, because then you can add a few things she really loves once you get to know her. Also, the idea for a low bookshelf is great. My almost 11 month old loves to pull books off the shelf and read them to us, and he loves to pull everything out of storage bins over and over and over. 🙂

    Floor beds are where it’s at! Especially if your baby is going to be 1 or over, it’s great because then she can get on it and off it safely. You won’t have to put those ugly rails on the side of her bed or worry about her suddenly learning to climb out of her crib. Plus, it would make an AWESOME DIY to make a really cool floor bed frame (that way the mattress is very low but not actually on the floor to allow for airflow).

    My favorite shops right now are: <- it's all just solid colored basics, no logo. Perfect for pairing with other fun pieces but I love it because I'm very picky about graphics and characters being on clothing (photography is my favorite hobby and having crazy graphics or logos is just not my style). It's the BEST place to buy cute simple PJ's. <- their clothing is a bit of a splurge, but it's soooo soft and comfy. I love the colors, the patterns they use, and the casual laid back style. I'm currently working on an art/crafting station for my little guy in his playroom, with a table from IKEA and some cute storage for crayons, waterpaints, play-doh, etc. Elise Blaha has inspired me to start early with letting him explore coloring/painting/creating and I'm SO excited to spend that time with him.

  • Congratulations! I’m so happy for you and Jeremy – and your future kiddo.
    When my daughter was born, I painted a host of children’s lit characters on her walls. It was cute but very taste specific, and she outgrew it pretty quickly.
    My son came along nine years later. The shell of his room is pretty neutral – with black and white walls (although the inside of his closet is a bright, leafy green!) Most of the color and pattern came in the form of art, books, and toys – things that will be easy to swap out as we learn more about who he is as a little person. I highly recommend focusing on cute-but-practical storage. It’s tempting to rush out and buy lots of things, but there’s merit to waiting to see how you’ll actually use the space.
    Best of wishes to your beautiful family during this exciting time. I hope the wait is a short one and that you’ll be holding that little one soon.

  • Right now we’re in the midst of a round of colds at our place so I will offer these practical options: a comfy place to sit while you have a toddler sleeping on your chest, and a cool mist humidifier- I was convinced I wouldn’t use this, and it gets used all the time for stuffy noses. My boys are 3 and 1.5 and they love laying on the ground to read and play, so we have soft carpets and big fluffy pillows. And basically my rule of thumb is don’t put anything you don’t want them to touch below 3 feet! Good luck, mama!

  • Aden & Anais does absolutely gorgeous blankets, swaddles, quilts, clothes, etc. I’m expecting my first and their swaddles and dream quilt are at the top of my favorites list.

    Lots of love and best luck to both of you 🙂

  • I really wanted to refinish an antique dresser for our nursery, complete with crystal knobs. The first one we got had been mis-measured by the craiglist seller and would up not fitting. The second one got to where the drawers wouldn’t reliably open. I grabbed a Hemnes from IKEA the week before the baby came, and I have been really grateful that the drawers slide easily and it came together quickly. I did still use crystal knobs and cute shelf liner though!!! All that to say, be sure that everything is super duper functional and safe FIRST, and cute second. Also, crib sheets and changing pad covers are insanely easy to make, so find a cute fabric and make your own.

  • That’s a big one that I agree with MTLee on, the glider! It’s definitely good for the rocking motion, but you have to keep a pillow or something under your arm if you are in the chair for very long. My arm would fall asleep and hurt all the time when I was holding my son. We ended up getting a rocking recliner for our living room, and I’m figuring that will be where we go to rock our next kiddo to sleep. Don’t break the bank on anything though. As so many people have pointed out, all kids are different. We were gifted with a large swing when our baby was born. It’s wonderful, but we only used it once or twice because our son didn’t really like the motion that much and it never helped him get to sleep. Riding in the car and rocking in a chair (for hours) would put him to sleep when nothing else would. Congratulations though! So excited for you guys!

  • Such a happy post!
    Congratulation Elsie i’m so happy and excited for u! i hope it will happen soon, just remember that good things come on thier accurate time 🙂

  • This makes me smile — we’re almost done with the room for our boy who is due in Mar/Apr. Like you, I waited for the “you may now pass Go” moment to start thinking about decor. Then I started pinning all. the. things.

    I feel like we’re on the same wavelength though — I’m trying to keep the room bright. Neutral (grey, white, wood/natural) big things like paint and furniture with pops of bright color in the objects I’m bringing in. I’m really against anything theme-y whether it’s a particular color, set of animals, character, etc . We have star constellations drawn on one of the walls (white wall, silver sharpie paint pen), but the dresser hardware is made out of toy safari animals spray painted gold.

    The pops of color aren’t matchy matchy, just bright. The rug is colorful, but not theme-y. I feel like this will enable us to bring in or remove things that suit his personality as he develops — it makes the room more flexible. I’m also trying to be super against any type of gender stereotyping. So the room isn’t all blues/greys, etc. I have gold hardware on the dresser and don’t care if glam is normally associated with girls, etc.

    I’m also trying to think long term about book/toy/stuff storage. So I’m not putting up 2 cute ledge bookshelves that will hold the books that we have when he’s born. Kid is likely going to collect a lot of books. I’m planning some wall storage that will hold books and baby stuff but can shift to hold books, toys, etc. I’m going to entertain myself by styling the shelves now (plants! cute bookends!) but knowing that they’ll hold more of his own stuff when he acquires it later.

    Using a dresser as a changing table so we don’t need a separate piece of furniture for that.

    Surprised as all get-out that I like the plain wood sub-$100 crib from Ikea. It’s super simple!

    Stream-of-consciousness over. You can tell that we’ve got most of the bones in but we’re not quite done yet.

  • Congratulations! My biggest advice would be to leave room for adjustments for when you get to know your little one and how your new family routines work. As much as it’s nice to have a pretty space ready to go, having one that is functional for your family makes the long nights and tough spots a little less frustrating. For instance, we set up a diaper change table but have ended up mostly changing diapers on the floor or our bed because it’s easier. That being said, I know your space will be lovely and won’t be complete til that little person is home.

  • We have a newborn, and after bringing her home from the hospital last month what I found I wanted the most was TONS of free surface area and various storage baskets (way more than I anticipated when I was getting her nursery and our room ready!) There are just so many baby things in rotation that it’s really helpful to have lots of places to stash things. Congratulations, I’m SO excited to see your room come together!

  • Unsolicited advice from someone who did adopt, wait awhile. We did a nursery at the paperwork stage to find it contributed to the sadness and frustration of a long wait. I know it’s hard not to want to prepare NOW, decorate and buy stuff but try not to. It seriously just adds to what is an already consuming process. Maybe channel it elsewhere such as a journal for your daughter documenting her story starting from now or a memory quilt with fabric made from drawings you do for her over the coming months. Just not a full on decorated ’empty’ room. xo

  • So cute, one of the best things I brought for when we were expecting, was Ewan the sheep..not sure if its big in the states, but it’s massive over here (UK). It’s a sheep with four different settings, a couple of white noise and a lullaby one. It also has a red light. It’s meant to mimic the womb so keeps babies calm. But my little one still has it on every night and hes 18 months old. It’s a great bedtime routine. With Archer’s room decor, we moved house just before he was 1 so I got to do the calm nursery in our old place, then I did a more fun decor for his bedroom now. Still calming, it’s mostly white with some mountains painted on one side, and a chalboard triangle on the other..we have a teddy bear hammock, toy chest and bookcase all at easy reach. I’d also reccomend getting a comfy chair. I use the chair more now then I did when Archer was little. Because we sit and he has a bottle on my lap, then we read a book and at the moment, i’m having to sit next to him while he’s in the cot to get him to sleep… so get a nice comfy chair for sure! It’s so much fun planning kids rooms! Can’t wait to see how it comes out. xx

  • Oooh how I love that wallpaper! Can’t wait to see how you style this room. I think doing up my kiddo’s nursery was potentially the only thing I enjoyed about being pregnant haha..

    And also, I know 10 months might seem like forever (I’m very impatient myself), but it took a colleague of mine 7 years between starting their adoption process and actually getting to meet and take their child home. You’ve got this!

  • For baby clothes, I used to work in a little girl’s designer boutique in London called ‘ilovegorgeous…’ which has now re-branded to ‘wild&gorgeous’. The clothes are well made, beautiful and keep so well! My daughter has been wearing their dresses and gilets since she was able to crawl.

    For the nursery / bedroom, avoid buying too many soft toys. A lot of parents forget that these will be gifted over and over again, so eventually, you will have so many, you’ll now know where to put them! I’ve had to vac-pack half and stuff them away.

    Last piece of advice, get a book called ‘It’s a book’ by Lane Smith. This was a JOY at bedtime, and acting out the movements got me endless chuckles and real bottom bellied laughs.

    Wishing you all the best in your wait.

  • Wishing you all the very best as you wait for news! What a lovely idea to get the nursery ready in the meantime; I absolutely adore that wallpaper, and that giraffe planter is amazing!! xxx

  • (We use a box fan for noise to cover over our basic moving-around noise. Clementine is 7 now and we still turn it on in the hall when she goes to bed.)

  • Congratulations!! Can’t wait to see the nursery come together 🙂

    My advice is you need a lot less stuff than the baby-stuff industry wants you to think you need, so stick with basics + the special things you really love and that make you happy. So many people end up with, like three different strollers and six different slings/chest carriers/etc and special nursing tents etc etc. It’s hard to know what exactly will work for you until you have a baby to put in it, of course!

    Great baby/kid clothes = Boden and Tea, plus check out for a collection of different awesome brands like Nununu, Carbon Soldier, and Tutu du Monde. So cool and unique!

    (The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD was super important for us to learn basic newborn calming techniques, because neither of us had a lot of experience with babies. Basically: it’s so much easier and more fun than we ever imagined!!!)

  • So excited for how cute the room is going to turn out! I have a shop that with a small collection of clothes for kids 1-6 years old, so feel free to check it out:

  • Yay! Use the top of the dresser as a changing table! Saved us a lot of space in our daughter’s room. 🙂 As long as you place a non slip mat between the surface of the dresser and the changing pad, you’re good to go! Also, don’t buy any blankets or stuffed animals no matter how tempting! You will get more of both those things as gifts than you could ever imagine.
    H&M has really cute baby/toddler clothes at reasonable prices 🙂 Congratulations!

  • For clothing I love Zutano. A fun Vermont based company that has wonderful 100% cotton clothes in mix and match colors, stripes, and polkadots. Less is more. Little ones don’t need much.

  • So exciting! Don’t have any tips for you but I’m looking forward to seeing what you decide to do!

  • Gah!!! I love it every time you answer me! Lame much? I don’t think so. So
    (vicariously) happy for you:)

  • Firstly, congratulations on the adoption journey. I would love, love, love to adopt someday and following along on your story is so inspiring. Secondly, check out Lacey Lane for girls vintage inspired clothes. They have the most beautiful dresses and puckers and vinty blouses. Seriously, check them out….right up your alley 🙂

  • So excited for you and can’t wait to see what you do with the nursery! Hanna Andersson has been my go to for clothes for my daughter (they get ALL my money!) Their clothes are cute without being super duper girly and such great quality. Worth every penny. They have pretty cute home and bedding as well.

  • You have to get a Cloud blanket from Iviebaby! She has such beautiful fabric!

  • I used the book Baby Bargains to research and select baby/toddler gear, as well as help me weed out items on my list I didn’t really need. The latest edition of the book came out in 2015, but their website is much more current. What I like about this is that they give recommendations at multiple price points. Another source for good baby gear recommendations is an online magazine called Mother. They’re on IG as mothermag.

    As far as clothes, I like Target and Old Navy for the affordable stuff kids can destroy with dirt or bodily fluids. For more upscale clothing for special occasions or to ask for as gifts from grandparents, I like Tea Collection and Boden. For the record, I have a daughter, which I only mention because I believe you’re both expecting daughters. Congrats!

  • Have a diaper changing caddy in the living room or wherever you will be spending a lot of time with her. Just because you don’t always want to run back to the room for a simple change. Keep it well stocked and loaded with baby butt essentials. Oh and Aquafer is an essential for after a bath. My son has eczema so it is awesome for dry skin.
    a changing table is key. I had the changing table dresser for one baby and the basic changing table for the other baby and I go back and forth on which one I liked. The dresser one was more stable and sturdy especially as my son got bigger and more wiggly. However when I started changing their diapers on the floor because they were constantly on the go, the dresser became a little bit of an eye sore and awkward looking piece of furniture. On the flip side once my daughter was done with her basic changing table I just sold it (it was light weight and easy to transport) and had a nice regular looking dresser for her. So for longevity purposes I would choose the basic changing table over the dresser changing table but for stability (not that the basic changing table was wobbly though) I would choose the latter. Hope my rambling helps.

  • Instead of a glider, I wholeheartedly recommend a wide upholstered rocker or chair from pottery barn. They have a nice choice of washable covers.

  • is a MUST for kids clothing! We especially love their sleepers. They’re thin, but not flimsy, with the perfect amount of stretch. My 5 month old may not have a lot of opinions, but I’m convinced he loves those jammies best. 🙂 And all of their other stuff is perfect for everyday comfort. I fell into the trap of buying lots of cute and complicated baby clothes, but especially once they start moving and crawling, comfy, stretchy and simple is perfect!

    I spent months planning our nursery, but in the end, the most practical and life-saver decision I made was having low modular shelves for books and bins to hide toys and some of those things that babies love but aren’t nice to look at. You know what I’m talking about. Try as I might to tempt my child with adorable wooden toys, he wants to play with the ugly ones that makes noise. So! My best advice is to have a cute and concealed storage set up, but that is still accessible for a little person to play with.

  • Mini Boden, Tea Collection, Matilda Jane, No Sugar Added and Persnickity are some of my favorite clothing brands for girls…and some boy clothes. Livie & Luca and See Kai Run have lovely shoes. Oh, just too many to name, but those are great starts.

  • Hey Erin,
    Wallpapar is so hard. I have watched my wallpaper team do it a few times now, and it’s no joke. Removing wallpaper is do-able ( ) but installing it should be done by a pro- in my opinion. The wallpaper usually costs about as much as the install and so if you try to save the install $ you can ruin SO much good product in the process. Or have to live with an imperfect job. I think it’s worth it to just save up for a professional install! (sorry for the rant)

    Yes!! We already started our instrument collection!! AUGH so cute!!
    xx- Elsie

  • I completely relate!!! It’s hard to commit because I never want this project to end. haha!
    xx- Elsie

  • Done & done! I love this advice too. So much more practical!!

    Thank you!
    xx- Elsie

  • Ok- thank you!
    We have a pull down blind behind our curtains (it’s in all our rooms) I’m pretty sure it will work well.
    xx- Elsie

  • Thank you for your advice. That’s so interesting about the sound machine. I’ve never used one. Will have to try.
    xx- Elsie

  • My daughters’ changing pad is on one of their dressers….I worked at arranging a cute area on the side of the dresser for the wipes, lotion, lamp and diaper cream. Well, my best advice is to prepare for stuffing all that somewhere else after 6 months. They become little ninja monkeys and contour and twist violently to grab whatever they can while diaper changes. That can get very messy given the right scenario! ?I now have all the diapers, cream and lotions in a dresser drawer….out of reach. I now just stage the cute stuff for when people visit ?

  • Congrats to you both! This is such a sweet time in parenting, the waiting makes you even more appreciative of the child you receive and gives you time to be hopeful and dream 😉 BIG dreams for our little ones. What a gift to give a child, to be wanted.
    The wallpaper is adorable! Have you been removing the wallpaper that was on the walls when you purchased your home or are you covering it? And will you please think about doing a post on the removal and applying the new paper (even if you contract that out) and have you ever used the removable style? Lulie Wallace seriously has me considering putting some up, but that whole removal thing…
    A low, sturdy bookcase is great at one year. Your child will be able to grab books or toys on their own and make sure it’s sturdy because she will be pulling herself up on it. You can use the top for her to play on and for her dollhouse(!!). We rarely ever used a changing station, we had like twenty blankets that were gifted to us (showers are awesome) so we always just threw down a blanket on the rug and took care of business. But we did have one set up and it was just on a low dresser which we now use for our daughter’s clothes.
    Also, because you are a musical family, I am sure that instruments will be a big part of baby Larson’s life, but the earlier the better! Our Remy never cared about the plastic instruments for kids, it had to be the real deal. Acoustic guitars, bongo drums, ukulele, xylophone, maracas and harmonica have all been favorites. Anything that they can’t destroy or get hurt with is game. You will be sooo rewarded.

  • Congratulations!! I agree with keeping it simple. We have 4 kiddos (from 6mon – 6 years) and can’t tell you how many times we have rearranged things and swapped rooms and been so glad we went simple. We like to keep bedrooms for quiet times and sleeping until they’re much older so vibes like your bedroom sound great!

    I highly recommend a pegboard or something similar for pictures of people and places you love and some of you all together as well. It’s so reassuring and so nice to remind your child of the love surrounding them before bed. (Especially when you don’t live close by.) Leave some room for friend pictures or her artwork as well. We bought canvases and asked some close friends (who are artists) to make something for our baby and we still love them and have them around. My kids love anything like that with a story and it’s so easy to personalise. (I also selfishly would love to see your take on this.)

    A dimmer switch or gentle lighting is also great! We have used both, there are pros and cons but we would have struggled without something like that. Same for thick curtains or a black out blind behind light curtains.

    Glide rockers are awesome! You may not need to do this, but it might be worth seeing how easy it is to move it around. Sometimes we end up sitting right next to our kids beds if they need some extra help and it’s so nice to be able to move the comfortable chair rather than leaning against hard bars and admiring the chair that’s across the room. Along those lines, you’ll be grateful for a blanket that can cover you too.

    Good luck! I can’t wait to see what you do and hopefully pick up more tips from all of these awesome moms!

  • I second the ‘rotation’ of toys. I know it can be hard to resist all the sweet heirloom wooden beauties out there! and add that to the educational and developmental toys, books, and all the gifts from well meaning friends and fam, your kids room is going to be an overwhelming toy store in no time! Have a few baskets out with different types of toys, with just a few toys in each. Then rotate in “new” ones every so often. Congratulations!


  • Such an exciting time! I don’t know if you already bought a glider but I highly recommend the Milo from Land of Nod. It’s not too bulky and looks really great (could easily move to another room down the road) and is SO COMFORTABLE. I can’t tell you how many hours we’ve spent in that thing — seriously so glad we bought it. A woodland animal / geometric theme played out in my son’s nursery. I especially love this ROAR! pendant: . It goes with the animal theme and the sentiment is very sweet. Be heard, baby! Oh and also, this Dave Egger’s print: . It totally slays me. We used IKEA picture ledges to display books in addition to having a few bins on the floor for board books. Now that my son is a bit older and waaaaay into story time, I feel like displaying books that way helps him pick out which ones he wants without causing much of a mess. You’re going to have the best time pulling this all together! Really look forward to seeing how it turns out! Exclamation point!

  • My two cents:good curtains that will block out a good amount of light, a comfortable rocker with ottoman for book reading and cuddles… I always found it was more comfy to prop my feeties up! You do not need a changing table per se but can pretty much put a curved sided changing pad on top of most dressers. Once they are bigger u hardly use it anyway and end up just using the floor with a pad (or not)! Clothing wise target’s new cat and jack line is fabulous and for sure check out Cotton On Kids! And I say don’t spend too much on shoes because they outgrow them or destroy them SO FAST!! Congrats on your little girl to come!!! Xo

  • Congratulations guys! What an exciting time for ABM!

    One of the things I found in the early days (when I was too sleep deprived and had my hands too full to actually change it) is that you want everything to be as easily accessible as possible. For me, that meant rearranging the room so the change table was next to the baskets with clothes in them so I could keep a hand on baby while picking out an outfit for the day (or to replace the one that got pee’d on mid-change 😐
    We’ve really enjoyed our Stokke cot, bought second hand we used it in the mini size and then extended it. We can extend it to a toddler bed with an extra kit too.
    I think my advice would be to think about the different activities that will take place in the nursery, sleep, play, changing, feeding (maybe) and what you need for each of these activities, then do a few layout plans. We live in 600 sq ft and have rearranged a few times as our baby has grown and needs have changed.
    Clotheswise I found that we received enough handme downs and gifts to not need to buy any new stuff for our newborn, they grow out of it so fast! This will be different for an older baby, but I am sure that people will still want to gift! With a newborn make sure you have the next size of clothes washed and prepped and easily accessible, you think you’ll have time to do this once baby arrives but unless you’re blessed with an amazing sleeper chances are you won’t!

  • We had to incorporate baby into our bedroom (small apartment living!) and bought only non-baby-specific furniture; I figure he’s only this small for a small time and I’d like to be able to reuse the dresser I bought in place of a changing table elsewhere. Now we’re moving and will have multiple bedrooms and I’m so glad I can be flexible with my furniture because it fits into our style as a family.

    Getting good quality/stylish baby furniture holds its value well- we bought our crib used but in great condition and expect to be able to pass it along to another family some day and re-coup our money.

  • We just finished our nursery this week, as I went into early labor last week (luckily our little girl stayed put, as she needs a couple of more weeks for a healthy start). Our theme is “things that make mommy and daddy happy, even at thee in the morning”. The colors are baby blue and orange (we used the Ikea mattram fabric for curtains, with cats!) the decoration is mainly Alice in Wonderland and my partners favorite soccer club. We have glitter on the walls, and are still arguing about whether we will hang a disco ball (I really want it, it will be so pretty with the glitter).

    As I’m a wheelchair user and my partner is not, we chose furniture that is practical for both of us, and not as cute as some nursery furniture can be. Well, it’s not cute at all actually, we have an adjustable desk and a raised crib.

    We really love the final result.

  • I’m a big fan of the no-theme nursery idea. I have a boy and a girl and I made both of their nurseries to not be super gender specific and just fun. Neutral bases with lots of layers of art and textiles – things I love. A comfy chair (that you don’t mind sleeping in – really) and black out shades. Summer nights become difficult to negotiate bedtime if it’s still light outside. A fan for white noise, a good night light, and don’t buy a changing table – just buy a dresser and put a pad on it! Congrats on your addition in the works 🙂 (I have three adopted sisters – adoption made my family!)

  • Oh my gosh, I forgot about room-darkening curtains. That was a must for us. But I could never find affordable and cute ones. So, I got what I liked for curtains, then went to the fabric store and got panels of light-blocking fabric and simply stitched them to the back of the curtains. Low profile room-darkening shades or rollers would work really well behind the curtains too.

  • Oh my goodness, I loved decorating my nursery last year. My husband built a custom changing table and shelf unit. We took lots of inspiration from various Pinterest projects. It’s one of my favorite pieces in the nursery.

    I can’t walk through the baby section at Target without buying something from the Cat and Jack line. And I think the outfits get cuter as the sizes go up. I love dressing up my little man. Ahhhh, babies are so much fun!!

  • Oh yea– organic Burt’s Bees pajamas are my kid’s uniform. He wears them every night (and most of the day!) and they get softer and lovelier with each wash. They can be found on Burt’s Bees site or Kohl’s website often has them for cheap!! Way more affordable than many organic options and they are just as soft and nice.

    Okay, that’s all. 🙂

  • I was so happy to read you are adopting! I always think we will do that when we want a second child, but who knows. One is a lot. 🙂 I tried so hard to make our room cute and bought only pretty toys that matched. I imagined a beautiful room filled with wooden blocks and soft organic stuffed animals. Then real life happened and I was happy to give my kid any plastic garbage that made him happy. I have a couple of rules, though- I have all his pretty toys (wood, stackables, and books) in his room. We play in there and snuggle and read, and when that gets boring (he’s 23 months) all the plastic crap is in the basement. (Play room if you don’t have a basement?) I always put toys away at night, and have given in to the fact that our sofa will be a tunnel for most of the day. You will have to let go more than you want to, but it’s obviously SO WORTH IT. The low book shelf is great, as he feels so powerful picking out which books we will read. Nothing climbable. Attach your dressers to the wall and make sure any shelves are not just ladders waiting to be climbed. We had a leaning bookcase in his room that was promptly removed when he started to pull up on things. Good luck! Super cute wallpaper. 🙂

  • My recommendations:

    -Definitely aim for soothing and calm. Toys can be really bright and stimulating, so I like to keep the room the opposite. (I really love the book “Simplicity Parenting”.)

    -Babies/kids cry more in yellow rooms. It’s a scientific fact, oddly enough. That’s the only color I avoid for accessories.

    -Ditto to not needing a changing table. Same with a Diaper Genie (it’s too small, just buy a bigger trash can with a cover).

    -Older kids still tend to need white noise machines and humidifiers. Blackout curtains are really helpful, too.

    -I like a basic, solid-colored duvet. Duvet covers are cheaper than brand-new comforters when it comes to changing kids’ rooms to reflect their new interests! Or you can just change sheets and pillows instead. You can also aim for accessories that are more “little kid” than “young baby” so you don’t have to switch them out so soon.

    -Baby-proof ASAP. Remember window locks and window cord winders if you have blinds!

  • Congratulations! I’m expecting right now and while I won’t have a separate nursery in my apartment for the baby, I’m trying to decorate her nook of our master bedroom to look really cute! I can’t decide on anything, because it’s all so adorable! Hope you have an awesome time decorating and your wait time is super short.


  • So exciting! I am slightly obsessed with curating a calm yet fun space for my baby girl 🙂 One of the best tips i received was to use a long dresser for the changing table. Just put a changing pad on top and you’ll still have room to cutely display necessities (diapers/wipes/products). Then when the baby is older you can continue to use the dresser (just remove the changing pad). Speaking of changing pads- this is not decorative, just an awesome mom tip. When changing your little one, lay down a puppy pee pad on top of your cute changing pad…fluids will fly and you’ll be happy to just throw away the pee pad and not have to wash your changing pad cover all the time 😉 Good luck! can’t wait to see what you do!

  • Ugh. I’m obsessed with kids clothes and I don’t even have any. I like to send things to my nieces and nephews though and I love:

    – The Cat & Jack line at Target. Seriously. Cute and affordable.

    – Hanna Andersson. Bright colors, quality fabrics.

    – Kate Quinn. Organic and delightful prints but better size selection on Amazon <3

    Look at this squirrel dress! I mean, who doesn’t hearteyes it?! I wish it came in my size!

    Winter Water Factory on Amazon: Organic sweet prints

    Look at this cute bird top!

  • Still so excited you’re adopting! I think it’s such an amazing choice and that baby is gonna get two great parents out of you.

  • I think it’ll be great if your focus is already a place for sleep. We don’t keep any toys in our kids’ rooms. We have books and a small book case, dressers (anchored to the wall), beds and that’s it! Oh and a chair to read to the kids in! Goodluck I can’t wait to see the Nursery!

  • Love your wallpaper choice and the wicker animals are too cute!!! My nursery advice is make sure to get curtains that really block out the light!!!! They make naptime so much better and bedtime in the summer too. I had the most adorable nursery and then ended up tacking blankets up over the windows, ugh:/

  • Things I couldn’t live without: diaper genie, white noise machine (ocean waves are a favorite), a big stack of beautiful swaddling blankets (this one is for Laura), books, a kid-sized table and chair (for coloring, playing, fort building), a bin of fat markers and a stash of paper (I simply buy a ream of printer paper), and lots of open floor space. And photo books of family members. A comfy chair (doesn’t have to be a glider, something comfy and easy to clean. A glider is nice for rocking motion, but I found it wasn’t all that comfortable to sit in for long with a sleeping kid in my arms) with a (dim-able) light and a small non-tippy side table (really anything that you can reach without moving your body where you can put your water, etc).
    I can’t help at all with where to shop, because we have a serious lack of options here in MT. I mostly got things second hand and from Target. She will outgrow clothes quickly and you will likely be gifted with so many, find a few things you just love, but don’t break the bank here until you figure out what fits and the types of clothes she likes (mine STILL won’t wear jeans and he’s 7). I would constantly find a pile of unworn clothes just as they grew out of that size. SO HARD not to buy ALL the cute clothes though!!!
    My other favorite thing to do at this age, was to break the pile of toys into 3 smaller piles and into 3 large, close-able containers. Put 2 in the closet/attic/etc and leave 1 out then rotate the containers every couple of weeks. It keeps you from being overrun by toys and it keeps the interest high for kiddo.
    Ok, that’s all my unsolicited advice!

  • We adopted from foster care and our girls came to us at 4 and 23 months. Of course we had no idea what we were getting or who or what age until about a month before they came! Our “baby” room changed probably 12 times before we finally knew who they were. I don’t really have any big advice but to honor their culture in some way in the room and to check out www.respiteredefined.Com. It’s mostly for foster to adopt families but there’s a ton of info and podcasts and blogs about what it’s like to go from zero kids to kids that aren’t newborn and/or have traumatic pasts.

  • I agree with the idea of not doing too much until you get to know her better. My son’s nursery is lightly nautical themed, but he really only cares about dinosaurs.

    I would recommend a sconce instead of a lamp if you can do that. My daughter pulled her lamp on her head when she was little (on that same note, secure dressers, book cases, etc), and/or a dimmer switch on the overhead light, which is great if you have to go into her room in the middle of the night but don’t want the room to be bright. Black out curtains and a white noise machine are great additions too. Anything to create a sleepy environment. Even an older baby/toddler will probably need help in that department at first.

    We don’t spend much time in our kids’ rooms except for sleep times, so keep that in mind too. Every family is different, but we tend to hang out and play in the living areas and just sleep in the bedrooms.

  • So excited for you and Jeremy Elsie! I think the two awesome animals are a great start for her room-the wallpapers are so delightful, it will be magical because of all the love put into it:)

  • Nursery decor is so fun! You’ll spend a lot of time in that room, even if you aren’t starting with a newborn. We’ve loved the quality and quirky clothes from: Kid & Kind, Zara kids, June & January, and Tiny Cottons.

  • Still so excited for you and can’t wait to see what you do with this space!! Love the wicker animals! 🙂

  • You NEED vintage Lilly pulitzer Pom Pom shorts from me! ig:blue.pelican
    I’m happy to send you some!!
    Other than that, a baby needs an attentive mommy and daddy! That’s really it 🙂
    I’m sure the room will be a stunner.

  • First, congrats-again! Kiddos are sooooo worth it! Lots of love.
    Secondly, girl you opened a pandora’s box. I got into SO much trouble decorating for my first (girl). But, I think my biggest advice is to keep it super simple and don’t buy too much. For example, with my first I decorated her room mainly with white and pastels and cute little Beatrix Potter characters. It was darling, but after 4 (SUPER QUICK) years, it just doesn’t jive with her personality AT ALL. All of the cutesy crap was nice, but it just got pushed to side and she didn’t care for it–because it wasn’t “her”. And I spent a pretty penny of time and money which could have gone to her college fund. Ya feel me? Ha. Now with my son, I literally bought nothing. (I had no inspiration after my daughter’s room totally bursted my bubble.) He’s one now, and his little personality is showing signs of chill with outbursts of craziness. So I channeled that and now his room is black and white with bursts of bright blues and orange–like him. It totally fits and I regret it none. I think it will be something he can grow into and we can add to it instead of wanting to start from scratch. I know it differs for each parent/child, but it might be a good place to start? As for clothes, I’ve bought expensive, thrift, hand-me-downs. It all works in my opinion depending on the situation. Hanna Andersson makes some beautiful AND quality clothes, but Carters is good for everyday wear and tear and play in the dirt kinda of stuff. P.S. You can never have too many pajamas. Kids live in them.

  • Have you SEEN the gorgeous blankets/linens/EVERYTHING from I don’t have children, so I am patiently awaiting for someone I love to have a little babe so I can gift something beautiful from their collection!

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