It took far longer than I expected to get Isabelle’s nursery looking and feeling the way I wanted it. It’s continued to evolve since she was born, fitting her ever-changing needs. However, it remains a warm, welcoming space, where she feels calm and happy, as well as somewhere I know she’s safe. It’s a room with multiple uses: most often for changing, sleeping and playing. I’ve kept to a predominately minimal colour palette, adding colour with books and toys. I want it to inspire her but not be too stimulating, as she needs to be able to relax for naps and bedtime. There’s lots of storage so it’s easy to keep tidy, with baskets for her toys that I throw everything in at the end of the day.
We decided not to find out if we were having a boy or girl when I was pregnant with Isabelle. We wanted a surprise (and it was, I thought she was going to be a boy), so the nursery is fairly gender-neutral. I don’t believe that pink is for girls and blue is for boys so there are touches of both throughout. The colour palette is predominantly white, grey and beige (similar to the rest of our house).
Since minimal Scandinavian-inspired interiors are now fairly popular in the UK, it was easy to source all the soft furnishings and decorations without paying extortionate fees to have them shipped here. I sourced a lot of pieces from Scandibørn and used their gift list registry for our baby shower. They kindly gifted me a few pieces for Isabelle’s bedroom but I’ve also bought a lot of things from them, and continue to do so most months.
Safety in our house isn’t something I had previously given a lot of consideration to (beyond the obvious) but I’ve learnt how important it is since becoming a mum. Being responsible for a little person makes you look at things quite differently. I’ve found it helps to get down low so I can see things from Isabelle’s perspective.
The most important piece of furniture in her room is her cot, it has to keep her safe whilst she sleeps. I had a lot of anxieties about moving Isabelle into a separate room so I didn’t want her cot to cause any more. I did my research and found that Boori share a lot of my values. For their cots they use sustainable, FSC-sourced solid wood and their paint finishes are Greenguard GOLD certified, meaning they’re low-chemical emitting. I chose a natural pocket sprung mattress with a 100% cotton cover and 100% pure British Herdwick sheep wool padding, a natural temperature regulator. It’s a solid cot that was easy to build. We moved her into her own room at about six and a half months, at that point the base of the cot was in a raised position. We lowered it when she could sit-up. When she’s ready we’ll remove one side, lower the other and turn it into a toddler bed with a guard panel, and eventually we’ll remove the guard panel. Meaning, we won’t have to worry about a new bed for quite a while.
Initially, I had a cot bumper but after reading about them I was put off using it. There’s a lot of advice that says you shouldn’t, since they’re a suffocation and strangulation risk; the thought of either upsets me beyond belief. It’s also suggested that they trap heat, a big no-no since overheating increases a baby’s risk of cot death.
The other major piece of furniture was our armchair from Sofa Workshop. It was designed and made here in Britain. I’m so pleased that they support British craftsmanship and that their furniture doesn’t travel halfway around the world before it gets to you. Our armchair is covered in British wool from the Moon Melton Wools Collection. I visited the Sofa Workshop showroom in Wandsworth to look at fabric swatches. There was a huge range but I eventually chose a pale grey (Silver) for its versatility. The same skilled upholsterer worked on my chair from start to finish, it wasn’t made conveyor-belt style. It’s a piece of furniture I hope will remain with us for many years. We have a second in our bedroom and one day will reunite them when we have the space.
Having somewhere comfortable to sit that offers support for your back and arms when you’re nursing is a game-changer. Isabelle recently turned one and I stopped breastfeeding her just over three weeks ago. We still use the armchair every day for stories before her naps and bed time.
Dan and I have read to Isabelle since she was about three months old. She surprised us both when she quickly learned to turn the pages. She has a good attention span for her age and I think that comes down to her love of books. We have so many already. I bought a few that were in excellent condition from FARA Kids and would recommend a visit if you live near one. Book Trust have a great website with age-based recommendations if you’re not sure where to start. Isabelle also has a library card and we get a few books out every couple of weeks. It’s a great way to gauge what she likes and is ready for.
Some of her books are on picture ledges that she can see when we’re changing her. When I pick her up she usually wants to look at one of them afterwards. We rotate them quite often so she doesn’t see the same ones day after day.
We have bought and were given quite a few bits from Liewood. It’s a Danish children’s brand that has a strong ethos of sustainability. Not only is their style minimal and Scandinavian but functional. They use ethical materials; including GOTS-certified organic cotton, bamboo, Oeko-Tex fabrics and BPA-free silicone. Isabelle’s Liewood sleeping pod* and nursing pillow were in almost constant use for the first six months. We have everything from silicone plates to music mobiles. I’ve also just ordered some swimwear and jelly sandals for Isabelle for our holiday. It’s an amazing brand and quite reasonably priced, I buy most things through Scandibørn.
When you walk in Isabelle’s room it’s hard not to notice the beautiful felt animal heads that are hanging on the opposite wall. They are from Fiona Walker, a great British brand. Their team helped me source the exact heads I wanted; a couple of them are older styles that I had seen on Pinterest but couldn’t track down. They’ve since relaunched their website and you can now buy directly from them.
Often when I get Isabelle up from her naps, she wants to pat the animal heads. They’ve helped us teach her about a few animals, along with the prints on the opposite wall.
Each of the heads is ethically hand-crafted from organic lambs wool, using traditional methods. The all-female workforce are able to take their work home so they can continue to look after their children without losing out on an income.
I mentioned in my last post that getting Isabelle sleeping well wasn’t easy. What I didn’t mention is the advice we were given about her bedroom. We keep it as dark as possible when she sleeps, we have a blackout blind and curtains. In the day we switch off her lamp but at night we have it on the lowest setting. We keep her room as cool as we can; babies like a pleasant 18°C. In the really warm weather we’ve had recently, she’s slept in a Bonds Zip Wondersuit (which have a double zipper), or just a nappy and vest when it’s been in the 30s. Otherwise, we use a Baby Mori Clever Sleeping Bag. They go down to 0.5 togs and are made with a bamboo and organic cotton mix fabric. They have a double zipper and and an opening for car seats which is very useful if you need to travel in the evening and transport them straight to bed.
Overall, I think I’ve created a room that works for her now but will easily grow with her. It’s a space she clearly enjoys spending time in and I do, too.
There are lots of little items that I haven’t mentioned but have tried to link to below each of the photos. If you have any questions about any of them please leave a comment below or DM me on Instagram.