Go Easy on Theme Decorating for a Nursery November 24 2013

[caption id="attachment_5098" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Space Nursery Wall Decal - weeDECOR"][/caption] Even if you know the baby's gender beforehand, it can be difficult not to get caught up in over-decorating the nursery. While some parents-to-be can't agree on a name, others face a design dilemma. How do you spice up the baby's room with something fun, age appropriate and whimsical, while at the same time staying true to the overall look and feel of your home? If you take cues from a favorite vacation, you should face few decor disputes.

Yes, It Is Possible

The trick to providing an appropriate look for a nursery is to use elements that can be quickly replaced or moved to another room in your home. Resist the urge to overspend or overdo, and know that your child will outgrow "baby decor" very quickly. The current trend toward gender-neutral nurseries gives you abundant options. Pick colors that will complement the rest of your home. Think about what makes you happy. Use favorite places, activities and interests as a starting point. If you like to travel and have a much-loved vacation spot, go ahead and add a few touches to remind you of those times. If you smile every time you enter the nursery, your child is sure to return your good mood. If you took great beach photos in Mexico, swam with the dolphins in the Bahamas, parasailed in Mexico or fished in Alaska, enlarge some of the pictures and hang them in your baby's room.

Be a Bit Whimsical

Or, go all out and plan a Waterpark theme for the nursery, but be prepared to scale back to a more nautical or "beachy" look as your child grows. If you love sun, surf, water sports and travel, capitalize on those passions both for your decorating and in your vacation planning. Trips to the world's largest Waterpark in The Dells, Wisc., will introduce your child to that excitement and probably fuel his interest at an early age. Take a lot of pictures and rotate your favorites in the child's room and throughout your home. Then, at an appropriate age, your son or daughter's first trip to an exotic beach, a cruise ship or a foreign country will be a natural progression. It's easy to find and apply non-toxic wall decals of palm trees, whales, fish, dolphins and octopus for an infant to enjoy. Later you might hang a large U.S. or world map to chart your family vacation trips. Plan to use it not only as a memory board of good times, but also to reinforce geography, history and ecology lessons.

Keep It All Adaptable

Remember that function is the key to successful nursery decoration and needs change quickly. But, with a wide range of options in furniture, including refinished hand-me-downs or repurposed pieces from other rooms, you should have no problems meeting basic needs. A chest or a desk can serve as a changing table. A rocker or overstuffed chair is almost a necessity. Metal garage shelving can be spray painted a bright color to serve beautifully for toy and book storage. A plastic blow-up wading pool can be a mini-playpen for a child who is not yet crawling. Mobiles can hang from an upside-down umbrella secured near the ceiling. Seagrass baskets on shelves or on the floor will serve as stylish and functional storage for any number of items, from diapers to stuffed animals.