A friend who is expecting a baby girl this summer asked for some tips on converting her guest room into a nursery. As her first child was a boy, she was looking forward to choosing more girly furnishings, but didn’t want to go over-the-top as the room still had to function as a guest room. I was all too happy to help (aka window shop) and came up with a couple of options.

As with most redecorating projects, the space already had some furnishings that this mom-to-be wanted to keep. A brown and white polka dot rocker, white crib and changing table, sand-colored sofabed and cream walls (it’s a rental and painting isn’t an option).

The first scheme we came up with takes girly pink in a more grown-up direction by mixing it with red and brown and injecting some exotic elements such as block-printed Indian bedding, Japanese paper for pinboards, and red lacquer side tables. The bedding inspired an elephant theme which was sweet enough for a nursery but not so cute that it wouldn’t work in a guest room. Here are the products used:

1. Red flower string lights

2. Crib bedding from Rikshaw Design

3. Zigzag rug in ivory/flax from West Elm

4. Elephant bamboo clock

5. Stacking boxes from Serena and Lily

6. Japanese paper from Paper Source

7. Elephant decal from Etsy

8. Butterfly mobile from Etsy

9. Bedside lamps from Pottery Barn

10. Side table from Serena and Lily

11. Woven wood blind in gunsang chocolate from The Shade Store

The second scheme is more subtle and grown-up, combining aqua and taupe with the existing brown and white. The starting point was the Thomas Paul rug, which would be great for a nursery, but also for a guest room. Two-tone linen drapes, more Japanese paper, a Turquoise Jonathan Adler lamp and very subtle crib sheeting from Dwell, complete the look. Here are the products:

1. Pillow for sofa from Wisteria

2. Thomas Paul rug in powder blue

3. Bird decal from Etsy

4. Dwell crib sheet from Giggle

5. Paper for pinboards from Paper Source

6. Turquoise lamp from Jonathan Adler

7. Dwell storage boxes from Polka Dot Peacock

8. Side table from Brocade Home

9. Ivory linen curtains with 2’ border in Sterling from The Shade Store

10.  Butterfly mobile from The Modern Baby Co.

As ever, nurseries are fun to plan, even if it does mean plowing your way through the many lurid, frilly items on offer. More designers are coming out with tasteful nursery furnishings at reasonable prices, and the abundance of handmade pieces available online means it’s far easier to create a space that’s personal and stylish. We’ll have to wait to see how this space turns out as the baby isn’t due for a few months. But, meantime, we’ll enjoy the preparations!