I'm not saying this is why H1 and I had a baby, but decorating the nursery was absolutely one of our favourite parts of getting ready for Amelie's arrival. We had constraints of course – both the fairly standard financial ones and the additional ones of being in a rental and not knowing whether we were having a boy or a girl. Constraints often just make it more fun, though, and I'm inclined to believe they worked in our favour. We spend a lot of time in there with Amelie, playing, reading and listening to music, and we all enjoy that time – it's a really nice place to be.
We started with the cot, looking all over for ones we liked before settling on an IKEA one. Before we chose this one, we were on the verge of buying a Stokke one that converted from bassinet to cot to toddler bed. It was gorgeous and really quite expensive. We were okay with that – it would have been one of our big ticket items and we would have had to save elsewhere – until we realised we have two houses, which means we needed two cots. Stokke was out, IKEA was in.
I had some pretty strong reservations initially about buying a cot from IKEA. It felt wrong to cheap out on the baby's bed, and I was really concerned about safety. Looking into it, however, set my mind at ease about safety. We don't actually have an IKEA in New Zealand, but you can buy some stuff from third-party distributors. For this reason, not many Kiwis buy IKEA cots. They do in England though, and after more than one visit to Mumsnet I decided it was our best choice – thankfully, because there are a lot of hideous cots out there. After the Stokke, this was the one I liked best, and once we finished decorating I decided I liked it even more. It's so simple and goes perfectly with the rest of the room.
We already had a dresser in the nursery which would have to stay, so this helped us decide on some of the other furniture. I looked at a multitude of changing tables online, but they all also suffered from a general sense of hideousness, and – vitally – for the most part offered virtually no storage. I love our apartment but it has almost no built-in storage, so if a piece of furniture doesn't offer additional storage as well as fulfilling its core purpose, I'm very reluctant to allow it into my house. Knowing exactly what I wanted, but unable to find it anywhere, I turned to TradeMe and trawled for a few weeks, waiting for a nice dresser that was the right height to turn up. It eventually did. I purchased it for $25, convinced H1 it would look great once it was painted and the knobs were changed out, got him to do those things (I was pregnant, remember!) and now it's one of our favourite things in the room. I usually lack the patience to shop used anything, but I'm so glad I pushed through that this time.
The last big item in the room is the big chair/small sofa. I didn't think we needed a chair in there initially but I'm so glad we got it. It's used every single day, when Amelie has her last feed before bed. We have the star light on, listen to classical music, and once she's done feeding, we have a short chat about what we've done that day before I put her down for the night. During the day we sit on it and read stories, and because it's nice and big, we'll be able to do this for many years to come. We got this from Mocka, who seem to be the go-to furniture store for people with children; I don't think I know anyone with kids who doesn't have at least one thing from Mocka in their house.
We finished the room with stick on decals (so good for renters!), gorgeous art from Carisse Enderwick, a good old classic NZ sheepskin from OnceIt, bedding from Nature Baby, fairy lights from la case de cousin paul (we picked these up in Montmartre some years ago and they've been with us to three different apartments and two different countries – some things never get old!) and toys and books from everywhere. I love this room – I think it's my favourite in our apartment, actually – and happily, Amelie seems to also.