Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Baby Boy's Rustic Nursery

When I think about my dream baby's nursery, two versions come to mind:

For a girl ... soft, tranquil, girly; lavender walls with white accents.

For a boy ... muted walls and calming colors; a soothing space with a manly presence.


When preparing for Tory's arrival two years ago, I created my perfect version of a baby girl's nursery. Newborn babies don't care much about their surroundings but I spent countless hours in her room, rocking my baby girl to sleep, changing her diaper and folding her adorably tiny clothes. I wanted a space I felt comfortable spending time in, as well as one fit for a baby girl. To this day, I love spending time in Tory's room. I'm not one for traditional baby "theme" decor so with a few simple changes, I've been able to transition Tory's original lavender nursery into one for a toddler girl. (More about Tory's updated "big girl bedroom" in another post).

So, when designing our baby boy's nursery, I knew I wanted to decorate in the same vein. I envisioned a calm space where I'd spend time rocking my baby boy and one he'd also be able to grow into over the years. When I came across the idea of a rustic nursery, I knew it'd be just perfect for our boy. The trick was to decorate a space that felt rustic without feeling too "cabin-y." I didn't want red and black checkered plaid, for example, or a room that felt like it was ripped from an "up north" catalogue.

Like most decorating projects we do together, Andi and I brainstormed ideas for Aden's nursery and settled on some key design pieces fairly quickly. I searched for crib bedding with colors to tie the room together and initially, I couldn't find much for boys' rooms that wasn't transportation-themed, nautical-themed or animal-themed. Then, I saw this crib sheet from Aden + Anais and thought it was perfect. We chose to paint the walls Ashen Gray (which is the wall color in our master bedroom and I love it) and accented the nursery with dark red and light blue colors as per the circle medallions printed on the crib sheet. We're using the dark wooden crib and changing table previously purchased for Tory.

I knew I wanted one main focal piece in Aden's room to be hung above his crib. And, I knew I wanted it to either include pictures or our baby boy's name (there's perks to selecting a name before the baby arrives)! So, Andi commissioned one of his employees who's a woodsmith to custom-create a name plaque. The sign is made from wood, stained with Aden's name on it and has a blue metal star in the top corner. I absolutely love it. The name sign gives a powerful presence to the room, and it's so classic at the same time. It's exactly what I pictured when I envisioned a rustic baby boy's room.

I also made a mobile to hang on the left side of the name plaque above the baby's crib. Now, truth be told, Andi wasn't crazy about having a mobile of any sort in the nursery. I'm not sure why exactly. But when I saw this star mobile online, I knew I had to have it. I was just about ready to click "purchase" one day when I noticed the mobile was made of paper. FOR FIFTY DOLLARS. Um, no. I decided to try my hand at making a version of the star mobile myself. I bought an embroidery hoop for $.99, a roll of white string for $5 and a paper star punch for $13. I used the center ring of the embroidery hoop (the one without the metal clasp on it) and hot-glued white cardstock stars to string hanging from the hoop. Once the mobile was hung from the ceiling, I snipped the star strands at various lengths to give the mobile some dimension. I am so pleased with the way it turned out and love how it ties nicely to the rustic metal star on the name sign.

As an infant, Tory made quite the beaver marks by chewing on the crib rails with her teeth so I also made crib rail protectors from fleece (like I did for Tory; albeit, after the damage had already been done to the crib). I bought two yards of fabric and measured it against the front and sides of the crib. Then, I used the same method as a "tie blanket" by tying strips of the fleece around the rails. The red fleece looks brighter than it really is in these photos. Its dark red color matches the crib sheet's medallion pattern.

While searching for nursery inspiration, I stumbled across this saying: "Let Him Sleep; For When He Wakes, He Will Move Mountains" and it nearly brought me to tears. Maybe it's something about having a son, or a feeling of pride only a mother can feel from her unborn baby, but I know Aden will do great things in his life. I wanted this saying to be displayed in his room somewhere, so Andi had one of his graphic designers at work create a custom canvas sign for us.

Also on the changing table is a brown/silver table lamp, a basket to hold diapers, wipes and ointment and Aden + Anais changing pad cover matching the crib sheet.

Finally, to the left of the changing table are three stuffed animal heads hung on the wall. I originally saw these online, but they were too expensive to justify purchasing ($45 for one animal wall plaque). Then a few weekends ago when we were browsing a local shop by the cabin, I spotted these stuffed animals for 1/3 of the cost. Plus, I feel much better about supporting a locally-owned store by the cabin than a bigger online retail store. Hanging stuffed animal taxidermy in a baby boy's nursery might not be everyone cup of tea but every time I see them, they make me smile. They're pretty stinkin' cute. I also displayed Aden's baby book (a gift from my friend Ashley) and a light-blue framed photograph of the baby's sonogram on the floating shelf. I'm sure the contents of this shelf will evolve over time as Aden receives more gifts for his birth and baptism.

The only item missing from the nursery is a rustic red wooden growth chart (similar here). A friend of mine makes wooden growth charts as a side business and Andi's parents are gifting one to Aden for Christmas. It'll hang on the wall left of the doorway (not pictured).

I am so pleased with the way Aden's nursery came together. I think it's the perfect representation of the "rustic boy's nursery" I envisioned. His room is a bit on the small side, so the only thing I may do differently is add our existing glider into the nursery at some point. Spacing is a bit tight with it in the room, so I have the rocker in the living room for now.

The only thing to do now is welcome home our beautiful baby boy... and the countdown is on with only thirty-ish days to go!


  1. LOVE his room! Love love LOVE IT!!! That sign is AMAZING! And I think the stuffed animal heads are sooo adorable...might be my favorite part of the room even! I have dreams of creating a "reading nook" for my kids someday (I have no idea where this would go in our current house, but I still dream about it), but I envision a rustic/cabin theme for it. If I ever actually get to create this space I will HAVE to get those stuffed animal heads for it!

  2. Wow Heather (and Andi), the nursery looks amazing!! The wooden sign is super special and unique!

  3. I AM DYING, this is just perfect! I love it all so much. The sign! The animal heads! The mobile! Seriously, this is amazing. Good work, mom!

  4. That looks perfect, you definitely obtained the vision you wanted, very manly yet serene. Andi is so lucky to have such talented workers to make custom pieces for you guys!

  5. You are so creative! I love the mobile and will have to try my hand in making one for Finleigh's room!

  6. Looks really nice Chris, glad to know that you already have a baby book I was going to buy one for Aden this weekend. The nursery looks very nice and comforting...the animal heads are interesting too. Can't wait to see how it looks. It won't be long!

  7. Amazing! I love the stuffed animals on the wall..what a great idea. Very classic and rustic nursery with such unique touches.

  8. This is fantastic! I love the colors and all the details!

  9. I am pinning the $h*& out of this Heather!!! OMG! I die! The sign "Let him sleep..."!! The stuffed animal heads! I LOVE IT ALL! Great work!

  10. Oh Heather it's gorgeous!!! I love the room and I cannot get over the wood sign...absolutely amazing. You will love bringing home your baby boy in this room and spending countless nights rocking him to sleep. Good work mama!

  11. This nursery is absolutely amazing! That sign is exactly what I'm looking for my little guy's nursery. This may be silly to even ask, but does your husband's friend have a business where I could possibly order my own custom sign from? Please let me know. Thank you and again beautiful job!

  12. I'm wondering the same as Courtney...I'd love to buy one!!??
    Can you help?

  13. I checked, and he's not willing to make custom signs at this time. Sorry! I wonder if you could find something similar on Etsy?

  14. I really love these animal heads, and they are way cuter than the ones you linked on Pinterest. Is there any way that store still sells these? Could you send me their info?