Our children may be our most tangible link to the future, but they’re also a great reason to revisit the past- – at least, in terms of cool, creative design, that is.
Many a lovingly-decorated nursery starts to look like everyone else’s, and baby soon grows old enough to demand a makeover to a “big boy” or “big girl” room on a biannual basis. Use these vintage-inspired ideas to create a space that will not only impress the other Moms in your playgroup, but also give your little one an environment of individuality and style.
One that can grow up stylish along with them.
Let’s start simply with some fun alternatives to spelling out your little one’s name on the wall above their bed:
- Find letters from old signs, such as marquees, and use a collection of different ones with your child’s first initial to make a fun piece of wall art. Check eBay or etsy.
- Hang a vintage baby dress or two on luxe padded hangers. Find one in an antique store or online since your grandmother’s christening gown requires more delicate treatment and less light – although you could shadowbox it.
- Put up a small shelf and top it with vintage wooden blocks that spell out their name (or affirmation of your choosing.)
- Another great source of wall art are vintage kid’s books found at secondhand shops or book sales. Ones with a fair bit of wear are much easier to tear apart and pick out pages you love for a unique display.
- Display the book covers of your (or Grandpa’s ) favorite books in a few inexpensive, same-color frames. Make color copies to preserve the original. If there’s a title where the main character shares your tot’s name, all the more fun.
- A box of vintage flash cards can also look great if you string them up with clothespins or other clips and mount as seen here:
Ready for more?
The more ambitious might consider:
- Vintage wallpaper borders are another way to inject some flair.
- Consider getting away from the soft, Easter-Egg palettes and involve older kids in choosing a paint color they really love. We love how Oscar’s room color is a great match for a great mix of vintage toys and furnishings:
- Take the classic themes for rooms – like tea parties, princesses, Wild West, or fire station – and do it with vintage and vintage-inspired accents for something more unique than the Technicolor cartoon extravaganzas you can get anywhere.
- Up the comfort and style of the floor by adding a modern interpretation of the shag rug called a frieze.
- It doesn’t hurt that this Mom is an artist who also sells gorgeous animal alphabet prints with a vintage feel:
- Generally inexpensive and increasingly ‘in,” this type of carpeting is rough and ready with a hint of Austin Powers/Brady Bunch nostalgia. You could also try a small flokati area rug for older kids.
- Find or make pillows with vintage fabric, easy accents that are easy to change out.
- Try out vintage-inspired wallpaper on one wall as accent (especially good if the pattern you love is somewhat busy.)
- An adorable addition to a bookcase: a photo each of Mom and Dad as little kids (choose shots where you are around the same age) set side-by-side in retro frames.
- In one of her very best “Why Don’t You?” columns, Style icon Diana Vreeland suggested “why don’t you paint a map on all four walls of your [children’s] nursery so they don’t grow up with a provincial point of view?” While paint may be more than you want to tackle, there are great vintage-looking world map murals to be found online. My parents collected old National Geographic maps, applied with wallpaper paste.
- Vintage suitcases look very cool stacked at the foot of a bed or near a desk and are great places to store kids’ collections.
- Use your or family collections like these adorable marionettes:
Feeling inspired? Start clicking! Here are some of our favorite sites for ideas and purchases:
Have fun and send us some pictures!