Chicagoan Meg Caswell has been designing rooms for people for years, but now she’s got a very special someone who has her pulling out all the stops on her creativity.
Her own baby.
As the season six winner of Design Star and the star of HGTV’s “Meg’s Great Rooms” worked to finish her nursery, she took a few minutes to share some of her best tips and tricks to help you elevate your nursery from looking just like everyone else’s.
“I think that’s what a lot of moms are out there trying to accomplish. Everyone wants their nursery to be unique to their baby,” she says.
1 Start with a concept.
It helps pull together all of the stuff that needs to be in the room, she says. Caswell chose a coastal theme for her nursery, filled with Kelly green and indigo blue, shells, rope and brass. For example, she found brass porthole mirrors online and is substituting photos for the mirrors.
2 Mix patterns.
Don’t feel stuck with cutesy baby patterns and colors.
Caswell has a reputation for mixing patterns, usually using a large, a medium and a small scale pattern in her designs.
“A lot of people are scared to do that because they don’t know what looks good together. If you don’t know where to start, my biggest advice is to start with the rug. You are more likely to find a rug that you like,” she says.
Starting with the rug allows you to have fun with the patterns and colors you can pull from it, she says.
None of the fabrics and patterns in her nursery are meant for a nursery. “When put together, they are playful and fun.”
3 Incorporate custom touches.
“You have to think a little outside the box as far as finishes to go along with your theme,” she says. To keep costs lower, she suggests adding trim, fringe or bands to store-bought drapes. Dry cleaners can usually attach the trims.
Caswell is using nautical rope tie-backs on her drapes as a subtle nod to coastal style. She also created giant fish out of old barn boards for the walls.
4 Re-imagine furniture you already own.
“So many new mothers just go out and buy the matching crib, the matching changer, the matching side table, the matching shelves and then it looks like you just walked into a nursery store,” she says.
Bring in a piece, maybe it was your grandmother’s or something that is sentimental or something that doesn’t have a home in another space, put a new coat of paint on it, change out the hardware or put a fun chevron pattern on it, she suggests. If you can’t paint, decals are available online.
Caswell is repurposing a dresser, bookshelf and day bed in her nursery.
“The nursery looks more finished when you bring in a more mature piece,” she says.
5 Create your own artwork.
“This is something that I think is really special,” she says.
For example, her mother-in-law gave her a piece of art that hung in her husband’s nursery when he was born that will now hang in their child’s.
Or make your own mobile. Caswell has a friend who collected a few used one-liter soda bottles, painted the inside different colors and made them into fish.
“We don’t all have to go for the store-bought brightly colored mobiles.”