By Jennifer Floyd Engel
Pregnancy comes with a lot of to-dos and to-buys, with doctor's appointments and car seats, Lamaze classes and bottles.
Talk about overwhelming.
And yet, in this constant battle against the checklist, nothing can seem more daunting than figuring out how to turn what had been a guest bedroom or office into a baby's room. Much less doing so in a way that does not require dipping into what might have been college savings.
So in an effort to help, at least a little, we talked to baby-stuff experts to find out what the hot trends in nurseries are and how to bring them to your room without spending all your diaper money. Here are half a dozen we love.
Save-the-planet is not just about nondescript canvas bags and message T-shirts from the Gap. Eco-chic has reached the nurseries, and in unbelievably beautiful ways.
Soy onesies. Organic baby bedding. Furniture with recyclable fill.
“We have an infant clothing line called Babysoy, which is soybean fiber-based and extremely popular, well-priced, renewable, soft, and the colors are great,” said Sheila Sawyer, owner of Zoe + Jack in Fort Worth, Texas. “And we sell a ton of it.”
The clothes come in petal, blossom, ocean, tea and chocolate. Prices range from $9 for a double-knot hat to $16 for a long-sleeve onesie and $24 for an all-season cardigan.
Pink is not going away. Neither is blue.
They are just being joined by a trend toward very neutral, very boys-or-girls, very unisex. Sarah Lynam of Pottery Barn Kids said the store's summer line is loaded with gender-neutral schemes, including a new Dr. Seuss line featuring blue, red and yellow. Items in the nursery bedding line will be available this month, and prices range from $29 for a fitted sheet to $99 for a crib bumper. (Note: The sheets are made with organic cotton fibers.)
HAND-ME-DOWN CHIC AND SHARED SPACE
Lynam noted that the company's nursery schemes also work well for shared nurseries, a recession-era trend. For example, Pottery Barn Kids' blue Z is for Zebra crib set could easily share a room with its pink G is for Giraffe bedding.
Less always has been more. And in this economy, less is just plain smart as well. So rather than spend big cash on every single baby item, prioritize and then start calling your friends and family.
They don't mind. Really, they don't.
Ask if anybody has a bouncer in the attic, or gently used crib bedding, or an old-school chandelier in their garage.
Added bonus: Shabby chic is in, as is vintage. And you are, technically, recycling.
This trend really began in diaper bags, with tote bags with pink bunnies giving way to Juicy and Gucci fashion statements that just happen to carry diapers and wipes and burp cloths. And now it has jumped into nursery decor.
“You are going to spend a lot of time in the room, so you want it to be inviting for you and able to grow,” Lynam said. “You are starting to see the designer look, so you grow with the child and you like it, and later it can transition into another room.”
Lynam suggests looking around your house. What is your design style? French country? Chandeliers? Modern?
Whatever it is, bring that style into your nursery.
ELEPHANTS ARE HUGE. SO ARE OWLS. REALLY, ALL OF NATURE IS
Look for birds and owls and trees and greens and, yes, elephants to be popping up in everything from nursery themes to bedding and clothing in coming months. Horton Hears A Who! has been a major influence in this revival of the big mammal. Carter's has a whole elephant thing going on with the Elephant Stitch Baby Bedding, available at JCPenney, www.jcpenney.com (four-piece set, $160.99; available in pink and chocolate or green and chocolate). At Fort Worth's Zoe + Jack, a crib set from Cottage Dreams includes elephants, hippos, giraffes, turtles and other animals (four-piece set, $740). Pair it with a cute piece of animal art for the wall (navy hippo, $55), and a Zoobie Pets stuffed Croc that turns into a pillow and holds a blanket ($42).
THINK LAVENDER AND TIFFANY BLUE
Pink with brown and blue with brown have been the color combinations for a while in nurseries for a reason. They are pretty together. But other color schemes are on the horizon.
“Lavender and purple seem to be trending up,” Sawyer said. “I'm also seeing a lot of aqua blue and Tiffany blue.”