Archives For Nursery

Would you believe me if I told you that I have never stripped a piece of furniture before? I paint stuff all the time, but I usually just go right over whatever was already there and don’t worry about removing the old finish. But after polling y’all on the potential fate of Jack’s new bed last week I started thinking that maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to refinish them in a dark stain.

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Green won with more than 50% of the vote, but I was still hesitant. And the more I thought about it, the more I felt like if I was in doubt then I should go for something timeless. Also, I was kind of excited to try something new. I keep a pot of stain around for small projects but have never stained anything bigger than a chair before. So on Saturday I dragged a few of the smaller pieces out to the back deck to try my hand at stripping. Don’t mind my complete lack of a photogenic work station. What you see below is the progress I’d made after an hour of sanding. One piece down, ten to go.

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Even after an hour of sanding there were still some tight spots and corners that I couldn’t get with my power sander, so I applied some of this citrus-based stripping gel that I already had. I painted it on and then waited a few hours before scrubbing it with a wire brush.

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But even after that I still had a lot of areas where the old finish remained, and I’m now pretty sure I need to scrub it down with soap and water to remove all the residue left by the Citristrip. Not worth it.

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I’m kind of at a loss because I don’t want to put a lot of effort into painting if there’s a chance that I’ll hate it and I also don’t want to spend twelve hours sanding in preparation for stain. So now I’m actually considering using gel stain, which I hear is more like paint in that it sits on top of the old finish but still allows the grain to show through. I may pick some up to test in a small area before committing. Do any of you have experience with it?

My first instinct when I started planning Jack’s transition to a twin bed was to paint it green. Note that I am way more concerned with the decorating than with the actual logistical and emotional issues of leaving a crib behind, but focus on what you can control, right? So anyway, I’m starting to get a little nervous about the green because I think that painting is going to be a big job. I’m not sure we’ll use them as bunk beds right away and may keep one bed stored away for a while, but if I’m painting one bed I’m painting both and all those spindles lead me to believe that I’d be better off borrowing my sister’s sprayer than trying to do it by hand. This is going to be an undertaking, and my typical approach in home improvement is to keep anything expensive or time-consuming neutral and bring in color with inexpensive accents or small projects I can knock out in an afternoon.

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An exception is Jack’s dresser. I spent several days working on it and painted it navy. To be fair, most of that time was spent prepping and priming it, but it took four coats of navy to get good coverage and will probably need another several coats plus primer if I ever want to change the color, especially to something lighter. But I never worried that I was making a mistake and two years later I still dig it. Maybe because navy is such a classic color?

Here’s the area where the bed will go for reference. Obviously some things will be rearranged to accommodate the transition to a “big boy” room.

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The beds are going to be painted for sure. The blonde wood is not my style and they are scratched up pretty badly. I see three options: paint it green, paint it navy, or paint it something neutral.

painted kids beds

Clockwise from top left: A Bed for Julia | Shortcut to Mushrooms, Jack’s Modern Adventurous Abode | Apartment TherapyAnnie Sloan Chalk Painted Bed – Take 2 | The Lilypad Cottage

The green would be fun and would fulfill a longstanding desire of mine to paint something kelly green, but would be a risk. The navy is more safe in that it’s a classic shade and ties into the dresser, but it’s still interesting. A white, gray, or black bed would be basically regret-proof and allow me to have more fun with accessories and decor. So what say you, lovely readers? Vote in the poll below. If you’re reading this post in your email or in a feed reader you may need to click over to the post page.

Vote: What Color Should I Paint Jack's Bed?
What Color Should I Paint Jack's Bed?

I intentionally designed Jack’s nursery so that it could easily transition to a “big boy” room someday. I can’t believe that he will be two this summer. Time flies!

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I’m really in no hurry to get him out of the crib, but he is a climber and after seeing him put his foot on top of the rail a few times I asked my mother in law if her offer still stood to gift us a pair of twin beds that she purchased in the early 90′s. They’re solid wood and can be used as bunk beds or side by side. Since they can be bunk beds they also include a set of matching guardrails that we will try installing on both sides of one bed to make it more toddler-friendly; or maybe we’ll push the bed into a corner so that we only need one rail. Regardless, the pieces are currently piled in our junk room, I mean guest room, while I take my time sourcing linens and a mattress.

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I know people hate when you paint wood blah blah blah but I’m gonna do it. I’ve been dying to paint a bed kelly green ever since I saw this photo and I think it’ll look so cute in Jack’s room. In addition to the painted bed, I’m envisioning a fun patterned pillowcase, basic white sheets (bleachable!), and a lightweight comforter. There’s lots of color going on and some additional pattern on the nearby rocking chair so I don’t want to go crazy with big patterns. I’d also like to avoid getting locked into a “theme” that he’s likely to outgrow.

boys bedroom inspiration

1. Classic Gray by Benjamin Moore (wall color) 2. Ball Game by Allen + Roth 3. Geometric Squared fabric 4. basic white sheets 5. Circo Basic Quilt Set – Green

I’d love to put both beds in there, but he can’t be trusted with a ladder so that rules out bunk beds and I’m not sure there’s enough room to put both beds on the floor. It’s the smallest room in our house and the layout is limited by several architectural elements (our baby has a fireplace in his room, like that’s not weird at all). I’m not in a hurry to move him but it does make me feel better to know that we at least have the bed. That way if I come in after naptime to find him playing on the floor I can just go ahead and get a mattress right away. I’m just so nervous that I’ll hear a thump followed by wailing instead! I know that every kid is different and there’s no magic age to move them out of the crib–you just have to use your judgement based on your child’s development–but I was expecting to have a while longer. Next thing I know he’ll be asking to borrow the car!

I didn’t register for a video monitor when I was pregnant with Jack. I don’t know why I thought it was completely unnecessary, but the older he’s gotten the more I wished I had one! If I hear him fussing I want to be able to see whether he’s still sleepy and laying down or if he’s really ready to get up without really waking him up by going in there. And Nick and I are often tempted to check on him one last time before we go to bed, so we sneak in and peer at him and silently gesture to each other dramatically about how cute he is and then he wakes up and sees us and starts screaming. So that’s something I thought we could work on. Luckily, we got one for Christmas (thanks mom!). It’s this one which has keyholes on the back to attach it to the wall, but that put it at kind of an awkward angle for viewing the crib so I picked up a small shelf at Target. I don’t see it online but it was only $10 in the store. I also picked up a frame for $15, since I knew where I wanted to hang the shelf it would look better if I added something else underneath it. So here’s that side of Jack’s room before:

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And here it is now! I printed out the “let him sleep” art from here. The small chalkboard I purchased forever ago from here and painted the frame with black craft paint.

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Part of the reason I got the big frame was to run the monitor cord behind it to hopefully be less conspicuous. I don’t think my plan was all that successful but it does do the trick of making it less accessible to Jack while he’s in his crib. I could do something really fun like wrap it in twine and weave it playfully between the other items on the wall (inspired by this post on another blog) so that’s something to think about. Poor Jack has come down with his first ever stomach bug this week so we’ve been in survival mode. I feel like this is some sort of parenting rite of passage and am taking it in stride but it’s particularly unfortunate that this happened while we are without a functioning washing machine. Ours broke around New Year’s and we’ve been taking our time finding a good deal on a new one, relying upon the generosity of friends to get us through in the meantime!

Real life picture before I tidied up: books and toys all over the floor, towel in the crib in case he pukes again, etc.

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Notice that the green flannel blanket I made him is missing–it’s in the laundry pile. Do any of you have a genius tip for securing cords near a crib? I’m a little concerned that he’ll be able to grab it through the slats when his arms get just a little bit longer. So far my best idea is to install one of these cord shorteners to take up the slack, but based on the reviews I’m not sure it would fit the oversized plug.