This weekend, the nursery got painted: trim, closet, and all four walls. The ceiling is in need of a touch up still, and there’s still plenty more to do otherwise, but I feel good about the painting. It’s a solid start. Having accomplished this by-no-means small task, I would love to share some of my tips with you.
1. Get help! And that means more help than just your significant other, life partner, husband, wife, mom, or dad. You need more than two people to make it go quickly. I asked a bunch of people, and ended up with three non-pregnant ladies who would help me. (Thank you non-pregnant lady friends! Four was the perfect number, and I’m so glad you got to share this experience with me!)
2. I learned the hard way that paint with VOC content really makes my head hurt. That said, all regular paint nowadays is pretty low-VOC, and extremely unlikely to be harmful to you or your little one. But even low-VOC stuff is fume-y. Ladies (and gents), go get the NO-VOC stuff. Worry not if they don’t have your color. I picked out Glidden Fresh Guacamole (how I love the Glidden colors at Home Depot!), and I got it mixed at a local Benjamin Moore store in the Benjamin Moore Natura line. Be aware, it takes a minute to get paint mixed, so you’ll be hanging about in the store for a few minutes. NO-VOC is not the same as low-VOC, so be sure to ask. It really makes a difference in the amount of fumes in the room.
3. Paint your closet while you’re at it! Paint it a super fun color! Eric and I chose Chelsea, a lovely bright yellow, by C2 (available at Benjamin Moore stores). I got it mixed in C2’s low-VOC line, Lovo. The Lovo stuff has a little more fume than the Natura, but it’s negligible. Don’t worry about it. (Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, but I am the healthy, grown child of a mother who painted every room in her house while she was pregnant and while I was an infant. In fact, this is what Baby Center has to say about painting whilst in a family way. Check it.) Anyway, I am LOVING this yellow now that it’s done. It makes me feel just FABULOUS to open up the closet and see the yellow-ness. It works with the green beautifully, and makes me feel bright and cheerful. (That adorable little stuffed cow in the door was purchased at Eastern Market in DC, and is handmade. LOVE IT!)
4. If you are not an experienced room painter, cover everything in plastic sheeting, and tape up your baseboards and ceilings with painter’s tape. Keep clean wet rags (rags, not nice towels) all about the room. If you drip paint on your molding, or your beautiful hardwood floors, you can wipe it up right away and it’s like it never happened.
5. The handiest, dandiest tool you can get is a Shur Line Edger. It works wonders on your edges and ceilings, and it’s much faster than cutting in with a paintbrush. It will make you feel handy-dandy even if you’ve never painted a room before. It also works well for corners and touching up. No imitations accepted – get the Shur Line brand. They can be purchased online, or at the Home Depot. This five bucks will make a difference in your life.
6. Remove (or have a handy person remove) your light switch plates and outlet covers. Don’t paint over these suckers or you’ll have the grossness of dried paint all over them. We have leftover dried paint from 1960, or whenever this house was painted in alarming colors (namely pink and lime green). Of course, replace them when your little guy or gal moves into the nursery. But in the mean time, don’t sweat it, and just paint around them the best you can. And like my husband reminds me, don’t touch exposed wires or screws. Thanks Eric!
7. Have snacks and Franzia for your guests.
8. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention …. pick a color that works not just for a bambino, but for a guest room, or a craft room, or a teenager’s room. I’m really glad that I went with this green. It is bright and lovely, gender neutral (works for the next kid), but it also works for my sewing room as it is right now. I am kinda anti baby blue and baby pink. After all, don’t we gender stereotype enough? And the kid isn’t going to care what color its room is … so paint it something that you like, that speaks to you, that makes you smile … and that you won’t have to repaint for a long, long time.
9. Create your own theme! I think it’s more fun to search around for cool stuff than to go with a packaged theme from Babies R Spend Money or Pottery Barn Spend More Money on Your Kids. Check out Etsy, Amazon, boutique sites, Overstock … wherever. Make it yours. Paint a mural. Buy a handmade mobile. Get some vintage prints. Frame pictures of your family. Sew your own decorations. Get some cool fabric and make some easy curtains!
10. And on that note, do it during your fourth or fifth month. You are still reasonably agile, not humongously large, and have a reasonable level of energy. (Oh, and, start ordering your decorations during these months as well. You don’t want a baby and no nursery!) Plus, it makes you feel … accomplished.
And voila! You’ve gotten yourself started. Let it come together one piece at a time. I know I am … I’ll be updating as I add more stuff to the nursery, but for now, I’ll leave you with these before and after photos…