04/11/2009 03:39 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

How To Create A Vintage Nursery On A Budget

This week we're joined by guest blogger, Alison, who shares her top vintage decorating tips...

To create a nursery with a vintage feel, it can be hard to know where to start. The shops are brimming with beautiful things but maybe you don't want what everyone else has got.

You can also easily spend a fortune; Sarah Jessica Parker reportedly shelled out £11,000 on her nursery for her twins including these cribs (right) complete with Louis XIV bedding.

Here's how to make a vintage style nursery for a fraction of the cost without it looking like a load of jumble sale rubbish. Themes

To stop it looking like a mishmash, picking a theme can help. It could be cowboys or robots, old fashioned fairies or woodland creatures. Your chosen theme could feature in pictures, fabrics, ornaments – the choice is endless. My daughter's nursery is based around deer – vintage deer candles on the mantelpiece, some framed prints, printed fabric, a Decal on the wall.

Alternatively, you may have a favourite item that you could base the room around. It could give you the idea for a colour scheme or become the focal point.

The Essentials

When it comes to the essentials – the cot, the changing station etc, it is not recommended to buy second hand cots and, of course, never mattresses. Family heirlooms may not come up to EU regulations for the width of cot bars and the bars themselves may have lead paint – not ideal for gnawing. Purpose –built changing tables rather than a chest of drawers work best as they are already at the correct height and width. For other storage you could sand down an inexpensive piece of furniture and paint it in a muted shade.

Find some enamel pails or baskets lined with fabric to contain the nappies, lotions and other paraphernalia.

Picture Ideas

* Carefully cut a black and white plate from an old picture book and hand tint it using watercolours before framing. This is surprisingly easy and effective.

* Look out for vintage style pictures like this one from Belle & Boo.

* Frame their first shoes or outfit. Use a chunky frame with depth. IKEA have a good selection.

* Make an alphabet poster with vintage style rubber alphabet stamps or frame some vintage stamps (keeping to your theme) on a white mount

* If you have any small wooden blocks, with or without letters, try glue gunning them round a simple square mirror.


* Look for vintage children's handkerchiefs in jumble sales and charity shops. Sew them with a simple blanket or running stitch into a block of four, back it with a square of contrasting fabric and slip a cushion pad inside. Or use them to make a patchwork quilt interspersed with plain cotton squares. Remember never to put quilts or cushions into babies' cots and never tie anything to the bars.

* Knit or crochet a simple rag blanket


Small mouths and vintage toys don't go. There is always the danger of lead paint, hidden wires inside, buttons that come off.

Make a distinction between toys that are for decoration and every day toys. Arrange them on high shelves out of harm's way.

Some modern toys have a lovely vintage feel to them. Look out for Melissa & Doug and, of course, the queen of retro, Cath Kidston.

Christmas and summer school fetes often have knitted toys for a fraction of the price of commercial ones. Make sure the eyes are safe and any buttons or bows are safe.

Display their prettiest dresses or dressing up clothes on vintage hangers. If you can't find the hangers, make your own by padding a normal hanger with a scrap of fabric.

Scour car boot sales, charity shops and jumble sales for accessories that fit in with your theme.

If you want the handmade look but are not crafty yourself you can try Etsy and Folksy, which has a never-ending selection of beautiful, one-off things.


Childhood Treasures: Handmade Gifts for babies and Children by Caroline Zoob – published by Rylands, Peters & Small

Alison Percival is a journalist and mummy blogger of two who shares her parenting stories with us through her blog Deer Baby

You can also follow Alison on Twitter.