...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Rachael contacted me asking for help with her young daughter’s room. Here are her photos and email:

Congratulations on your little girl!! It must be very exciting to have one after having two boys. Decorating for a little girl will be very different than for a little boy! And that brings me to my question. I have a daughter, she will be two in July, and right now she is still in the nursery, but we are planning on changing the room to accommodate her ever-changing needs. She will be going into a twin sized bed, and I have already purchased the bedding, it is from IKEA, the ALVINE LJUV.  Her room is small, about 10×10, we have a white dresser we plan to keep in there but I wanted advice on paint color, on art work, bookshelves maybe, lighting, and window treatments. I thought this might be fun for you, making up a little inspiration board for a little girl, now that you have your own! I am very grateful that you have taken the time to read my email, even though you are probably very busy with a little one! xo, Rachael

Putting together a mood board for a little girl was enticing indeed. In a later email, Rachael attached several inspiration pics and specified…

Our budget would probably be around the $400-$500 range. We already have a very simple, plain, twin head and foot board for her. It’s a honey oak tone that I’m not loving, so we will probably paint it. I’d like to keep the chandelier. I’m not opposed to changing it with paint, shades, or etc. I’d like a new rug for the space, window treatments, wall art, paint colors FOR SURE. I’m not loving the green. But anything else can go or be moved, or changed. We don’t really use the glider, and we have lots of little storage pieces that were hand-me-downs. The windows are weirdly placed, b/c they pretty much touch the corner. I can barely get a paintbrush in that space between the frame and the adjoining wall. I think the windows are what make it hard to decorate around. I’m unsure how to hang curtains. When I stand in the doorway, I see two windows shoved in the corners with lots of empty wall space between them.

Another thing I should mention is that we live Canada. Cue the sad sound effects….So we can’t get a lot of the same items that I always see on the internet! Or even if I can, the shipping is out of this world. Etsy’s pretty good for shipping, but things like Pottery Barn and West Elm, that can be like $55.00 shipping on top of a $25.00 item. We are getting two Targets in the fall of this year, and your Home Goods is the almost the same as our Home Sense. And there is an IKEA about an hour and a half away, so not too bad. And we have Home Depot and Lowe’s and such. So it doesn’t bother me if your mood board is only American items. I can draw inspiration from it either way.  We’re also really big DIY’ers. We’re not scared of a little elbow grease (or ALOT!), and we don’t mind shopping at thrift stores, Craigslist or garage sales either. Thanks, Rachael

Here’s what I came up with for Rachael’s daughter, Violet.

Violet's Happy Place

First, I addressed furniture placement.

Violet’s room poses a few challenges…corner windows, odd bump-out/entrance, two doors. I suggest placing the twin bed {painted white!} in the same corner where the crib is now but along the longer wall. So, the head board will be on the crib wall and the foot board will be about in the middle of the longest wall. Since Violet is still young, it is best safety-wise to keep her bed away from windows. Place the little white night stand {the one next to the dresser in the before pics} next to the head board on the left – if you’re looking from the foot board. I suggest placing the dresser on the wall space to the right of the closet door. I find it helpful for dressers/changing tables to be close to closets.

Now onto the deets of the actual mood board. Rachael said she and her husband weren’t afraid of some DIY so to stay within budget there are a few DIY projects!

1 – Rachael already has the bedding – which I love! I’d pair it with plain white sheets for a clean look. For the walls, I chose an airy gray that has warm undertones that should go nicely with those amazing wood floors! Try Behr {Home Depot} Dolphin Fin. I think a white ceiling would keep things clean – try Behr Hushed White. OR a soft pink ceiling could be fresh and a tad girly – try Behr Frolic. {Rachael may not find these paint cards in store, but they should have the formulas in their computer to mix. Getting a few samples made wouldn’t be a bad idea to test them out in the room before painting! Check them in all lighting…natural, artificial, daylight, evening, etc. It’s sometimes difficult for me to choose exact paint colors based only on photos.}

2 – I saw Rachael already had a fabric banner and there were a few in the inspiration rooms she sent me as well. I’d place one – either the one she has or another - draped a few inches above the head board to create a focal point and a whimsical touch.

3 – For a modern take on the traditional bookcase, hang this IKEA LACK book shelf in white vertically a few inches from the window across from the room’s entrance. I’d place it so that the top of the book shelf comes just to the top of the window trim or a few inches below it.

4 – Hang a large coral colored mirror above the dresser. I couldn’t find an exact one to show Rachael but I bet she could find a round mirror at a garage/yard sale or even at a big box store in a different color and prime/paint it coral. The coral will be a nice contrast against the gray walls and above the white dresser. A happy pop of color!

5 – I like the idea of using this wall lamp above the night stand next to the bed. A great alternative to a table lamp in a child’s room! No toppling over.

6 – Two or three of these book ledges placed on the wall that the entry door opens onto will help create a cozy reading spot like many of Rachael’s inspiration rooms had. Place them centered above the bench. {see #7} Oh, and those children books aren’t a necessity but if you haven’t read any of the Pigeon books, you should. They’re hilarious! The great thing about these ledges is that Rachael doesn’t have to use them just for books. Display framed art or photos. I could even see a paper mache ‘V’ leaning on one for a personal touch ;) Rachael can rotate items as she or Violet become bored of them.

7 – A pair of these side tables in white placed side by side on the same wall as the book ledges {#6} would provide storage and seating. Top them with a bench cushion in navy for some contrast against all the light gray, white and pinks. If Rachael is worried about the rolling casters with a young one, this kid’s storage bench in pink and topped with a navy cushion is another option but I think the others would carry her longer, past her toddler years. Either one would work great for seating and storage! Update: I have a feeling Rachael and her handy husband may just DIY their own bench!

8 – To fill up that long empty wall, I suggest buying a trio of fairly large canvases – 24″ x 24″?? – from a craft supply store and DIYing artwork. Paint them with a larger scale floral motif that picks up on the floral pattern in the bedding. I love the motif and coloring of this Amy Butler wallpaper that Rachael could use as her inspiration. Hang the canvases centered between the corner with no window {where the head board would be} and the vertical book shelf hanging next to the corner window near the room’s entrance. Hang at eye level – not too high!

9 – So this exact rug would probably put Rachael over budget, but I think she could easily DIY one by painting gray stripes – in the same color as the walls, Dolphin Fin – onto this affordable rug. No or low VOC paints have a higher acrylic content that makes them slightly more flexible when dry and a good option for painting fabrics. I think 6″ stripes would be good but she can make the stripes as thin or think as she likes. Thicker stripes would lend a more modern feel while thinner stripes would give a cottage-y feel. Use one coat of paint for a worn, imperfect look or two coats for a more polished look. I think either way would work well!

10 – I know curtains can make or break a room but with these tricky corner windows, I think Rachael is better off going with a simple shade. Add detailing by hot glueing thick ribbon to it for a custom look. If she’s wanting room darkening window treatments to keep Violet asleep longer, then try mounting room darkening shades {Lowe’s sells Levolor ones that can be custom cut in store} within the window frames and hang the decorative shades outside of the frame.

And last but not least, I love the chandy that’s already in Violet’s room. I think it could be left as-is {white}, painted a soft pink or painted a bright coral color. So many options! Just depends on the look Rachael wants. I suggest living with it white for a while first and see if she likes it with all the other changes. She can always paint it later.

Paint + all the IKEA purchases brings Rachael to ~$300 which leaves money leftover for some of the DIY stuff: canvas wall art, thrift round mirror, bench cushion, added ribbon to shades, etc. I really tried to stay within Rachael’s budget and give her options that were readily available in Canada. I hated the idea of emailing her a bunch of American stuff only to send her on a wild goose chase. Rachael was really happy with the mood board and I can’t wait to see her take on it after she and her husband tackle some of items from a DIY approach. She promised to send after pics to share!

images: 1-3) Rachael 4) mood board by Dana Miller, linked within

14 Comments

20.June.2012

Very nice! The color scheme in your mood board is so sweet and peaceful. I’ll be eager to see their “after” pictures.

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20.June.2012

I’m loving that mood board – grey + coral are favorites of mine right now! Can’t wait to see the after pictures :)

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20.June.2012

WOW Dana. Your style is evolving and becoming more playful/daring/artistic/layered. Any chance a master bedroom moodboard could be posted or a recent purchases post? Thank you for blogging- I find your posts so educational.

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20.June.2012

Love the idea of a soft pink ceiling and grey walls. Looking forward to the after photos!

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20.June.2012

Love it!! My DD’s name is Violet too, so maybe this is a sign to take some inspiration, as she is also almost ready to transition to her big girl room :)

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20.June.2012

Love the colors…how do you make your mood boards??

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replied on June 20th, 2012

I use Polyvore. I should do a post on that…

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20.June.2012

I love the design and colors on this moodboard! Very cute for a toddler girl.
(They kind work with the color scheme of your blog, don´t you think?)

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replied on June 20th, 2012

I’ve definitely been on a coral/gray/navy kick lately ;) But the color scheme was actually chosen from the inspiration images that Rachael provided. Lots of light gray and white with pops of pink, coral, yellow.

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Very sweet! I love the theme without it being too constricting! Would love to see the after photos!

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20.June.2012

Aw, Dana! This was a surprise to see today on the blog, and a good surprise, too!! We’ve been getting ready to paint the walls and the bed frame. Violet keeps asking where all the stuff on the walls went to, especially the butterfly decals. We also moved all the furniture around to where you suggested it, and the funny thing is, that’s how the room was set up when she was just a wee one, and then we shifted things but I really liked the original layout.
Anyways, thanks again for doing this. Take care :)

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20.June.2012

I love the colors! I have never really liked the pink/light blue color schemes for baby girls and boys, so I love how this moodboard brings in the feminine and girly touches in a very elegant and subtle way. Can’t wait for the after photos!

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09.July.2012

LOVE your ideas. Thanks for putting this together. I have a baby boy, but this is still fun and inspiring.

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27.November.2012

HI Dana, I am wondering if you decided to make mood boards for other folks? I am asking, as I am stuck with decorating one of the rooms in the house with a red brick fire place. I envision cozy room with sitting, coffee table and some storage. I painted the walls, added black Moooi lamp and I am STUCK! Also, I forgot to mentioned that there is nice bamboo floor but that’s all it is a room so far:)

This is a first time I am writing on your blog, as many have said this over and over, your ideas and color schemes are simply outstanding! You have a great eye for aesthetics that I am fond of! Hands down on the blog itself! Love reading every post!

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