A charming nursery is so easy to achieve at moderate cost that the young mother should not be discouraged because of the luxuriously-furnished apartments for infants, on which she feasts her longing eyes in magazine pictures and in model rooms arranged in the big shops.
Charm in the baby’s room is not so much a question of money as of taste, and a very pretty room may be devised with the expenditure of only a few dollars.
Sunshine for the baby’s room
First, and most important, is the matter of sunshine. To the baby must be given the sunniest room in the house, even if it is the chamber that has heretofore been set apart as a guest room. The more windows the better, and an ideal arrangement is a double or triple window with a long, low seat running under the sills.
Warmth is another important consideration. An even, equable heat must be maintained all day long in the nursery. Spasmodic heating from an open fire, oil stove or gas burner will not do, though an open fire will be a delightful addition to the baby’s room if it can be managed, and an oil or gas heater may be called into use at bath hour on especially cold mornings. But furnace heat of some sort there should be, all winter long.
Floor draughts must be avoided. Weather strips should be put in all the windows and also along the bottom of doors opening into the hall or other rooms. Sometimes in old or poorly built houses, a draught makes its way between floor and baseboard and any crevice of this sort should be attended to. One large, soft rug is better than several small ones, and the rug should be heavy enough to keep its place on the floor and not rumple up under active little feet or drag about when toys or chairs are moved.
Everything should be planned for fresh, sweet cleanliness. And the baby’s room should be given a thorough cleaning more often than any other room in the house. A big rug, for this reason, is much better than a nailed down carpet; and woodwork should be white or very light in color so that a weekly washing will be necessary for the sake of looks at least.
Marks of little fingers and boots will not show on dark woodwork, and a careless maid will be tempted to forego the weekly wiping down of the walls, sills and door frames. Only such curtains and hangings as can be readily taken down and laundered should adorn the nursery windows, and it will be best to have two sets of shades; white or pale tan shades for use during the day, and dark green shades for night use and for afternoon nap hour.
Children will sleep later in the morning in a well-darkened room; like the birds they are awake and a-twitter with the first peep o’ light — a habit most distressing to worn-out parents who yearn for another forty winks in the early morning.
Nursery shades: Colors for the baby’s room
Yellow, the sun color, is the ideal tint for the baby’s room. Pale yellow, orange, a touch of blue, and white in woodwork, make a delightful color scheme. Pink should be avoided in the nursery, and lavender is a color that does not appeal either. An enchanting nursery that the Scribe knows of has white woodwork and walls tinted light yellow from picture moulding to within four feet of the baseboard, and deep yellow below. Between the two yellows runs a two-inch strip of gray and just above the strip all-round the room are pasted pictures of animals, birds and children; some in motion, some at rest. The pictures have been clipped from picture books, magazine advertisements and the like; some are in color, some in printed black and white, and some in silhouette effect — all black.
Now and then, a new treasure is added above the “picture rail,” and the little folks never tire of their fascinating gallery. This pale yellow and white room has a rug in yellow, brown and blue tones, blue and white cretonnes in the windows and chair and window seat cushions in plain blue and plain yellow. There is a fireplace with black andirons and a cozy fireside chair with broad arms for the snuggling-up story-telling hour at dusk.
Yellow is a rather strident hue for the wee baby whose divine right seems to be pink or blue; but the very little baby seldom has a special nursery all to itself. By the time it comes to crib and nursery age, pink and blue have become a bit passe. Part of a very luxurious nursery, however, is the baby’s bed pictured — part of such a baby’s room as every little mother dreams of for the incalculable treasure that is hers. The dainty crib. made of enameled wicker and with adjustable sides that may be let down when convenient, stands in a room whose walls are hung with palest blue satin on which are festoons of pink roses.
The woodwork is cream enamel and all the furniture is cream enamel wicker, the pretty crib, the fire screen with panels of pale blue silk, the low chairs cushioned also in pale blue, and all the small belongings for baby’s comfort. There is oven a diminutive cheval mirror framed in cream enamel, and if the occupant of the room is a girl baby one is sure her first uncertain steps will be taken in the direction of that fascinating mirror! There is also a little padded chair — the tiny wicker chair in which every baby from time immemorial has learned to sit up. Seat, back and arms of this chair are padded with pale blue silk and the tray ls of cream enameled wood.
The crib has been turned into a day-bed — for every baby, if she is fashionable, must have her luxurious day-bed just now. The drapery is of rose-flowered white chiffon over pale blue soiree silk, with an edge-trimming of net frilling. The down quilt is covered with pale blue soiree silk embroidered delicately in white and pink, and the small pillows have embroidered mull slips over blue silk.
Small belongings for the baby are in keeping with the crib and mirror in the baby’s room. There are ribbon-trimmed hangers for tiny coats, a white enameled “tree” for baby’s nightclothes when not in use, and wicker wardrobes and chiffoniers for the safekeeping of little frocks and petticoats; all the receptacles lined with padded and perfumed silk. A little washstand of enameled wood is supplied with a Kate Greenaway set of china and even the toilet appurtenances — the brush, comb and powder jars — are in cream, pink and pale blue.