Sleep Sanctuary: A Serene Baby Nursery that Curbs Overstimulation

It's now almost 3 months since the arrival of our baby girl, and I'm happy to report that our carefully planned nursery is a big hit with her. Since I didn't know the sex of the baby throughout my entire pregnancy I chose a sophisticated safari theme that I am still in love with all these weeks after baby came home.

Nursery Decor DIY to Achieve a Calm and Modern Look

I deviated a tad bit from my original polyvore idea board, but overall, I was able to achieve the same serene look I was after with a monochromatic color theme and a few DIYs.

I looked up Dana Obleman's 10 Tips for Creating a Sleep Sanctuary prior to starting on the design. She basically lays out all the ways and things you need to promote better sleep for your baby. From regulating the temperature to installing a sound machine, you can use simple methods of creating peace in the room.

Since overstimulation is a big problem with babies, gone are the days of bright garish colors and tons of disney characters on the walls. You want your baby to sleep when in their crib, not stay up during nap time to babble with their sticker buddy on the wall. For this reason, I kept the colors cool and started with a grayish white on the walls.

Creating Serenity With White, Cream, Gray, Gold and Black Accents

I was able to find a hideous dresser with just the right dimensions for a change table on craigslist, all it needed was some major TLC (check out the pictures below to see how ugly it really was). The same story goes for the Thonet rocking chair I found on craigslist. I had to roll up my sleeves and put some work into both before they had the look I needed for a calm and serene nursery.

The change table took a few coats of chalk paint in white and gray. I bought the gold chevron drawer pulls from an antique store, and cost me around $75 for the set of 7 pulls. I think they were a great addition.

I reupholstered the Thonet rocking chair with a cream cotton canvas fabric and used walnuts to remove the scratches that were in the wood. Yes, you read that correctly, walnuts are great for removing surface scratches on furniture.

Since most baby mobiles nowadays have too many colored lights, moving parts and music, they can be pretty distracting for most babies. After much research, I came to the conclusion that a baby needs a room free of entertainment to optimize sleep and so I wanted to keep the art above the crib pretty monochromatic and music free.

I used gold buff paint to give long wooden branches some dimension and incorporated some metallic stars and painted ceramic birds to the overall look. Using copper wiring, nails and tiny LED lights I placed my art installation on the wall above the crib.


  1. Hi Sunny,

    My Mom sent me a link to your post because I had that dresser as a little girl in the 1970's. It was actually made by Stanley Furniture (I checked with my Mom) and was very well made. I love how you updated the dresser! Best wishes on the new baby!

    1. It makes me so happy to read your comment Kelly! Not only because I'm happy to hear it's made by Stanley Furniture (which means that it's pretty much going to last me forever), but also because it helped bring back some memories for you. This is why I love repurposing and re-doing older furniture, there is always bound to be a cool story behind every piece.

  2. I had that dresser growing up in the 70s in Cleveland! I've never seen another one until now.

    1. I bought this one from a lady in Schaumburg, IL. She was a real estate agent and had a few different dressers in her garage that were leftovers from homes she sold. It could very well be the very dresser you once had :)


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