Baby Bowden’s Chic and Cheap Nursery

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Gray and girlie! But not too girlie. This featured nursery is a mix of modern style and vintage finds — a sweet and neutral room for a little baby girl. An eclectic space that is both timeless and unique was created by incorporating handmade, vintage and new items into this bold yet soothing room for baby.

Child’s Name: Still a secret!
Child’s Age:
Due 11/1/11
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

What was your inspiration for the room?

Though we knew we were having a girl, I wanted to keep the room on the neutral side, so it could grow with her, and potentially be used for future kiddos as well. The grey walls and grey and white striped ceiling were the foundation of the room. I’m addicted to grey and stripes — especially combined! — and I hope to pass that neutral love on to my daughter! I also knew I wanted to incorporate a chalkboard wall somehow, and loved the idea of floor to ceiling book shelves. For the major items in the room, I kept to a simple color palette: white, grey and black, but then brightened everything up with a mix of primary pops and touches of pastel. I consider it a compliment when people don’t know if it’s a room for a little boy or girl- Hopefully it’s an inspiring space, but enough of a blank slate that our daughter can put her own personal stamp on it someday!

Favorite Items:

It’s so hard to say because I love it all! The ceiling was definitely an undertaking—picture 3 people, 2 ladders, 1 chair, a laser level and several rolls of painters tape!—but I could not be more thrilled with the results. My husband thought I was crazy to want to paint stripes on the ceiling—he apparently doesn’t read design blogs as much as I do!—but even he agrees that it’s part of what makes the entire room “pop”.

I also love the accent wall. It’s chalkboard, with a layer of magnetic paint underneath. We painted a collection of empty frames we already owned, and affixed them to the wall with velcro (so we can remove them later, but there’s no danger of little hands knocking them off the wall). I love that we can change up the entire look of the wall with a little bit of colored chalk — and eventually our little girl can create her own revolving art gallery!

The show-stopper of the room though, might be the book shelves. My husband (with the help of my dad and step-dad!) built custom ledges to store all of Baby B’s books. I love how they showcase the covers like art and add a ton of color to the room. The mixture of new and antique books reinforces the collected feel of the room, and the shelves are flexible enough that they could be used to display other items in the future.

Advice for other soon-to-be mamas designing a nursery?

I would say two things: make it your own and don’t settle. Designing this room was a long process, full of lots of projects, and several failures, but I’m so thankful we put so much effort into making it match our dream vision. We had to try three rounds of fabric, two lamps, and multiple rugs before we found the “winners”— but I’d rather go through that hassle if it means ending up with something I love. The projects too, while not easy, were definitely worth it. The dresser took more refurbishing than we thought, the curtain boxes weren’t exactly as simple as I hoped, and the glider was an all day struggle before it finally came out right. But again, all our mis-steps taught us something, and lead to a one of a kind room that got better with every try. Sure, it would be easier to go to a big-box store and buy a ready made themed set of baby items….But where is the fun in that! I say experiment! Cobble together free things with must-haves, and if you can’t find something you want? Make it!

DIY Projects:

Book Shelves: custom made with lumber and trim from Lowe’s. You can buy similar items from West Elm, or even Ikea, but making you know a handy man (or woman), making your own isn’t that hard, and is much cheaper.
Chair: My husband turned it into a rocker/glider using an old recliner base from a craigslist chair. Honey & Fitz has a great tutorial on how you can make your own. 
Pelmet boxes (window cornice): Made following a tutorial from Pearl Street Interiors
Crib skirt: Made using a similar method as this one from Urban Grace Interiors
Mobile: Handmade using a photo hanger from Urban Outfitters.
Rug: Assembled 6 small rugs from Urban Outfitters with rug tape. So easy, and ended up costing the same as a regular room-sized rug.

We ended up making or modifying a majority of the items in the room, which not only kept us to a really tight budget, but also resulted in a customized room with a ton of personal touches.

Room Resources:

Paint: Walls -Behr, made to match Disney’s Mickey’s Shadow; Ceiling stripes- Behr, a crazy mix of a few failed attempts of light grey, mixed with plain white ceiling paint until I liked it; Chalkboard wall- magnetic paint undercoat, with chalkboard topcoat- both Rusto-oleum.
Dresser: Free! A curbside find, refinished and painted in Citrus Zest
Crib: DaVinci Jenny Lind 3 in 1 Convertible Crib in White
Chair: repurposed Ikea Ektorp Tullsta armchair
Ottoman: slip-covered thrift store find
Giraffe rocker: Craigslist
Pillows: All repurposed from various rooms. Stripe – Urban Outfitters, Floral - Target, Bird-  etsy
(don’t worry… for safety, they’ll be taken out of the crib when baby arrives!)
Globe pillow: handmade by me!
Quilt: handmade gift from a friend
Window treatments and crib skirt: handmade, fabric from 1001 Peeps Illusion in Orange/White (no longer available but this one is similar)
Rug: Urban Outfitters
Art above books: vintage scarves in album frames
Mobile: handmade, using Urban Outfitters‘ photo hanger.
Throw blanket: Meijer
Frames on chalkboard wall: repurposed Ikea frames, embroidery hoops and vintage finds; all painted white for consistency.
Mirror: repurposed from West Elm
Metal “I” and “U” letters: Urban Outfitters

Source: Courtney Bowden of Bowdenisms


Would you like to see your nursery creation featured here, on Chic & Cheap Nursery? Shoot us an email with a few images of your room to contact [at] chiccheapnursery [dot] com.

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About Nicole @ Chic & Cheap Nursery

Nicole is the founder/editor of and mom of a 6-year-old princess. She has a B.A. in Architecture and a passion for design—nursery design to be precise!


  1. LOVE THIS!! Can I steal the chalkboard wall idea. I wanted to do that in our kitchen but my parents let me draw on my wall and this is such a fab idea! Well wishes for your arrival, due today, thats amazing!! Congratulations

  2. Thank you for sharing this adorable nursery!!! I absolutely love the accent chalkboard wall with the frames :-) Great inspiration for me to finish my nursery!

  3. What a great room! I love so much about it, but those stripes on the ceiling have me looking up and wondering just HOW HARD could it be???

  4. My oh my, one of the most beautiful nurseries we’ve seen so far! Love the colors, the mix of old and new. This nursery is a dream!

  5. Love this room! We have a lot of books too and want to pass that on to our children and this introduces books in a very uncluttered way. Wish I could find a dresser in great physical condition for free!

  6. Hello, I was wondering what was the grey color on the ceiling name and brand!

    Thank you!!

  7. Hi just wanted to know what the wall color is

  8. Case – Widmer actually gives a soundproof case for a lot of of
    their date stamps, quantity stamps and textual content stamps (for a further cost).


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