When my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child, we couldn’t have been more thrilled, but once I got over the seemingly never-ending hurdle of the first trimester, my nesting instinct kicked in (big time). As an interior designer, I have long dreamed of the day when I would get to create a one-off space for our little bundle of joy: beautiful bespoke rugs, decorative blackouts, Farrow and Ball-ing the walls until I was happy with the exact shade of cotton… but I never anticipated being faced with the problem of not having a nursery space! Living in Singapore where space is rather limited, I had to face the fact that our first baby would not have a nursery (not immediately anyway), nor would we really have tons of space for all the nuts and bolts that come with having a child (who would have thought a tiny little bub would require so much stuff?).
The good news is mama, it’s completely doable to raise a baby in Singapore, even with limited space, by incorporating just a few design tricks! I have put together a list of products and tips to help you maximise your space and accommodate your precious little cherub without feeling like you’ve been ‘pushed out of bed’ or forced to turn everything pink or blue!
Cribs – Our baby is going to be in our bedroom, where there really isn’t enough room to swing a cat in, so we had to search high and low to find something that would replace the moses basket (why can’t babies stay small forever?) but still sit snugly in the space we have. My husband and I came across this fantastic brand that addresses the issue of space without compromising design. The Stokke Sleepi Mini is designed to grow with your baby, which is ideal. It comes in a variety of colours and is also on wheels so you can easily transport it to and from the living room – perfect! Plus it’s also great for small spaces! (Mothercare and MothersWork both stock Stokke items in Singapore).
Baskets – Baskets will become your new best friend; they are the simplest way to store things away neatly and get organised without looking too cluttered. IKEA does a range of nesting baskets, and Crate and Barrel also has a variety of storage baskets and boxes so you can display or discreetly store those nappies, swaddles and toys that you will inevitably start to accumulate (because the Jellycat range is just too cute).
Bouncer – We opted for the Stokke Steps bouncer as this product not only has a very ergonomic design that allows your baby to move and sleep naturally (and I’m a sucker for Scandinavian design) but it neatly flat packs away so you can conveniently slide it straight under your bed or sofa when not in use. Products like this are a dream in Singapore, where space is at a premium.
Wall Art – You don’t have to paint a nursery or add a decorative border to add that je ne sais quoi quality to your baby’s sleeping area. Wall stickers are perfect for adding a personal touch without removing any of the paint from your walls. They are fun and come in a variety of designs. Check out Winkplay, Modishop and Pupsik Studio.
Alternatively, printing in Singapore is such great value for money, so why not try your hand at making your own art? I purchased an oversized frame from IKEA and created a simple design on Photoshop. For those less IT-savvy mamas, try creating a photo montage using eclectic frames that can provide that splash of colour you’re craving, and a personal touch you can be proud of!
Wardrobe – We had to clear out a section of our wardrobe to make way for the endless supply of sleep suits, baby grows, etc. I found a small chest of drawers from IKEA that nestled into one side of the wardrobe and allowed for hanging space on one side and a wicker basket to sit above the drawers. It was super simple, yet very effective for those first few months.
Changing Station – This was one luxury we decided to dispense with, as we have a large work surface that we never use in our bathroom. I ordered a small changing mat from Amazon.com and added another storage basket to the window ledge, which I personalised with empty jars and boxes for easy access to nappies and products. I also created little signs for the baskets to add charm to those previously neglected areas. They were really easy to make; buy some chalk paint and make sure you spray it in a well ventilated area or have daddy-to-be do it for you. Then punch holes on either side of the card once dry, thread the rope through, and use a white chalk board pen to personalise with any message you want. The beauty of it is you can change the message as much as you like by just wiping it off with a cloth – I love simple things! (Art Friend is where I find all of my DIY saviours.)
Pinterest – If you don’t already have a Pinterest account, I am a huge ambassador of this! It is super simple and acts like an online concept board. There you can create a design folder and start pulling ideas from all over the Internet to help you highlight what you want to cover design-wise and tips for brightening up small spaces.
I really hope this has given you a few ideas and inspired you not to lose that nesting instinct but to address your design and space dilemmas in a clever, Sassy Mama way!
Happy decorating mummies!