Create a space you love for your kids (+ free room planner!)

Paper + Oats | Create a space you love for your kids | Photography by Salt & Sky Studios

Interior design has always been in my blood. When I was a kid, I would rearrange my room every few weeks, choose my room’s paint colors like I was choosing a college, and styled my book shelves like what I had seen in my Blueprint magazine (anyone remember that magazine?!). Even before I was pregnant (and my whole life exploded), I had my secret Pinterest board blowing up with nursery ideas and projects. I spent much of my pregnancy on this nursery – planning, shopping, painting, assembling, and collecting special details to welcome my sweet P. With everything swirling around in my life at the time, this long-term project was a welcome distraction. I absolutely love the result – Poppy’s room is hands-down my favorite room in the house, it will always hold such a precious place in my heart. Here are some tips for creating a space both you and your kids can enjoy – and stick around til the end for a free nursery (or any other room!) decor planner printable!

Design a space you actually want to spend time in

When talking to my dear friend and photographer Adie Gateley at Salt + Sky Studios, she mentioned how so many baby sessions she does are shot in the baby’s nursery, but the parents say they rarely hang out in there in real life. What a waste! You plan and plan and plan this one room, and then you don’t even hang out in there? Not us. Me and P are spending hours in here. We’re reading books, dumping out the toys, folding laundry, nursing, napping, changing, dressing . . . we spend SO much time in this room.

Paper + Oats | Create a space you love for your kids | Photography by Salt & Sky Studios

Knowing how much time I would be in there, I wanted to create a space that was as inviting to me as it would be to the baby. I didn’t want it to be too babyish, so I created a space we could both enjoy. Instead of having a set theme for the room, I mixed lots of different colors and patterns that were already in other parts of my house. I wanted an eclectic but cohesive mix of decor that could keep her interested for many years to come, not just the newborn stage. I’m a creative, so I wanted to create a space that would encourage my daughter to be the same.

Paper + Oats | Create a space you love for your kids | Photography by Salt & Sky Studios

Add special details that have meaning

My pregnancy was a roller coaster season for me, so like I said, this nursery was my distraction project. I also had an army of friends and families who were falling in love with this baby, and their excitement was contagious. She would be born into a non-traditional situation, and we were prepared to shower her with love and affection to show her how special she would be. A few of my dear friends gave special gifts for her nursery, and they are some of my favorite parts of the room. Knowing these unique details are scattered around the room as a reminder of those who love us, gives this room special meaning and makes me want to spend every second in there.

Paper + Oats | Create a space you love for your kids | Photography by Salt & Sky Studios

At my baby shower, my girlfriends curated a special library for Penelope by having guests bring their favorite children’s book instead of a card. This is a popular baby shower activity, and I highly recommend it! After her shower, I sat on the floor of her nursery reading the notes people had written in her books, tears streaming down my face. This was truly an extraordinary child. Friends were wishing her years of inspiration and creativity, encouraging bravery, generosity, kindness, and individuality. 

Paper + Oats | Create a space you love for your kids | Photography by Salt & Sky Studios

My mom, who is my biggest support, gave Penelope such a previous gift. I opened up a simple teddy bear at the shower with a pink bow around it’s neck. Mom told me to squeeze it’s hand. Everyone in the room got quiet, and listened. There was pause for a few seconds and then . . . beat, beat, beat, beat, beat. It was a recording of her heartbeat from one of my first doctor’s appointments. Whoa, cry fest! There wasn't a dry eye in the room after that :)

Paper + Oats | Create a space you love for your kids | Photography by Salt & Sky Studios

I’m a maker, so of course there’s a lot of handmade pieces from me and other artists, including her mobile, the hilariously cheesy portrait of her dog Cooper hanging over her crib, and a colorful gallery wall with handmade name banner using free paint chips and some ribbon.

Paper + Oats | Create a space you love for your kids | Photography by Salt & Sky Studios

If you’re a new mom, or even an old mom (ha!), your children’s space doesn’t have to be so juvenile that you can’t enjoy it as well. Add special details that have meaning to you and use decor that gels with the rest of your house. As a new parent, you’ll be spending A LOT of time in your baby’s nursery, so why not design a space that you love?

Download the free nursery (or any room!) planner

As promised, drop in your name + email below to download your FREE nursery decor planner, straight from the Pregnancy Planning Kit! You can print this planner out and organize your ideas for every aspect of your kids' rooms. No kids? No worries, feel free to use this planner for any other room in your house that needs some focused redecorating. Enjoy!


Do you spend a lot of time in your baby’s nursery or kid’s room? What have you done to make that space enjoyable for both you and your little ones?

Photography by Adie Gateley at Salt & Sky Studios

I’m writing a book.

There, I said it on the Internet, so it must be true. I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I never had a clue what I would write about. And then I found myself having the “divorce talk” and staring at a positive pregnancy test on the same day, and I thought, hey, there’s a story. I’ll write about learning to be a single mom and learning to be a mom at all. I’ll write about resiliency, change, and what happens when you wake up one morning and your life is the complete opposite of what it was the day before. And the complete opposite of anything you ever thought it would be.

But what makes this book different, is that I’m still in the middle of this mess. I’m not waiting until I’m decades out, and everything’s tied up with a bow. I’m writing this baby right in the thick of it, figuring out this single parenting thing as I go. 

If you want to get on the waiting list to be first to know when new book developments unfold, drop your deets below.

Can I send you the full Introduction from the book? Signup below and I'll send you the full Introduction PDF, plus I'll keep you in the loop with the latest book updates + launch surprises for the October release.


Kelsey Baldwin

Graphic designer + blogger providing design resources to help creative entrepreneurs navigate the world of design + branding for digital products so they can share what they know.

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