Literary-Themed Nurseries

I took a break from learning about child development and racism in America this weekend to finalize my plans for our baby’s nursery.

We’ve made great progress! So far, we’ve got a crib, a bare rocking chair, a rickety changing table in need of refinishing, limited space, piles of extra junk, and a Pinterest board.

Because we’re bookworms, we decided on a literary theme — a nursery inspired by Eric Carle’s art. (“Who’s Eric Carle?” my Erich asked. Who are you if you don’t know Eric Carle?! I’m telling you, there’s a huge literary gap between big sisters who changed their siblings’ diapers and big brothers who were in diapers at the same time as their youngest sibling.)

If you, too, didn’t grow up re-reading your favorite children’s books to younger siblings, Eric Carle is known for bright, happy tissue paper collages bringing to life The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Cute theme for a nursery, right?

The nursery powers that be did not agree. The one and only Eric Carle-themed nursery set offered on the Googleable internet is no longer available. (Thanks, Pottery Barn.) No problem, I’ll just pull together my own collection of Eric Carle stuff.

Again, a no. All canvas prints of brown bear and the very hungry caterpillar cost hundreds of dollars. Even the Etsy artist copies cost hundreds of dollars. Isn’t it so frustrating when artists want to make money?

No matter. I’d lean heavily on the inspired part of Eric Carle-inspired and find some bright, happy nursery things that look vaguely like tissue paper collages. But no. Apparently, I am way behind the nursery trends, because the hip moms only want monochromatic, muted, minimalist nurseries — unless they’re naming their daughter Vivienne, in which case, there’s an abundance of frills and pinks.

I scrolled through Pinterest for hours looking for any color that wasn’t pink or stark white or some mottled pigment that at first glance looks gray.

Okay. I get it. Nobody likes primary colors anymore.

But I’m determined to have my Eric Carle-inspired nursery — even if it means sewing my own colorful crib sheet.

So here we go. My mood board for the perfect Eric Carle-inspired nursery.

Eric Carle Inspiration

As you can see, we still can’t escape the gray trend. Basically, we’re incorporating his art style and colors — squiggly wallpaper as a statement behind the crib, Carle-esque bison for a changing pad cover (“They look demonic,” Erich says), a stripey green crib sheet (“No, seriously, Bailey, they look demonic“), and a cheery red paint for the changing table. Since we can’t afford real Eric Carle canvases, we’re going to try our hand at making our own animal pictures in his collage style.

Pray for us.

You all know how not crafty I am. I’d rather write a dissertation on what it says about our culture that we no longer value primary colors in nurseries than sew a crib sheet or make collages.

But instead of writing a dissertation, I made another mood board for our nonexistent second child’s nursery (which s/he won’t actually have, because we’ll have run out of rooms at that point, and the two kids will be sharing the Eric Carle-inspired nursery forever, because making the first nursery will have exhausted my decorative enthusiasm).

Ta-da! Another literary nursery theme — The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend.

Beekle Mood Board

(You’ve got to be really up on your children’s literature game to know and love Beekle enough to turn him into a nursery theme. Really up. As in, “I read to the unborn child in my womb as an excuse to procrastinate on sewing that Eric Carle-inspired crib sheet” up.)

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19 thoughts on “Literary-Themed Nurseries

  1. Monica

    If you’re up for a *bit* of sewing (or know someone who is), fabric.com has a huge collection of licensed Eric Carle fabric! Curtains might be easier, since if they’re full enough you can’t tell whether the hems are quite straight! :)

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  2. villemezbrown

    Oh no! Gray?? Seriously, *gray* is the current fad in nurseries? That is completely unacceptable. I had no idea. Of course, being the opposite of artistically inclined, not to mention beyond lazy, my daughter’s first room just happened to have been decorated in blues and yellows with bunnies by the previous owners of the first house we ever purchased. After that she had neutral out-of-the-box rooms occasionally relieved by Winnie-the-Pooh wall decals.
    I like those cloud bookshelves in the Beekle theme, but don’t forget that any old second-hand bookshelf that allows displaying books with the cover facing becomes a decorative element in your literary theme! :-) And most Eric Carle books are available as board books!
    I have to agree with Erich though – there is something . . . off . . . about those bison. Sorry. ;-)
    Adele

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    • Bailey Steger

      Oh yes! And black and white. Horrid.

      Haha!!! Sadly, we live in an apartment, so nobody could paint bunnies on the walls for me to borrow for the nursery.

      I have no idea where to put our books!!! We’re running out of wall space because we have two big windows and a wall of doors, soooo I don’t know if I can display them or if I need to throw them in a box somewhere. Small apartment problems…..

      Seriously? You too? *sigh* LOL I honestly can’t even see their faces too well, so I don’t know why you people are all so judgmental about their creepiness. ;) ;) ;)

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  3. Jasmine Ruigrok

    Oh my gawwwsh, this is the cutest. I love it!! Also, dude. How the heck do you grow up and not know who Eric Carle is?! I used to watch them read that book on Playschool (Aussie kids Sesame Street equivalent) and mourn that all the cool kids had the Very Hungry Caterpillar and I didn’t. Now you make me want to pack all my paints and come visit you so I can paint you a mural.

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    • Bailey Steger

      I KNOW, RIGHT?! I think my husband’s memory just needed to be refreshed, as we found a copy of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” among his old baby books!

      Do they not print “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” in Australia?! It’s like the staple book in every single household and school I’ve ever been in!!

      !!!!!! I have such talented friends…..who all live so far away. :D :D :D

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  4. Allison Caylor

    I love this!! What a cute and colorful and perfect theme. I too hate the gray/neutral thing for nurseries. How bleak! And it’s not just nurseries, it’s taking over all home decor. And I’m just over here like GIVE ME ALL THE COLOR.

    You would want to look into how legal this is, but maybe you could find a good quality image of an Eric Carle illustration and get it printed yourself like from Walmart or Shutterfly. A garage sale frame and a can of spray paint would finish it up nicely.

    But don’t look at me like I’ve actually done any of this. We only cleaned the storage boxes out of my child’s room when he was getting too big for his bassinet, and now it’s decorated with a “random things we found in said storage boxes” theme. Lol :P

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    • Bailey Steger

      Same! I love statement walls and happy prints and PAINT — none of this clinical minimalism.

      We actually heavily researched if we could blow up a print. We’d have to ask permission, and I doing we’d be allowed to since they’re selling their own insanely expensive prints. But maybe we should at least ask first before abandoning that idea. Who knows?

      Hahaha!!!!! That’s a great theme!!!! :D

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      • Allison Caylor

        Ah. Well, bummer.

        The true minimalist look does appeal to me a bit — like, the blinding white with a little bit of stained wood and some random bright green leaves. It’s cool, even though I would die after a while. I was mostly thinking of the “farmhouse” look, which would be really cool except that it demands that LITERALLY EVERYTHING be white, gray or tan. Or possibly light blue. Ugh. I like red, and painted walls, and I don’t care who knows it! Haha

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  5. Justine

    Please write that dissertation. Seriously what is with the monochrome for babies?? And I love your nursery theme!! If you get some Eric Carle board books and display them, I think that would do it without needing to put much effort into the rest 😉

    Like

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