Nursery makeover: ‘I’ve mixed safari and Scandi for a quirky look’

Jessica West created a unique nursery scheme that will grow with baby Jude, filled with finds from independent brands

Nursery makeover: 'I’ve mixed safari and Scandi for a quirky look'

When Jessica West, 32, and her husband, Mitchell, 34, found out their first baby was due in November 2019, one of the first thoughts that popped into Jessica’s head was that she’d get to decorate the nursery.

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Jessica and Mitchell bought their four-bedroom home in Bury St Edmonds in 2016, but it was almost a year before they finally moved in as it needed a full renovation. ‘It was completely reconfigured and extended, and we were lucky enough to create four bedrooms,’ says Jessica.

Nursery makeover: 'I’ve mixed safari and Scandi for a quirky look'
Jessica made the felt mobile above Jude’s cot. She wanted something neutral that would match the rest of the room, but couldn’t find anything she liked so made her own after watching a few online tutorials

‘We decorated most of the bedrooms, but left the smallest one quite plain, with the intention that one day it would make the perfect nursery,’ she explains. ‘After our midway scan we discovered that we were having a boy.

‘Knowing everything had gone well and the baby – Jude – was happily growing, we started to plan the nursery. My main aims were to include small, independent brands for an individual look and to create a room that wasn’t pastel blue!’ says Jess.

Nursery makeover: 'I’ve mixed safari and Scandi for a quirky look'
These narrow shelves are idea for displaying keepsakes and hanging clothes when Jessica’s changing the baby. A movable changing basket is especially useful when you’re a new mum

The room was initially a blank canvas with bare walls and a shabby carpet, but even knowing that they were expecting a boy Jessica was certain she didn’t want a baby blue nursery.

Instead, she wanted it to be a continuation of the fun style they had introduced in the rest of their home. ‘I was adamant I didn’t want some pastel scheme,’ says Jessica.

Nursery makeover: 'I’ve mixed safari and Scandi for a quirky look'
Rather than a conventional nursing chair, Jessica opted for a comfy armchair, which she found on eBay. Its bucket-style design is perfect for night feeding. She liked the natural colour and it has a washable cover. Plus, it fits in with the relaxed look she wanted to create

‘I wanted the room to feel classic and relaxing.’ With this in mind, Jessica started to create a moodboard. ‘I liked the idea of two-tone walls, with a slight safari theme and a Scandi feel too,’ she explains.

Most of the décor decisions would have to wait until they’d decided on a cot, though. And after some shopping around, they found the Sebra Juno oval cot-bed from Scandiborn, which is suitable for newborns and children up to age six as it extends.

‘It was just what we wanted and became my starting point for the rest of the room’.

Nursery makeover: 'I’ve mixed safari and Scandi for a quirky look'
Storage is essential in a nursery and Jessica made sure she had enough for everything she’d need for Jude’s arrival. The top of the drawers doubles up as a changing space

The colour of the walls was next on Jessica’s list. ‘I loved the Inchyra Blue from Farrow & Ball, but we had decided to keep an eye on cost. So I used Valspar’s colour match service and had paint made to match. I went for the easy wipe-clean finish as it will be a room that gets lots of wear and tear.

‘We painted the bottom half of the room in the matched colour and then gave the top half a fresh coat of white. I saw the fab gold arrow decals on Etsy and I had to have them! We stuck them in a pattern on the top half, which really packed a punch and brought the room to life.

Nursery makeover: 'I’ve mixed safari and Scandi for a quirky look'
Good idea! Use gender-neutral colours in a nursery, especially if you don’t know whether you’re having a boy or girl

‘My top tip for using them would be to be patient and try to measure as much as you can before sticking them in place. We also fitted a nice new fluffy carpet, but I found a gorgeous rug from La Redoute, which is comfy under foot,’ explains Jessica.

‘I also found the perfect set of drawers from Made.com, which would complement the wooden cot and double up as a changing unit. I’d seen a great changing basket, from Olli Ella, that would fit perfectly on top and could be moved round the room and taken downstairs to change Jude there too’.

Nursery makeover: 'I’ve mixed safari and Scandi for a quirky look'
‘I found lots of the prints, garlands and wall hangings through Instagram’ explains Jessica

Jessica’s next step was to find a chair for night feeding. Above all, it needed to be comfy, so she ended up opting for a simple armchair that she found locally via eBay for just £50. ‘I really do like a bargain and it’s a chair that will last for years. Plus it’s versatile, so we’ll be able to use it in any room once Jude is older,’ she explains.

The couple hung pretty voile curtains on a beech wood pole and added beaded tie-backs to keep them out of the way of any wayward hands while Jude learns to crawl and walk. The wooden theme was continued with a bamboo-style lamp shade to complement the cot and the narrow shelves above the chest of drawers, which have been used to display prints and toys. With only weeks left before the scheduled birth they then started to add personal touches with some fun accessories.

Nursery makeover: 'I’ve mixed safari and Scandi for a quirky look'
This Scandi-style cot is designed to grow with baby Jude. The mattress can be lowered as he starts to stand in his cot and it can be turned into a small bed when he’s ready

Jessica had seen a felt mobile, but it wasn’t the right colour, so with time on her hands waiting for Jude to arrive she decided to make her own. She followed some online guides and, using colours that would match the scheme, made the lovely felt mobile you can see above Jude’s cot.

‘I was so pleased with the result that I got carried away and made a couple of macramé hangers for some artificial plants too’. Jessica also used her time to find some gold wired words for the walls and buy a cot canopy from Cam Cam Copenhagen, which sits in the corner of the room.

Nursery makeover: 'I’ve mixed safari and Scandi for a quirky look'
Jessica’s nursery makeover cost a total of £1,157

‘People had heard about my safari theme, so I was given a fabulous giraffe cuddly toy at my baby shower, which has pride of place in room.

‘I also found lots of the prints, garlands and wall hangings through Instagram, which has helped create a room that’s calming, neutral and totally personalised.

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‘Jude arrived in November and loves spending time in his new room as much as we do,’ says Jessica.

This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in Your Home magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?