With 4 million women expected to become expectant mothers this year in the United States, baby-nursery designer Bonni Weisman is offering easy-to-do decorating tips that give any room in a house or apartment a professional-decorator look for less than $500.
* Paint, don't paper. It's less expensive and more manageable. For added effect, consider a 12-inch wallpaper border, now available in most juvenile retail shops at a reasonable cost, to contrast with dominant room colors.
* Use artificial lighting sparingly but effectively. Bright white light usually annoys an infant. Therefore, avoid adding to a room's light source by using any elaborate overhead illumination. Instead, use small table lamps that can also be bought secondhand and repainted to match decor, and place on a dresser or corner table. The lampshades can be easily recovered with fabrics that match color or fabric design of softgoods (linens, pillows, bumpers, and so forth.)
* Make decorating the nursery a family, not a professional's, project. Get members of the family to join the decorating fun by volunteering ideas and labor in their spare time. Remember, the birth of a baby is a celebration for them to enjoy, too.
* Add some homemade items to the room. If you do needlepoint, think about making a pillow or other accessories. If you paint, consider a wall mural or some watercolor drawings. If you have older children, maybe they'd like to contribute some of their artwork from school.
* Enjoy the decorating process. There's lots of time to decorate the nursery and, consequently, you don't have to rush out and spend a lot of money to buy everything at once. Let your imagination take over and slowly add to the transformation of an extra room or den into a full-fledged nursery. If you really want it to look good, coordinate your colors and fabric patterns in all respects, from walls to sheets. This looks clean and professional, and is the dominant trend for nurseries. Manufacturers make it easy, since most stores carry many of the key ingredients you'll need in color-coordinated groupings.