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Samantha Bowers

5 Simple DIY Projects to Decorate Your Nursery With Paint

Add your own style to baby’s space with these five easy paint projects.

As an excited parent-to-be, you’ve probably spent hours online searching for inspiration to help craft baby’s nursery. After all, you’re not just decorating any old room; you’re creating a home for baby to grow, learn and play in. Painting is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to decorate with your own personal flair, and with over 1,500 paint colors to choose from, Sherwin-Williams is sure to have a palette that matches your vision. For a nursery, you may want to select a zero VOC formula like Sherwin-Williams® Harmony Interior Acrylic Latex Paint and Sherwin-Wiliams® Harmony Interior Latex Primer, both of which use odor-eliminating technology* so the room stays fresher longer. Not sure where to start? Check out these five simple DIY projects that’ll give baby’s room a creative touch.

1. Add Color to the Inside of a Bookcase

Baby’s bookcase isn’t just for holding the collection of bedtime stories you’ve already stockpiled. Before you load the shelves, you can instantly brighten up the nursery by adding a pop of color to the inside walls of the bookshelves.

How to: For this project, all you need is brushes, tape and your favorite paint shade for the nursery’s accent color. Consider choosing a hue that’s soft, yet unexpected, like Sherwin-Williams Jocular Green SW 6736 or Aviary Blue SW 6778. Simply remove the bookcase shelves and spread two coats of your chosen paint color on top (make sure you let each coat dry for at least two hours before applying the next layer).

Pro tip: Use painter’s tape to cover the edges of the bookcase walls you want to leave plain to ensure clean edges.

2. Paint an Ombré Wall

If the thought of painting every wall in baby’s nursery a solid color makes you yawn, consider creating a whimsical ombré effect on an accent wall. The idea of doing any form of wall art may be intimidating, but creating an ombré effect is actually easier (and more fun) than it looks.

How to: To begin, choose three different shades in the same color family (we love the ocean-water effect created by Sherwin-Williams Danube SW 6803, Sherwin-Williams Regale Blue SW 6801, and Sherwin-Williams Soar SW 6799), and gather a paint roller and two four-inch paintbrushes. Start with a clean, blank wall and cover it completely with the lightest color. After this coat has dried, measure the wall into three even segments and mark each with a pencil. Using a paint roller, fill the center section with your midtone color and the bottom section with your darkest shade. Grab a four-inch paintbrush and repaint a thick stripe at the bottom of your middle color to create a workable, wet paint edge. With a different four-inch brush, repaint the top edge of the darkest color to meet the wet edge of the middle color. Using the same brush, mix and blend the two wet edges to create a gradient effect. Repeat above with the lightest and midtone colors.

Pro tip: Create a well-blended look by moving the paintbrush in a crisscross motion. Try to work in small sections to make sure your paint doesn’t dry before you have a chance to meld the two colors.

3. Update a Dresser With Color & Pattern

No need to put that old dresser in the garage sale pile just yet. You can easily turn an outdated chest of drawers into a customized work of art for baby’s nursery in just one afternoon.

How to: For this project you’ll need sandpaper, painter’s tape, a primer, two colors of paint, a foam roller and a small foam paintbrush. Start by choosing a neutral base color and a vibrant, bold shade for your design ( Sherwin-Williams Knockout Orange SW 6885 makes the perfect statement in a bright nursery). When working with wood, it’s important to sand down the surface to eliminate any rough spots underneath and ensure good adhesion**. After sanding, cover the front of the dresser drawer with a coat of primer and two coats of your neutral base color, allowing at least two hours for each coat to dry. Then, sketch out the design you’ve envisioned on the drawer using a pencil. If you’re looking for inspiration, you can never go wrong with a classic chevron or polka dot pattern. Once you have an outline, fill in your sketches with your accent color using a small foam paintbrush and allow to dry.

Pro tip: Get clean, straight edges for shapes like triangles, chevrons and squares with painter’s tape.

4. Paint the Doors of a Closet or Armoire

Looking to liven up one of the pieces of baby’s stark white wooden furniture set? Try painting the doors of an armoire or closet with a subtle shade in your nursery’s color palette. Using a soft tone like Sherwin-Williams Lighthearted Pink SW 6568 will create a soothing effect that baby (and you) can appreciate.

How to: Just like when painting a dresser, prep work is key when it comes to giving your closet or armoire doors a new look. Make sure you’re starting with a clean surface that’s been sanded**, primed and dried completely before you start applying two layers of paint. Closet and armoire doors allow room for creativity—you can either opt for a solid pop of color or add a more personal touch with a pattern (see the dresser instructions above for tips). Just remember to allow for two hours of dry-time between coats.

Pro tip: To avoid any running wet paint, start from the top of the doors and work downward, smoothing out any drips as you go and making sure you apply thin coats.

5. Create a Faux Paneled Wall

How to: For this project, you’ll need two-and-a-half-inch wide wood strips, a level, a drop cloth, painter’s tape, a nail gun and paint. This textured wall allows you to throw as many colors into the design as you wish, but for a more subtle look, we recommend using one solid color in a soft, sunny shade like Sherwin-Williams Friendly Yellow SW 6680. Begin by taping off a grid of equally sized squares on a clean, blank wall, using a level to make sure your lines are straight. Fill in your squares by applying two coats of paint, allowing for two hours of dry-time between each. Once the second layer has dried completely, carefully peel off the painter’s tape to reveal the even lines. With a smaller brush or roller, cover the wood strips with two coats of the same color and place them on a drop cloth. Once the wood strips are completely dry, carefully use a nail gun to attach the panels to the wall, following the grid revealed by the tape.

Pro tip: Want a bolder look? Make a wall with bright, primary-colored squares and white wood panels to carry a modern, artistic effect throughout the nursery.

Keep in mind safe guidelines for painting while pregnant before starting any projects.

*The length of time Harmony actively reduces odors and formaldehyde depends on the concentration, the frequency of exposure and the amount of painted surface area.

**WARNING! Removal of old paint by sanding, scraping or other means may generate dust or fumes that contain lead. Exposure to lead dust or fumes may cause brain damage or other adverse health effects, especially in children or pregnant women. Controlling exposure to lead or other hazardous substances requires the use of proper protective equipment, such as a properly fitted respirator (NIOSH approved) and proper containment and cleanup. For more information, call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (in US) or contact your local health authority.

The Bump and Sherwin-Williams present Paint by Nursery, a sponsored series featuring inspiration and DIY ideas to help you create a colorful space for baby. Visit the Sherwin-Williams Project Center to browse more project ideas and over 1,500 paint colors.