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Q&A with Laura Normanton, Executive Editor at House & Garden Magazine

Tell us who you are, about your family and what you do?

I am the Executive Editor at Conde Nast’s House & Garden magazine and mother of our little boy Rafferty. Our family is growing, and I'm due to have a girl in the spring. As part of my role at House & Garden I edit interiors shopping pages and am constantly out and about seeing new product launches and immersing myself in the world of design and interiors.

Willa and the Bear Blog | The Mama Diaries | Laura Normanton

What are your top tips for designing a nursery?

  • I think a nursery needs to be a cosy and calming space so think carefully about the colour palette. I opt for cocooning colours like warm neutrals, natural greens and soft pinks.
  • Consider the room layout. With a baby, for example, you want a practical changing station with all your handy bits like nappies, wipes and creams close to hand. I like using the top of a chest of drawers (I prefer an antique option here) as a changing table rather than buying a specific piece of changing furniture that will become obsolete as the child grows.
  • It is nice to have some low level lighting like a table lamp with a fabric shade that will throw off a warm glow for a cosy story before bed. Black out curtains not only add warmth but are needed for the child’s daytime naps.
  • If space allows, incorporate a comfortable armchair or even better a bed which is a nice place to sit and relax for a bedtime story.
  • I bought some simple Ikea internal drawer dividers which is a great way to organise and divide up tiny baby clothes. It makes things considerably easier to find when you are in a hurry.
  • Storage is key to keeping the room tidy and baskets are great at storing toys and teddies. Zara home currently has a great selection. A bookshelf is so useful and it's nice to have a little library on display.

 Willa and the Bear Blog | Laura Normanton Nursery Design Tips

How do you go about choosing the right furniture, accessories and bedding when there is an overwhelming amount of choice out there?

Where possible go organic. Naturalmat Baby has a great selection of organic mattresses and bedding for example. Measure up! If you want a chest of drawers to double up as a changing station make sure it is at the right height. The last thing you want is to be bending low when changing a nappy as you will soon have an aching back. There are so many accessories on the market but I would hold off from buying things until you need them or you will be overwhelmed with clutter.

Willa and the Bear Blog | Laura Normanton Nursery Design Tips

What is your number one nursery item you can’t live without?

Practical things like a large changing mat (I got a pretty one from Cam Cam Copenhagen) and a nappy bin are obviously vital but I would say the bookcase from Great Little Trading Co has been the best addition. Not only is it nice to look at the library of books but I'm hoping that Raff will start choosing books himself soon.

Willa and the Bear Blog | Laura Normanton on Nursery Design | Cam Cam Copenhagen and Great Little Trading Co

Willa and the Bear Blog | Laura Normanton Nursery Design Tips

What advice do you have for storage in a nursery or a child’s bedroom?

Include as many storage options as you can - like a drawer under the cot, hanging
options on the back of a door and baskets for storing teddies and toys. If everything has its own place the room will stay tidy.

Willa and the Bear Blog | Laura Normanton Nursery Design Tips

What do you recommend when it comes to artwork in a nursery?

I don't think you need to spend much on nursery artwork. There are lots of Barbar and Winnie the Pooh prints for example on Etsy.

Willa and the Bear Blog | Laura Normanton Nursery Design Tips | Babar Prints on Etsy

How do you mix different styles within a nursery or child’s bedroom so that it appears cohesive and intentional?

Sticking to some sort of colour palette will pull everything together.

How do you make a nursery feel cosy?

Adding fabric to a room in the form of curtains, a rug, an upholstered armchair as well as lighting on different levels will make the room feel cosy.

What are your favourite pieces from the Willa & the Bear collection?

The bow muslin is so pretty and soft with the satin trim and I love the quilted playmats that will add colour and pattern.

Willa and the Bear Blog | Laura Normanton Nursery Design Tips | Nepali Quilted Playmat and Bow Print Muslins


Huge thanks to Laura for taking the time to answer our questions! You can follow Laura on Instagram here.

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