In this edition of the Mama Diaries, we got to chat with Rebecca Cope, Digital Director of Tatler and new mama of Luna Rose. We're so grateful to Rebecca for taking time out of her busy day to share her top tips and advice for decorating a nursery.
Can you tell us a little bit about you?
I’m the Digital Director of Tatler and first time mummy to a seven-month-old little girl, Luna Rose. I’m a single mother, so at the moment, I have a lot of help from my own mum, and together the three of us form our own little girl gang. At the start of the year I launched a Substack newsletter, ‘Long time listener, first time Mum,’ to channel my creative energy during maternity leave. I’ve written about everything from the ‘newborn bliss myth’ to seeing my single parenthood as a superpower. There have been some really lovely responses to the pieces I have written so far, and I feel like a community is growing. Who knows, maybe a book is next?
What are your top five tips for designing a nursery?
Have fun with it – don’t approach it as if it is an adult’s bedroom. I see plenty of super stylish, artfully decorated children’s bedrooms on Instagram, covered in knick-knacks, breakables and objets d’art, and I often wonder, ‘how do they dust?’ and ‘do their children actually play there?’ I’m not suggesting that it needs to be all babyish things or Disney princesses or Winnie the Pooh, but having a sense of playfulness when approaching decorating.
It doesn’t sound very exciting but plain white furniture – just your bog-standard Ikea stuff – is usually very hard-wearing and completely customisable. I found ceramic star handles on Etsy for our chest of drawers, to add a little fun. I also have lofty ambitions to hand-paint a toy box for Luna one day.
Mix vintage and modern pieces. In Luna’s nursery, I’ve got teddies that belonged to me, my sister and my mum next to her ever-growing Jellycat collection (I just love the fruit and veg, so amusing), her first little red shoes from La Coqueta next to my burgundy Start-Rites, and a 1960s wicker chair that was my mum’s. I love the nod to family history and the sense of passing things on, making an heirloom out of the everyday.
Check out Etsy and Instagram for small sellers and artisans rather than going solely to the high street (which does have some really lovely pieces these days). Some of my favourite discoveries are Little Cloud for personalised glitter wall decals, Velveteen Baby for joyful bunting and Little Belle for handcrafted nightlights.
Find new ways of using things that they grow out of. I’ve kept Luna’s beautiful wicker changing basket from Avery Row, despite her being both too big and too wiggly to use it, to house her teddies, while I’ve made a decoration out of her first cardigan embroidered with her name on it.
What do you recommend when it comes to artwork in a nursery?
I have been looking for bits and pieces for Luna’s walls since before she was born. For me, I wanted to focus on things that felt unique to her. There’s an Edward Byrne-Jones painting called ‘Luna’ I’d love a print of, plus a 1917 art deco cover of Vogue featuring a flapper sitting on a crescent moon. I also thought about things I wish that I had from when I was younger - things she can treasure as an adult and show her children - and pieces that commemorate that very special newborn time. With that in mind, I framed her birth announcement from The Times and castings of her hand and foot at 7 weeks old. I also had her birth flowers - cosmos - pressed and framed by an incredible lady I was introduced to via Instagram, @fleurpressee.
How do you mix different styles within a nursery or child’s bedroom so that it appears cohesive and intentional?
Incorporate some unifying factors: I have a fairly eclectic taste, but Luna’s nursery is tied together by pink and white stripes in her curtains, bedding and picture frame, with pink stars also recurring on her silk sheet and chest of drawer handles. Stars in general, are repeated - in the rug, on the walls - in a nod to her galactic name.
How do I make a nursery feel cosy?
Lots of cuddly toys of all sizes, knitted blankets, decorative pillows, fluffy rugs, thick cosseting curtains and a warm lighting scheme of lamps (and a disco ball, naturally).
What are your favourite pieces from the Willa & the Bear collection?
Thank you Rebecca! Don't forget to check out her Substack!