Love You Forever Theme Baby Nursery
Baby Boy Nursery Inspired by the Book and Song by Robert Munsch
Have you ever thought about decorating a baby nursery or toddler's bedroom in the style of a favorite storybook? That was my challenge this week - to decorate a baby boy's room to match a picture in , the best-selling children's book by Robert Munsch. Love You Forever
Using an illustration from the book as a reference, I went searching for the same wall décor, floor rug, bed, changing table, bedding, and even the retro toys - with surprisingly good success. (The wallpaper was a real find - a very close match!)
The result is a nursery or toddler room with that sentimental-yet-whimsical nostalgic 1950s vibe... and I believe you'll agree the décor is as close as one could hope to get to the look of Sheila McGraw's illustrations for this classic book. Have a look and let me know what you think!
Love You Forever - Read by the author, Robert Munsch - with illustrations by Sheila McGraw
It's great to hear the beloved Canadian children's author Robert Munsch reading his own work, but this video really does not do justice to the book's illustrations. For a much better idea of the colors and details of the mixed-media works by Sheila McGraw that illustrate this classic children's book, of course, you may want to pick up a copy of the book to read with your own mother and child - unless it's already in your library of best-loved childrens literature, as it is in mine.
Nursery Inspired by the Robert Munsch Book
Decorating a Baby's Room in a Love You Forever Theme
The image here, and below in details, is a video screenshot from the author's reading of Love You Forever showing the book page corresponding to "Love You Forever, Illustration #3" by Sheila McGraw.
There are a couple of different rooms shown in the book, but the one that inspires me is the room we see when the baby boy is just a young toddler, just at the flushing-Mommy's-watch-down-the-toilet stage. He's out of the crib and into a little bed, but the change table tells us he's not yet out of diapers.
On the walls we can see a wallpaper with a background of clouds, featuring old-fashioned biplanes in shades of orange. The floor is plain, warm in color, most likely a light hardwood, with an area rug (is it a patterned rug or textured high-pile carpeting? It's hard to tell) on which his toys are scattered - obviously a play area in the daytime. Against the far wall is a utilitarian change table or cart, very plain, with enormouse caster-wheels, very 1950s.
Baby's asleep in a little white bed with a rounded headboard, decorated with a teddy bear to match the plush bear tucked under his arm, again very much a period piece and that will be hard to find in the twenty-first century furniture stores!
As for bedding, that looks like a satin-edged baby blanket folded down over a quilt or comforter in a rather jolly pattern of safari or jungle animals.
We can't see a lamp or a chair in the room, from the angle taken by the illustration, but perhaps we can imagine what might be in the parts of the nursery that are not shown...
Nostalgic 1950s vibe, deeply sentimental but with a sense of humor - just like the book.
Love You Forever Wall Décor
Once upon a time, I used to do faux-finishing and trompe l'oeuil painting for nurseries and children's rooms. It was a rare treat, back then, to have a client ask for a blue-sky-and-clouds nursery ceiling and/or walls - it's always been one of my favorite looks for a baby's room, and nowadays you don't have to go for a pricey custom paint job, with all the pretty wallpaper on the market.
The baby boy's room in Love You Forever has fun orange biplanes as part of the cloud patterned wallpaper. You can create a similar effect on your cloud-sky walls - whether you choose to hang a sky-patterned wallpaper or paint your own faux blue sky - by adding easy-to-use wall decals of vintage airplanes.
Clouds and Airplanes - Sky Pattern Wallpaper with Vintage Airplane Decals
If you're more comfortable with a paintbrush in hand than a wallpaper squeegee, however, you can take these wallpapers as your inspiration and sponge on your own white fluffy clouds over a plain sky-blue base coat of a good scrubbable latex wall paint.
It's not hard to find a paper that replicates a blue sky with fluffy clouds. This is one I like very much, but the shades of blue are quite varied from one design to another so you'll want to choose the one that works best with your other bits of decor and furnishings. Check with your local wallpaper shop to see if you can get a few samples to ponder at home before making your purchase.
Peel and stick wall decals! There are a fair number of vintage aircraft wall stickers available, but these are my favorites - nicely detailed illustrations at a very good price. Not too babyish (and this style is a little more realistic than the biplanes shown in the story book, in fact), the wall decals will still be appropriate as your little one starts to grow into a preschooler!
Vintage Airplanes in a Blue Sky with White Clouds
I can't get over how much this wallpaper looks like the planes-and-clouds wallpaper in the baby's room in the book!
If this airplanes-and-clouds wallpaper doesn't quite do it for you, or you want to be a little less literal in your interpretation of the Munsch book look, an alternative approach would be to go with a plain blue wall on which you can paint white clouds, or try one of the attractive cloudy-sky wallpapers. Wall decals of vintage airplanes let you pick the exact number of planes you want and place them strategically around your nursery furniture.
Love You Forever Carpet or Rug
A soft textured rectangular area rug is a must-have for the nursery or toddler's room. If you've already got wall-to-wall carpet installed, consider a lightweight woven cotton rug over the carpet, just to create a focal point and minimize wear and spills in the nursery's high-traffic area.
The floor covering shown in the storybook is obviously highly textured and a neutral color, but it's hard to tell much about it beyond those points. If you already have a suitable carpet or rug in your home, by all means, make do! It's more about texture than color, when it comes to the nursery rug, as the purpose is to create a soft play area for baby that also serves to tie together and anchor the furniture elements of the room.
Texture - Grey or Neutral Color Area Rugs with Soft Interesting Textures
For our Love You Forever book-inspired theme, I love a deep cosy faux rabbit fur rug - very much in keeping with the retro feel of the book illustrations - but all the ones I've found so far are recommended for dry cleaning only, not ideal for a nursery or toddler's bedroom!
A more practical alternative might be a low-pile shag in a manmade material such as polypropylene pile, in a neutral tone of sand or pale grey. This one's a very good price for the high quality of its construction.
Love You Forever Playthings
Here are the toys we can see in this detail from the illustration in Love You Forever:
- Bee pull toy
- Vintage toy car (green)
- Primary color building blocks
- Red ball with white polka dots
Classic Toys for Little Boys - Some toys never get old...
I was absolutely delighted to find such a close match for the vintage playthings shown in the illustration! We have so many electronic gizmos to entertain kids these days, it is easy to forget that young children are blessed with all the imagination they need to delight in simple toys like these classics: a pull-along bee toy and a classic green car - all we need to add is a set of building blocks and a classic red play ball, easily found at any good toy store, if you don't already have both of those in your toy box - perhaps left over from your own childhood, just waiting for your little boy to enjoy?
This terrific vintage Tonka car was a real surprise to turn up at Amazon, in a sea of Disney Cars movie-character licensed toys - which is all I could find at local toy shops, too. This toy car is a Corona, so a little bit newer model than ideal for the '50s vibe we're looking for, but the green is a lucky find and as a parent you will already know about the good quality of Tonka toys.
And what are the odds of finding such a cute Bumble Bee pull toy? This is a real classic, made of wood and painted in bold colors. There's a reason why pull toys remain a popular classic through the generations, and this one has lots of bonus fun for an active toddler as the bee's feelers bob and its wings spin - and the whole toy makes a busy bee buzzing noise as it's pulled along the floor.
Love You Forever Nursery Diaper Station
The change table in the book illustration is very retro (not necessarily in a good way, for once) and utilitarian. It probably would have been made of enamel-coated metal back in the day, in the late 1940s through the 1950s and a bit beyond. But as long as we choose a simple white change table or cart with good clean lines, we're hitting the right note.
Now, that looks like just a cardboard box of diapers behind the change table, but a simple wooden storage box or a canvas storage bin - will do look much better there, yet still be in keeping with our theme. Add a simple white changing pad to the diapering station, and stack your blankets, containers and accessories on the shelves below.
Love You Forever Toddler Bed
There was a baby bed almost identical to the one in Love You Forever at my grandmother's house, when I was a small child. It was painted red instead of white, but otherwise the same - a low rounded headboard with a teddy bear picture on it. No doubt it would be possible to find an authentic vintage baby bed in this style on eBay, but I doubt it would match today's safety standards...
A modern bed with the simplest possible lines is most likely your best choice - either white or a natural wood bed you can paint yourself. If your son is still a baby and not ready to make the move into a "big boy bed" just yet, consider a retro-style crib in white, possibly one that is made to convert to a toddler bed later on for cost savings and convenience.
Toddler Bed - Traditional Style, Unpainted, to Customize Yourself
Here's an unfinished toddler bed in a traditional style that works very well in the Love You Forever theme when Baby has grown out of his crib. You can paint it white and decorate the headboard with a teddy bear stencil or decal to match the book illustration.
Love You Forever Baby / Toddler Bedding
Wait, now - the bedding is exotic animals, but the wall décor is airplanes? How do you pull those two elements together? What we're going for here is actually an explorer or adventurer theme. Think of Stanley and Livingstone, Richard E. Byrd, the Fawcett expedition to the Amazon... those thrilling years on when so much of the world still waited to be discovered by western eyes, and mankind had finally learned how to fly.
I expected the bedding to be the most difficult piece to match, and that's exactly what proves to be the case. Fashions in kids' bedding styles change so much over time, your chances of finding anything very close to the bedding in the storybook are slim at best. Still, I've narrowed it down to a couple of cute bedding sets that have the same color scheme as shown in the book, and the same theme of a jungle / safari adventure.
Adventure / Explorer Theme - Crib Set and Toddler Bedding
Here are two styles that would work well in a Love You Forever theme nursery.
This crib set is the closest style of bedding I've found to what is shown in the book, and not too bad a match in terms of color and theme - absolutely the cheapest crib set I've seen that has decent reviews, too - but the supplies are very limited; I read somewhere that the style has been discontinued.
Here is the bedding set that I actually like best for this nursery, although it is not quite such a close match to the book illustration. This set is sometimes available in crib size, too, but last time I checked the crib set was listed at more than twice the cost of the toddler bedding!
Other Decor and Accessories - Finishing Touch for the Love You Forever Boy's Nursery
Back in the 1950s, the decade which in large part inspired the style of McGraw's illustrations for the Munsch book, it was far more common to have a mixed-up nursery filled with hand-me-downs, rather than a pulled-together theme. Some of us rather like that hand-me-down look, but there's a lot to be said for restful-to-the-eye coordinated décor as well. You can't go wrong with adding a big vintage map of the world to the ensemble, and here are a few other pieces I've found that are quite a brilliant fit for the Love Me Forever children's book nursery theme.
This is by far the cutest little biplane lamp I've seen for a child's room, but it's not too babyish - it will serve your boy well right up into school age.
Did someone say "vintage"? Wall art that's personalized with your child's name is a wonderful touch, but it's the old-fashioned storybook look to the color palette and softly rounded forms that makes this canvas picture a keeper.