My “Green” Nursery Challenge

With a budget of $2,000, determination and a dream, I took the first steps to creating the ultimate 'green' nursery!

By Jessica Provenz | Updated Jan 15, 2014 4:00 PM

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Green Nursery

Photo: Jessica Provenz

In the third trimester of my pregnancy, I never ate pickles or missed sushi. Sure, my stomach honked the horn by itself, and my toes were a vague memory, but this was not my primary concern.  I was fixated on one thing: the nursery! I could no longer focus on world events, books, or even mindless television. In those final weeks of pregnancy, preparations for our baby boy’s arrival became urgent and all consuming. The nursery would be safe, healthy and, of course, adorable. It would be bright, airy and unique for our little boy.

Green Nursery - Room Makeover

Photo: Jessica Provenz

Just eight weeks before my due date, I decided to transform our spare bedroom—more accurately, our storage room (that’s just some of the contents, at right, that filled the space)—into an organic baby haven.  While I’m moderately handy, I’d never renovated anything before. In fact, I never wanted to renovate anything before, but those nesting instincts are no joke.

Two books helped me focus on my eco-friendly nursery objectives.  Dr. Michael C. Lu’s “Get Ready to Get Pregnant,” outlines the medical benefits of detoxing your life pre-pregnancy. “The Complete Organic Pregnancy,” by Deirdre Dolan and Alexandra Zissu takes a journalistic approach to an organic pregnancy. Both books walk you through your home and tell you what’s safe for baby and what needs to go.

My budget of $2,000 was limited, but my “to-do” list was not.  Assuming the little one did not make an early appearance, I had eight weeks to complete the following:

• paint the walls (with VOC-free paint)
• hang wallpaper (with non-toxic glue)
• replace wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors
• toss the vinyl blinds and replace with baby-safe treatments
• purchase a crib/dresser/chairs/trunks with a safe finish
• locate a mattress that does not have flame retardant chemicals
• set up storage areas to maximize space
• and most fun of all, select a theme and room colors

Naysayers said my project was too ambitious. Defeatists cautioned I’d get tired and should just put my feet up and eat ice cream.

Were these people kidding? And by “people,” I mean men. Women got it; a pregnant woman is a force! When we put our minds to something, there is no derailing us! My need to turn this 10′ x 11′ junk room into my dream nursery was unstoppable.

I spent countless hours searching stores, consulting experts, and scouring the internet. A lot of information was overwhelming or misleading, but I also found some gems. In this blog, I’ll give you the lowdown on creating a non-toxic nursery so that you can save time and money, and put your focus on the really important stuff… like picking a baby name.

Up next: Where will my baby sleep?

For more on nursery design, child-proofing, and eco-friendly home improvements, consider:

Nursery Safety Tips
Preparing a Quiet and Healthy Home for Baby
Touring a Completed Nursery