Decorating The Nursery And Play Room
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
We should be thankful that the old idea of a nursery has passed away and instead of the dreary and rather shabby room has come the charming modern nursery with its special furniture and papers, its common sense and sanitary wisdom and its regard for the childish point of view. The influence of surroundings during the formative years of childhood has a deal to do with the child's future attitude toward life, and now that parents realize this more, the ideal nursery has simplicity, charm and artistic merit, all suited to the needs of its romping inhabitants.
The wall-papers for nurseries are especially attractive with their gay friezes of wonderful fairy-tale people, Mother Goose, Noah's Ark and happy little children playing among the flowers. Some of the designs come in sets of four panels that can be framed if desired. A Noah's Ark frieze with the animals marching two by two under the watchful eyes of the Noah family, with an ark and stiff little Noah's Ark trees, will give endless pleasure if placed about three feet from the floor where small tots can take in its charm. If placed too high, it is very often not noticed at all. Some of the most attractive nurseries have painted walls with special designs stenciled on them.
If any one of these friezes is placed above a simple wain-scot, the effect is charming. The paper for nurseries is usually waterproof, for a nursery must be absolutely spick and span. Another thing that gives much pleasure in a nursery is to build on one side of the room a platform about a yard wide and six inches high, and cover it with cushions.
The furniture in a day nursery should consist of a toy cupboard stained to match the color scheme of the room and large enough for each child to have his own special compartment in it. If the children's initials are painted or burned on the doors, it gives an added feeling of pride in keeping the toys in order. There are many designs of small tables and chairs made with good lines, and the wicker ones with gay cretonne cushions are very attractive. The tables and chairs should not have sharp corners and should be heavy enough not to tip over easily. There should be a bookcase for favorite picture-books. Besides the special china for the children's own meals there should be a set of play china for doll's parties. A sand table, with a lump of clay for modeling, a blackboard and, in the spring, window-boxes where the children can plant seeds, will all add vastly to the joy of life.
And do not forget a comfortable chair for the nurse-maid. White muslin curtains with side hangings of washable chintz or linen or some special nursery design in cretonne should hang to the sill.
The colors in both day and night nurseries should be soft and cheerful, and the color scheme as carefully thought out as for the rest of the house. Both rooms should be on the sunny side of the house, and far enough away from the family living-room to avoid any one's being disturbed when armies charge up and down the play-room battle-ground or Indians start out on the warpath.
The best floor covering for a day nursery is plain linoleum, as it is not dangerously slippery and is easily kept clean. If the floor is hard wood, it must not have a slippery wax finish. It will also save tumbles if the day nursery has no rugs, but the night nursery ought to have one large one or several small ones by the beds and in front of the open fire. Washable cotton rugs are best to use for this purpose.
When children are very small, it is necessary to have sides to the beds to keep them from falling out. The beds should be placed so that the light does not shine directly in the children's eyes in the morning, and there should be plenty of fresh air. The rest of the night nursery furniture should consist of a dressing-table, a chest of drawers, a night table and some chairs. There should be a few pictures on the walls hung low, and beautiful and interesting in subjects and treatment. The fire should be well screened.
Pictures like the " Songs of Childhood," for instance, would be charming simply framed. If there is only one nursery for both day and night use, the room should be decorated as a day nursery and the bed-cover made of white dimity with a border of the curtain stuff or made entirely of it.