by Michelle LaRowe
Editor in Chief
For many parents, decorating their baby’s nursery is a labor of love. Finding the right blend of elegance, sophistication and cuteness can be a real challenge – unless you have a background in design, of course. Recently I had a chance to catch up with Sara Ardeleano, designer and owner of the Sea Urchin Studio, and talk about things to consider when choosing nursery décor and art. Here is a little of what she had to say.
eNannySource: What’s important when choosing designs for a nursery?
Sara: For me, the most important consideration is to choose artwork that a child will understand and appreciate. Color plays a big role as well. I tend to work with colors that are calming and would be considered “gender neutral”, so that they will easily work in rooms that are specifically boy or girl, and often for both genders. For example, our “Ocean Friends” print set looks great in a shared bathroom. Lastly, while it may be tempting to buy artwork that suits a baby’s nursery, that stage goes by so fast. Like clothing, investing in designs with “room to grow” means they will be appreciated longer.
eNannySource: How do you balance being stimulating with not being overly stimulating?
Sara: I strive to create a balance in my artwork through color choices, simple themes and engaging ideas. While many of my pieces have a conversational quality to them – small details that tell stories or create a path for learning – the art can also be simply art until the child is ready to discover more. Our alphabet prints are fun just to look at, for example, but over time children will naturally begin associating a letter with the name of an animal.
eNannySource: What type of art inspires children?
Sara: Children relate to and are inspired by ideas they can make a real-world reference to. Nature can be very inspiring, and children have a natural curiosity about animals in particular. I tend to illustrate animals with anthropomorphic qualities; they have emotions that you wouldn’t find in nature, but this is something that a child picks up on quickly. If an animal looks happy, children accept it with enthusiasm and want to learn more about it.
eNannySource: Why are eco-friendly products important when considering children’s spaces?
Sara: Eco-friendly products help to make homes safer, as well as have less negative impact on our earth. It’s also a great way to start children thinking about sustainability, repurposing and recycling. Sea Urchin Studio uses recycled materials whenever possible, and chooses local, US-based vendors so that we can maintain better control over our products and the manufacturing process.
eNannySource: What are your best tips for choosing a nursery theme?
Sara: Choosing a theme can be a great starting point for decorating a room. Choose one that you have a connection to, and that will be familiar and comforting to your child. If you live near the ocean, incorporating sea life into the room is a great way to expose your child to a very unique world he is living within. If you are surrounded by woods, a child might be very happy to be with the animals she sees in her backyard. If you travel, a special place or mode of transportation could be fun. While staying consistent in a theme is important; having a few non-conforming pieces is equally important. The theme creates the foundation, the added details give the room character.
eNannySource: What’s your favorite unisex room theme?
Sara: It’s probably obvious that I love anything related to nature. If I can bring the outdoors in – minus the mosquitos – I will!
Sea Urchin Studio is a boutique design company specializing in products that create captivating environments to inspire children. Focused on delighting young minds through creative expression, Sea Urchin’s uniquely themed art and design, applied to high quality prints, posters, growth charts and card sets, can be used in a myriad of ways to brighten and beautify interior spaces. Launched in 2010 by husband-wife team Dan and Sara Ardeleano, the Sea Urchin product line is already widely recognized for its playful, imaginative style and irresistible charm. Learn more about the Sea Urchin Studio at www.seaurchinstudio.com.
Recently I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the designs and artwork that Sea Urchin Studio puts out. I received a complimentary Sea and Shore Alphabet Print and Just Numbers Print to review directly from the studio. The package arrived in beautiful boutique wrapping and the textured, high quality paper looked and felt really luxurious. The prints were colorful and engaging. My children were in love with both prints, especially the Sea and Shore print since we live by the ocean. The faces on the animals really caught their attention. The Sea Urchin designs are perfect for a playroom, nursery, child’s bedroom or bathroom. We’re currently working on writing numbers, so the Just Numbers print, featuring large font numerals, was also a hit – both for the kids and the grownups. With the perfect frame, the kids can have a reference for writing numbers hanging on the wall and the adults can have a have a classy piece of art to admire – which is way more pleasing to look at than an old school laminated poster of numbers.← Expert Insights on Building a Secure Attachment with Dr. Jeanne Segal, co-creator of HelpGuide.org and author of The Language of Emotional Intelligence | Expert Insights on the Important Role of Fathers with Bestselling Author Rick Johnson →