When tasked with creating a newborn baby bedroom, perhaps no one is better prepared for the project than Leah Carriger. As owner and creative designer behind Beijos Events, this stylist knows a thing or two about bringing together a space packed with style. Another thing that gives Leah a head start is that she’s no stranger to the wildly whimsical world of children’s décor thanks to experience gained from her first daughter, Edie. This time around with new baby Isla Jean, Leah set out to create a space that would grow with her, and the result is a sweet, mature room sure to inspire the entire family from year to year. Click through for Leah’s thoughts on running a successful business with two little ones, plus her must-shop spots for thoughtful nursery décor that add up to one unique little oasis.
Photography by Megan Welker
Where did the design inspiration for your daughter’s nursery come from?
Well, since getting inspired can be hard at times, I always start with a focal piece and go from there. Usually, this piece is a bigger part of the room. Once I have that in mind, the ideas start flowing. For Isla’s nursery, I chose the rug first. I knew I wanted the room to be light and bright, but not boring, so I needed a piece that was bold and girly. To me, the rug brightens up the room and fills it with color.
Did you always have an idea of what the ideal space would look like, or did it develop organically?
The ideas after I chose the rug developed organically. It’s all about what is going to complement the focal piece. I like to play with things, and sometimes when I think pieces don’t go at all, they actually do and it turns out looking funky and fresh. I have to say my Beijos gals always play a part in my design process. I always bounce ideas off of them—Jacq and Ab are my top stylists!
Could you let us in on a few of your favorite top-secret resources for children’s products?
My big secret it that you don’t have to shop at children’s stores for nursery design. In fact, I think the best finds are from places like T.J.Maxx, World Market and flea markets. Every time I go to these places I end up with pieces I love and keep forever. I love having something antique in the spaces I design and integrating the mixture of vintage and modern.
How did your background in event styling influence the design of the space?
I would say the biggest influence is playing with texture and color. Those two elements always seem to make events visually stimulating. I think the same goes for designing spaces—you have to have texture, pops of color and definitely some metallics!
Dresser: vintage // hexagon shelves: Etsy
What are three of your pro styling tips that our readers can employ in their own homes and nurseries?
Pick a focal piece that you grab inspiration from to design around. Don’t be too matchy—put stuff together that you think won’t go and you’ll be surprised when they do! Have fun with it, and trust your gut feelings with the project.
What pieces from the nursery do you hope to be able to use for years to come?
The dresser is an antique my parents bought at a flea market. It was mine when I was in high school, and I think it’s so rad that I get to use it for my new little babe. I love it in the space surrounded by new pieces. I hope she loves it as much as I do, and that it stays in our family.
How do you balance running a successful business with being a mom?
This is the biggest challenge. I love being there every day with my girls, from waking up with them to putting them to sleep. The majority of work gets done when my toddler is in preschool and when my newborn is sleeping. I also have an amazing support system that is made up of my husband, my in-laws and my parents, who step in to watch the girls when I need them. It helps to have amazing business partners, too, who make work fun and who are majorly supportive of family time.
What has been the best part about being a mom so far?
Watching the world through their eyes is the best. All the stages are fun. Right now, my daughter Edie is three, and it’s the best—the things she says and does bring me so much joy. She’s like my little best friend! Isla is a sweet little newborn and I’m really cherishing this time with her being so itty bitty. I love that I get to go through the whole process again, which makes me feel like I’m the luckiest person in the world!
Can you offer one piece of advice to new moms decorating a nursery?
Put love into the process. This is the beginning of a very special relationship you are creating, and you get to set the tone. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming, so be patient with yourself—and trust your instincts!