What do babies find most intriguing and amusing? Why faces, of course! Take notice how quickly the biggest, burliest bear of a man transforms into a goofy, silly-face making fool as soon as he comes into contact with a baby. We contort our faces in the craziest of ways with the sole purpose of inciting giggles and grins from the baby. We know that babies will quickly react positively to faces of their loved ones and will often cry when approached by an unfamiliar face. “Babies are hardwired to recognize faces, which helps them connect with their caregiver early on,” says Michael Frank, a brain and cognitive sciences researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “They like to look at anything that resembles a face, even something as abstract as an electrical outlet.” (source: Parenting.com )
In my line of work as a nursery designer, it’s not only my job to please the parents with a functional and beautiful nursery that makes them ooh and aah, but I also need to ensure that the nursery is comfortable, safe and stimulating for the baby who inhabits the space.
If you study the nurseries I’ve designed, you’ll notice one of the more consistent elements is typically a gallery of large photos of family members. You’ll also notice that these photos are strategically placed in an area where baby will be able to easily appreciate them during his/her waking hours…near the changing table or nursery glider. These beautifully framed photos not only bring a sense of love and family heritage to the space for the doting parents, but also provide stimulation and comfort to the baby.
For the fourth baby of the famous Buddy Valastro, aka The Cake Boss, I took brown photo frames I purchased at Michael’s Craft Store and spray painted them with a combination of silver and gold paint to mimic the color of the Chelsea furniture by Bratt Décor. I then gathered Lisa and Buddy’s favorite photos of their three older children, enlarged them and printed them in a sepia tone. I hung them over the changing table so that the newest member of the family would recognize the faces of his older siblings and be amused by their baby faces during changing time.
See other examples of nursery photo galleries below.
For this first time mom, we didn’t have any photos readily available (her home had been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy which forced us to install our Pink Toile Nursery in a rented home) and I didn’t want to hang empty frames. So to buy mom-to-be some time to select favorite photos or use photos of the yet unborn baby, I used wrapping papers and fabric to make a silhouette and monogram to fill the voids in the frames.
Photos of loved ones who have passed or pregnancy photos are another great choice, as seen in our blue Royal Prince Nursery below. The largest photo is a pregnancy pic and one of the smaller photos honors the baby’s grandfather who is no longer with them.
In the vintage boy’s nursery below, baby’s grandfather and twin brother are featured in an old photo beside two teddy bears that were made out of the grandfather’s favorite sweater. What a sweet way to honor loved ones and provide some smiling faces for baby to enjoy!