September is baby safety month- and personally I admit  to being a neurotic New Yorker!!  Even more so when it comes to my work, and babies!

So I say the safer the better!

Artwork and Wall Treatments are the single biggest visual statement one can make in the nursery. It will most likely be in the space the longest (usually a crib and crib bedding goes away once the baby turns into a toddler)  Most artwork and wall treatments for babies are very safe and integral in creating a sweet ‘n’ stylish nursery- as well as an important element for stimulation and wonder… here are a few things I would keep in mind while choosing and hanging art work- or painting your baby’s room.  The following are a couple pieces of advice I give to my clients.

GO NATURAL!  NO STINKY PAINTS!  (just stinky diapers)
When painting your room- who wants that painty smell?  Especially- because in most scenarios- that smell means there are those evil VOC’s!  What is a VOC you ask?  The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines a VOC as: “Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) [that] are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors.  VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings..”
With such a focus on organic foods, bedding or clothing for baby- how about the biggest part of the baby room- THE WALLS!  Water based, zero v.o.c. paints are easy to find and very affordable!  I like and use Benjamin Moore Natura Paint.  For just about $5 more per gallon, (then their traditional line of paint), I think- it’s a no brainer!  NATURA  Paint comes in every gorgeous shade Benjamin Moore makes!  They go on walls with fantastic coverage, and have barely any – to none of that “painty” smell we expect.

Benajamin Moore Natura Paints have NO VOC's and are only $5 more then their traditional Regal line of paints! It's a no brainer!

While artwork is great to look at, and most is OK to touch- my big concern is babies grabbing a piece and knocking it off the wall- making them vulnerable to injury.
The newborn baby is unable to sit up when he comes home from the hospital- but soon he will be reaching, grabbing- and sitting up!  Babies are known to perform Harry Houdini like escape acts from their cribs, and one thing you don’t want them to do is use their wall art as a leverage point – while trying to sit up or get out of the crib.  A good rule of thumb is keep art work at least 16” above the top rail of the crib, (to keep it way over an arms length away). Most cribs have a mattress platform that  lowers as your baby becomes more mobile.  I say, Lower that mattress early!  As soon as baby starts to roll over or reach-  this is a sign the he is getting stronger- and will soon be sitting up.  Look out world!  Here comes baby!

Hang Artwork Securely at least 16" above crib- way out of baby's reach.

KEEP IT LIGHT! (weight)
Why would anyone hang a very heavy piece of artwork right over where their baby sleeps?? While I think the minimal modern look of the Spot on Square artwork is OK….it has sharp corners and feels about as heavy as a brick!  (Please note:  I love modern design!   However, this body of work is just impersonal and boring.)  After lifting this piece up,  I felt like doing curls with it- vs hanging it over a sleeping baby’s crib!!  Besides being dangerous- heavy artwork is harder to hang!  To hang this up I recommend wall anchors, or molly screws (which most people do not know how to use, and frankly are a pain to install). Heaven forbid one falls off the wall-  it’s heavy, hard, and has sharp corners!!!  I don’t even want to think about it!  My suggestion is:  Keep it Light! Go for art work on Canvas- which is  readily available, light weight, and very easy to hang securely.  Sam Simon says: If it feels heavier then your baby- don’t hang it over your baby!

This Spot on Square artwork is heavy, has sharp corners, and frankly just not that cute. Modern need not be boring.

Spot on Square's "Ray the Cat" artwork should go back to square one.

Hip to be SQUARE! (Where is Hewey Lewis when you need him?)
I double do it!  When hanging artwork- if it’s a canvas painting with a wire on the back (for hanging),  I use 2 picture hanging hooks (I like ook brand hooks) for double the safety.  As an added level of security I affix the bottom corners with 3m heavy duty mounting squares.  These are about $7 a pack, and available at most hardware stores.  Two main reasons why these are great below:

#1  They add another layer of security to the wall art, as well as, if a tossed stuffed animal hits the piece, it is stuck in place!
#2 Once you level the piece – the sucka wont move! This tip is also great for the rest of the home- you will never have to adjust your artwork again!

3m Heavy Duty Mounting Squares- are fantastic!

The Sam Simon color of the week!
The perfect baby blue award goes to…….
Sweet Bluette #813 (Benjamin Moore Natura Paint / Eggshell finish). In my experience most classic baby blue textiles veer more towards chambray like periwinkle vs greenish blue aquas.  I like this specific hue as it is definitely a color on your wall- however it is not overpowering or heavy.  Because of its light value- it will go with many shades of blue- and give the room a dreamy and visually soft feel.  I did a color wash on these walls, giving the traditionally flat paint a soft undulation.

Benjamin Moore's Sweet Bluette #813 is the perfect Baby Blue, color washed on walls with hand painted border by "Sam Simon"

Benjamin Moore's Sweet Bluette #813 is the Sam Simon Perfect Baby Blue. I use the Natura line of paints from Benjamin Moore in Eggshell finish.

Please ask any design questions!  I love reader mail!

(I’m expecting an angry one any minute now from Spot on Square)



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2 Responses to Sam Simon’s Safety Tips for an Artful Nursery.

  1. LOVE the nursery safety post, Sam!
    Nursery nesting is such a lovely time for new parents. However sometimes, balancing the safety aspects can be stressful as they want to create a lovely, yet safe place for their little one to grow. That’s why calling an interior design pro like yourself PLUS an injury prevention pro like me (or my team at is wise so that the dangers “behind the design” (i.e. dangers posed by the home’s architecture, other family members, pets, windows, doors, appliances, electrical cords, etc.) can be eliminated. I LOVE working with safety –savvy designers like you Adam!
    Kimberlee Mitchell, Child Safety Expert & Professional Childproofer

  2. zelda schlosberg says:

    just love all the beautiful animals and the ability to move the paintings when I move…. the light blue border with the animals are so cute on them. My kids are almost grown but now I am thinking I should have another. I’ll be in touch soon…..

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