DIY Crib Mattress Turned Reading Nook

When you first become pregnant, most of us started with a blank/empty room and we were so excited to get our first baby blanket, onesies, and first baby rattle. Then you finally get to fill the room with the actual crib and changing table! Before you know it, you have so much baby crap that it becomes overwhelming! So what do you do with it all when they’ve out grown it and your pretty sure you won’t be needing it again?

There are a few options to consider. You could sell, donate,  or possibly repurpose. I have incorporated a little bit of each.

Sell it or Donate it

We finally took the plunge last summer and decided it was time to part with all our baby accessories that had been piling up in our storage room. This was not an easy decision for me, I mean it’s the end of an era! Since I had recently became a stay-at-home Mom I thought it was time to do our first garage sale and clean house. I mean how hard could it be?

As for our first garage sale, we were able to sell of lot of baby stuff, but with as much as we had after two kids, we barely made a dent. After the third day of the garage sale, I was so tired with low blood sugar that I was practically giving things away. After that last day I  believe my exact words were, “never again”. Definitely not as easy as I thought it would be. We ended up taking all leftover adult items to Goodwill. But for the baby items, I found a great organization in downtown Cedar Rapids called Young Parents Network Inc. They help families by offering them points for making healthy choices for their families and themselves. With those points they are able to “buy” items from the “We Care Shop”. Here is a link to their organization and I am sure other cities will have programs similar to this that helps young struggling parents.

Repurpose It

We are still using the back of the kids cribs as headboards for their big kid beds, so we were not ready to sell the actual crib, only the mattresses. But what I found was that people do not want to buy used mattresses or even take them as a donation. To be honest I was not disappointed with being stuck with these mattresses as I had already envisioned in my head what I wanted to do with them. I knew I wanted to turn them into a reading nook for the kids playroom!

Now that we got rid of most of our things, I was excited to get started on the kids reading nooks! I totally lucked out when my Mom and I ran across a garage sale in Iowa City with a  wide variety of brand new fabrics for an amazing price! The fabric was the only part of this project that I had to spend money on.


I was able to utilize an old foam mattress cover and some extra throw pillows we had around the house that we no longer used. I cut foam pieces the size of the mattress and hand sewed the foam to the top of the mattress  giving it a softer surface. If you are going to try this, , please use a thimble as this is very hard on your hands due to the thickness of the mattress.

After the foam was sewn in place, that was the point where my talented mother stepped in with her trusty sewing machine and helped piece the mattress covers together. We used two different patterned fabric for each mattress, piecing one pattern on the sides of the mattress and the other pattern for the top. Since the fabric was bought on a whim at a garage sale, we didn’t quite have enough, so we used a tan sheet I had around the house that worked perfect with our color scheme and we used that for the bottom of the mattress. She also added this brilliant flap shown below with Velcro so the cover can be easily taken off and thrown in the wash.

The remaining pieces of fabric were used to  cover the old throw pillows. And voila, you have yourself a reading nook! Not only does this work  great in their playroom, they can easily drag their reading nook out to the family room for movie nights! Soon after we made these, I was cooking dinner one night when I realized the house was eerily quite. With little ones, the sound of silence is usually a sign of trouble. I immediately went looking for them,. Were they overflowing the bathroom with water again? Were the walls getting a magic marker touch up again? But when I found them my heart went from panicked to completely filled. They were in their playroom on their mattresses reading to each other. The effort was well worth it and this Mommy was finally back in the win column!

Stay tuned to hear more about some other projects we have done with their baby furniture.

Have you ever transformed any of your baby items? If so, comment below and let me know!









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