Setting Thesaurus Entry: Nursery

crib, changing table, diaper pail, dresser, clothes hamper, lamp, nightlight, rocking chair, baby swing, mobile, artwork, name plaque on the door, walls painted in soft colors (pink, blue, yellow, green), stuffed animals, picture frames, knick-knacks, CD player, baby monitor, baskets of supplies, diapers, wipes, baby powder, burp cloths, safety nail clippers, nasal aspirator, baby comb and brush, blankets/quilts, pacifiers, rattles, teething rings, board/cloth books, toy box, baby clothes (onesies, rompers, dresses, overalls), baby shoes, stray socks, light streaming through window, dim light shining from a lamp, baby lying/kneeling/standing in crib, crib toys strewn across the floor, drawers standing open and clothes pulled out, glowing stars on the ceiling, decorations hanging from the ceiling (butterflies, birds, airplanes, stars)

the crank of a mobile, music from a mobile, classical music from a CD player, static from a white noise machine, crib mattress rustling, toys rattling/squeaking/banging, click of a diaper pail opening and closing, rip of diaper tabs being pulled, rustling diapers, snaps being fastened, click of lamp turning on/off, creak of rocking chair, baby cooing/babbling/crying, caregivers humming/singing, siblings playing, sounds from outside the window (rain pattering, wind blowing, trees swaying, crickets, birds singing, cars passing, neighbors talking), a/c and heat turning on and off, hum of humidifier, muffled voices of people in another room, drawers sliding open and shut, blinds zipping up and down, baby sucking thumb/slurping fingers, baby sleep sounds (snoring, wheezing, deep breathing)

baby powder, baby lotion, medicinal smell of diaper rash ointment, urine, poop, spit-up, sour milk, air fresheners, disinfectant

formula, milk, dry air

fuzzy blankets, soft crib sheets, cuddly stuffed animals, damp/sweaty hair, silky hair, warm bodies, smooth skin, slobbery baby kisses, damp/wet/soaked diapers and clothes, plush changing pad cover, cold wipes, heated wipes from a wipes warmer machine, warm sun beaming through window, heat from a lamp or nightlight, squishy diapers, drool, viscous spit-up, dry feel of baby powder on your hands, greasy lotion, babies squirming in your arms, cold metal snaps, soft clothing, soothing slide of the rocking chair, gradual ceasing of motion as a baby falls asleep in your arms, warm plastic baby bottle

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:
The room was finally finished. Framed prints of cartoon dump trucks and tractors hung on the cornflower-blue walls. Soothing rain forest sounds whispered from the white noise machine. Margaret pushed the tiny choo-choo train on the dresser, rolling it back and forth. She breathed in the smells of fresh paint and new furniture and sighed, rubbing her bulging belly. Whenever you're ready, little man.

Example 2:
Sarah laid the baby in the playpen, pushing aside toys, diapers, and a dirty bottle to make room. Sinking to the rumpled bed, she rubbed her scratchy eyes. A pale but insistent smell of sour milk told her it was past time to do laundry. The ceiling fan rustled papers on her desk--that essay was due tomorrow, the one she hadn't even started. She scratched her head, pushed the limp hair out of her face. All she really wanted was a shower and a full night's sleep. A wail rose from the playpen. Sarah groaned and jerked the covers over her head.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)
The muffled footsteps, the soft music, the hushed voices: it felt more like a library than a nursery.

Example 2: (Metaphor)
She said it would be pink. This wasn't pink. This was a cotton candy explosion.


Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss becca! i gotta tell you i didnt ever write something about a nursery stuff or babies. ha ha you sure got a lot of neat ways you could write about it.
...smiles from lenny

Julie Musil said...

Oh, this post was a stroll down memory lane when my boys were little guys. Such great images, and I loved the different examples at the end. Thanks for the memories, and the great tips.

Becca Puglisi said...

Most of this was taken right out of my son's nursery. If only we had such easy access to all the settings we use, lol.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Nicely done, Becca!

lotusgirl said...

This is such a great resource. Great job and thanks.

Matthew Rush said...

It's hard to come up with something new to say about these amazing posts each time, but this is another amazingly well done tool for writers. And I love your examples, there is nothing like a little diction to set the mood!

Clarissa Draper said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love your blog and I'm sorry I don't comment on every post. Can I make a suggestion? I would love it if you could made a blog button. I would love to feature your blog on my site. Just a suggestion.

Joanna St. James said...

I saw crib and had a flashback my son broke 3 bars in his crib when he was 11 months.

Jemi Fraser said...

It's so great how a list of words can create a mood, a feeling, an entire scene - love it! :)

Mary Witzl said...

Ah, sour milk and baby powder -- the nostalgia! I'll always remember the smell of camomile tea, which I drank by the bucketful in a vain hope to get some sleep. Your second example made me shiver just a little -- I remember that time all too clearly.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Excellent post! Thanks for all the time you put into these. You are a blessing.


Becca Puglisi said...

It's also interesting to me how a scene can evoke such polarizing emotions from different people. One person's nursery memories may be cozy and warm while someone else remembers sleep deprivation, insecurities, or even emotional trauma.

Shannon said...

Aww, that is such a cuuuuute set of descriptors.

Jan Markley said...

Nicely done!

Susanne Drazic said...

Oh, what a great list! This brings back some wonderful memories of when my son was a baby.

Beth said...

I like the cotton candy metaphor.

AubrieAnne said...

I really enjoyed the examples. For the book I am writing right now mood and tone is extremely important so they were very helpful.

AubrieAnne @


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