Nursery Progress: Chair Hunting (& How To Test For Lead!)

The exact weekend after we wrapped up our big bathroom makeover, we hightailed it out of town. It wasn’t that we were over staring at our new bathroom (we actually found ourselves going into the room just to ogle our newly spruced surroundings) but it was more like we needed a self-imposed “vacation” after such hard work. Especially my main tile man John. He really deserved a nice little weekend getaway. So we drove five hours up to the family beach house in scenic Rehoboth, Delaware (we know it’s weird to go to the beach in the dead of winter, but we love how quiet and sleepy the off-season is… and we always seize the opportunity to play a lot of board games, eat some great home cooked meals, and watch hours of Law & Order and rental movies that we’ve been meaning to see for months). We usually also make time to swing through the outlets ($9 shoes? yes please!) and this year we even got to grab some cute baby girl clothes on the cheap.

John also initiated the “nursery chair search” since he reasoned that we might find something comfy and perfect for the corner of our modestly sized nursery while at the beach since the area is pretty much brimming with home decor shops, thrift stores, and even salvage places like this one that we always drop in on. At first we didn’t have much luck when it came to finding something soft and cushy to stick in the corner of our nursery for late night feedings and general baby gazing, but we did find a pillow that looked just like Burger…

Not to be deterred, we found the strength to put down the funny little chihuahua accessory (although somehow we think our little girl is going to be obsessed with her furry big brother so a pillow in his likeness would always be welcome in her room) and continued our search. After dropping in on about six to eight places without any success (they either had inflated beach-front price tags or stiff uncomfortable chair options) we found ourselves walking into the All Saints’ Parish Thrift Shop. And that, my friends, is where we hit the motherlode.

But perhaps we should explain what it was that we were looking for in a nursery chair. You see, at first we had looked into gliders, and while many moms swear they’re the best thing about being a parent, we’re actually surrounded by people (John’s two sisters and one of my good friends) who have regular ol’ chairs in their nurseries- and they all love the cozy and inviting options they chose. No regrets among any of ’em. So after looking at a bunch of gliders that didn’t really do it for us from an aesthetic point of view (or boasted an $800 price tag when they did) we quickly moved on to the idea of a comfy chair and ottoman combo. I guess this is another one of those personal mom decisions that differs for everyone, but I knew as long as I could put my feet up and sink into something comfy I’d be a-ok.

Plus we’re pretty good at evaluating how we’ll use our house, and we knew that I would do the majority of my nursing on the sofa with the help of a Boppy. Since I work from a small desk in the den (which is also where our only TV lives and is strategically placed right off of the kitchen) we recognized that between checking the blog, watching some tube, and generally hanging out with the beanette in her first few weeks and months, beyond midnight feedings I probably wouldn’t be spending much time in the nursery chair (I definitely didn’t see myself walking back across the house into the nursery every three or four hours for feedings). So it really helped to realize that we’d use the chair in the nursery probably once or twice a day, but it wouldn’t be my primary nursing location (which made paying $800 for a chic little modern glider or even a big overstuffed chair seem like more of a waste the longer we thought about it).

And of course as paranoid and clueless first-time parents-to-be, we like to do our research to put our nervous minds at ease. So we made a few calls to all those sisters/friends who had babies in the last year and asked what they liked about their non-gliding nursery chairs. Everyone kept saying the same thing: just get something comfortable and add an ottoman. And don’t go armless (aka: be seduced by a sweet slipper chair) since it’s nice to have some “chair boundaries” to keep the Boppie or your grip on the bambino a bit more contained (so you’re not straining to hold your arms in a certain position while the chair provides no support whatsoever). Of course we realize that many of you out there might have a different “must have” chair criteria, but we felt good with the comfy and supportive shape/no-lack-of-arms advice that we got from our friends and family so that’s what we went with. I guess that’s one of the signs that we’re getting ready to be parents: we did some research and made a decision that seemed right for us. And with that knowledge, we confidently embarked on our chair hunt to end all chair hunts.

Which takes us back to the All Saints’ Parish Thrift Shop. We walked in and immediately saw the most cozy and enveloping egg chair. The bucket-like construction hugged us like no other chair we tried (and we must have sat in literally 30 chairs that day) and although it hardly looks plush and inviting (pictures don’t do it justice) this baby practically conforms to your body. So much so that although John wasn’t convinced by my blissed out expression while I sat in the chair, once he took it for a spin himself he declared that he never wanted to stand up again. Victory! Plus the small scale size is perfect for our smaller-than-average nursery and it’ll be even more heavenly when we give it a little love to get it looking brandy new again. Especially when we add a fresh coat of paint, a soft little lumbar pillow and a nice ottoman for even more bliss-inducing comfort (if that’s even possible). And the price tag? Twenty beans. Sold!

The only issue we had with the chair was that it was vintage. The shopkeeper assumed it was actually an original from the 60’s/70’s thanks to the shape and the construction, so naturally we had a major lead paint concern on our hands. Not to worry, we knew we could use a soy-based wet stripper to remove the paint if it did contain lead, and we actually had a strong suspicion that the chair was painted way after it was made (we thought it was probably left au-naturale for a while and then painted white within the last ten years with more modern lead-free paint). But when it comes to our baby bean, nothing but the cold hard facts can ease our nervous-new-parent minds… so we headed to Home Depot and grabbed a less-than-six-dollar lead test kit called Lead Check.

After carefully reading the directions we learned that all we had to do was snap the lead stick two times and shake it a bit (we heard some goo get released, almost like snapping a glow stick) and then rub it for about 30 seconds on an area of the chair with a bit of a paint chip (just so in case the paint was “sealed” with some sort of poly that didn’t have lead we could still access the paint beneath it and get a true read).

So I gently rubbed side to side on a few different chipped areas of the painted chair- and a small dribble of yellow goo came out which I massaged into the chair with the tip of the test stick for around 30 seconds a pop. We even checked the legs, which appeared to be unpainted but you never know (you can reuse the stick in a bunch of different places as long as it doesn’t indicate that there’s a lead reaction, at which point the test is dunzo).

The directions explained that varying amounts of lead could be detected by this method, so a soft pink hue on the chair or the tip of the lead stick would indicate trace amounts of lead while a brighter pink tip of the stick or mark on the chair would warn us of higher concentrations of lead. And lookie here- not even a smidge of pink. In fact the tip of the stick and the chair stayed soft yellow- the exact same color of the goo when it doesn’t have any reaction at all. Happy happy joy joy. No lead!

Of course we still plan to give our chair a nice fresh coat of no-VOC paint (along with those stark black legs while we’re at it) but for the time being we can’t bring ourselves to break out the paint because we enjoy sitting in the chair so much that the whole waiting-for-it-to-dry thing might kill us. Seriously, when the house is quiet and one of us is wondering where the other one is, we can always be found sitting in The Chair. Sometimes even in the dark with our feet up. It’s the most comfortable thing in the world, I’m telling you. Pictures just don’t do it justice.

And just to be sure that our $20 steal was up to the breast feeding challenge, we actually had John’s sister come over and nurse her three month old baby boy in our chair (of course we closed the door while she put the chair to work and we fed her lunch afterwards to show our true appreciation). The verdict: she proclaimed that it was very cozy and even mentioned that the arm support was perfect. And she’s a mom of three so her endorsement means everything to us.

So in the end we definitely could never have guessed that we wouldn’t end up with an overstuffed arm chair or a glider in our nursery but we’re so excited about our comfy and supportive $20 thrift store find.

And yes I was jealous of John while I snapped these pictures because he was the one enjoying the bliss that is our new nursery chair while I slaved away taking photos…

Stay tuned for updated pics of our new chair once we get the chance to paint it (and add a plush little lumbar pillow). Until then you can find me sitting in the nursery with the lights off and my feet up. Life is good when you’re pregnant.

But enough about our groovy vintage lead-free twenty dollar chair. Do you guys have a favorite place to sit in the house? Do you have any cheap-o thrift store scores that you’re dying to brag about? Does anyone else vacation in Rehoboth? Did anyone purchase that adorable chihuahua pillow that we sadly put back on the shelf? Spill the beans.

Psst- Wanna see our nursery progress from the very beginning? Here’s our painting post, our big shopping spree, our crib hunting rundown, and our curtain-making tutorial.


  1. Krista D. says

    Living South-Central Pennsylvania as I do, I’ve been to Rehobeth numerous times, but never realized it was such a thrift store mecca! I can’t wait to go again now!

    I love the chair you guys picked out – it looks perfect in BGP’s (baby girl P) room. I went with a glider for our nursery, but was able to score one for only $75 on Craigslist. It’s one of the few baby items that I STILL use every. single. day. – my kids are 3 and 2! They both loved the swaying motion to help put them to sleep, and now they both pile on my lap before bed so I can read them a few books and sing them a few songs. I hope your chair brings you as wonderful memories as mine has.

  2. Rebecca Foxworth says

    I can’t claim to have found our favorite second-hand find. Six years ago we moved into a home with a ginormous living room. Five years ago, we still had tiny little couches floating around in it. Then my mother called from a yard sale…she found a white leather sofa being sold for $100 by a couple converting their family room to a bedroom for unexpected twins…did we want it? Imagine our surprise when she showed up with an off-white (thank goodness…goes well with our cream, tan, brown, and red great room) sectional that exactly matches the shape of our living room. 22 feet of creamy light leather which we never would have chosen for ourselves but would choose again in an instant for its kid- and dog-friendly properties. As an added bonus, the end closest to the television has a chaise! Shortly after we got it, a family bout with the flu found all four family members plus the dog stretched out and sleeping on the 22-foot marvel. And an invitation to friends to come soon for a movie-night prompted the husband to give our sofa the once-over and ask, “But…where will we SIT?” Oh, ha-ha. The best thing about the couch? My mother never asked me to reimburse the $100!

  3. says

    I’m surprised by the chair choice – while you say it is comfy and has arm support it doesn’t really look like it would. Sorry, not a fan of the chair/ottoman choice but as you say – everything is subjective so enjoy. :)

    I do, however, love the look of some of the white furniture outside of the store!

  4. Megan says

    Love the chair! (and the pillow you had the willpower to leave behind!)

    No babies for us yet, but we do have a comfy chair with a (free) story! My grandmother originally purchased a big comfy recliner for my grandfather roughly around 1990. He didn’t care for it much but all of his sons and sons in law fought over the chance to sit in it at every family gathering. After he, and later my grandmother, passed away, my dad won the battle for the recliner and it went to my parents’ house. Seldom used in a corner of the bedroom, when I moved out they let me take the chair.

    Now, 20 years, two apartments and two houses later (and in remarkably good condition), it sits in our living room and is STILL the most comfortable chair we have ever owned. So much so that my sweet (60 lb) dog takes advantage of my love for cuddling and, although not allowed on furniture as a rule, finds her way onto my lap when I sit in it!

  5. Lisa in Seattle says

    My favorite place to sit is the recliner we bought some years ago when I was having surgery and couldn’t lay flat for 10 days. It’s huge (it looked fine in the cavernous store, but when we brought it home it scared all the other furniture to death) and ugly as a homemade fence, but *man* is it comfy. Last year I lived in it for almost a month. Now my husband wants to buy a Stressless chair, but the price tag makes me hyperventilate.

  6. Sam says

    Just my two cents, I love the look of the chair but…. head support becomes really important for those late night feedings. I don’t know how many times I fell asleep nursing, my little girl ate every 2 hours for many month, and I don’t think I could have functioned without it.

    • says

      Hey Sam,

      We were actually advised from two separate people that chairs with too much head support can encourage you to fall asleep while breastfeeding (as you mentioned) which terrifies me as a new mom to be since I don’t want to drop the baby! So in our case we actually intentionally avoided it!


  7. Kristi says

    Great choice! Snagged a similar style chair at Target 4 1/2 years ago for $6 and have breastfed 3 babies in it. (Yeah, we’re pretty busy around here.) So comfortable and no arm rests to bump your lil’ beans head like I’ve found glider arms to do.

  8. says

    Aww I like it! And especially the price. It will look so cute with a fresh coat of paint. Is that the ottoman you’re going to keep? By the way, I love that woven ottoman, but I am so cheap that I have a hard time shelling out even $40 for one (I think that’s how much they are at Target). I can’t wait to see what you do with the chair!

    • says

      Hey Amanda,

      Yup, we’re definitely planning to keep that ottoman since we already owned it from when it used to live in that room back when it was the third bedroom. We think it’ll definitely come in handy since we can stash a bunch of toys inside of it (the top is hinged). We actually got it 50% off at Michael’s a while ago so that’s one place to look. Hope it helps!


  9. says

    Looks comfortable and stylish!

    On the subject of nursing pillows, here’s one that I liked even better than the Boppy:

    It’s easier to sit all the way back in a chair because the back wraps around your back, and the sides are not as chunky as the Boppy. It also has a built in back support. You could take the cover off and wash it, too.

  10. Bailey says

    What a cool chair! I don’t have any kids yet, but my mom still has the wooden rocking chair that she had in each of my brother and my nurseries. It still has teeth marks from the oldest kid standing on the side of the chair to peer into mom’s lap at the younger sibling. It holds so much love and memories for us through our childhood that today my brother and I have a silly joke that to see who actually gets the rocker for our own future nurseries- the first one to have a kid gets that chair!

  11. says

    Good for you for not buying into the baby hype. You don’t need everything the advertisers would have you believe! We got a glider, but you’re right, I only use it at night and would be just as happy with something stationary. We didn’t get a “nursing glider” so I don’t sit as far forward on the chair as would be comfortable for trying to stand up while not waking up a sleeping newborn. But it still works for us.

  12. LauraC says

    Good for you! If you love it, that’s all that matters. When I had our daughter, I was seduced by the comfy, wonderful chair in the BabiesRUs nursing room, but just didn’t want to shell out $500 for something I wouldn’t want to keep after our family was done. So I got a cheapo glider from K-mart ($80) and was sure I’d take it back because how could an $80 chair be comfortable? Well . . . I loved it. Not to say it was $500 comfortable, but WELL worth the 80 bucks. I nursed our daughter comfortably in it for over a year. We still rock in it before bed, and I expect to nurse her brother in it soon! Now, it is ugly, and I hate the fabric, but it does “go” with the nursery decor (green and light brown). Oh, and another advantage to not liking the fabric, was that I didn’t care if it got spit-up on it! I hope you enjoy your chair as much as I have mine. Oh, and the advice you got regarding arms – bullseye! Arms are a must-have! (I tried a boppy once or twice and didn’t like it at all, so never used mine, but I think I’m just weird in that department.)

  13. anu says

    good for you guys for not folding to the glider pressure! we went for a rocker from room and board that was on clearance and haven’t regretted it at all. i do have to say that one thing that one thing you *might* miss is having somewhere to rest your head with that adorable egg chair. something to think about – it seems that you guys are flexible and realize that you can’t know exactly what you’ll need until bgp arrives!

    i second the my brest friend recommendation – way better than the boppy for the first months.

  14. says

    I live in Delaware (about 90 minutes north of Rehoboth) and my husband and I go to Rehoboth all the time! We dream of having access to a “family beach house”, but we’ve rented a few times and we’ve also just done day trips. We shop the outlets all year, we eat Grotto Pizza, and I highly recommend that you got to Saketumi (on Rt. 1) for sushi. They have great happy hour specials (half price sushi – and you can still eat my favorite sweet potato tempura, even though you are expecting)! Please check it out next time you’re in town. Thanks for showing Delaware some love!

    • says

      Oh that sounds amazing Keeley! Thanks so much for the recommendation. Sushi is one of my hugest prego cravings and I love veggie rolls like sweet potato tempura since any raw fish are off limits for now!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *