On a recent design consultation, I was getting a tour of my new client’s home and the spaces they needed help with. We ended the tour in an underutilized home office space. Here’s where they dropped the bomb on me: they were expecting their first baby and wanted my help to turn that room into a nursery! I was thrilled to be tapped to assist them, and I couldn’t wait to get back to my office to start pulling pieces together.
If you are preparing for a new little bundle of joy in your home, here are some things I have learned over the years about creating a calming nursery space.
1. Pick a wall color that will last beyond the baby years.
Stay away from garish or childish colors and opt for either a neutral backdrop or muted hues. For my clients, we went with a forest green on the upper third of the walls and did a white board and batten treatment to the lower portion of the walls. The result is a classic and neutral aesthetic that they’ll be able to accent with other colors in the future and won’t tire of any time soon. Instead of bubble gum pink or baby blue, go with ballet slipper blush or a white with a hint of blue.
2. You can find a cute crib on any budget.
The crib can be a design statement. Whether you want to spend around $300 or $1,000, there are many more options now than there were when I was first expecting. Online sites like Wayfair and Overstock offer tons of lower-budget options in all kinds of looks. Retailers like Crate & Kids or West Elm Kids have high-quality cribs ranging from $400-$1,300.
3. Carve out a cozy nook for nighttime feedings.
A cozy corner and comfy chair for late-night feedings are a must. You don’t have to go with a glider or rocking chair. Even a high-backed occasional chair will work. But definitely treat yourself to an ottoman or footstool so you or your partner can put their feet up while the baby feeds. Place a little side table next to the chair for bottles, burp rags and favorite bedtime books.
4. Ambient light is everything.
I don’t know anyone who enjoys a bright overhead light shining down on them in the middle of the night. A small, low-wattage table lamp on the changing surface, a decorative wall lamp next to the glider, or basic night light in a wall outlet will be kinder for both you and baby. For my clients, I chose the Lit Acrylic Moon Lamp from West Elm. It’s not only decorative but emits a dreamy glow at night.
5. Choose pieces that are versatile and will grow with your child.
If possible, pick a convertible crib that can change into a toddler bed. Some toddlers are done with the crib much sooner than you might expect (my son was crib-jumping at 20 months). Being ready to transition into that next phase is so helpful. Instead of a stand-alone changing table, if space allows, I usually suggest a dresser topped with a changing pad. For my client’s nursery rug and curtain panels, I went with gray and white patterns that are neutral enough to fit in with a new color scheme down the line.
6. Use room darkening or blackout curtains.
Both of my kids were good sleepers as babies, and while I credit most of that to the short, but torturous phase of sleep training, I also relied on a couple of environmental contributors. I used blackout curtains and a white noise machine in both kids’ nurseries and never regretted it.
Betsy Kornelis is a local decorator. Find her at paisleyandpine.com.
This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: Nursery design 101: Creating a calming nursery space