When decorating a baby nursery, parents need to remember that the baby will soon be crawling and walking, and the room will have to change along with the baby. Start with decor that can grow with the baby, and choose colors that will adapt well to new decor in the toddler and preschool years. When furnishing the room, opt for convertible furniture that will last beyond baby’s first year. The nursery needs to be safe, simple and pleasant, in function and design.
Start with one or two key items you want in the room–an heirloom rocking chair or a modern crib, for example. Nursery textile designer Serena Dugan advises picking out crib bedding first and designing the room around the pattern and colors. Bedding or fabric for curtains can be the jumping-off point for all other decor choices.
Select a theme or style. Baby room themes often center on nature, including clouds, trees, flowers, animals and cute insects like ladybugs or butterflies. Use a farm animal or group animal theme for variety. Or choose a decor style that does not incorporate specific imagery. The nursery style can be country, modern, Southwestern, whimsical or retro.
Choose a color palette that uses two or three colors, including one neutral. Paint colors in the blue and green families, as well as neutral colors, are calming. Warm and light yellows create a happy feeling. Mix and match paint swatches until you find the combination that works with the natural and artificial lighting in the nursery.
Consider adding wall appliques for decoration or a full wall mural in the form of a sheet of wallpaper. Wallpaper border can outline doors or windows. The border may also be used horizontally across the middle of the wall to divide the wall into sections, which is useful when incorporating multiple paint colors.
Furnish the room with basic furniture, including a bassinet and a crib or just a crib. Add a changing table with built-in storage. Bring in a glider or rocking chair for feeding time and for lulling baby to sleep. Add storage as you need it, including a toy box, bookshelf and dresser.
Change light fixtures in the room go with the decor. Install softer lighting around the room, out of reach of the baby.
Add room-darkening shades to help regulate baby’s sleep and nap schedule. Use window treatments in the form of valances, cordless blinds or curtains without ties.