A Guide to Your Nursery’s Interior Design

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Polka dotted nursery

First things first, congratulations! You’re about to welcome a new life into the world! Whether you recently found out you’re expecting or if you’re nesting like it’s nobody’s business, we’re here to help. 

A well designed nursery room is all about knowing the right items to invest in, and a couple of design do’s and don’ts. There are best practices for picking out a theme, choosing a color palette and curating items that are thoughtful and sustainable.  

Our main focus is to help you design a room that’s comfortable for you and baby for the years to come, not just during infancy.

Baby Nursery Items to Invest in First

At Spark Interiors, there are two questions that we ask ourselves when we design each nursery space. By starting with these questions, we’re able to envision aspects of the room before we start designing. 

  • How can we best control the light, air, and noise within the room? 
  • Where will we place the most important pieces of furniture? 

Controlling the light, air, and noise of the room is important because it helps your baby sleep. The most important pieces of furniture are necessities for your baby room to be functional and comfortable. These are the items that should get your attention first. 

To control the light in the room, consider investing in a great dimmable lamp. This will help you simulate sunset light to encourage sleep and still allow you to move about the room. 

Giving the baby a room with a lot of sun can be great for afternoon play time but less great at nap time. Invest in some high quality blackout and noise proof curtains. The better the baby sleeps, the happier the baby. 

Beyond a dimmable lamp and blackout curtains, there are three staples for every nursery. Invest in a comfortable glider or rocking chair. It should be comfortable enough you might fall asleep in it. You’ll need a great crib, for obvious reasons. Lastly, invest in a high-quality changing table. We recommend looking for a changing table where the baby faces you, rather than sideways. This makes changing easier and more comfortable for you because of the ergonomic design.

All of these items take up a lot of space. Once you’ve found them, you’ll know just how much extra space you have left to work with.

Baby changing

Designing a Nursery Room with an Anchor Item

One mistake many people make is trying to design a nursery without specific inspiration. It’s important to resist the temptation to go overboard in this room and instead, stay focused. Pick a theme and stick to it. And, try to stay away from themes that feel cheesy. 

Are you unsure if your theme is cheesy? Ask yourself if the items you’ve picked for your theme scream “baby”. If so, you may want to rethink the items on your list that are on theme, and what a more sophisticated or timeless version of the theme would look like. 

Curating a whole theme can feel overwhelming, so try to find one item to base your nursery theme around. This could be a painting, a piece of artwork, a color palette, or wallpaper. Think of this item as your theme’s anchor. If something else doesn’t match or accentuate the anchor item, you’ll know it’s not a great fit for the nursery. 

As you’re collecting items, be sure to keep a clean and modern look at the forefront of your nursery planning. You don’t want to take the theme too far. Keep the room’s function in mind. The purpose of a nursery is sleeping, playing, changing and nursing. 

It should be easy to maintain, because your most important job will be spending time in the room with your baby. Don’t give yourself too much to tidy, clean, or put away. Less is more in a nursery!

Pass On Nursery Accent Walls, Create Focal Features Instead

We know we might hurt some feelings here, but accent walls are out. We’re telling you this because we love you and we want you to have the best nursery for you and your little one. So, skip the accent wall and create intentional focal features instead. 

For color, pick out a fun wallpaper or wall decals for the room instead of only applying it to one wall. Try to select a wallpaper that isn’t too busy and that will age well as your child gets older. 

You can also add dimension with a batten wall rather than a busy pattern. Or combine the best of both worlds by installing a batten wainscot with a fun wallpaper accent above it. This means less wallpaper to change out one day when your child outgrows the theme. 

Regardless of if you’re adding wallpaper or going a more neutral route, create intentional vignettes around the room. Accent a larger piece of furniture with something that has texture, a fun wall hanging you enjoy, or a small item of significance. 

When you’re finished, your eyes should be able to float about the room without everything fighting for attention. A piece or two here and there should stand out. Style each area (changing, nursing, sleeping, play, etc) with textures, patterns, and solids within your theme until the room feels balanced.

Nailing the Nursery Color Palette

Certain colors can make you feel certain feelings. Your color palette won’t only affect the color of the walls, it will also affect the mood of the room and the room’s light. For example, if you want a bright and playful room, you might decide to paint your nursery a soft yellow. If you’re not sure what mood the color you’ve picked will create, you can look up color psychology to learn more. 

We recommend exploring colors outside of the stereotypical light blue and pink. These shades scream “baby,” which means you’ll only have a handful of years before you will feel like you need to repaint. 

Or better yet, pick a neutral shade. Let certain items that are easier to swap out be the colorful accents that stand out. You won’t need to paint over neutral shades as your child gets older. You can simply swap out the focal points of the room. Plus, most babies can’t even recognize color until they’re five months old

If you want to add a little color and don’t want to paint the walls or invest in wallpaper, consider utilizing your window treatment as an accent. Changing out window treatments is an easy way to create a new theme in the room in the future.

You could also apply the same concept to a rug, blanket, or glider pattern. Any soft texture can bring in a color or pattern pop to your nursery. There’s no need to rely on the wall color.

Colorful Nursery

Sustainable Nursery Interior Design Tips

It’s important to take a sustainable approach when styling a baby room. Doing so not only protects the planet for your child’s future, but also to protect your baby’s immediate health. 

Here are a handful of tips to make your nursery sustainable. 

  • Avoid low quality products. If you’re creating a space for your baby to grow into, you want to make sure the products will stand the test of time, too. Invest in high quality products where you can. 
  • Be conscious of the materials items are made of. For items that you know won’t last (like a mobile), check if the item is compostable, recyclable or can be repurposed. 
  • Use natural textures. This can look like a wool blanket or a jute rug. Pick long lasting sustainable materials to create texture in your nursery. 
  • Pick paint with low, or no VOC. This will help protect the air quality in your baby’s room. 
  • Buy multi-purpose furniture. Find a crib that will become the baby’s first bed. That way you’ll be reducing the number of items you have to rehome or send to landfill when your child outgrows them. 

As we mention, neutral paint colors and themes that don’t scream “baby” can help your interior design last longer and avoid creating extra waste. When creating your nursery, style for function and growth. 

While you can never know who your little one is going to be when they grow up, you can make intentional design choices that will have a higher likelihood of standing the test of time.

Baby Nursery Interior Design as a Foundation

A nursery has historically been a transitional space. It’s a room where a baby lives, that grows into being a toddler and a child. At these older ages, if you aren’t intentional with your design, you’ll be starting at square one at each milestone in your child’s life.

But not anymore. Now a nursery is a starting point, a foundation for the growth your child will do there. There’s no need to paint over the powder pink walls or strip the nautical themed Mickey Mouse wallpaper. Intentional interior design allows you to recreate a room without major changes. 

Invest in creating this timeless foundation for your nursery. Avoid falling into the trap of starting from scratch every two to five years. We know it can be hard to strike a balance between a fun kid’s room and a practical space. 

But rest assured that the fun will come from the intentional time you spend with your child. Your nursery will be a space for them to play, nurse, sleep, and grow with you. 

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A bedroom door is ajar and we can see a bed, with a sign that says "Be Our Guest"