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Nursery Design for Modern Babies and Their Parents

Look up the latest design blogs and you see a lot of simplicity—something that doesn’t normally mesh well with the nursery. Where's the simplicity in tripping over tummy time blankets, 2AM feedings, smelling of dirty diapers, and drowning in onesies. Isn’t that what motherhood is like?

Ok, well maybe it’s not that bad, but the fact is that good modern design can mesh with your maternal side. Babies need the same things that adults need: colors, shapes and lines for visual stimulation and textures and patterns for tactile stimulation. Maybe all you need is a little inspiration to get your nursery designs started:

  1. Begin with a neutral. Nearly any color can be a neutral if it’s the correct tone or if you’re using it as a base color. We generally think of white, grey or tans as neutrals, but you can also use pinks, blues or greens as your base tones. Really like hunter green? Paint a wall your favorite shade and design the rest of the room around it, using whites, browns, and other corresponding greens to flush out a forest theme. In the picture below from the blog Russ & Camille, the nursery was left white but accent greens and golds were brought in to a stunning effect--especially those gold confetti dots!

  1. Start small. Modern design tends toward pared down and clean rather than overstuffed and cluttered, which is good for the nursery! You want your baby’s room to be a soothing place for sleeping, not over-stimulating. Simplicity of design means you can focus on a few main colors (2-3 at the most!) and let incidentals like books, toys, and pillows or blankets bring in some brightness for you. In this boy's room from Nest Design Studio (via Design to Inspire), the base is black and white, and secondary objects bring in pops of color, giving the room a graphic yet soothing effect.

Nest Design Studio

  1. Keep it simple. Life complicates itself without putting a whole lot of junk into your design. A few wall stripes, some polka dots or triangle wall decals, or just a few cute framed pictures on a white wall can be enough for you and baby to enjoy the room together. Remember that much of a nursery's life happens in a chair or on the floor, so don't forget to keep those areas in mind when you're designing, as it's easy to focus completely on the walls. Look to the August-September 2014 issue of Adore Home Magazine for more amazing ideas like these:

  1. Use textiles for texture. Sure, you’re going to get a million baby blankets and tons of clothes in all sizes from eensy-tiny to “when will baby be able to wear this?” Your power over the rugs, the upholstery and the bed-liner is key. Remember: this is baby’s first introduction to design, so if you’ve always wanted that cowhide rug, go for it! It’s something your little cowpoke could grow with. Those crib sheets may turn into toddler sheets—if they last that long—so invest wisely.
  2. Take time to plan before you paint. When else in your life are you going to have the time to nest like this, when life is just all about (ok, mostly about) baby? Think and plan, because you’re not going to want to do this again during the terrible twos. Check out some design blogs, and remember that what is good for mom and dad can be good for baby too. You’re going to be spending more (conscious!) time in this room, anyway, so make it a place you’re excited to live in as well!


Need some more visual inspiration? Head over to some of our faves:

A Beautiful Mess—wonderful DIY and design advice

Design Seeds—color combos for inspiration and Fresh Hues for browsing

August 20, 2014 by Tamara Scott

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