How to Design Your Nursery - Starting with the Basics

With a few insider’s tips it is easy to create a haven for your little one that will make both parent and baby happy.

Setting up the perfect nursery can be intimidating and stressful to new parents. The list of decisions seems to be unending and budget numbers can quickly escalate. With a few insider’s tips it is easy to create a haven for your little one that will make both parent and baby happy.

Follow these basic steps to create a great space while making the entire process easier.

#1 Choose a theme or statement piece to help direct your design style. It is easy to get lost in all the ideas that are on the internet. Each idea has its own source of inspiration and design value and it is hard to stay focused. The easiest way to get started is to shop at an online store, home décor store, garden store, furniture store, or department store and focus on finding one item that you absolutely LOVE.  This item needs to follow one of five basic rules: a theme you love, character you love, a mood you want to convey, a color palette you like or a true statement piece that all other purchases will follow. This focus will help you start creating your space. For a few quick ideas, check out our Woodland Nursery ideas or our Floral Nursery ideas.

#2 Start purchasing your furniture. Once you have discovered your inspiration you can build the nursery around that single concept. Select furniture that has the color palette that you like, the “feel” that you like, and is within your budget.  Pay attention to the size of your room, placement of doors and windows, and length of wall space. It’s a good idea to have those measurements with you when you go shopping so you’re not purchasing items that won’t fit or are too large for the scale of your room. The basic four items for a nursery are: a crib or sleeping space, a dresser or changing space, a glider rocker or soothing space, and a place for play/toy storage.  Additional items to consider are a side table for the parent to put drinks, snacks, or a night light next to the glider chair and additional shelving for books or toys. Do not forget a high-quality mattress that is a safe sleep space for baby too!

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#3 Once you have received your furniture it is time to choose the bedding. Select bedding that will carry on the color theme, character theme, mood, or style that you started with. Bedding can be as simple as a sheet or can be a full set.  Crib skirts, breathable bumpers, wearable blankets, and swaddles are all additional items that can add to the look of your nursery.  Quilts are great for floor play or wall décor while baby is young and serve as a great coverlet when baby gets older.


Nursery design inspo 

#4 Paint your walls. Always paint your walls after you have purchased the furniture and bedding. You may want wainscoting or paint half the wall an accent color. If you have already purchased your furniture, you can select a height of the “half wall” that will compliment your furniture. You can also compliment the tone of your furniture and match colors that are in your bedding. In short, there are hundreds of paint colors to choose from, it is much easier to find a matching paint vs finding bedding or furniture that compliments a color that you have painted first.

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#5 Create a space for changing diapers. As obvious as this sounds, creating a space for diaper changing is often overlooked and can cause frustrations later. Make sure your changing space has a large surface that allows a lot of movement, lots of storage for diapers, wipes, and baby care items and has easy access to clothing.

Nursery design inspo

#6 Add décor and storage.  Décor can be as simple or as elaborate as your personal tastes dictate. When you’re choosing décor items make sure that you can secure them safely and that they are non-toxic so your curious infant cannot injure themselves once they start grabbing, crawling and walking.  Décor items usually follow the theme or the color scape that originally inspired your design. Soft colors evoke a restful space, bolder colors evoke a playful space. Don’t forget storage for toys, books, baby care items, clothing, and shoes.

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