9 Designers Share How to Design a Nursery That Will Age With Your Child

  • Copy By: Jaclyn Voran
  • Feature Image By: Spacecrafting Photography for Bria Hammel Interiors

Why is it that nine months of pregnancy feels like an eternity, but we blink an eye and suddenly we’re crying in our baby’s closet as we’re packing away the tiny clothes they’ve already outgrown? While they’re supposed to outgrow their clothes, one thing you probably don’t want them outgrowing so fast is their nursery. At least, I know I don’t.

And let’s face it: between round-the-clock feedings, rocking, reading, playing and everything in between, a nursery is a place you’re going to spend a lot of time—so you should love it. Creating a space that’s both mom-friendly and baby-appropriate can be done.

I asked nine designers for tips on how to design a nursery that will age with your child—read on for their best advice.

 

1. Make It Yours

Yes, it’s a room for the baby, but mom will clock some serious hours there too. If it’s a room you love, you’re less likely to feel the need to redesign it a few years down the road.

“If you have a color palette that you already love for your own personal aesthetic, there is no reason you can’t continue that into your nursery,” said Lauren Svenstrup, founder of Studio Sven. “But let loose and take yourself a little less seriously than you would in your living room.”

 

Yes, it’s a room for the baby, but mom will clock some serious hours there too. If it’s a room you love, you’re less likely to feel the need to redesign it a few years down the road.

 

Founder of Weltner Interiors, Sarah Weltner Chaffee, explained that the nursery should feel like it’s still a part of your home, not an entire space filled with all kiddie items. “Maybe pull a piece of art you love from a different part of the house, and let that define the color palette for the nursery. We built [our baby’s] nursery around a piece of art we loved,” Chaffee said. When it comes to furniture, she recommended buying pieces that you would want to put in any room in your house, not just a child’s room.

Your nursery is whatever you want it to be, Founder of Bria Hammel Interiors, Bria Hammel, told me. “Whether your home is light and airy or dark and moody, you can carry those themes into the space and make small décor adjustments to make it more age-appropriate,” she said. “Above all things, the space should be comfortable and functional. After you’ve tackled those priorities, have fun with the rest of it.”

 

Source: @thesimplewhitehome via #sharetheeverymom

 

2. Don’t Use a Theme

Maybe it’s just me, but I felt like everyone asked me what my nursery theme was when I was expecting. All nine designers I talked to recommended avoiding using a theme. Why? Because themes that work for babies often need to be updated for toddlers, which need to be updated for kids, which need to be updated for … you get the point.

“A nursery doesn’t need a theme such as cars, boats, and balloons,” Denese Butler, founder of The Perfect Vignette and mom of two, said. “It should feel cohesive, warm, and inviting. One of my favorite go-tos is black and white. Black and white can be combined with your preferred accent colors—such as soft purples, yellows, and blues to name a few—giving you a unique fresh and timeless color palette.”

 

All nine designers I talked to recommended avoiding using a theme. Why? Because themes that work for babies often need to be updated for toddlers, which need to be updated for kids, which need to be updated for … you get the point.

 

Founder of Moore House Interiors, Ashley Moore, suggested theming a room from an aesthetic perspective and avoiding a super-specific or pop culture theme. “Consider aesthetic themes like modern farmhouse—that way you’re spending money on décor that you can use for years, rather than shopping for pieces a child might grow out of quickly,” Moore said. “A pretty pastel painting in playful colors that can go anywhere in your home will be a better investment than a framed Buzz Lightyear poster.”

If you do want to use a theme, keep it broad and use it in small doses, founder of Michelle Lisac Interior Design, Michelle Lisac, told me. Animals, florals, and nature-inspired themes like ocean, stars, or trees tend to be easier to grow with your little one. “Any theme can work as long as you add it in small doses and don’t go overboard with it,” Lisac said. “If you’re committed to choosing a theme, then use it in the pieces that can be easily replaced like art or bedding, not the main focuses of the nursery.”

 

3. Shop Outside the Baby Section

It might not seem like it now, but in the scheme of things, the baby phase goes by so, so fast. Maggie Griffin, founder of Maggie Griffin Design, suggested finding pieces that aren’t necessarily “baby” but can be used throughout the years.

“When it comes to designing a nursery, we stick to our tried-and-true formula: everyone needs a pretty crib, a nice dresser, and a comfy rocker. These are pieces that can be repurposed as they grow,” Griffin said. “Look for patterns that are soft and subtle, but still kid-friendly. Soft fabrics, gentle textiles, and happy patterns will make it a family-friendly space for everyone.”

Founder of Kira David Design, Kira Obermeier said she loves working in a vintage dresser as a changing table to add some “age” to the room. Any vintage piece is a guaranteed way to keep the room from feeling too babyish but still charming—think vintage dresser as changing table, vintage chair reupholstered and converted into a glider, vintage stool as an ottoman.

 

Any vintage piece is a guaranteed way to keep the room from feeling too babyish but still charming—think vintage dresser as changing table, vintage chair reupholstered and converted into a glider, vintage stool as an ottoman.

 

Just make sure to think through the functionality of pieces outside of the baby section, Svenstrup recommended. “There is a reason that changing tables are all around the same height and size. Stand at the [piece you’re considering for a] changing table, and imagine that you are changing 10 diapers a day. Is that going to be comfortable for you? Where are you going to keep the diapers and wipes in arm’s reach? Is the dresser deep enough to fit a changing pad [on top]?”

 

Source: Spacecrafting Photography for Bria Hammel Interiors

4. Invest in the Furniture

Perhaps the biggest key to designing a nursery that you won’t be redesigning shortly down the road is the furniture. You want to think well past the baby phase and look at furniture through a lens of what will last through even the teenage years.

You want to think through how you see the room functioning in the next 5-10 years, Butler suggested. “My boys are hard on furniture, so I gravitate towards pieces that are made well. Sometimes, it’s worth the splurge if you can’t seem to find what you’re looking for at a lower price point.”

 

You want to think well past the baby phase and look at furniture through a lens of what will last through even the teenage years.

 

“Don’t be afraid to purchase adult-size pieces—your child will grow into them in no time, and they keep the room from feeling disjointed from the rest of the home,” Kira Obermeier said. “I’d rather see a client invest in a dresser that can age with the child, rather than something that feels childish. Then, work in your age-appropriate elements through décor: a sweet animal print or a rocking horse works so well with a more adult backdrop.”

As part of your investment in the furniture, don’t forget that babies do a lot of spitting up, pooping, drooling, and other not-so-clean things, which is why Chaffee recommended getting anything you have upholstered in an indoor/outdoor fabric. That way, you don’t have to be so concerned about spills or spit up or any of the other yucky things that inevitably happen in a nursery.

Or consider a slipcover on a piece like a glider, since it can be easily laundered or changed throughout the years, Pamela DiCapo, founder of Lauren Alexandra, suggested.

Along the same lines, consider weathered woods for dressers and nightstands so they won’t show scratches or stains as easily, Hammel suggested. And of course, anchor everything to the wall for the safety of your little one.

 

5. Start With Neutrals and Add Pops of Color

“If the foundation of the design is neutral you can’t go wrong,” Hammel said. Neutral wallpaper, furniture, and lighting fixtures, which also tend to be the most expensive items, will work well as your child matures and save you money in the long-run.

Light grays and warm whites work well in nurseries, Lisac said. Or if you’re really looking to incorporate color into some of the base items or walls, opt for colors that aren’t very saturated, Obermeier suggested. Grayed-out or muted tones work well to keep the nursery from feeling like a kindergarten classroom.

 

Neutral wallpaper, furniture, and lighting fixtures, which also tend to be the most expensive items, will work well as your child matures and save you money in the long-run.

 

Bedding, art, and accessories are the perfect places to bring in a touch of whimsy and pops of color, and mirrors will brighten up a space and make it feel larger. “Greenery, chunky throw blankets, rugs, sweet ruffles, and textiles are all great ways to add interest to the room,” said Moore. “Keeping patterns and textures soft and cozy will help create a warm, comfortable space that isn’t stuffy or childish. Add a little texture with a sisal rug layered under a fluffy shag rug for playtime. Pale pink or dusty blue linen drapery will provide texture in colors that are sophisticated yet baby-friendly.”

 

Source: Spacecrafting Photography for Bria Hammel Interiors

 

6. Figure It Out as You Go

Here’s the deal: getting ready for a new baby is a lot of work in a lot of ways. It’s overwhelming. Don’t stress yourself out about making sure the nursery is absolutely perfect before the baby arrives. If you do, you’ll probably end up making rushed impulse purchases that you regret down the line.

 

Don’t stress yourself out about making sure the nursery is absolutely perfect before the baby arrives. If you do, you’ll probably end up making rushed impulse purchases that you regret down the line.

 

“You can curate the room as the kid gets older and you learn about their personality,” Chaffee said. “Don’t feel like you have to have every little piece figured out—it’s fun to have the room evolve with them as they get older. You can always order things after the baby comes.”

How I wish someone had given me this advice before I bought a few pieces that I now wish I had just waited on to find the right ones.

“You are designing a room for a person you haven’t met yet,” Svenstrup said. “You have no idea what their personality is. Allow yourself some flexibility to figure out what works for you and your baby. Chances are that your little one is sleeping in your bedroom for the first few months anyway.”

In the end, you want it to be a room you both feel happy in, so take your time to get it just right. After all, as Obermeier explained, “The baby doesn’t care whether the walls are painted yellow or gray—they’re just happy to be at home in mom’s arms.”

And that’s the truth.

 

Read More: 19 Adorable Etsy Prints to Fit Any Nursery Theme

 

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