Using Neutrals in the Nursery
Not into decorating with bright colors? Fear not, you can still design a nursery with neutrals and have it appear nice and welcoming. There are many reasons that interior designers love working with neutrals and find them to be fabulous in children’s spaces. “Parents often shy away from neutrals in the nursery, worried that infants need more color to create a stimulating environment,” notes Tiffani Baumgart of Tiffani Baumgart Interiors. “However earth-based tones in a baby room creates a soothing, well balanced and can even evoke purity in a welcoming space.”
Brooke Lawer of Haven by Brooke notes that she typically uses neutrals in nurseries. “It creates a calm, cozy environment so important for little ones, and it also allows the child to grow into the space,” she says.
Read on for some pro tips and decorating suggestions below!
Textural pieces will add lots of life to your nursery. “I like to set the foundation with a variety of wood tones that complement each other,” Lawer says. She recommends pairing Nestig’s Wave Crib in Natural Wood with a natural wood dresser (such as the Wave Dresser), which can double as a changing table. Then, add a rocking chair in a washable oatmeal linen. “These are classic pieces that will work in the home well past the baby stage,” Lawer says. Megan Pisano of Megan Pisano Design is also a fan of these tones, noting, “Woods in the furnishings bring warmth and interest while keeping the soothing vibe.”
Other textural items to include in the nursery? “A soft, felt mobile, artwork that tells a story and of course, a washable rug because while nurseries are the sweetest spaces, babies are messy,” Lawer says. Try the Castle Rug and Swan Mobile, for example. And on that note, don’t underestimate white tones. “White is the all star color in a baby nursery,” says Allison Prior of Allison Prior Interiors. “It’s so calming and can be used in flooring, walls and soft materials for the most gorgeous blank slate.”
Many parents consult designers in order to develop ideas for creating a nursery that will stand the test of time. “The most common requests from my clients would be finding pieces that are practical, durable, and timeless,” says Virginia McCary of Virginia McCary Design. “We want it to grow with [the child] as they grow.”
And designers are more than happy to oblige. “I love this concept because it calls for a more sophisticated room filled with pieces that will last over time,” says Lila Malone of Lila Malone Interiors. “It makes for a beautiful space that Mom and Dad will enjoy spending endless hours in as well.”
Not sure what specific pieces to buy for a nursery that will grow with your child? Mariel Goodson of Brass Hill Design shares some helpful tips. “We’re talking convertible cribs that can become big kid beds, removable changing table toppers that transform chic standalone dressers into diaper stations, and rocking gliders that become stationary reading chairs as clients move from bottles to books,” she comments. Don’t forget about the floors, either. Alexis Warren of Alexis Warren Designs says that when parents are thinking toward the future, “The most common item on their must have list is durable fabrics and rugs that can easily be cleaned and won't be ruined the first time their child spits up!”
When we think of neutrals, we oftentimes picture solids, but there are lots of wonderful patterned neutral designs that can shine in Baby’s space. “Using monochromatic hues doesn’t mean your nursery has to be boring,” shares Hannah Skaar of August Jane Interior Design. “Use fun, whimsical patterns in neutral colors to complement the rest of the simple yet chic color palette.” She’s partial to the Whirl Wallpaper in Clay, which features a darling bird design.
Shades are practical yet also a way to tie your nursery design together. As Lawer states, “Blackout shades or curtains in a burlap color will add lots of warmth and more texture, while making sure the baby—and mommy—get all the sleep they can!”
So as to ensure your child’s nursery still appears sweet and playful, round out the look with smaller accents that are colorful. “Balance it with something a little more kid friendly-like some cute wall art or photography,” suggests Elizabeth Stamos of Elizabeth Stamos Design. “And always have some cute wooden blocks on hand and cozy stuffed animals for styling the rocker with!” Lawer likes to add accents that are black, dark brown, or navy in color. “These can be added in the artwork, or even the frame, in the tones of the rug, a lamp, or in a throw blanket on the rocking chair,” she says. “These small touches add depth and contrast, making the neutrals stronger.”
Placing plants (that are kept out of Baby’s reach) in the nursery will help bring a neutral space to life, Baumgart notes. “Adding in plants provides a way to stay within nature and get that perfect pop of green,” she explains.