Find out about the different areas of decorating a nursery and how to approach them in the most effective way.
If you’re expecting a little one, congratulations! There’s nothing more exciting than expecting a brand new little life. You will of course, also be planning on decorating a nursery for your baby to sleep in. And hopefully, grow up and play in. You need somewhere for all their stuff (and babies have a lot of stuff!), somewhere to read to them and and change them, somewhere to dress them and somewhere peaceful for them to sleep and dream. So there’s a lot riding on this nursery. It has to be beautiful, practical, peaceful, safe, contain tons of storage, have perfect lighting for your baby – the list is endless. In this guide we’ll take a look at all different aspects of decorating a nursery. We give you a step by step guide of areas to consider, plan and think about so you can create the incredible nursery your baby deserves.
What parent doesn’t want to keep the world beautiful so when their child grows up, they can have a healthy, happy life on a healthy happy planet. With that in mind, as you’re designing your nursery it is a great idea to keep things as green as possible. Not the colour scheme of course. But in keeping things in line with protecting the planet as much as possible. As being eco-friendly is so popular now, there are more products than ever to choose from. Your paint, for example, can be VOC free which means it is free of chemicals that compromise air chemicals. This is better for your baby and for the environment. You might also want to use organic bedding, eco-friendly toys and chemical free cleaning agents. Be careful when buying products that claim to be green when in fact they really aren’t. The rules around what can be advertised as eco-friendly and natural are vague. Companies could be duping you into buying something you think is great for the planet when it really isn’t.
Overall, it really is down to how much effort you feel you want to make. You can go as far as upcycled furniture, VOC free paint and natural everything. Or you can simply try and ensure everything is as chemical free as possible. It isn’t about being perfect and every little does help when it comes to protecting the planet.
The lighting in a nursery is so important because you need lighting in lots of different ways to make the space usable. You need safety lighting, sleepy lighting, practical lighting – you need almost any time of lighting you can think of.
A really good approach to start with, is to avoid harsh lighting at all costs. Primarily it always looks terrible anyway, but in a room for your baby it could actually over-stimulate them and disturb their natural sleep cycles. All lighting should be diffused and soft, with no exposed bulbs or strips lights.
You’ll also want to make sure your baby has lighting not only on the walls but on the ceiling. After all they look up at it a lot. Star lights, soft sky lights and gentle lighting on the ceiling is a wonderful idea for a dreamy effect on the room. For practical times, you’ll need more lighting than this though. So add plenty of lighting options so you can make the room as bright as you need it. Lamps, wall lights, recessed floor tile lights – place them so every area (especially a changing table!) is lit well and can be made more or less bright depending on the level of lighting you need. You will want that same level of control over natural lighting. So invest in blinds and curtains that are child-safe, providing various levels of sunlight exposure and shade, including blackout curtains for daytime napping.
There is room for creativity with your lighting of course. But only when the practical lighting needs have been sorted out, because they are what you will really notice at 3am when you are changing a messy nappy and desperately need to see what you’re doing!
The flooring in your nursery is really important. It will need to be extremely durable, safe and it will need to be easy to clean..This is particularly true during the toddler years and through to your child being more grown up and using the room as a playroom. It does need a lot of thought because it isn’t cheap to re-floor a room. Luckily there are lots of options to consider:
Carpet is the most obvious choice. It looks lovely, it feels great and it acts as a protective layer for when your baby is starting to move around on the floor. But remember that carpet can be hard to clean and isn’t particularly hypoallergenic. Also it may contain chemicals that affect the breathing quality of the air in the room. If you do opt for carpet go for natural materials like wool, and consider a short pile for an easy to clean surface. You could also place a rug in the area most walked on to protect the carpet from wear.
Wooden floors always look stunning, and they are incredibly durable. They can keep the nursery looking great long after baby has grown up and even moved out. It also never ever loses its modern style appeal. The only problem is it is expensive, so it is a real investment. Wood effect porcelain tiles are a practical and economical choice.
Stone floor tiles with underfloor heating make for a beautiful flooring option, especially if the nursery is downstairs. You can place a rug over the majority of the room if you are concerned about floor hardness. It is a great option for particularly modern homes and for people who want to maintain an easy to clean space. Slate effect porcelain tiles
and marble effect porcelain tiles have attractive finishes also. Non slip flooring is very important for those first steps so consider non slip floor tiles.
Cork is having a bit of a ‘moment’ due to designers catching on to how fantastic a material it is. It is naturally hypoallergenic and it also has antibacterial properties. It has a softness to it and a warmth to it and if it is organic, it doesn’t contain any nasty chemicals either. Best of all, the material is extremely eco-friendly too.
If you’re looking for a cost effective option, laminate is an excellent choice. It is so easy to install and you can get it in tons of different colours and styles so there will be something to suit your taste.
Designing a nursery is never easy because so many emotions are involved. This will be the room your newborn comes home to, it has to be perfect.
The design part of decorating the nursery is the fun part. Tough because it is where all your dreams, creativity and emotions can splurge out onto your mood board or into your pinterest folder, starting the process of creating the perfect nursery. When starting the planning process, take a look at these different areas of design planning to help ensure you’re looking at all aspects of the process effectively:
It is so important to have a theme for the nursery, even if the theme is loose. This will make your plans much more cohesive, together and focused which will result in a beautiful room.
Again, like a theme, having a colour scheme will keep things much more cohesive. A good approach is having a neutral base like grey for example, and then a colour, like pink for example as your ‘bold’. You could then have a pattern on top of those which will pick out your chosen colours.
You will want all kinds of textures in the room, like soft baby bedding, maybe a feeding chair, cushions, rugs, curtains etc. This is something to focus on as much as your theme and colour scheme because you could fall in love with a blanket or bedding first which dictates the colours in the room. Matching textures and textiles after you have decorated a room is actually much harder than vice versa.
Have a focal point in the room such as a bay window, the cot, a fireplace – anything to dress up and bring the eye to as a main feature.
Create a sanitising area, a breastfeeding area, a changing area and so on. Think about all those practical needs when designing the nursery so you don’t end up with something beautiful but unusable.
It could be that designing your nursery is too much for you. You might be busy with your career, busy with other children, or just feel you don’t have the skills to do the room justice. There’s nothing wrong with admitting defeat, especially if you do want your nursery to be perfect and you want someone with the skills to give you that. To enlist the perfect person to help with decorating your nursery make sure you:
Most importantly make sure you take your time with the process of choosing a designer as it is an important decision, and most interior designers charge a good amount for their services so you need to be sure you’re putting your money to good use.
Of all the different elements to consider when designing a nursery, safety is the number one priority because all any parent wants is for their child to be safe. Safety comes in many forms with children because they are completely dependant on you and their environment for their safety. Everything they touch, lie on, put in their mouth, everything in their reach, that affects their senses – all relates to their safety. It is an area that requires a lot of research, more than We can place in this one guide. Instead, please take a look at these articles and consult qualified organisations or professionals for further advice:
Designing and decorating a nursery can be stressful but it is also something that should be fun. As your bump grows and you change the nursery bit by bit take pictures and document the process. Have a little book writing down why you chose each colour or design as though you’re writing it for your baby to read, IE ‘I chose a puppies and kittens theme because I wanted you to feel protected by little furry friends and to love animals from a young age like we do’. This is a lovely gift to give your child when they are older, as it shows how excited you were for their arrival and how much you already loved them before they were even born.
Decorating a nursery is a practical process, but it is also a way to make memories and to funnel your love for your baby whilst they grow inside your tummy. When you’re pregnant there are so many emotions flowing, a nursery is a really good focus and project to have during pregnancy so there’s an outlet for emotion that directly benefits your newborn. Enjoy yourself and enjoy creating something beautiful and thoughtful for this tiny person you’re about to meet, and nurture and care for, filling that special room up with love.