Baby room ideas have come a long way since the cliched days of forget-me-not blue and sugary pink. Neutrals and barely-there pigments are favourited nowadays for their calming effect and their ease of styling as they grow up without needing to redecorate every few years.
The same applies to furniture choices – think about what you can invest in once and invest in well so that they remain a part of your child’s room regardless of age.
These seven nursery room ideas are a failsafe guide for anybody with parenthood on the horizon.
Pick a Theme For Your Nursery
Decorating ideas for a baby’s nursery commonly revolve around a central theme, which more often than not involve an animal or a special scene, such as dinosaurs, unicorns, safari or farmyard. These themes are full of fun and innocence that will fuel your baby’s imagination as they develop and serve as a storytelling tool in the room.
But they don’t need to be so overt as themed wallpaper, bedding, rugs and accessories. This way of decorating is also very common but by taking it down a few levels, the scheme will feel much more balanced, less shouty, and 100 per cent more stylish.
A nursery theme can also be centred on a colour or a design movement, just as the other rooms in your home. A pastel palette room or a Dutch-inspired interior are baby bedroom ideas that suit both boys and girls, that still theme the space, and that will inform all of your decor choices, but are at the subtler end of the spectrum.
Choose Your Textiles First
Decorating your baby room should always start with fabric. It’s tempting to think that the choice of cot or room colour is the place to begin, but if you’re drawn to a statement textile, it can be hard to retro-fit it into the room if other decisions have already taken place.
Fabric plays a major role in a nursery, because it’s the one bedroom where you’re always going to have an armchair or sofa. In other bedrooms, you might fit one in, but a nursing spot is a must. This means that you know that there’s going to be at least one sizeable piece of upholstered furniture present. A fabric blind is another popular choice in a nursery too, so there’s likely to be two key textile areas.
On a practical note, don’t forget that fabric selection in a baby’s room needs to factor in resilience. Cotton velvet may be a beautiful thing, but it won’t respond well to spills and stains. Be sure to bear in mind what textiles can cope with whatever newborn and toddler life throws its way – ask about rub counts, Scotchgard and whether the covers are removable on any upholstery.
When it comes to making your final pick, know that not all nursery room ideas feature a bold, patterned or richly textured fabric. Making a fabric choice that’s soft to the touch (like a cotton-linen blend) and soft on the eye (like hues of oatmeal and dove grey) simply means that you can add accents in other parts the decor.
Sophie Paterson’s baby girl nursery pictured above can equally be applied to a boy’s nursery scheme where she’s paired two fabrics – one sandy and one dusky pink – and repeated the same sandy tone on the blinds. They’ve given a lovely grounding to her low-key safari theme.
Invest In Comfortable Seating
This is fundamental for a newborn's baby room. It’s all too easy to focus on the cot – which is admittedly the most essential piece of furniture in the whole room – but your baby isn’t the only person who’ll be using the space day after day.
Comfort is crucial, but it’s a different sort of comfort to what you’ll have asked from any living room furniture. A baby room’s armchair needs to provide you with softness and support in equal measure for late-night feeds. An antique rocking chair may look charming, but if you only have the room for one seat, prioritise a nursing chair.
Designs with generous arms and a wraparound shape are favoured as they provide a natural resting spot for heavy arms and tired heads. But importantly, choose a chair that appeals in an aesthetic sense too so that you want it to remain a feature when your nursery transforms into a children’s bedroom in years to come.
Find The Perfect Colour Palette
Chances are, you already have some ideas when it comes to nursery room colours. Especially if you decided to do the fabric first approach, as this will very much influence which other shades you bring into the room.
Blue frequently tops the charts as a unisex nursery idea because of the connotation between the sea, the sky and their association with feelings of calmness and openness. Graduations of grey are also popular, especially when paired with a soft white or pretty pink to give them some warmth.
If you’d prefer to inject some stronger doses of colour into your nursery, look to accessories where you can easily swap them out if tastes change or if it feels too overwhelming. Laura Hammett shows examples of this in the baby room pictured above, where a sky blue wall is accompanied by a cobalt blue chevron lamp and a few near-to-neon book spines on the bookshelf.
Another way to use more playful, cheery colour is to combine pastel versions of brighter colours. Orange becomes apricot, lime becomes sage and yellow can be dialled down to primrose.
Think About Artwork for Nursery Walls
Newborns, babies and toddlers are unlikely to be an art critic audience, but making sure the nursery has artwork hanging is an important part of decorating. The same interior design principles apply here as in every other room of your home.
Art is a way to add texture to the room and some extra personality, but more than anything, it allows you to develop your chosen theme. The selection of Laura Hammett’s baby rooms are evidence to that where she’s framed illustrations of fawns, racoons, fox cubs and owlets. Similarly, Sophie Paterson’s menagerie of jungle creatures form a coordinated picture wall in her subtle safari-themed nursery.
Artwork is a particularly helpful idea in small nursery rooms where there’s little space for accessories and ornaments to dot around the room.
Avoid Clutter In Your Nursery With Useful Storage
There’s not a single room in a house that doesn’t require storage. Though tiny, babies come with all sorts of paraphernalia that asks to be stored away rather than left to clutter the space. Getting savvy with storage is an especially important idea in a box room nursery.
Research storage cots or ones with space below them to slide an under-bed basket, seek out changing tables that are effectively a chest of drawers so it has dual purpose, discover toy storage ideas and read up on nursery shelving ideas to see how much storage you can squeeze in vertically to make the most of the full expanse of your walls.
Also, consider the shape of any furniture choices. Designs with arcs, smooth curves and pieces that are slightly concave (see the chest of drawers in the Sophie Paterson image above) will help a room to feel larger.
Add a Playful Touch With Home Decor
Art is but the starting place for adding decorative touches to a baby’s room. Introducing some unique nursery accessories will both personalise the space and provide it with some interesting textures and tones to prevent the scheme from feeling one-dimensional.
Ask yourself what touches will make the room feel more appealing to both you and your baby and bring a smile to your faces, as this is a part of the home where you can exercise creativity, imagination and playfulness. Everything from monogrammed cushions in beautiful fabrics, pom-pom edged pelmets and curtains, and luxury blankets draped over an armchair to toys peeking out from curious places as though they’ve come to life will all be perfectly at home here.
For more inspiration, discover our top Children's Bedroom Ideas.