It can be hard to pull off so many contrasting colors in one space, but if there was ever a case to be made for going all out with rainbow hues, this nursery would be it.
Kelly and Jeff of design blog Studio DIY designed the room for their new son Arlo. Luckily, the space had pretty good bones and needed minimal work—a fresh coat of paint was all it took to brighten up the nursery and provide a clean backdrop to the colorful accents.
“What we loved most about this room in the house was the character,” says Jeff. “There’s this amazing built-in ledge that runs along one entire side of the space and rounded walls near the entrance to the room that are just the coolest. The house was built in 1938, so the original details were very fun to incorporate into the design.”
Playful and vibrant, the room is full of sentimental touches. A gallery wall of art, photography, and little mementos dresses up the space, with several of the pieces created by Kelly and Jeff’s friends and family. Other items, like handmade stuffed animals, were collected through the couple’s travels. A color-coordinated bookcase showcasing several favorites is a stand-out feature and the type-A decorator’s dream.
In contrast with the bright colors, most of the furniture is classic and understated—built to last for years. The couple teamed up with Land of Nod to outfit the nursery, and selected durable yet stylish pieces like a dresser-turned-changing table and a retro mint leather rocking chair.
[In this image: Land of Nod Rainbow Throw Pillow, $29; Land of Nod “The Bright Side” banner, $14.97; Banquet Neon Pink Heart Print via Etsy, $50; Brite Lite Tribe Custom Neon Sign, $575; Land of Nod Everly Retro Rocking Chair in “Sea”, $1,299.97]
We spoke to the design duo to get the full story on the nursery—plus, their tips on decorating with color.
Stylistically, what inspired the look of the nursery?
Kelly: “Magical” was the word we kept coming back to for his room. We wanted every corner to be filled with items and colors to inspire his creativity and curiosity. We also wanted to bring in pieces from around the world so he could learn to appreciate the amazing work that those artisans create. Every piece in the room has a story or a reason it’s there, and we love that we’ll be able to share that with him as he grows.
[In this image: Dunn Edwards wall paint in “White”; Sazerac Stitches Loa Carousel Chandelier in “Lagoon”, $340]
How did you settle on a rainbow color palette?
Arlo is our rainbow baby, so a rainbow palette felt perfect. Every piece we found seemed to bring a new color in, and we loved that we could embrace them all!
Did you find blending so many colors challenging? What are your tips for people looking to bring some color into their space?
Starting with bright white walls and furniture was key. It allowed us to incorporate every color of the rainbow and let them really pop. We pulled in a few pieces that had a wide array of colors, like his blanket and the rainbow wall hanging, as a jumping off point. Then, we kept everything else color blocked, like the yellow door and mint chandelier. We made sure that any color we brought into the space was repeated at least once, so no one color felt random or out of place.
What’s the story behind the gallery wall?
Jeff: It is a very eclectic and vibrant collection of things we’d been collecting for him, even before he came into our lives. There are photos and paintings from good friends of ours, a custom neon sign with a quote from one of our favorite movies, a cross stitch portrait of our family sent to us by one of our followers, as well as other art pieces from colorful cultures around the world including Mexico—where Arlo’s birth family is from.
Do you have a favorite item from it?
Probably the neon sign, as it means something to us on multiple levels. “Adventure is out there” is a quote from the Pixar film Up, a movie whose title sequence was what Kelly walked down the aisle to at our wedding. Pixar is the same studio that released The Good Dinosaur in 2015—our son was named after the main character. Pixar in general is very important to our family’s story so when we were debating what the sign should say, we loved this quote. We want it to be a daily reminder for Arlo to dream big.
[In this image: My Name Is Not Darren “I Like You This Much” pillow via Etsy, $30; Studio DIY Cactus Art Print, $9.99; Land of Nod Wide Dresser, $999]
How did you keep organization and storage in mind when designing the space?
Jeff: Other than the closet in his room, we knew that much everything else in there was out in the open. With various things displayed on the walls and the ledge, we knew that we wanted other surfaces in there that would function as both display cubbies, but also a place that he could shove all of his toys for quick clean ups. We also love that they are down on his level. He’s just now learning to walk so having something that he can hold onto to brace himself has been wonderful.
In a few words, how would you describe the finished space?
Kelly: A whimsical mix of modern and boho, with every color of the rainbow and then some.
How do you see the space growing with Arlo? Did you design the nursery with longevity in mind?
Jeff: Absolutely! As he gets older, we will be able to swap out his crib for a bed and rotate in age-appropriate books as he grows. Also, a few of the frames on the walls are magnetic, making it easy to add in school art projects to the gallery wall mix in a couple years.
[In this image: Studio DIY Cactus Wall Hook, $14]
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