Design by Room Kids' Rooms

These 15 Nursery Ideas Are the Design Equivalent of Coloring Outside the Lines

Who says baby doesn't love black?

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It’s understandable that when searching for nursery ideas, the decor can often look…the same. You don’t want to go too wild when you’re setting the scene for your kiddo’s first room ever—plus there’s a lot to prepare for beyond just finding the perfect tummy-time rug. Still, as most new parents will attest, you’re in your baby’s room a lot, so you might as well create a space that makes you and your little one feel good—whether that means splashes of energizing color or a breezy minimalist vibe. 

Experimenting with less expected nursery ideas can actually lead to a design with staying power rather than staring down a redo once your toddler starts forming their own opinions (which happens sooner than you’d think!). Read on for 15 unique spaces we love—featuring fresh materials (plywood looks cool in a baby’s room, too), surprising color choices (black walls are your new nap-inducing trick), and a few easy DIY art moments—that the whole family can enjoy.

Dark & Daring Nursery Ideas

The most popular nursery palette is pastel for a reason; soft, sweet colors create a dreamy space. But spin the chromatic wheel to the opposite side for a little black magic. Painting the walls dark encourages sleep (and appeals to newborns, who see only in black and white during the first few weeks). Try the inky hue as an accent with a black crib (plus disco ball!), or dip in further by using it as a design motif that connects lighting to flooring and beyond. Modern and sophisticated, black is stylish for any age—plus it makes other colors really pop in contrast.

Prints Charming Nursery Ideas

Pinched for time when looking for nursery ideas? Wallpaper instantly transforms a room. The trick is finding a pattern that is versatile and grown-up enough to evolve with your little one. Allover paint brushstrokes spark inspiration for budding creatives (and mercifully hide the odd scribble in the toddler years), while a hand-drawn ticking stripe in statement red never gets old. A subtle checkerboard (accomplished on a shoestring budget with the mini square footage to match) can transition into a tween-approved bedroom or chic guest room.

Neutral (But Never Boring) Nursery Ideas

Opting for the design version of a blank canvas allows your baby to project their imaginary worlds onto a neutral backdrop. Whether streamlined with only the essentials or layered with various textures, the all-white and natural wood combo is like a calming cocoon. Woven storage baskets, plush textiles, nature-inspired art, and more earthy touches make things feel extra-cozy. Another twist on the timeless look? Line the walls with plywood and drop in a fuzzy green rug as a playful way to bring the outside in.  

Pro-Primary Nursery Ideas

The nice thing about a primary palette is that a little goes a long way. Bold, saturated hues brighten a baby’s room in the form of a dynamic hand-painted mural or a color-blocked throw and matching Rothko-esque artwork (easy art hack: framed poster boards!). Bonus: A space decked out in primaries can make toys lining the open shelves and cubbies look like part of the overall color scheme—and, dare we say, intentional. There is a color method to the madness! Tip: Vibrant shades make pastels really pop, too.

Cozy Cottage Nursery Ideas

Even if your baby’s room is carved out of an apartment closet, you can transport to a storybook setting with a few cottage-inspired nursery ideas: A wicker lamp and gingham fabric–lined baskets are ready for a teddy bear picnic; floral wallpaper and fabric sconces channel a slice of English countryside; and a whimsical powder pink space with crib canopy, brass accents, and vintage toys feels like a mid-century fairy-tale cabin. The key to designing spaces with a story? Bring in a few family heirlooms or vintage finds—and start creating new memories.