Nurseries Are the Best Places to Experiment With Design
Move over, powder rooms.
Published Sep 29, 2019 6:00 AM
Nurseries are, by definition, transitional spaces with a short shelf life. Within a span of about two years, your newborn becomes a toddler and half the furniture you bought (and methodically researched) no longer works. So why not take a more experimental approach to your baby’s first bedroom?
Much like powder rooms, these tend to be smaller spaces where a bold gambit can pay off big. Here, we’ve rounded up chic examples from some of our favorite creative forces to distill eight design ideas that boldly depart from the formulaic pastels of yesteryear.
Try a Total White-Out
Kids’ rooms are all too often high on bright hues and low on restraint; not so for this calm, airy corner of Serena Mitnik-Miller’s home. The artist and owner of L.A.’s General Store created the ultimate clean slate using natural materials, including rough-hewn paneling, a simple, unfinished wood crib, and a minimalist mobile. In lieu of artwork, textiles are displayed on an iron ladder and a Shaker-style chair for a rustic Scandi vibe.
Elevate the Seating—Literally
Rocking chairs and gliders have long been late-night staples of new motherhood, but they are often lacking in style. Leave it to designer Erin Fetherston to upgrade her perch to a rattan hanging swing. Not only does it offer a cozy spot to nurse, but it also brings a breezy, bohemian feel to this serene space and perfectly complements the vintage Moroccan shag rug.
Rethink the Changing Station
Traditional diaper changing tables are often single-function pieces of furniture with a brief life span—not exactly economical or sustainable, which is why we love this idea: Ariel Kaye, founder and CEO of Parachute, transformed an Ikea Pax wall unit using custom cabinet doors by Sarah Sherman Samuel for Semihandmade. Topped off with an arched mirror and open shelving, the dressing area is an exercise in laid-back California cool.
Invest in Storage That Grows With Your Kid
When Refinery 29 cofounder Christine Barberich set out to design her daughter’s first bedroom in a tight attic space, she knew that streamlining storage would be crucial. Instead of a disjointed collection of random pieces, this custom floating wall unit multitasks as a dresser, changing area, closet, and bookshelf—and, in a few years, it can function as a desk, too.
Explore Baby’s Dark Side
While it may not automatically register as the most kid-friendly pick, black paint has been trending in nurseries for a few years. No wonder; it’s highly versatile and effective at creating a warm cocoon effect—perfect for any sleeping space. Here, Barberich used Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe to provide a quiet backdrop, making the white crib; Calder-esque mobile; and fresh palette of rose, amber, and green seem all the more vivid.
Consider More Mature Wallpaper
With its dome-topped buildings reminiscent of a Greek fishing village or the hills of Siena, this Fornasetti wallpaper lends a whimsical (and well-traveled) note to Los Angeles architect and designer Emily Farnham’s son’s room. Opting for more sophisticated patterns over too-sweet kiddie prints can be a way to nurture curiosity in your child and introduce her to a world full of art and adventure.
Let One Unexpected Element Dominate
For the nursery in Alex Eagle’s London flat, a large Serge Mouille three-light pendant adds a bit of edge to an otherwise traditional space. Hovering over the crib with outstretched sculptural arms, the light resembles an oversize ersatz mobile and provides a sharp contrast with the charmingly imperfect stripes covering the back wall and bookshelf.
Punch It Up With Primary Colors
Too much of any one saturated hue can be intense—that’s why Abby Clawson Low’s masterful edit of red and yellow accents works so well. The room is mostly gray, but it reads as a Technicolor delight, thanks to impactful accessories like the Rothko-esque artwork and the striped quilt. With so many bright ideas on hand, there is no reason to play it safe.
See more nursery ideas: The “What Color Should We Paint the Nursery?” Dilemma Ends Here Nurseries Are Notoriously Cramped, But This Hack Saves Space Every Time This Is How Rachel Zoe Would Decorate a Nursery