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Claire Mazur wasn’t sure about the wallpaper. The Of a Kind cofounder and coauthor of Work Wife’s style is, after all, better described as minimalist than maximalist, and the wall covering in question, for her son Cameron’s nursery, included pops of blue, orange, yellow, and green that put it decidedly in the latter camp. But then again, she wasn’t afraid to at least try something different.

Ultimately, it was Decorist elite designer Jillian Scott, brought on to help Mazur turn her tiny guest bedroom into a dedicated space for Cameron, who convinced her that the wallpaper would, in fact, work out. Working in partnership with buybuyBABY, Scott transformed the small space into a haven for both parents and son, complete with plenty of storage, seating, and, yes, color. Here are five design lessons we’re taking away from this dreamy project.

1. Rugs don’t have to be a finishing touch

It’s true, the right rug can pull a space together, but it can also be the starting point. “We fell in love with the rug first, and the rest of the room followed from there,” Mazur says. “My husband and I were picking up some stuff from Bed Bath & Beyond, and it had a wall featuring a lot of its online home decor stuff. The rug was pictured on a postcard, which I immediately snatched and showed to my husband, who also loved it.”

If you’re still deciding on your color palette, a textile to reference is especially helpful. The rug Mazur landed on features pops of orange, which ended up becoming the nursery’s main accent color.

2. Toys can be decor, too

Whenever you’re dealing with minimal square footage, smart storage solutions are essential, but they’re especially important when the room is a nursery. “Bookshelves are always the hero when it comes to designing for little ones,” Scott advises. “You need a place to store all these things when they aren’t being played with, and bookshelves allow you to do that in a functional and attractive way.”

That said, not every toy has to be hidden away. “We recently started growing the toys section on Of a Kind, so we had some really beautiful blocks, rattles, and wooden cars that make great accent pieces,” Mazur says. Out on the shelves they went. “Now that Cameron’s somewhat in control of his own limbs, he’s even starting to get interested in actually, you know, playing with them. Or putting them in his mouth, anyway.”

3. High-risk wallpaper is high reward

“I had to be talked into taking the plunge on wallpaper—something I’ve never committed to before—but I’m so happy we did it,” Mazur admits. “I love the way the colors go so well with the rug. It feels like the sort of pattern mixing I’ll do sometimes when I’m getting dressed: The prints are different, but the colors are the same, so it works.”

There’s a high payoff when you opt to have some fun, especially in a nursery. “The room was a blank canvas to begin with,” Scott says. “Wallpaper always makes a space feel more special, and in this design, it was a playful way to add a good dose of color to contrast with the more neutral elements.”

4. Comfy (but still chic!) seating is crucial

When it comes to furniture, hone in on the essentials. “We knew we needed a comfortable place to sit with the baby, a dresser, a crib, and bookshelves,” Scott says. “The chair was especially important to the design. We found a neutral upholstered rocker from buybuyBaby that was minimal and modern, but was still really cozy and comfortable.”

Both baby and parents are fans of the piece. “I think we’re going to have to move the rocking chair out of Cameron’s room at some point and into ours because it’s one of the most coveted seats in the house,” Mazur says. “Those big arms are also A+ breastfeeding support—something I had no idea about before the baby was born.”

5. Strict themes aren’t worth the stress

Baby rooms with super-specific design concepts (like outer space, fairy tales, or sea life) are all over the Internet, but that wasn’t Mazur and Scott’s goal when designing Cameron’s space. “I’d never been a big fan of traditional nursery decor, so I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted when it came to the look of the room. I knew more what I didn’t want: nothing too cutesy or so over the top that I’d get tired of it quickly, and, most important, nothing that felt like a total departure from our style,” Mazur says. “I was already freaking out about how my life would change when I became a parent, so little things like having a nursery that was consistent with our personal aesthetic became important.”

Animals make an appearance throughout the nursery, but it’s far from a full-on zoo. “You should design a nursery that you and your baby will want to spend a lot of time in,” Scott adds. “Design a nursery that your child can grow into, because the baby phase is so temporary.”

Features & Interviews photo
Bentwood Stacking Stool, Bed Bath & Beyond ($22)

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