Ask any parent-to-be and they’ll probably say the same thing: Half the fun of prepping for a baby is designing the nursery. But before you go pinning up a storm on Pinterest, it’s important to take a minute to think about the trends that are actually worth putting in your little one’s room. While some ideas might offer initial appeal—much like other outdated home décor crazes—a lot of nursery fads are fleeting.
Luckily, we have a lot of designer friends to call upon for help. We asked these interior aficionados what nursery trends are on their way out, and they had a lot to share. From animal prints to crib mobiles, read ahead for the trends the experts say it’s time to bid adieu to.
If you were dreaming of a leopard-print clad nursery for your little one, it might be time to go back to the drawing board.
“Animal prints in nurseries tend to get overdone,” says designer Amy Berry. “I think it’s always worth investing in more traditional textiles—curtains, rugs, and even customizable crib upholstery—that can transition with the child from age 0 to 10, instead of treating the nursery like a temporary space filled with fads.”
As gendered stereotypes become more and more passé in the real world, it’s no surprise that hip designers are making a concerted effort to create gender-neutral nurseries.
“Gender roles in society are beginning to be revisited, and so are the traditional go-to hues (i.e. pink for girls and blue for boys) used in nurseries,” says designer Anjie Cho. “Gray—my favorite is Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl—is the new yellow of non-gendered nursery colors; it works with pastels and is both soothing and neutral.”
Studio Life/Style designer Shannon Wollack concurs: “Pale blues, pinks, and yellows are becoming increasingly passé in nurseries,” she explains. “Whether it’s cool neutrals or pops of colors, a nursery should be an extension of the rest of your house, so try to utilize colors in your nursery that you would use in your living room or dining room palette.”
Similar to animal prints, too much of one fad can be an overkill in a nursery. Case in point: themed nurseries, especially ones with current superhero movie characters or sport team colors, can be a decorating disaster when done in large doses.
“Just because you have a theme for your little one’s nursery doesn’t mean everything in the room has to incorporate said theme, says designer Jennie Bishop of Studio Gild. “A grouping of farm animal prints hung thoughtfully on the wall is a nod to Old McDonald’s farm without being too obvious.”
Traditional Changing Tables
Believe it or not, according to our experts, traditional changing tables are making their way out of more and more well-designed nurseries across the globe.
“Gone are the days of a traditional changing table,” says designer Julie Massucco Kleiner of Massucco Warner Miller. “We recommend getting a chic dresser that works as a changing table with a topper, like this one from Crate and Barrel, but will also be practical and stylish through their teenage years.”
“There are obviously items you need for the functionality of your nursery, like a changing table, but it pays to think outside the box when picking one out,” adds Studio Life/Style designer Brittany Zwickl, “a dresser with a removable changing table, like this one from Target, can grow old with you and your child.”
It might seem like a no-brainer, but creating ambient lighting for your nursery is just as important as it is in any other room inside your home.
“Getting good sleep is essential for you and your new bundle of joy,” says designer Carneil Griffin of Griffin Direction. “Install wireless LED bulbs, instead of unflattering incandescent ones, above your baby’s crib and throughout the nursery, so you can control the color and intensity of the light directly from your smart device. I’m a big fan of Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance smart bulbs, which also come in thin LED strips that can be concealed around the room’s trims and artwork.”
Tiny Wall Decals
For as adorable—and convenient—as small removable wall decals (think: stick-on butterflies and peel-off animals) can be, our experts believe you’ll be much better off in the long run by employing a full-blown removable mural or temporary wallpaper in your nursery instead.
“We get the appeal of temporary wall decals for a nursery,” says designer Melissa Benham of Studio Gild, “they’re non-committal, you can swap them out as your child changes interests, and they provide a layer of detail to a plain or painted wall. However, if you’re thinking about applying this trend, consider kicking it up a notch with a fun floor-to-ceiling wall mural or some removable statement wallpaper. The effect is much more dramatic and sophisticated.”
Like it or not, several of the designers we talked to feel that overly cutesy décor items—read: ones with baby animals and cartoons—are becoming increasingly outdated in contemporary nurseries.
“Similar to phasing out gendered colors in the nursery, millennials are replacing traditional baby animals, giraffes, and owls in the nursery with more design-savvy visuals, like clouds and arrows,” explains Cho.
The same sentiment, it seems, goes for employing artwork in the nursery.
“Instead of generic animal photographs, display more meaningful images around the nursery to introduce your baby to the family story,” says Zwickl. “Like a collection of dream-catchers or maps gathered from your personal travels.”
“Don’t forget you’re the one who will be spending the most time awake in your little one’s nursery,” adds Griffin. “Replace gaudy cartoon images with more sophisticated abstract artwork, so you can create a colorful and visually stimulating space that isn’t obnoxious to be in.”
Cheesy Crib Mobiles
If you thought there was no such thing as a chic crib mobile, then think again.
“Sure the plush, rotating, musical mobiles that you see attached to almost every crib are cute, but there are definitely more artful options to choose from,” says Kristen Ekeland of Studio Gild. “Try a simple geometric mobile to add a sculptural element to the room without sacrificing any visual stimuli for your little one.”
“When you think of crib mobiles, chic isn’t the first word that comes to mind,” adds designer Alyssa Kapito of Alyssa Kapito Interiors, “but there are so many gorgeous and artful options on the market now that can keep your nursery looking on point, especially this Calder-esque mobile from Kinder Modern.
Old-School Rocking Chairs
While retro rocking chairs are always endearing, our experts believe upgrading to a glider—a type of armchair that smoothly glides back and forth—can work wonders for your nursery and your life.
“Gliders are an amazing new addition to any nursery and not to mention extremely functional,” says designer Melissa Warner Rothblum of Massucco Warner Miller. “Since nurseries don’t have a ton of room for upholstery, we love getting a lot of bang from the glider. Ready-made glider options (like this one from Pottery Barn Kids) are limited but keep in mind that any chair can be turned into a glider with some help from your local upholsterer.”
Why invest in a humdrum old-fashioned crib when you can have a more elevated and stylish model instead?
“Lucite cribs are super ‘in’ right now,” says designer Ariel Okin of Ariel Okin Interiors. “As are contemporary spindle cribs – like this Crate & Barrel Jenny Lind Crib – that nod to old-world, handmade cribs but will still make your entire room look more fresh and modern.”
All Brand-New Furnishings
Why be wasteful when designing your nursery when you can save money—and the environment—by buying gently used furnishings and decor?
“My friend just sent out her Amazon baby registry and requested used versions of items, if possible.” Cho says, “Hand-me-downs should be normal for any nursery, as long as safety isn’t a concern, especially since the availability of high-quality used furnishings in good condition is greater than ever.”
Short-Term Thinking (and Designing)
“The smart way to approach design nursery spaces is by picking pieces that you will enjoy looking at, too.” Says Homepolish designer Tali Roth. Don’t be afraid to move some art from other spaces into the baby’s room or experiment with great bedding. There is no need to create a space that is babyish as both yourself and your kid will outgrow it in seconds.”
“Kids grow up very quickly and it’s important to be practical in the choices made since these are rooms will transition over the years as your child’s taste evolves,” says designer Becky Shea. “Use more adult-like furnishings, whether it’s a cool pull out linen sofa (for those long-winded nights), a textured rug over baby tiles or a crib that converts to a toddler bed. You can still have a kids room, while also taking longevity into account.”