Design by Room Kids' Rooms

IKEA Nurseries Abound, But These 5 Spaces Look Totally Custom

A good hack (or simple paint job) goes a long way.

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New and expecting parents hear this piece of wisdom a lot: Nothing lasts forever. As in the sleepless nights, the colic, the obliteration of a routine. In other words, babies are constantly changing. Things will get better, or at least be different. The same idea applies to nursery design—what you and your little one need now isn’t what you’ll necessarily need in a few months, let alone a few years. And so parents understandably head to IKEA for affordable baby furniture they know they can donate or pass on to a friend one day without regret. In these five IKEA nurseries, however, you wouldn’t know it. A good paint job, hack, or decorative addition ensures no one has a crib or dresser just like theirs, despite its warehouse origins.

The Shaped-Up IKEA Nursery

colorful nursery with blue ikea crib

As a renter, London-based designer Judith Achumba-Wöllenstein was determined to give her son, Philou, a spirited space without making any headache-inducing permanent changes. So rather than paint the walls, she painted her IKEA Sniglar crib and topped it off with playful wood spheres (normally furniture legs) and wavy foam trim (normally eaves filler). An Ivar cabinet repurposed as toddler-height clothing storage got the Modge Podge treatment with gingham fabric in a similar sky blue hue.

The IKEA Nursery for a DIY Novice

For just $15 a pop, Christina Healy, creative director of Holyoke Paper Co., transformed IKEA’s Flisat wall shelves into chic book storage for baby Chloé with a roll of caning, scissors, and a staple gun. The Flisat model is no longer available, but the brand’s Bekväm spice shelves are almost identical.

The Small Space–Friendly IKEA Nursery

toddler in custom reading nook

Maximizing every inch was nonnegotiable for New Jersey photographer Jillian Guyette and her husband—they had a mere 112 square feet to work with for their daughter Frankie’s nursery. Stacking two IKEA Kallax units and removing a couple of dividers in the middle gave the family much-needed toy storage that does double duty as the sweetest toddler reading nook.

The IKEA “Un-Nursery”

nursery with low blue IKEA shelving units

There is no dedicated changing table or kiddie bookcase in the nursery that Hausmatter founder Katherine Thewlis designed for her second child. She had barely used her first baby’s dedicated room, so this time around she created an “un-nursery” that flexes as a napping spot, additional storage area, and playroom. All that functionality centers around a row of Kallax units painted the same pale blue (Views by Clare) as the walls for a built-in, been-there-forever look.

The IKEA Nursery That Solves for No Closet

stand-alone nursery wardrobe area

Ariel Kaye had visions of a calming, low-key nursery for her daughter, Lou, not unlike her brand Parachute’s fuss-free linens. The only problem? Storage was already at a minimum; the room’s only closet was full of her husband’s clothes. With the help of designer Jess Diab, Kaye crafted a stand-alone solution: an IKEA Pax unit disguised by beaded door fronts from Semihandmade. Paired with floating shelves above, organization is easy—and Lou’s outfit of the day can also act as decor.