20 Top Designer Tips for Nurseries

Get a little help from design stars who have decorated plenty of baby rooms themselves.

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It’s a start!

Courtesy of Tessa Neustadt

It’s a start!

Think about your whole home. “The nursery is an extension of the personal style you’re already using in the rest of your living space. Are you modern? Or traditional? The baby’s room should flow with that.” —Melisa Fluhr, cofounder of Project Nursery

Gather ideas. “One image from a magazine or Pinterest can set the tone. Having a theme in mind is helpful, but it doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be as simple as two coordinating colors, an object, or an animal. The less babyish your theme, the easier it will be to modify the room as your child grows.” —Camilla Bradley, founder and designer of CK Bradley

Gauge how masculine or feminine to go. “I still get a lot of requests for gender-neutral rooms, but some couples having a girl want to go all girl.” —Vanessa Antonelli, nursery and kids’ space designer

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Plan ahead, mama!

Courtesy of the Tiny Canal Cottage

Plan ahead, mama!

Be sure the room can get dark. “Blackout curtains or shades are a must. We had a streetlight issue, but wherever you live, the sun is bright at naptime and, in summer, bedtime.” —Laura Fenton, lifestyle director at Parents magazine

Low light is key. “Put a dimmer switch on a light for less than $25. The glow is perfect for night feedings and changes.” —Nicole Curtis, star of HGTV’s Rehab Addict and author of Better Than New

Get ready for lots of stuff. “Books, toys, and stuffed animals multiply at an alarming rate. Plan ahead for that! A tiny shelf is not going to cut it, so get some storage bins.” —Vanessa Antonelli 

Make it timeless. “If you can imagine pulling out the crib, swapping in a bed, and not having to change anything else, you’re good: The room will grow with your baby.” —Vanessa Antonelli 

Strategize with clothes. “If there’s a closet, use it for special-occasion outfits and items your baby will grow into. In-rotation bodysuits and pajamas should be easy to reach when you’re standing at the changing table.” —Emily Henderson, Target Home Style Expert

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Fill out the room

Courtesy of Britt Anderson Photo

Fill out the room

There are three key pieces. “Nursery basics can be boiled down to a crib, a rocker or chair for feeding, and a changing station.” —Emily Henderson

Repurpose furniture. “Instead of buying a traditional changing table, we put a changing pad on top of a vintage ’70s console that we doubly secured to the wall for safety.” —Nate Berkus, star of TLC’s Married to Design: Nate & Jeremiah

Everything doesn’t have to match. “A furniture set, where the dresser matches the crib, looks too much like it came from the baby-store showroom. It’s more relaxed and modern to mix slightly different finds together.” —Lia Griffith, crafter and decorator at liagriffith.com

Put safety first. “I started with the HALO Bassinest for my youngest. Antiques are usually my thing but not when it comes to a safe place to put a baby.” —Nicole Curtis

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Pick a palette

Courtesy of Adam Albright

Pick a palette

A vote for neutrals. “A baby’s room is your sanctuary. You want it to be relaxing.” —Nicole Curtis

How about bold hues? “The room should make you happy when you’re in it. If bright colors do that, go for it.” —Lia Griffith

Or there’s white. “We swapped rooms with our son, so I’m glad I went with white!” —Laura Fenton

Add a sweet touch. “Try painting the inside of each dresser drawer a fun shade. Then every time you pull clothes out, the color will cheer you on.” —Lia Griffith

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Almost done!

Courtesy of Courtney & Brent Richardson, Gray House Studio

Almost done!

Create an accent wall. “The wall behind the crib makes an ideal focal point. Rather than hanging art there, which your baby might try to grab, pick out a great decal or wallpaper. I’m personally loving wallpaper that has a giant print.” —Melisa Fluhr 

Try one oversize decoration. “My son’s room has a big stuffed giraffe to set the scene. I find that T.J. Maxx often has huge stuffed animals at a decent price.” —Camilla Bradley

Welcome, Baby! “We hope some items, like the mirror, stay with our daughter forever.” —Nate Berkus

Show your love. “We collected artwork while traveling that we then hung in the nursery. We tell our daughter, ‘We were thinking of you before you even arrived.’” —Nate Berkus

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