When planning a home, many future parents dream of a nursery that is just as enjoyable for them as it is for the little resident who will sleep there—a sanctuary with a sophisticated design rather than merely a stimulating environment for baby. While the concept is a little anti-status quo, the new wave of nursery design proves a modern, adult-friendly aesthetic can be both stylish and practical.
Try an unconventional palette to create a soothing environment
There are lots of theories on what colors are deemed “baby-appropriate.” Some people rely on tradition: blue for boys, pink for girls, yellow or green for gender neutral. Others follow science: black and white in the early months, bold stimulating colors thereafter.
What’s the right answer? Many designers say choose any color from the spectrum, or perhaps, no color at all. In this nursery by Kelly Behun, the designer limited the room’s palette to shades of white with ethereal and sophisticated results.
As for science, some experts argue that color choices have little impact on brain development. Dave Munger of Cognitive Daily notes, “In the end, I doubt it would make that much difference in a baby’s life. The first few months of infancy are over quite quickly and are spent mostly sleeping.” How true. In fact, designer Lauren Liess created the dark nursery above with sleeping in mind. The lesson here is to use whatever color works for you.
Add energy and personality with unconventional wallpaper
Wallpaper can add immediate personality, making it an ideal choice for parents who want to add whimsy to their child’s space. Designer Emily Henderson was so smitten by Minakani’s Bien Fait wallpaper that she decided to use it in her own son’s nursery. The abstract animals and pops of color inspired a fun, circus-themed room that Emily confesses “made us just as happy to hang out in as it did him.”
A nursery by Change & Co. features a playful watermelon print, which helps blur awkward ceiling angles. Like the modern crib, the wallpaper adds the perfect amount of pink without reading as too sweet or baby-specific.
Mix in adult furniture and fixtures for added comfort and longevity
With the exception of a crib, furniture that is exclusively made for babies can sometimes limit design possibilities. Why not select pieces that can be used down the road, whether growing with your child or finding their way to another room? Designer Lee Kleinhelter opted for a chic Eames lounge chair in her son’s nursery, which will undoubtedly be used for years to come.
Designer Kristen Nix wasn’t afraid to mix sophisticated pieces with play furniture in her son’s room, choosing animal print underfoot and a Jonathan Adler buffet for storage. Years later, she incorporated the same buffet into a modern bedroom for her twin boys.
Similarly, the Musso Design Group used contemporary lighting by Design Within Reach and a custom swivel chair in their nursery for an Atlanta area show house.
Whether a sophisticated palette, whimsical wallpaper, or adult-friendly furniture, choose design elements that you love to create a space that works for you and your little one.