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All About Pregnancy

9 New Nursery Decorating Trends

Patterns that pop, see-through storage, and more: These designer tips turn the baby’s room into a stylish, yet practical space

Getting ready to decorate the nursery? With these fresh ideas, it’s easy to make the nursery a cool place to hang out.

1. Stick with a single color

For a chic, calming space, try a monochromatic scheme, says Washington, D.C.-based designer Tracy L. Morris, whose go-to paint colors are shades of white with a few colored accents mixed in. "It helps create a relaxing environment," she says.

2. Mix metals

Rose gold, brass, and other shiny details in different finishes are popular in living rooms and kitchens. Now the mixed-metals trend is popping up in nurseries too, in everything from mobiles and light fixtures to drawer pulls and bookshelves, to give that room a more sophisticated, interesting look.

3. Pair neutrals with pops of color

With a number of her clients asking for "modern, gender-neutral nurseries," Annie Fitzgerald, a designer in LA, frequently pairs a graphic black-and-white palette with light wood furniture, then adds accents in yellow, teal, or dusty rose. "It’s fun and playful without being too babyish—and you can stick with it throughout your kid’s entire childhood," she explains.

4. Weave in vintage pieces

Instead of making lots of “kid-specific” purchases, repurpose items you already own and love, suggests designer Zoe Feldman, of Washington, DC. “Place a Persian rug on the floor, hang a favorite piece of artwork on the wall, or bring in a beloved dresser to use as a changing table,” she says. Just make sure that your picks are still baby-safe. (Secure dressers to the wall to prevent tipping, for example.) 

5. Add an art wall

Think beyond the usual framed print or birth announcement, and turn one of the nursery walls (making sure it's out of your baby's reach) into an art installation. The result: An eye-catching 3D pop of color.

6. Go green

Many parents play up a nursery's natural style by adding a plant or two in a corner or on a shelf, says Elaine Griffin, a designer based in New York City. Because babies put everything within reach into their mouths, keep plants on a high shelf out of baby's reach and choose nontoxic plants to be extra-safe.

7. Pick patterns

You can't go wrong with basic solids, but you can add pop with patterned textiles and accessories instead, says Griffin. Think: polka-dot crib sheets, palm leaf-print pillows, and brightly striped rugs, for example. Temporary items mean you can always swap them out as your child grows.

8. Use clear pieces

To maximize space in smaller nurseries, buy a few see-through acrylic pieces (desks, chairs, bookshelves) that look light and airy—and give the illusion of more floor space.

9. Give the room a dual purpose

A nursery can function as an office or guest room if you add a day bed or a desk. Or decorate with the future in mind, so it can work for a second baby no matter the gender, says Jacksonville, FL-based designer Andrew Howard. He chose a pale green for the nursery so he and his wife could use the room for their next child without having to repaint.