Cuddling, cooing, feeding and changing—a lot goes on in a typical nursery. Creating the right environment for your new baby is one of pregnancy’s most exciting milestones, but it can also be the most daunting, especially for first-time parents. Just as general home design trends come and go, so it goes for nurseries, too. Thanks to Pinterest and Instagram, today’s parents have a slew of inspiration and ideas at their fingertips.
Whether you’re going for a comfy and cozy look, something that represents your overall style, or both, the following nursery trends are gaining popularity. Which one is your favorite?
The clean, airy look of Scandinavian design has officially permeated the nursery space, with more and more companies designing nursery furnishings in this modern style. Composed of simple lines and functional furnishings, the crisp, cool aesthetic can be seen in everything from cribs by Babyletto to dressers by Stokke.
Sophisticated accents historically reserved for more adult spaces have also made their way into nurseries, prompted in part by the shift toward rooms that are an extension of the home rather than a separate space with its own aesthetic.
“Parents used to design very juvenile spaces for their babies, then change everything out after a year or two when they got tired of it,” says celebrity nursery designer Vanessa Antonelli. Not so anymore. “Some are even bringing in large-scale art—not baby art, but the kind of art they’d put in any other room in the house.”
As learning the sex of babies in utero started to become mainstream in the 1980s and ’90s, parents were able to get a head start on decorating their nursery—usually in a flurry of pink or blue, depending on their sonogram results. But when first-time parents moved on to baby number two—or three—they also started to become more practical.
“Even when people know what they’re having, they don’t necessarily go all out with blue or pink anymore,” says Melisa Fluhr, co-founder of Project Nursery, an online community of design-conscious parents that’s inspired countless chic nurseries around the world. Gender-neutral nurseries allow you to “hand down” the space to a sibling who may not be of the same sex. “The important thing for today’s parents is that the space looks stylish and well designed, whether you’re having a boy or a girl,” Fluhr says.
Woodland is the No. 1 search term in nursery design, according to the experts at Project Nursery. But while we’ve seen greenery and mountain motifs on textiles and decals, now we’re seeing live plants in nurseries as well. From the designer favorite fiddle leaf fig to succulents and ferns, plants automatically bring the outdoors in — though it’s not the only way to add Mother Nature’s touch to your nursery.
“The No. 1 request I get from parents is to bring actual wood into the nursery,” says Antonelli, who has designed nurseries for celebrities such as Danielle and Kevin Jonas, Vanessa and Nick Lachey, and more. “Whether it’s a tree stump as a side table to the glider or wood accents on a focal wall, people like the warmth and earthiness of wood for a baby’s room.”
Walls That Pop
Speaking of focal walls, nursery decals and stencil designs are on their way out. In their place are textured surfaces that add depth and dimension while also providing a focal point. Everything from whitewashed shiplap, a nod to the farmhouse trend, to textured wallpaper that’s as easy to put up as it is to take down is showing up in nurseries, another sign that parents are designing for themselves as much as for baby. “Some parents are taking the textured wall and doing it on two walls,” Antonelli says.
Classic and timeless, black, white and gray have been go-to nursery neutrals for the past couple of years, but Antonelli says “greige” is the latest color to pop up in nurseries. “It’s a marriage of grey and beige, and it plays well with the trend toward more gender-neutral nurseries.”
Compact furniture has officially become cool, in part because there’s been a shift toward more urban living, where space is at a premium. “Even parents with bonus spaces don’t necessarily want to give up their home offices or guestrooms right away,” Fluhr says. The solution: designing nursery nooks with the pared-down trifecta of crib, changing table and glider instead of a dedicated room.
Whatever design choices you make, creating a space that’s as soothing for baby as it is for Mom and Dad is key. After all this is where you’ll be making your first memories together as a new family.
What design trend or color palette would you like to use in your baby’s nursery? Tell us in the comments below.
Ana Connery is former content director of Parenting, Babytalk, Pregnancy Planner and Conceive magazines as well as parenting.com.
While editor in chief of Florida Travel & Life magazine from 2006-2009, she covered the state’s real estate and home design market as well as travel destinations.
She’s held senior editorial positions at some of the country’s most celebrated magazines, including Latina, Fitness and Cooking Light, where she oversaw the brand’s “FitHouse” show home.
Ana’s expertise is frequently sought after for appearances on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America” and CNN. She has interviewed the country’s top experts in a variety of fields, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and First Lady Michelle Obama.