Designing the Perfect Nursery

A nursery is a special place where you and your baby can create loving memories. When designing a nursery, these elements should be considered – safety features, comfortable furniture, lighting, color scheme, and flooring.
Designing the Perfect Nursery

Decorating your new nursery can be fun, but it also takes a lot of work and planning. You want it to be cute and stylish, but there’s also safety and functionality to keep in mind. Many parents are intimidated by the amount of planning involved, from the flooring to the type and size of the crib. Others don’t plan at all, and end up with an odd mix of elements that often doesn’t work.

So how do you design the perfect nursery? The best approach, like in any other room, is to work from the bottom up. That means you start by planning your flooring, then working your way up to the walls, ceiling, and other details in between. Here’s a quick guide to help you get started.


Your nursery floor is where your baby will take his first steps. But before that, it’s also where he will crawl around, play with his toys, and spill his drinks (perhaps more often than you’d like). So you want a flooring material that will accommodate all these.

Carpeting is a popular option for nurseries because it makes a great playing area. When your baby learns to walk, it also gives him a firm grip and provides a cushion when he trips or falls. The downside is that the fibers can invite dust mites and other pests, which is often the cause of asthma and baby rash. Cleaning up spills can also be a hassle.

Wooden floors have easier cleaning and lower maintenance requirements. They’re also more likely to last until your baby grows out of his crib. However, they don’t provide the cushioning of a carpet, so your baby is more likely to hurt himself. For the play area, try placing an area carpet or soft rug in a corner with his toys.


Nursery lighting usually involves a main ambient light and a nighttime lamp. Bright lights can irritate a newborn’s eyes, so dimmers are a must for both fixtures. Ambient light is designed to replace natural light—a warm white fluorescent lamp usually does the job. Night-lights should be much dimmer, just enough to see by when you come in at night. Plug-in lamps are convenient, but make sure to install them above toddler height to prevent accidents.

Color scheme

It used to be simple: pink for girls, blue for boys. But many parents are now opting for neutral schemes like beige, yellow, and pastels. This helps your baby’s eyes to adjust more comfortably to seeing color. If they’re overwhelmed by a surge of color as soon as they can see, they may have trouble identifying colors as they grow up. On a more practical note, neutral schemes go well with most furnishings, which eliminates the problem of trying to fit in your baby shower presents. And if you’re planning another baby, you won’t have to redo the décor if they’re opposite sexes.

You may also want to think of a theme for the room. Flowers, sailboats, and teddy bears are some of the most popular nursery themes. Character themes are also nice, but they’re usually more expensive. Look for a theme that you can live with for the next few years. As with color, themes should be kept as neutral as possible for easier adjustment when you have your next baby.


The only baby furniture you really need is a crib and dresser. Changing tables and rocking chairs are nice to have, but they’re not absolute necessities. When you shop for cribs, you’ll come across several different types, such as the following:

  • Standard. This is a mostly utilitarian crib with no features or fancy details. It’s ideal for those on a budget (they start at $100 or so) or if you want to add your own decorations.
  • Round. Round cribs are one of the newer trends in baby bedding. They’re more of a fad than a crib type, but they do have a few advantages. For one thing, they fit nicely into corners and work well in odd-shaped rooms. Their biggest drawback is their price—a basic round crib can cost as much as $1,000.
  • Canopy. As the name implies, a canopy crib is one with a built-in canopy. It comes in round and standard rectangular models. If you’re getting a canopy crib, you’ll also need to buy bedding sets that include a canopy cover.
  • Convertible. Convertible cribs can expand from infant size to a toddler bed, then to a daybed or even an adult bed. At about $300, they offer great value for your money as there’s no need to buy new beds as your child grows.
  • Portable. If you’re after convenience and cost, a portable crib may work for you. Portable cribs are smaller than standard cribs and can be folded up for storage or transport. However, your baby will outgrow it fairly quickly and you’ll have to buy a standard crib eventually.

Safety features

Lastly, you will need to childproof your nursery. Babies are naturally curious, and as they grow, they’ll want to touch everything in sight. Make sure all the hazards such as power sockets, light bulbs, and electrical wires are out of reach, or at least protected with a childproof cover. Pad table corners, install safety gates near staircases, and put slam stoppers on your nursery doors.

Baby monitors are also becoming a staple in nurseries. They allow you to watch or listen to the nursery while in another room, so you don’t have to keep constant watch. Install monitor screens in rooms you frequently use, such as the bedroom, kitchen, or living room.