4 steps to designing the perfect nursery

By Tara Jackson, Muffin & Mate

These days, as much attention is given to the design of the nursery as any other main room in the house. Thanks to creative platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, it is easier than ever to seek out and collate beautiful interior design ideas and products.

Additionally, with accessibility online to brands and products across the globe and the ever increasing popularity of handmade hubs like Etsy, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding how to create the perfect space for your little one. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day… and neither are nurseries! So take these four key steps from Tara at Muffin & Mate to help you best approach designing this space.

Step 1 – decide on a theme

A nursery design can quickly go wayward if you haven’t decided on a theme. This can result in mismatched décor which clashes and creates a confused space.

A good starting point for designing your room is to create on board on Pinterest. Go ahead and browse the internet pinning everything you like! Make notes when you pin of what you like about them – textures, colours, patterns, layout.

It also helps to make note of what colours, elements and themes you really don’t like and why. It’s important to be conscious of these so you do not skew from your desired look when purchasing items.

Once you have filled your board, take a look and see if there is a re-occurring theme to any or all of your pins. Have you got lots of monochrome? Pastel? Metallic? This will give you the best guide to the theme you should use and is a good starting point for designing a room you and baby will just love!

Step 2 – work out your room layout

Now that you have your theme decided you need to determine the layout of your room. You should consider four different zones in a nursery:

  1. A sleeping space – this would be the cot or bassinet
  2. A functional space – this is the changing table (this space can adapt to a reading/relaxing space as children grow older and you no longer require a change table)
  3. A feeding space – somewhere to sit to feed and comfort your baby
  4. A play space – somewhere for them to play and explore

Firstly, take the measurements of your room – making note of all doors and windows. Plot this on a piece of paper like a floor plan and start to roughly sketch where all your key zones might be. If you have the exact measurements of the furniture you have chosen you can work out the right configuration straight away.

If you are yet to choose furniture for your nursery, this is a good way to get an idea of how much space you have and what restraints you need to work within when making your key furniture purchases.

This is a really important step to ensure you don’t purchase furniture that might look good, but won’t fit/work in your nursery.

Remember - don’t forget to allow for plenty of storage for clothes, bedding, toys and all the other “stuff” you find build up when you have a baby!

Step 3 – pick a feature wall

The feature wall should be the first wall you see when you enter the room. This is immediately where the eye is drawn to. Sometimes however, this wall may have a window, cupboard or door. Each space is individual. If your feature wall does have an obstruction, determine the second focal point, where you were drawn to next.

Creating a feature wall does not have to be complicated or expensive. There are many options you can use to create this focal point:

  • Paint – use a colour to highlight the wall that works within your theme
  • Decals / removable stickers – these are fantastic if you are renting and cannot paint or wallpaper. They are easy to swap around and won’t damage the walls
  • Wallpaper – wallpaper is increasing in popularity and there are some beautiful designs for nurseries on the market
  • Artwork – prints are a fantastic and inexpensive way to add character to your room. You can have one large print or create a cluster to make your space pop. Ikea frames are the most inexpensive way to frame your prints
  • Décor – there are lots of different décor items on the market which can be added to your feature wall such as bunting, garlands, wall lights and shadow boxes

Step 4 – choose the right décor

When choosing décor to add to your nursery remember to stick to your theme you have chosen. Decorating is a very subjective thing so go with your own creativity. Here are some basic décor tips to help get you started:

  • Tip #1 – rugs should be as large as you can afford. A rug would normally be placed at the foot of, or beside, a bed where your feet are placed when getting in and out. However, for nurseries this is a little more flexible. The rug can be centred, nearer the feeding chair or beside the cot
  • Tip #2 – make the most of empty corners or dull spaces by adding a little décor like a print, bunting, wall hanging or book shelves. This can transform what was previously a blank space into a play or reading corner. Remember, this space doesn’t have to be big to work
  • Tip #3 – when using patterns and textures within the nursery, ensure there is some distance between features or patterns by adding something plain in between such as a plain sheet, cushion or blanket

With many other expenses when having a baby, decorating the nursery does not have to be expensive or done straight away. Build up items and spaces over time as you find things you love. You will probably find the space with evolve as your little one’s personality evolves too… happy decorating!


Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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