Secrets to a Well Designed Nursery


Gone are the days of character themed nurseries and kid’s rooms. Today, we all pay attention to every last detail and our kid’s rooms have become a space where we can let our creativity and inner designer show. This is the one room in the house that your husband will let you get away with almost anything. Why? Because it’s the most whimsical, imaginative and fun part of the house, so take advantage!

With access to numerous online sources that are flooded with inspiration, such as Pinterest, Houzz & Instagram, the options can seem endless. Thus, turning a once exciting project into a dreaded feat. That is the struggle that I hear the most from my new clients. They have inspiration boards galore, but how does it all come together?? Creating your baby’s room is such an exciting experience and one of the first things you get to do as parents. My design goals are to create a room that is timeless, baby-friendly and functional. I’ve been specializing in nurseries and kid’s spaces for over 5 years and have broken it down for you so that you can get on your way to pulling together the nursery room you’ve been dreaming of.

Here is my list of the 10 nursery room design elements that I think YOU MUST HAVE!


This is the birth of it all: your color palette. Everything else in the room is based off of these colors so choose wisely. No pressure. My advice is to pick two or three colors and repeat them throughout the room to create balance. This is what will define and pull your entire room together, or tear it apart. If you’re not one to re-decorate your kid’s room every other year, one rule that I always consider is making selections that will grow with your child. It will be tough to choose a color palette that will be age-appropriate for your newborn through his/her teenage years, so consider colors that are more mature and will easily adapt to your kid’s ever changing style.  Think about colors that you can combine in new ways by simply changing one of the colors or adding a new.



Walls are large blank canvases where you can really set the feel of the space and add some major personality. Wallpaper has come a long way from what our parent’s used to have, trust me. It’s one of my favorite wall treatments and I’m guilty of using it as much as I can. If you still aren’t a believer, check out All Modern for some fantastic patterns by various designers. Other great wall treatment ideas are stencils & decals, which are budget friendly and a fun DIY project. If you want to take it a step further and cost isn’t a factor, wall paneling and molding is a classic look. From simple to very ornate, the options are endless. If you’re a daring DIY-er, click here for a great tutorial.


Speaking of walls. Let me introduce you to your 4th wall! Yes, your ceiling is wall number 4 so don’t leave it out. Paint it a contrast color or make this your feature by adding wallpaper, painting a stripe, sky mural or adding star decals. Your baby will spend most of his/her time looking up, so make this the ultimate sensory mobile.


If you weren’t planning on hanging a chandelier, add one! It serves as another lighting source and is a great point of decorative interest. Wall sconces flanking the crib or dresser are also a great idea. I designed a gorgeous boy’s nursery a year ago with white giraffe wall sconces and that element alone upped the adorable factor in that room. Tip: Add a dimmer switch if you can, so that you have the flexibility to adjust the level of light. Sleepy time is much nicer at a soft glow.


The more you read, the more you’ll know, says Dr. Seuss. And who can argue with that? It’s never too soon to start reading to your little one, so definitely consider a book library. By adding bookshelves to the wall or a built in bookcase you can display storybooks in the room and make them easily accessible. I love keeping the books on display because the covers are always so fun and colorful, that they look like art.


Storage is key. You’ll definitely need a dresser and a good closet system as your primary source of storage and both will do you wonders in keeping everything at your fingertips. You’ll be surprised how much storage space is gained by adding a closet system. For everyday items, baskets and bins are a fantastic and stylish way to hide and organize “stuff”. Although the kid’s room is essentially a play space, you’ll still want to be able to clean up in a snap before stepping on a Lego. We all know how that feels… Ouch! Add bins to your closet, or a storage unit like the Ikea Expedit to keep everything neat and tidy.


You’ll be spending so much time rocking and snuggling in this chair that it needs to be like vacation…Relaxing! Also keep in mind that an ottoman to elevate your feet will be your new best friend. Make sure to take your chair for a test drive before purchasing. Sit in it at the store for a while to be sure that it’s the right fit, comfort level, arm height & back pitch for YOU as all chairs are not created equal.


Let’s go back to the rule of allowing the room to grow with your child. Here is another item that I believe everyone will appreciate in the long run – your changing table (AKA dresser). Instead of buying a “changing table” specific, consider investing in a full size dresser that will transition into a more mature space and offer plenty of necessary storage. A good dresser can last a lifetime, maybe even incorporate an heirloom piece, and can also be used in another room in the house. Changing tray toppers are sold separately so you can purchase the right size and color for your dresser and simply add and remove it to the top. When you are beyond the diaper changing stage, you won’t have to worry about getting rid of the changing table and purchasing a new piece of furniture. Now we’re making wise decisions and saving money in the long run! I believe that if you purchase items that are beautiful and designed with longevity, you won’t have to worry about a costly re-design down the road.


This is the best way to bring color and whimsy into a room without it being permanent. You aren’t married to these selections, as they are easily changeable if you or your child get tired of the prints. Swap the art out for something new and you’ll instantly change the look and feel of the room. Incorporate your maternity or newborn photos for a personal touch. A gallery wall of family photos will always bring joy and make you smile. When hanging a gallery wall, keep in mind that symmetry helps make everything feel pulled together.


Whether you choose drapery, roller or woven shades, you will be a happy momma by making sure that a blackout liner is added. During the first few months, baby & mommy will need a lot of sleep, so an opaque liner will ensure that when the sun peaks it’s lil head, your baby will not even squirm. It’s also a good idea to install heat-reflecting, UV-blocking window treatments, even if your nursery seems cool during the day.

Stephanie Avila

Stephanie Avila

Rockabye Mommy