3 Designer Nurseries That Anyone Can Recreate in Their Homes

updated Mar 31, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Ariel Okin

This piece was created for Cubby, our weekly newsletter for families at home. Want more? Sign up here for a weekly splash of fun and good ideas for families with kids. Join us over on Instagram for more!

Cubby. Real solutions for unreal times.

Join us for a weekly dose of fresh, modern ideas for life at home with your kids.

Designing a baby’s nursery is one of the first things we do for our children. It also gives us a chance to express ourselves creatively. However, a lot of the nurseries you’ll find on Pinterest feel just like that: A room made up for a photo. Widely shared nurseries are often too cutesy or theme-y for real life — or worse, so high-end that they are out of reach for most families.

To offer our Cubby readers achievable inspiration, we’ve rounded up three gorgeous, professionally designed nurseries that are also totally doable for the rest of us. Cheerful and charming, but imminently practical, these three nurseries hit that sweet spot between dream room and reality.

The decor pros behind the rooms share their tips for designing a stylish nursery that will work for you and your baby:

How To: Build a Not-Boring Neutral Nursery

For this family’s apartment in Tribeca, interior designer Larisa Barton of Soeur Interiors wanted to stay true to the rest of the home, which is a sea of calming whites, creams, and tans. Barton stuck to the same neutral palette that you’ll find in the rest of the house, but wove in muted colors (hello dusty pink!) and natural materials to soften up the look for Baby. Here’s how Barton pulled together a neutral nursery that is anything but boring: 

1. Wake up a quiet palette with texture

Barton says more and more clients are requesting neutral nurseries, which they feel can grow with their child and/or transition to the next baby. To make sure an all neutral-scheme doesn’t fall flat, Barton says, “When going neutral, it is important to add layers to up the warmth factor. I also like to bring in natural woods and materials to round out the whites and creams.” Another factor to consider: Your kids’ toys and books will be sure to bring plenty of color to the space soon enough!

2. Add subtle interest to your walls

Barton wanted something with more visual interest than plain old painted walls, but instead of wallpaper or grasscloth, she opted for lime wash paint. Traditional lime paints were used on porous exterior surfaces, but a new crop of lime wash coatings, including those by Portola, are designed to be used inside on previously painted surfaces and drywall. Barton hired a pro, but with the right paint, this is a finish you can definitely DIY. One tip: Seal the walls for a wipeable finish like Barton’s specialty surface pro Michelle Kole did. 

3. Don’t skimp on your own comfort

It’s easy to put the glider on the bottom of your priority list because it is something that is used for such a short time, but trust us, you will be using it a lot in that window of time. Barton opted for a glider from Oilo for its plushness, casual style, and high-tech electric reclining feature. Plus, “They offer a variety of performance fabrics that we were able to test out before purchasing,” notes Barton.

Get the look:

How To: Embrace Colorful Yet Create Calm 

McCall Dulkys of Interiors by McCall, an e-design business, was tasked with turning her client’s pandemic home office into a nursery for a baby on the way. The room had tons of natural light, which meant she could play with bold color. However, as a mom of three McCall knew, designing for daytime naps was critical. McCall pulled her inspiration for the room from a surprising place! Here’s how she embraced color while still creating a soothing space:

1. Use travel to spark your design

McCall’s clients love hiking and the outdoors and wanted their nursery to reflect that. McCall aimed to bring them that same calm and color that their favorite places provide. The wainscoting painted in Farrow & Ball’s Red Earth echoes the red of western canyons, while the faux cactus bring in the rustic, western feel of some of their favorite National Parks.

2. Design for optimal sleeping conditions

“I know there’s absolutely nothing more precious than a baby’s sleep routine,” says McCall. “The gorgeous woven shades are beautiful but wouldn’t cut it when it comes to light blocking, so I opted to pair them with blackout panels to ensure I was setting this first-time mom up for success in the sleep department.” McCall also added an extra layer of drapes to cover the room’s French doors, for full black-out capabilities.

3. Go big with your rug

In nurseries, McCall recommends going big with the rug to give the baby a lot of padded, comfortable floor space for tummy time. This carpet, which is a great vintage look-alike, brought in all the colors from the rest of the room to tie the whole design together. For extra comfort, McCall recommends a memory foam rug pad beneath your area rug. 

Get the look:

How To: Do A Modern Take On Baby Blue

Credit: Ariel Okin

When Gui Piciotto and his wife Renata found out they were expecting a baby boy, there was one thing they didn’t have to worry about choosing: The baby’s furniture. Gui is one of the co-founders of Nestig, a start-up nursery furnishings company, so naturally the couple planned to use a Nestig crib, changing table, and rug. For the rest, they called on designer Ariel Okin, who helped them create a fresh spin on the iconic baby blue boy’s room. Here’s how Okin tweaked the timeless motif:

Credit: Ariel Okin

1. Anchor the room with a “hero” pattern

Okin likes to use what she calls a “hero pattern” to anchor a room, in this case wallpaper of her own design for Chasing Paper. Then she builds the rest of the room off of that focal-point pattern. Okin cautions to choose a hero that has longevity, noting geometric prints are ageless. The prominent pattern doesn’t have to be wallpaper, it could be a a window treatment, carpet, or other prominent fabric.

Credit: Ariel Okin

2. Avoid baby-ish art

“I like to focus on art that can grow with the child, something that doesn’t feel too overtly baby, so it has longevity,” says Okin. Here she chose an abstract piece and papier mache animal heads from Crate & Kids. Okin notes that photography and framed textiles, like vintage quilts or suzanis, are also nice options because they feel a bit more grown up. 

3. Counter pastels with neutrals

“I try to lean away from pastels and more toward neutrals or primary/bright colors, or unexpected colors like jewel tones, to pick a palette that can grow with them as they age,” says Okin. To keep the sky blue walls from reading too pastel, she used lots of natural wood and crisp white. 

Get the look: