Planning a nursery for the first time can feel overwhelming…
Having kids often results in needing more space, functionality, a better neighborhood, or maybe even a move closer to family and friends. As an interior designer, the work I do is very personal, and I’m so blessed to design spaces for families to get to enjoy together. But as a mom of three, it’s extra special when I get to be a part of helping new parents design a custom space for their gateway into parenthood.
Becoming a parent is like trying to navigate directions in a foreign language. There is so much new information, options, and opinions to consider that it can be exhausting to figure out where to start. I’m extremely happy to share my tips and essentials for creating your first nursery. All parents deserve to find joy and ease in creating a space for making magical memories with their newborn.
In the beginning, you may decide to use a bassinet so your baby can sleep closer to you while their schedule for sleeping and eating is still inconsistent. Sooner or later, a crib will be the safest place for your baby to sleep, self-soothe, and even entertain themselves while you help them establish new patterns for a healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t hurt to regain some semblance of personal space in your own bedroom either.
In my opinion, the crib should be the central focal point of any nursery or infant space. I wanted something gorgeous, dreamy, and a bit lavish for my baby girl so I opted for an upholstered crib from RH Baby & Child. I love the traditional and sophisticated style with the security of knowing their pieces are well-made and built to last. You might also want to consider a fashionable crib skirt and a breathable bumper.
BRE’S TIP: Never put a crib directly under a window and ensure that any nearby artwork or décor is hung with earthquake-proof security.
You might never put as much thought into a single space in your home as you will in your baby’s room. The right wallcovering will give the space character and make it feel intentional. Babies also spend a lot of time on their back looking up at walls and ceilings, so why not give them pleasant scenery to take in?
Our new home has very unique ceiling lines and I wanted to draw the eye up and lean into the architecture. Because we didn’t find out the sex/gender until after our daughter was born, I was a bit anxious about bringing them home to an unfinished space. But when I saw the Papillon Medley Wallpaper from Milton & King, I leaned into the metamorphosis of my own reality and went for it with the! Not all wallpapers are created equally and it’s so important to go with a brand you can trust. Order samples if possible and consult your installer. The Milton & King website has so much to choose from, they offer great customer service, and the installation was a breeze. Now, the room feels like a sanctuary for me and my daughters. We love to lie on the floor together and stare up at the butterflies. It’s incredible what a difference the wallpaper makes in the room. My mood lifts every time I walk in and I can tell my baby girl feels that enjoyment as well.
BRE’S TIP: If wallpaper is not your thing, decals are a great temporary option for adding character to the walls.
3. Rocking Chair
Nowadays, parents have way more to choose from besides the traditional wooden rocking chair your grandmother might have owned. There are chairs that swivel, recline, and even massage! Don’t be intimidated by all the high-tech options out there, even a simple armchair and ottoman combo might be enough to help you gently lull your baby to sleep. I rocked all my babies to sleep in a very classic, pink, and white, upholstered rocking chair but you honestly never know what your child is going to like. Many of our clients have been shopping the Oilo collection of gliders which come in several styles and performance fabric colors for comfort and durability.
BRE’S TIP: Having a small side table nearby is a game-changer for when your hands are full (AKA always).
It’s no secret that you’re going to have to change a lot of diapers as a new parent. I strongly encourage you to find a dresser that doubles as a changing table or vice versa. You will need the storage even after they’re potty trained and it makes transitioning into a big kid room that much easier. This is a great piece to put under a window or mirror since it’s likely where your baby will also get dressed and ready for each day. You can style the top with a cute tray for wipes, a nightlight, and a picture frame. I hired a professional newborn photographer for each of my kids, and I keep a framed photo of their sweet little baby bottom on top of their dresser. Drawer organizers are perfect for storing extra wipes, creams, burp cloths, pacifiers, and more.
BRE’S TIP: You don’t want too many supplies out in the open for the baby to grab.
It’s hard to imagine how much laundry such a little person can create but trust me the laundry struggle is legit. Babies make a mess of their clothes whether it’s what they’re getting into or what’s coming out of them. I rely on a large hamper to keep the room from ever feeling messy.
For added consistency, basket sets are easy to find and make laundry and toy storage blend together seamlessly.
BRE’S TIP: Always choose a hamper with a lid. If the hamper comes with a liner, make sure it’s washable.
6. Personalize It
I love to monogram! I’m very proud of who I am and I want my daughters to feel the same way about themselves. Many stores offer custom personalization of pillows, blankets, wall hangings, and more. For Briar, I had a wooden sign made with a butterfly at the end to tie into the Milton & King wallpaper. I chose a burgundy red to give me the opportunity to lean into pinks in the room. And for each of my girls, I had a lumbar pillow custom embroidered with their initials. I hope they keep them forever!
BRE’S TIP: Try to find a local artist who can make you something special before shopping the bigger online marketplaces.
To Sum It Up
I keep my nursery décor to a minimum. I know how it feels to become overwhelmed as a new parent, especially with so many new items and seemingly quick fixes that are being marketed toward you on social media. My advice is to stick to the essentials and take time to learn what your baby needs before buying that impulse product. Focus your energy on creating a space that will be functional and soothing for you and your baby. Clear away the clutter by storing toys in the closet or in bins and tucking non-essentials into drawers or cubbies, and give yourself permission to focus on what really matters—bonding with your baby.