© By Kath, Owner of Milk Tooth
Wonderful news, you're pregnant! Or you're planning for a baby and have entered nesting mode. Or your sister or your friend is. Or your newborn is here and you figure it's probably about time you created a magical nursery for them... Whichever it is, congratulations! Now, let me help you with this handy Nursery Design Guide. It's designed to gentle you through the process of putting together a spectacular nursery for your bub, be it calming and neutral, boho, bright and colourful, full of rich and earthy colours, or something else entirely.
One of the keys to interior design is layers, you hear about it all the time on interior design and renovation shows such as The Block (my fave!) This article is going to guide you to think about all of the different layers you might like to add into your nursery, including throws, wall decor, small timber pieces, rugs, textural linen, and the like. You'll want to try to add in both layers of tones (even if all of those tones are some shade of white or cream!) and layers of texture.
Honestly, you can start with whatever most inspires you. Do you have a special item that you absolutely love?... A piece of art that you adore or a sentimental soft toy that you feel compelled to incorporate into the room? For my daughter's nursery I even used some paintings that I had created when I was a small child. I framed them up and popped them on the wall, and then built her nursery around them.
An amazing rug or play mat is often a wonderful hero piece and starting point for a baby's room, or you might like to consider an ultra soft and dreamy tulle canopy from Spinkie Baby, which would add texture and height to your room as well as that special wow factor. My daughter's bedroom features the beautiful vintage pink tones of the Champagne Dreamy Canopy, with even more texture added underneath in the form of a Kip and Co Velvet Beanbag.
Once chosen, your hero piece can then help you to select a style or theme for your nursery, as well as a colour scheme. Many successfully-styled rooms have based their colour palettes on a single piece or art of photograph, or a richly textured textile.
Now you should have a little think about what sort of style or theme your beautiful nursery will take. This is going to be important for consistency and for giving the room a particular character and feel.
I spend a lot of time browsing through interior design magazines and of course the rabbit hole that is Instagram, and these are the nursery styles I see trending at the moment:
I'm a self-proclaimed colour lover over here, but there's just something about the neutral nurseries that I see coming out lately that is simply stunning. Think layers of beige, cream, white, and chocolate. Some neutral nurseries use greys instead of beiges and build from there. Remember, texture and layers are going to be particularly important to build up if you're not using much colour.
Colour and texture and rattan, and lots of it, please! This is one of my favourite looks at the moment. Vintage style cots in wicker, crochet or woven throws and blankets, cushions with gorgeous drippy tassels, colourful velvet beanbags, Moroccan patterned rugs, daisy prints, and rattan dolls' prams, all topped off with maybe a touch of macrame and lots of greenery in the form of trailing plants.
This theme feels sweet and sentimental, and it can be made to look super pretty and colourful or almost neutral, depending on your preference. You can find the most beautiful bed linen, wall art, play mats and soft toys adorned with Australia's beautiful koalas, platypus, wombats, bush leaves, native flowers, and more.
An Australiana nursery isn't necessarily going to follow a particular colourway, but you might like to think about white or neutrals with olive green accents, and possibly some hints of yellow, pink, or blue. Our beautiful Kip and Co x May Gibbs range of cot and bed linen, cushions, and baby swaddles is the perfect starting point.
Earthy toned rooms have my heart at the moment. Mustard, deep russet red, ochre, terracotta, clay, and forest green. I just love how natural they feel, like you're bringing a bit of the outside into your home. Pair them with a beige or white base to make sure the saturated colours really pop.
An ever popular choice, a soft pink and white nursery is never going to go out of style. Think lace and fairy lights and swans and blush velvet. A sophisticated and/or vintage vibe can be a goal here, and you can include rattan and linen to help to achieve this.
A traditional favourite, woodland animals such as bunny rabbits, bears, foxes, and hedgehogs are ever popular with parents and bubs alike when putting together a stunner of a nursery. These gorgeous animals come in many forms of decor and might even inspire you to paint a feature wall of mountains or use forest tree decals or wallpaper.
Ok, so you've chosen a hero piece or an inspiration item, and you've settled on a theme or style. Let's now cover some of the layers you might like to incorporate into your nursery so that it feels full and complete.
There are some beautiful options out there at the moment. We particularly love the wicker or rattan cots and bassinets, which can be used as part of so many of the styles mentioned above, neutral, boho, earthy, Australiana, pretty much any of them. Also popular are powder-coated metal cots...think rose gold or a striking black.
A rug or a play mat is such an important piece for your room, because it can add a large chunk of texture and comfort to a large area that otherwise might not offer much of either (because it's the floor!)
Our OYOY floor rugs come in both monochrome and soft, colourful wool. These can go into any nursery and add not only a distinct, Scandi vibe of cool and texture, but a whole heap of fun.
Playmats are also absolutely gorgeous in a nursery and they provide padding for little hands, knees, and feet.
A few carefully chosen pieces for your walls can change the entire feel of your nursery. Combining both texture and the wow factor of a large piece of art, I can highly recommend our stunning OYOY Wall Rugs for any child's room. The colours OYOY incorporates into their decor are muted and earthy and the full-sized wall rugs are absolutely huge! The wool blend adds so much texture and interest to a wall. They are a real statement piece. We have the original OYOY Follow the Rainbow Wall Rug hanging above my son's bed but I have such a soft spot for the earthy, chocolatey Choko version.
Wall decor of course also comes in many other different forms, including original artworks (what a wonderful splurge if you're lucky enough to be able to!), high quality art prints, gorgeous timber decor, wicker wall baskets, and wall decals.
Have we mentioned texture and layering enough yet? Well, here it comes again... Texture is so important! And soft textiles such as beautiful cot sheets, a soft woollen baby blanket or tasselled throw, a velvet cushion or beanbag, are the perfect way to introduce a wide variety of textures to your baby's room and really give it a warm and comfortable feeling.
Of course, to have real soul and true appeal for your child, your nursery will need some toys. But not just any toys of course, for we have so far created a nursery of great beauty, and you're going to want to add only beautiful, long-lasting, "special" toys.
My two favourite recommendations when it comes to soft toys that are safe from birth onwards are Olli Ella Cozy Dinkum and Dozy Dinkum Dolls and Jellycat soft toys. Jellycat softies come in such a wonderfully wide range of animals (including the ever popular Bashful Bunny), as well as in the form of fruit, food, insects, even pot plants! Often a parent will be gifted a Jellycat for their newborn and it will quickly become a cherished comfort item for their baby as he or she grows.
I have lots of favourite wooden toys to share with you for a nursery. My number one recommendation is a traditional and beautiful Grimm's Rainbow, in a rainbow, natural, green, monochrome, or pastel colourway. Our large Grimm's Rainbow was actually my own introduction to special wooden toys when my first-born was a baby. Nine years later, our rainbow has been very well-loved, with dints and marks all over, but is still played with by my own kids and our visitors.
A Mader Roly Poly Pear or Wiggle Ball or a Grimm's Grasper or Rattle are bright and beautiful in a nursery, and encourage babies to reach, bat, and exercise their newly developing fine motor skills. Grimm's Stacking Bowls also add colour and play into a nursery and are wonderfully engaging for your little person. All of these baby toys come in natural timber versions if you're trying to keep your nursery neutral and calm.
Handcrafted wooden animals from NOM Handcrafted, Bumbu Toys, or Ostheimer are all recommended for play for children three years and over, however they make wonderful nursery shelf decor until then. If you gift one for each birthday and Christmas, even for Easter in lieu of lots of choccie, you will have built a beautiful little collection for your child to play with when they're ready to engage in small world play.
Much of our Grapat range of wooden toys will also start to become suitable for your baby after they reach their first birthday and move into toddlerhood. I particularly love the Grapat Seasons sets and Bowls and Balls, both of which are very versatile. Your toddler can use them for colour matching, stacking, object permanence games, small world play, and more. Our Grimm's Stacking Towers also become a wonderful wooden toy option from 12 months old.
A piece of play equipment is the final luxury for your gorgeous, envy-inspiring nursery. And it's fabulous for the development of gross motor skills and confidence in your very small person. A beautiful piece of play equipment might also be the item you choose as your hero piece, to really draw and centre the eye in your baby's room. Think a pikler climbing frame, a playstand, or a pretend play kitchen.
One or our favourite pieces is a stunning Wobbel wooden balance board. Safe even for babies, these things are seriously fun, and seriously beautiful to look at. As an open-ended toy, Wobbel Boards can inspire your child to be creative in how they use and play with it as they get older: to rock, to lie down in, to climb and step, and to use as a bridge or a ramp with toy cars. Even adults can use a Wobbel Board, so it really does provide fun and exercise for the whole family.
I hope this guide has both inspired and helped you in pulling together a nursery. Always remember, there's no need to rush. Your baby will just want you, they won't mind if their room takes a little longer to pull together than you'd originally planned. Take your time, take the pressure off, and just add piece by piece. Kath x