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Guide to Creating a Modern Nursery from Scratch

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 us help you with our handy Nursery Design Guide. It's designed to gentle you through the process of putting together a spectacular nursery for your bub, be it boho, colourful, white, monochrome, Scandi, 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. So we're 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, and the like. You'll need both layers of tones (even if all of those tones are some shade of white!) and layers of texture.

Where to start in your nursery: A hero piece

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? An amazing rug or play mat is often a wonderful hero piece and starting point for a baby's room.

Once chosen, your hero piece can then help you to select a style or theme for your baby's room, 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.

Nursery styles & themes

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.

We spend a lot of time with our noses in interior design magazines and of course the rabbit hole that is Instagram, and these are the nursery styles we see trending at the moment:

Scandi nursery

Yes, everyone's favourite for so long is still here, and we think it's here to stay. Think clean lines, simplicity, blonde timber, lots of white, and lots of soft grey. Soft splashes of colours such as sky blue and blush pink also feature.

Monochrome nursery

Done correctly, a monochrome nursery can be so effective. Inky blacks, soft greys, and beautiful whites all melded together can look amazing. For a softer look, simply drop the black and stick with white and grey.

Just remember, the use of texture will be particularly important in the absence of colour. We're just recently seeing monochrome nurseries being done with just a teensy touch of colour, in particular blue (either a navy or a light blue).

Blush pink, white, and grey nursery

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.

Neutral nursery

We are self-proclaimed colour lovers over here, but there's just something about the neutral nurseries that we see coming out lately that is simply stunning. Think beiges and lots of texture, with maybe a touch of the earthy tones of mustard, deep russet red, or forest green. Some neutral nurseries use greys instead of beiges and build from there.

Boho eclectic nursery

Colour and texture and rattan, and lots of it, please! This is one of our favourite looks at the moment. The vintage style cots in wicker and huge woven throws and cushions with gorgeous drippy tassels, the colourful velvet beanbags and the Moroccan patterned rugs, all topped off with maybe a touch of macrame and lots of greenery in the form of trailing plants.

Forest animals nursery

Woodland animals such as bunny rabbits, bears, foxes, and hedgehogs are ever popular with mums 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.

Australiana nursery

This probably sits right at the top of Milk Tooth's list for favourite nursery themes at the moment. 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 we would probably think about white or neutrals with olive green acccents, and possibly some hints of yellow, pink, or blue.

Key pieces for layering

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 incoporate into your nursery so that it feels full and complete.

Cot or toddler bed

There are some beautiful options out there at the moment. We particularly love the wicker or rattan cots and bassinets, which can be used in either a boho vibe nursery or a neutral or pink and white scheme. Also popular are powder-coated metal cots...think rose gold or a striking black.

Rug or play mat

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 most popular play mats tend to be our monochrome OYOY rugs. These honestly can go into any nursery and add not only a distinct, Scandi vibe of cool and texture, but a whole heap of fun. They are genuine play mats, designed for playing.

Our felt ball rugs, which we have made in Nepal, are absolutely gorgeous in a nursery because they provide so much padding for little hands, knees, and feet. We also have the most beautiful velvet play mats at the moment, simply divine.

Artwork

A few carefully chosen pieces for your walls can change the entire feel of your nursery. Our absolute favourite right now (and also favoured by several Australian stylists) is our beautiful, textured OYOY Rainbow Wall Rug. It has the most beautiful earthy tones and is handwoven from wool and cotton. It is a lovely large statement piece.

We have a particular soft spot for Australian-designed and -printed quirky art prints by Pax and Hart, which are sophisticated enough to be displayed anywhere in the house, yet still retain the playful feel of children's art.

Wall decor also comes in many other different forms, including gorgeous timber decor and photo-realistic animal wall decals, such as our forest, safari, and pet animal wall stickers from KEK Amsterdam.

Cushions, cot linen, and other textiles

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 woolen baby blanket or tasseled 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.

Toys

Of course, to have real soul and true appeal for your small person, 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.

When looking at soft toys, go for the realms of a handknit creature with quirks of the personality from Lucky Boy Sunday or Colette Bream, or maybe a soft and dreamy unicorn, lion, or swan from Lily & George.

For wooden toys, think lovely dangling timber OYOY bunny rabbits and penguins, handcrafted wooden animals from Ostheimer, a timber doll's cot from Cam Cam for make-believe fun, and our ever-popular Grimm's rainbows in a rainbow, monochrome, or pastel colourway to suit your nursery.

Play equipment

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.

One or our favourite pieces at the moment is a stunning wooden balance board. These things are seriously fun, and seriously beautiful to look at. As an open-ended toy, our balance boards can inspire your child to creativity in how they use and play with it: to rock, to lie down in, to climb and step, and to use as a bridge or a ramp with toy cars.