Updated: Feb 9, 2020
When you first got pregnant, how long did it take before you started visualizing what your baby’s nursery was going to look like?
Go ahead. I won’t judge. Because for me, it was about an hour and a half.
I like to think that my design style is more calm and earthy vs bright and exciting. Which, since starting this whole journey, I've come to find out, was a good thing for planning a nursery. We want this space to be conducive to our little one's sleep rather than bold and distracting.
We ended up going with a theme I call "natural-neutral" which incorporated a greenish-grayish paint on the walls (really, a beautiful shade for a boy or girl!), natural wood furniture, and a few simple trinkets, plants, and one wall hanging. And of course, the beloved quilt from grandma (she knew the theme so IT WAS PERFECT)!
Honestly, pick a simple neutral earth tone, and spend the rest of your time researching the best crib mattress and sleep sacks! I promise, the bright, bold, "kid" stuff can come when they are older. And in the meantime, they won't even mind.
When it comes to nurseries, I’ve got four words of advice for you.
Dark, cool, comfortable, and boring.
I know how tempting it is to stuff baby’s sleeping quarters full of adorable mobiles, inspiring images, and fluffy, squishy toys. After all, wouldn’t baby want to be surrounded by a sea of cuteness while they drift off to sleep?
Well, probably not.
I mean, they may like it in theory, but it’s not conducive to a good night’s sleep, for the same reasons that you shouldn’t bring your iPad to bed, or watch TV while you’re drifting off. It’s stimulating, and stimulation and sleep are best kept at a distance from one another.
So what does the perfect nursery look like?
I’m talking pitch black. Some blackout curtains or blinds are a much better investment than a colorful mural. I’m a huge advocate of baby sleeping in the same place 90% the time, which means naps should be in the crib. And you’ll find naps go down with a lot less fuss if there’s no light coming into the room.
It may sound cold, but studies show that babies sleep best in a room that kept between 65 and 70 degrees. Obviously, you should follow your baby’s lead on this, but a warm, comfortable sleep sack or onesie in a cool room will often lead to better sleep than no cover in a warm one.
Babies sleep for nearly half the day, so a great mattress is a sound investment. It’s well worth your time to do some extensive research and spend the money you had set aside for mobiles and that cute, light-up underwater thing that plays "soothing" music (while it may sound soothing, the lights and sounds are actually very stimulating for a baby learning to sleep!). Which brings me to my major point...
Music and soft light, pictures of Disney characters, swirling colors and little plastic fish, all of them seem like they should have a calming effect on a baby, but it’s just the opposite. These standard nursery accompaniments are distracting and stimulating. Blank walls and an easily accessible changing station, those are your best decorating choices when it comes to baby’s bedroom.
I know it’s probably a little bit of a tough pill to swallow for new parents, because we really do look forward to putting together a little corner of baby-themed paradise for our little ones. But bear in mind, this room serves a crucial function in your baby’s day-to-day life, and that’s to be a quiet, relaxing environment for them to get the extensive amounts of sleep that their growing bodies need.
There will be plenty of opportunity for them to adorn their rooms with extensive amounts of knick-knacks when they’re teenagers.