Oh, Baby, Baby, What a Nursery!

Baby, Babe, Bebe, infant, wee one, no matter how you say it, it equals love.

Their eyes, their fingers...and oh, those cheeks! Who can resist the chance to cradle a baby in their arms?


When you realize that one of these precious cherubs is about to come into your life, one of the first projects that pops into your head is 'the nursery' and that is only the beginning. As parents, it is only natural to want to provide safe and warm surroundings for our most precious gift.

Oh, Baby, Baby, What a Nursery!

Where do you start? Well this is an easy one, you'll need to assess your available square footage and how close you will be for those late night feedings. The next step is to make sure there is some form of natural lighting, preferably at least one window so that the baby does not get their days and nights mixed up so easily.


Paint color is probably one the first things you will need to address. When selecting a color palette remember that you will be looking at it as well...and, for awhile! It is nice if the paint color compliments the overall temperature of the paint colors in the rest of your home. For example, if you are choosing a pink and the rest of your home is in a warm (yellow base) color palette, then select a pink that has a warm or perfectly neutral base as well. Try to stay away from a cool (blue base) pink within a warmer home palette. It works the same when selecting a wall color to add to an already cool color home palette, make certain that this nursery color has a blue or neutral base as well. This should not be a difficult task for your paint store to help you with.

It is also very important to ask for a paint with a low VOC level. The VOCs are volatile organic compounds that are found in many paints.


Another nursery element to consider is closet space. The traditional closet would certainly be a bonus, but not a necessity; armoires and dressers could also fit the bill. If you do have a closet, a nice way to save space in the nursery is to install hip height (or so) dressers/cabinets. Put as many that will fit (depth and width wise) in the closet for all of the baby's clothing and accessories. Before you do this make sure to remove the closet doors and store them in an attic or basement for those teen years to come!

On top of the built in cabinets you can add a fitted changing cushion and trim the unit in a short spindle molding of sorts to keep the changing cushion from sliding off. The clothing bar is still above in the closet where it is usually hung. Make certain to part the clothing from one side to the other so that it doesn't hang in the baby's face while being changed. Now that you have recovered your floor space from dressers and changing tables you might want to use this space for a rocker, play area or possibly a twin/day bed. Keeping up to date with possible recalls on your baby's crib and mattress is very important, these items are constantly being reviewed.

Fabrics & Accessories

Will you know the sex of your baby? This can be a great help when selecting your color palette and fabrics. If you won't or do not want to know the baby's sex, there are many different color choices that are certainly appropriate for both.

You can keep accessories to a minimum at first, then add to your design once the baby arrives. Remember that there is plenty of time to add an additional gender driven color after the baby arrives with fabrics or trims. Selecting additional boy/girl accessories (and putting them aside) before the baby comes, will allow you to effortlessly fold them into your existing nursery project and it can also allow more time for you and your little one to get to know each other.

Fabric and patterns is a logical next step or you may have chosen them first and pulled your wall color from them. You may have already fallen for a specific pattern or theme in ready made crib and window treatments, or you may have something else in mind, possibly in the direction of custom design. Either way, make certain that the crib attire is done in washable fabrics. If having the crib attire custom made, check that all of the fabric has been pre-washed and dried before any fabrication takes place. This will prevent it from shrinking the first time you wash it, so it will continue to fit the crib. Cottons are always a safe bet.

A good rule of thumb is to start with three patterns and two solids when selecting a pattern scheme. Start with a large scale (feature) print, next is your medium pattern and alas, a small scale dot or check pattern type for the third in your selection. The two solids should have something to do with the colors either in your three fabric patterns and/or your wall colors.

Accessories can be the icing on your cake! Have fun, and make sure that what you are selecting is lead free and hung securely. There must be no chance of danger to the baby of the wall items falling into the crib, or these items being pulled down by the baby as they learn to stand and tug.

Shelving in pairs always carries a creative impact as does grouping children's art or mirrors.
Remember, just because the baby is tiny, doesn't mean that the wall accessories have to be tiny as well. I see this happen often when people try to display items on nursery walls. They have large wall spaces and tiny little letters, shelves or framed pieces that are lost in the room. Remember people, scale, scale, scale! The accessories for the walls need to compliment the scale of the room, not the baby's weight on the scale.


Lighting is often overlooked in a child's room. I always try to bring ceiling lighting into the nursery theme/design while making selections. Be it a girly girl chandelier or a ships wheel ceiling fixture for a sailboat theme, its nice to plan your lighting pattern from top to bottom. My second lighting selection would be table top or nightstand height lighting and last should be a night light to brighten up your walking path in the late evenings to and from the crib. A dimmer switch on the ceiling light helps to not wake the baby when you hit the wall switch entering the room. Ceiling fans are thought to be a bad choice around young babies, so if a fan is needed, try a floor standing oscillating style.

When selecting floor coverings (in a perfect world) the healthiest way to go would be hardwoods with an area rug. Hard surface flooring lessens the chance of allergies and is easier to maintain. Make certain that the dimensions of the area rug you select are large enough for you all to get down on the floor and play together. A quilt over the area rug while playing will be easy to throw in the wash if there are any accidents.

Trying to complete this project two to three months before the baby's arrival gives you optimum time to relax and enjoy the nursery yourselves. You will ponder what color his hair may be (if any at all) or who's smile she'll have while you sit in a rocker admiring the outcome of your beautiful nursery project!

Oh, Baby, Baby, What a Nursery!

Sandra Lyke has been in the interior design business for fifteen years working with clients from coast to coast in North America. Her inspiration comes from her travels around the world as well as the unique needs of her clientele. Sandra works closely on every project large and small from home renovations and commercial design to color palette and accessory selection.

You can contact and find out more about Sandra Lyke and her designs by going to http://www.sandralykeinteriors.com