While there is a popular trend of decorating a kid’s room or nursery in a neutral palette like grey or beige, which has many advantages and is worth your consideration, it can feel a bit boring. Some parents even argue it’s outright depressing for a child to live in. Wherever you side on the debate, it’s good to have options. Here are some ways to design a child’s space without assigning it traditional pink and blue or inoffensive grey and boardroom beige.
Unsure? Go For Yellow
One of the big reasons this happens is that parents either can’t or don’t want to know the gender of the baby before they’re born. Speaking as an American, we assign strong gendered values to pinks, reds, and blues.
A light or pastel yellow is widely accepted as “the third option” in the blue for boys, pink for girls tradition. This is likely because it makes a de-saturated version of the base colors triad: red, blue, yellow. Every other color is a mix of these three. Personally, I’m all for the increase in parents letting their baby’s gender be a surprise. It really forces people to get clever when designing the baby’s room to avoid being “wrong” (though there is truly no such thing).
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Plaid and Other Patterns
Plaid has been the backbone of rural living and grunge aesthetics for generations, especially in the colder regions. Nowadays, it’s even considered hip (or swag, as the kids say). Plaid is also a surprisingly great choice for a gender neutral yet colorful approach to nurseries, despite its previous stereotype as a lumberjack-chic. Depending on color, you can have it as loud accents or a subtle background presence for the eye to linger on. You can find kids’ supplies in plaid at almost every retailer, or every fabric store if you want to DIY parts of the room. There are plenty of other patterns to choose from as well, including checkerboard, stripes, polka dots, and more. This way, you can incorporate greys, browns, beiges, and creams without the room coming off as bland.
Creating a Theme
While we can have strong gender connotations with a single room color, it’s less true if it’s associated with a season, concept, or location. Aquatic and naval setups are incredibly popular. You won’t have a hard time piecing together a nursery reminiscent of the open sea, the dockside, or a beach. I also quite enjoy a more green forest or jungle base, which can be easily added to with souvenirs from zoo trips or hard-won milestones (a preschool completion certificate). Themes are also a great way to sneak in a little fun for the parents as well. Your baby won’t remember if their nursery decor was tasteful and on-trend; you, however, will be staring at it every night at 3 a.m. rocking said baby back to sleep. If you don’t find the room endearing, you’re the one who’s going to suffer for it.
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All the Colors of the Wind
Even if you don’t want to dedicate the bedroom to a specific concept, aim for a wider color palette. Your children will grow up and create preferences, but at first most kids’ favorite color is rainbow. I’ve been seeing a lot of brands avoid a traditional red to violet rainbow (or Roy G Biv) lately. Loud pops of color are not that disruptive in a closed bedroom. Rainbows themselves are an incredible natural phenomenon and can be an important educational introduction to science. Color only has the meaning you assign to it, so don’t shy away from saturation and brightness if you’re having fun with it. I say that with one caveat: the deeper a wall’s color, the more base coats it needs to paint over. If you decide on a bright orange paint for example, maybe only paint one wall as an accent side instead of the entire room.
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Let the Kids Decide
If you find yourself stressing about the best ways to decorate a nursery so it ages gracefully alongside your new infant, stop. Take a deep breath. It’s okay. There’s no real damage to guess and later have to change the room in the future. If anything, letting your kids have a say about their personal space can be a great bonding experience. Get them engaged helping you pick out new furnishings and painting the walls alongside you! Remember that no matter what you do with the bedroom or nursery, someone else has to live in it. Well, every day past infancy. If you’re really bothered by house synchronicity, do a perspective check and see if it’s actually your bedroom you’re unhappy with and update that first.
Whether you’re not sure what you’re expecting, want to leave trendy grey behind, or just want to give your kids the bedroom you wish you had, children’s rooms and nurseries are full of tough but fun decisions. Make sure everyone in the house or apartment feels at-home, and worry about “good taste” later.