A step-by-step guide to styling a nursery

Jul 3, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Perhaps you've envisioned how your child's nursery will look long before getting pregnant. In fact, you may already have a Pinterest board packed with photo inspiration.

Gender neutral nursery

Is there ever a "right" time to make these ideas a reality? According to Carrie Carroll, founder of TheTwinSource.com, "Collecting ideas, thinking about nursery space and style, and even a bit of window shopping can happen early, but it is probably best not to make any major purchases until you have safely moved into your second trimester."

As part of the style planning process, Carroll suggests establishing your nursery's theme prior to making any major purchases. "Have an idea of color palette and style. Then you can research your purchases and find items that you love and go perfectly within your theme that also fit best within your budget," she explains.

Here are some additional tips about the major elements you'll need to consider and select while building a beautiful nursery.


paint samples

Ultimately, the color palette you select should reflect your style preferences. However, here is some advice that can be particularly helpful if you're debating between traditional boy and girl colors or gender-neutral colors. Barbara Green of Sensibly Chic Designs for Life explains that she is a proponent of gender-neutral nurseries, because it doesn't matter whether a child is born a boy or girl, you won't know whether they fall on the feminine or masculine end of the spectrum, or somewhere in between. "For instance, my child was assigned female at birth, and her nursery was pink with ribbons and flowers, but she was never comfortable there. She does not identify as a female, but I forced her into that box before she was able to display her own gender preference," she further explains.


Once you have a general idea of the nursery's color palette and theme, you can begin to shop for furniture. As you select pieces, keep in mind that safety is just as important as style. Green says, "It is very important to select furniture that is manufactured with sustainable practices and also has no-VOC finishes."


Green offers some additional safety guidelines regarding nursery bedding. She says, "Bumper pads, while they look so comfortable and inviting, are no longer recommended for use in cribs. They have been shown to be a suffocation risk and should be avoided. Look for bedding made with natural dyes and natural fibers. If they are organic, all the better!"


As you're in the midst of coordinating colors, furniture and bedding, you may overlook how lighting will impact the overall look of the nursery. Green suggests opting for fixed lighting, rather than floor or table lamps. "When babies begin to crawl, they can pull on the cord and topple the lamp. Very dangerous. Ceiling fixtures and wired-in sconces are a better option," she explains.


With time the nursery is likely to fill with accessories such as toys and stuffed animals. These items should be washable, according to Green. She explains that germs and bacteria build up on toys and accessories, and so these items should withstand routine cleanings in a washing machine or with a disinfecting solution. "Again, minimize the amount of toys put in a crib, as they can be choking and suffocation hazards," she adds.

In addition to these tips, you can find a wealth of other nursery decor ideas at SheKnows.com.

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