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How to Create a Comfortable Nursery For Both Baby and Parents

by Kelli Kehler

As I spent most of the days, nights, or wee hours of the morning rocking and feeding my newborn in her nursery, I was endlessly thankful for the room my husband and I created for her. Sure, the colors, shapes, and other features became known to my daughter later in infancy, but in those exhausted moments I was comforted and grateful for what the space gave me.

No matter what a nursery looks like — a corner of a shared bedroom, an alcove in an open-concept loft, a pack n’ play in a studio apartment — the most important feature is the love that’s put into it. To give you inspiration for your little one’s space, whatever the arrangement may be, we’ve rounded up 14 nurseries from our archives and some of our favorite decorative elements after the jump. —Kelli

Nursery-Picks

light fixture | small rattan basket | striped blanket | cloud and stars mobile | space art | metallic pouf | dresser | canvas basket | rainbow stacking toy

Decorating tips

-When choosing a light fixture for a nursery, I like to pick something that has a soft glow and is inspiring to look at even when switched off. Babies love staring at fun objects, especially lights (and mobiles).

-I’m a fan of playful, yet sophisticated artwork that will grow with the child — so you’re not having to redecorate every other year.

-A floor pouf is the perfect soft object for encouraging a baby to pull up to standing. It can also double as a footstool.

-No need to purchase a designated changing table — a low dresser does the trick and is far more attractive. Then, when the baby grows out of needing a changing table, you don’t have an obsolete piece of furniture on your hands.

-With children and toys abound, baskets are a saving grace. I have a catch-all basket in practically every room of the house. Small baskets are perfect for corralling lotions and other diapering needs atop a dresser.

-There are so many aesthetically pleasing toys out there that enhance child development while doubling as a stylish object. I often choose toys that my child will love — and look great on the shelf.

1/14
Designed purposely around Jill Malek wallpaper, this modern and cozy nursery still looks fresh four years since we first featured it. Infusing various textures into the space enhances the comfy vibe.
2/14
A handmade quilt and decorative pieces that celebrate the state of Arizona make this Mesa, AZ nursery feel personal and thoughtful.
3/14
In a shared room for both toddler and baby, a DIY paint job, a tassel banner, and a blue-and-green color palette give this space a fun, contemporary mood.
4/14
In a mid-century modern home, layers of textiles, globes and other playful effects tone down the poplar wood paneling -- an original feature to the house that feels newly intentional when styled this way.
5/14
"I did not want to spend a lot of money on a nursery since I hoped our girls would share a room at some point, but I also wanted to make it a beautiful space to welcome my little girl," homeowner Heather Jorde says. "I worked with what I had, and only bought a few things." Heather achieved a high-end look on a budget with this large-scale DIY wall stencil.
6/14
In Montana's Absaroka Mountains, a sweet nursery was pulled together with handmade, handed-down, or thrifted finds.
7/14
A mid-century dresser becomes a changing table in Kansas. Abstract paintings above the dresser do double duty: "They keep Ava distracted when she's being changed, and are absolute eye candy from the rocking chair across the room."
8/14
In an open-concept Brooklyn loft, baby Duccio's crib is nestled in between the living and dining areas of the space. A paper banner made by his parents designates the nursery in a vibrant way.
9/14
In Chicago, a chair that was formerly used for watching football (and drinking beer!) is now part of a dreamy nook for reading books to a baby boy.
10/14
A hallway wall decked out in triangle decals by Gold Mur gives a hint of the playful, yet sophisticated nursery beyond.
11/14
An impressive renovation in Philadelphia utilizes smart space reconfigurations to fashion a separate room for a little one: what was once the master closet became a very small nursery for a toddler. "Having a room, even a small one, where you can close the door and they can get a peaceful night's sleep or a nap is massively important," interior designer Mona explains.
12/14
In a Before & After project, a once drab room becomes a cozy and modern nursery with Valspar's Dutch Licorice paint, crisp white details and graphic artwork.
13/14
A feast for a developing baby's eyes, this nursery in a New York farmhouse is decked out in bright colors and fun shapes. While themes are popular with decorating nurseries, sometimes simply sticking to a color palette -- even one with lots of hues -- can have a powerful impact on making the space feel cohesive.
14/14
Four years later, this nursery we featured of Joy Cho's oldest daughter, Ruby, is still inspiring. The rose gold dots are a clever workaround to a typical renter's predicament. "Since we rent, I didn’t want to put in anything too permanent. And since this is contact paper, it’s super easy to remove."

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