Today I am showing you how to design the nursery of your dreams.
Designing our daughter’s nursery has been one of my all-time favorite projects!
Get the look of a Pinterest-perfect nursery without paying an interior designer.
Let me take the guesswork out of it for you, and help you ENJOY the process!
Below are the simple steps you need to know to design your baby’s nursery.
Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post, at no cost to you.
Start a Pinterest Board for Your Nursery
First, start a Pinterest board for your nursery and use it as inspiration throughout the design process.
This will help you streamline your style and determine what you ultimately want it to look like.
Ask yourself a few questions like these:
- Do you gravitate towards neutral colors or bright colors?
- Is there a particular color palette you’re drawn to?
- Have you come across an area rug you love already that could serve as a statement piece?
- Do you have a family heirloom you want to incorporate or work around?
These answers may help you identify your first few design elements.
Next, you’ll want to decide on what nursery theme you want to use.
It doesn’t have to be a traditional set nursery theme such as baby animals, boho, nautical etc. Identifying a “theme” can be as simple as choosing a color scheme to work within.
Finally, pin images of any nursery themes or nursery ideas you love!
Here are the top three photos I drew inspiration from while designing my daughter‘s nursery… I’m drawn to mostly neutrals with girly accents.
Related: Top-Rated Neutral Nursery Rugs
Plan Your Nursery Layout in Advance
Draw the layout of your nursery room to see exactly where your biggest furniture pieces will go.
Measure each wall and be sure to choose appropriately sized furniture so you have enough space.
Below is the layout of our nursery – keep in mind it’s not drawn to scale so you’ll need to consider the square footage of your own nursery.
I’m terrible at drawings, but they give me an idea of where I want everything.
Here are a few Before shots of this room completely empty.
Pick Out Your Nursery Wall Paint Color
Pick out your nursery wall paint color towards the beginning so you can build on the rest of your design with it in mind.
We’ve got a great post on the best nursery paint colors to help you decide.
As for the actual paint type you should buy, check out this list of baby safe paint options as a guide.
Finally, if you’re renting your home or just don’t feel like painting, this list of 20 ways to decorate your nursery without painting may inspire you.
Decide on Your Key Nursery Furniture Pieces
Decide on your key nursery furniture pieces – the crib, glider, and dresser.
Read through all the online reviews you can find and try to see them in person if you can.
Selecting Your Baby’s Crib
Look for a convertible crib that your baby can transition into.
They may start crawling out of their crib before they’re ready for a twin bed or toddler bed.
Remember, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a safe, sturdy crib.
I almost got swept up by all of the fancy options, but ultimately we went with this low-cost one that had amazing reviews.
The ONLY things that should be in your child’s crib are the crib mattress and crib sheet.
There should be NO additional bedding like bumpers, blankets, and pillows.
The ones you see here are purely for decoration and will always be removed while she is in the crib.
I partnered with Newton Baby to use the Newton crib mattress in our nursery.
Their mattress has no foam, latex or adhesives, and allows air to flow freely for optimal breathability and temperature regulation which can reduce the risk of suffocation.
I did a full review HERE if you are curious.
I put a breathable, muslin cotton sheet from Aden + Anais over the crib mattress.
The simple, neutral design of this crib will work for our next child whether we have a boy or girl.
I’ll use my favorite blush, vintage rug in her next bedroom.
Shop My Crib:
Choosing Your Nursery Glider
The number one piece of advice I received is to splurge on the nursery glider since you will spend A LOT of time on it.
You’ll likely sleep there at some point so you want it to be comfortable!
Overwhelmed by the number of options? Cut right to the most stylish and top-rated nursery gliders over on this post.
We went to see ours in-store to sit and rock on it.
I also read through TONS of online reviews to make sure it was worth the cost.
You’re probably thinking I’m insane for choosing white!
Trust me we will take care of it – I put Scotchgard on the fabric and I’ll leave this blanket draped over it.
Plus if it survives a few years in the nursery, I plan on using it in our master bedroom one day.
Shop My Glider:
Picking Out Your Nursery Dresser Changing Table
The dresser will serve as your changing table AND provide you with additional storage.
It’s great for storing diapers, wipes, and creams within reach.
It’s also perfect for swaddling blankets, clothes, burp cloths, bibs, etc.
Save yourself a ton of time researching by checking out this roundup of the best nursery dressers of this year.
I plan on using this dresser in her next bedroom once this becomes a nursery again for baby number two.
The changing table topper can be removed without damage to the top of the dresser – it simply screws into the back.
Some mamas opt to skip the changing tray and put the changing pad directly onto the dresser.
There’s really no right or wrong answer, just be sure to keep your hand placed on a corner of the changing pad so it never slips.
Shop My Nursery Dresser & Topper:
Consider Adding Multiple Lighting Options to Your Nursery
Consider adding multiple lighting options – your main source of light, a significantly dimmer option, and a nightlight.
Our main source of light comes from the ceiling fan, and I put this lamp next to the glider with a dim bulb giving off ambient light for nighttime nursing.
We also put a motion-activated nightlight right by the doorway.
You also want to keep sunlight OUT while your baby is sleeping, so blackout curtains are a necessity.
We love these thick, high-quality blackout curtains. They keep the room dark and they just happen to be gorgeous as well!
Shop My Curtains & Hardware:
Fill In the Remaining Floor Space with Storage
Fill in the remaining floor space with storage for toys, books, blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, etc.
Use a combination of baskets, toy boxes, or storage cubes.
We love these large, stackable toy boxes that fit ALL of the things.
OK, I may or may not have a basket obsession.
There are so many cute ones… how could I not pick up them all?!
Baskets are one of the easiest ways to corral loose items that clutter the room.
Both of these are from Home Goods, and the blankets were gifts from my baby shower.
I love these bookshelves from IKEA and they were only $9.99 each!
Each one is four inches deep, so they will eventually fit a ton of baby books.
The tassel basket is also from Home Goods.
Finalize the Design of Baby’s Room with Coordinating Décor
Once you’ve decided on the furniture and storage, it’s time to pick out the fun stuff like wall art!
This is where I’d go a little crazy on gender-specific décor.
These are the things that will give you ALL THE FEELS 🙂
Related: 10 Easy Ways to Organize Your Nursery
I absolutely fell in love with this gold star ceiling mobile, and it makes a huge statement!
Is there anything cuter than baby animal prints in a nursery?
I framed them in 16 x 20 gold frames from IKEA.
Tulle & sequins fit for a princess – I had to have this crib skirt!
Here’s a sneak peek of her all-new closet – find the full DIY tutorial HERE.
Shop Additional Sources:
Wondering about our wall color? It’s Benjamin Moore Big Bend Beige which we had mixed up at our local Sherwin Williams paint store.
How to Design a Nursery: Frequently Asked Questions
When should you start designing a nursery?
Preparing the nursery in your home is really fun and can even be one of the most enjoyable times of your pregnancy! There are so many fun things to pick up along the way, but you might also be surprised how long some items like nursery furniture will take to arrive.
Start between 18-20 weeks to ensure you’re able to take pleasure in the process and not be stressed at the end. Now if you are already well past this already, we don’t want you to stress either! There are plenty of quick-ship nursery furniture pieces available as well.
A lot of expecting parents prefer to wait to start on the nursery until they are out of the early miscarriage stage. It also makes the most sense to wait until you have found out what gender you are having. That’s why 18-20 weeks is the perfect time to get started!
What should I keep in mind when designing a nursery?
Learn what the best things are to save on in the nursery, such as saving on your crib choice. All cribs for sale must meet the guidelines of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and come in a standard length & width. The greatest difference between cribs is style and price.
You don’t have to have a crib from Pottery Barn Kids that cost between $700-$1,000. You can get an affordable crib that’s both beautiful and well priced. The white crib and natural wood crib we used cost between $100-$300 and I did NOT sacrifice on style. Take my suggestion and save yourself hundreds of dollars here. You’ll be glad you did the first morning you come in and find your little one has chewed up the crib rails.
Another way to save is on your changing table choice. It will get beat up over those first few years. You’ll be wiping poop off of it and it will likely get scratched on the top. If you have the budget, Pottery Barn Kids does carry many of my favorite changing table dressers but they will cost you between $700-$1,200.
Once again, I’ve found great nursery changing tables for under $300. Check them out and see for yourself over on this post.
Finally, you can also save by spending less on your rug. A gorgeous, eye-catching rug is key to any stunning nursery, but thankfully there are websites like Rugs USA that have high-quality rugs at a very low price. Chances are it’s going to get messed up over the years anyway.
How do you layout a nursery?
Here are some guidelines on where to place your furniture:
- Center the crib on the wall you see when you first walk into the room. If that wall has windows in the center of it, or if it’s too small, use another wall, preferably the largest one in the room. You want this to be a feature wall!
- Put the glider in a corner facing out, ideally by a window if you have one.
- Place the dresser, which will be your changing table, centered on the smallest wall, preferably on its own. If that’s not possible, put it on the same wall as your glider, tucked on either side of it.
Have a small room for your baby nursery? Check out these 12 tiny nursery ideas to give you some layout ideas.
Need More Help with Your Baby’s Room Setup?
Tour our daughter’s custom nursery closet that we built for $100!
It’s a great DIY project to make your child’s closet a little more functional.