MAKING ROOM FOR BABY
Today's nurseries are less about trends, more about function
Adding to a family is an exciting time and entails making room for the baby, and that's where a nursery comes into place. While couples might be excited to start buying baby-specific furniture and other décor elements, interior design experts say the best thing to do is choose colours and bigger items that can grow with your child.
“Parents don't realize how quickly that phase ends – after all, you're using a nursery for only two or three years before you transition your child to a big-kid bed,” pointed out Eugenia Triandos, principal designer and co-founder at Hibou Design. “You don't want to be stuck with nursery furniture because having it is so temporary.” Instead of buying a changing table, for example, opt instead for a dresser with a changing pad on top. If you want a rocker or glider, choose one that is more generic and will still look good in a living room or older child's bedroom.
You also don't want to be too brash. With websites like Pinterest boasting perfectly styled nurseries, it can be hard to resist the urge to jump right in and start painting walls or hanging décor. “Design the space first – I always sketch it out
on a scaled floorplan to make sure the flow of the room works,” explained Niki Panagiotopoulos, owner of Wish Décor. “The nursery must go with the natural flow of the rest of the home. Parents are in the nursery just as much as the kids, so it has to flow well.”
Furniture should be minimal and serve a specific purpose, if not pull double- or triple-duty. Toy chests can provide extra storage for years to come and can also function as a bench. Panagiotopoulos also recommended curve-style furniture – it not only looks chic, but it's safer too.
A soft, neutral background is a safe bet because it, too, can grow with the child and become an easy backdrop to work with in future bedroom designs. This year more than ever, designers as well as homeowners are moving away from colder pastels and are looking for warmer, calmer hues. “It's
always easier to go neutral on most of the fixed finishes, like paint and window coverings, and right now we're seeing a lot of creams, whites, off-whites, beiges, and even warm greys,” Triandos said. “Then, if you want to bring in other colours, you can do so in the artwork, pillows, and throws.” New parents are leaning more toward muted colours like mint and sage green, blue with a touch of grey, and soft pinks in a faded blush or salmon for all the extras. “By creating a blank canvas in terms of the décor and furnishings, it allows it not to feel too overstimulating when you bring in things such as toys and stuffed animals.”
Storage is another essential aspect of any child's room, especially a nursery. The baby's room has so many roles, from being a place to interact, play and change, to a quiet respite for naptime, reading, and sleeping. Therefore, it can be extremely beneficial for busy new parents to have a space that is properly organized in an efficient way. “Storage is always a must in any kid's space, and for nurseries in particular,” Triandos said. “When we design a nursery, we always include open storage. When you're changing your baby and your hands are full, you don't want to have to open too many drawers and cabinet doors to access creams, wipes, and diapers, so a basket on the dresser can be helpful.”
The final component to a beautiful modern nursery is lighting. Lamps can provide mellow pockets of light throughout the room, but for designers like Panagiotopoulos, she likes to use these spaces as an opportunity to add a touch of pizazz. “I get excited about statement lighting in a baby's room,” she said. “It's about time lighting in a nursery makes an impact. It something that creates real ambiance.” It can also be installed with a dimmer so you can control the amount of light it emits.
Nurseries are all about creating calm and serenity, for both baby and mom and dad too. A nursery is the first space your child will feel at home, which is why it's so important to properly design the space. Plan out how you want the nursery to be set up, choose larger furniture pieces based on timelessness, and create a muted backdrop with a few unique personalized accents. In the end, you'll have a room that grows with your child for years to come.