How to Choose a Theme for Your Nursery

Image of a baby's room
When the nesting instinct kicks in, nothing will stop an expectant mom from getting the nursery ready. Once parents select the furniture (crib, changing table and dresser combo, rocking chair), they begin to define the overall style for the nursery, but there’s still a lot to do. You’ll need a defining principle to pull it all together, so we’ve gathered these pointers on how to choose a theme for your nursery.

Look for Inspiration

There are so many adorable possibilities, but you’ll need to narrow it down. A favorite children’s book, a mythical creature like a fairy, unicorn, or hobbit, or an archetypical character like a cowboy, astronaut, or sea captain might spark ideas. An appealing mood or favorite objects or stuffed toys from your own childhood could spark ideas for your theme.

By the time you’re ready to decorate the nursery, it’s likely you’ve already been through a baby shower or two. If you’ve received a gift that has already become a favorite—for example, a cashmere baby gift set - build a complementary theme around that. A stuffed mouse, cat, or cow might inspire a farmyard theme, and so on. As your baby grows, the décor may last longer than the gift itself, so choose something complementary that evokes the present rather than copies it directly.

Define Your Colors

Once you have a general idea of a theme, colors will come to mind that associate with your idea. Most parents go for muted pastels, grays, or other soothing, calming colors for the large surfaces of the room, with a secondary and accent color thrown into the mix. Decorators recommend a 60-30-10 ratio, meaning that 60 percent of the room displays the main color, 30 percent the secondary, and 10 percent an accent color. There’s no reason you can’t use a pop of brighter color as an accent, even if you choose something more muted or neutral for the walls.

Accept That the Theme is More for You Than the Baby

Let’s get real—as long as an infant is snug, safe, warm, fed, and freshly diapered, they’re not going to care what the nursery looks like, at least not until they can tell the difference between a cow and a horse. Your time spent there is equally important, playing with, talking to, rocking, and feeding your little one. Choose a theme that you enjoy and make the nursery a place you want to spend a lot of time enjoying your baby.

Future - Proof It

Babies grow into toddlers and preschoolers. Eventually, the nursery may morph into a teenager’s room—yikes! Accept that the more elaborate you are, the more you’ll have to redo in future years.  A custom wall mural featuring beloved children’s book characters will be harder to transform than a neutral-colored surface with hanging wall art you can switch out. 

These are just some tips to get you started on how to choose a theme for your nursery. New parents often say their baby began to exhibit their own personality very early on, so expect to add some touches that express your baby’s temperament in the first year. Congratulations—now buckle up and enjoy the ride!


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