Here are ideas to inspire you in creating a whimsical or dreamy nursery for your new baby.
This room design was inspired by the storybook The Twelve Gifts of Birth, by Charlene Costanzo. According to the story, every child is given 12 gifts -- including imagination, beauty, joy, and wisdom -- by his or her parents. The first gift of beauty? This fabulous room!
With its nurturing nature theme and nifty storage nooks, this nursery is the type of sanctuary many parents dream of for a new child. Gentle colors soften the room's clean-cut modern style. Rugs, pillows, and artwork sport animal and botanical motifs, and a painted tree climbs the wall, cuddling baby under a quiet canopy of oak leaves and songbirds.
Nurseries sure have come a long way from pastels and gauzy fabrics. This fun nursery embraces the bolder side of a classic pink-and-yellow palette. The furnishings are adaptable pieces that play multiple roles. The crib, for example, turns into a daybed and later a chair. In this phase, baskets, bins, and open shelves keep diapers and other items easily accessible. The crib gets a starring role in the center of the room.
The star of this room is fabric. Mixed beautifully, the colors range from pale pink to tan and sage green. Since the fabrics are relatively muted, they mix well with family heirlooms and a few antique tables.
Beautiful floral carpeting harmonizes with the room's upholstered chair and valance. These fabric pieces have been exquisitely detailed using fringe, borders, and coordinating fabrics.
When decorating a nursery, think of things that will last. The carousel theme in this child's room will last from newborn to early school age. Inexpensive fabric and paint created the look. These parents chose to invest in an heirloom-quality crib: Its amazing design goes from crib to youth bed to double bed.
Overscaled flowers adorn the walls of this garden-inspired nursery. Simple stencils and sponge-painting techniques created the look, an inexpensive way to establish a visually stimulating environment. By laying out the stencils in a pattern all the way around the walls, the room looks balanced without looking staged.
Characters from Peter Rabbit hippity-hop around the walls of this nursery. To create a similar look, pick a favorite storybook, and enlarge images at a photocopy shop. Ambitious do-it-yourselfers with an artistic bent can paint the scenes by tracing the enlarged designs on the walls for guidance. Another choice is to have the enlargements made in color and paste them on the wall, painting frames around them. The cornice work was done by stencil.
A nautical theme is another popular and perennial nursery decorating choice. The bright reds, whites, and blues are stimulating, lasting, and easy to work with. And just two pieces of well-chosen furniture maximize the space in this small room: The drawers on the crib hold lots of tiny clothes, and the open shelves on the changing table hold necessities and fresh linens.
Toys, stuffed animals, and storybook characters are some of the objects that color your baby's world. Why not let those decorate the nursery, too? The simple white pieces of this room are accented with red cushions and window treatments, but the rest of the style comes from the toys displayed in an open bookcase and on top of the furniture -- even the curtain rod is capped with teddy bears. The look is playful and inviting.
Once upon a time, this bright nursery was dark and dreary. Simply painting the room white and adding a light-toned rug created a whole new ambiance. Fabrics, including cuddly chenille bedding and a waterfall of white netting over the crib, give the room a sense of softness. Minimal window treatments play up the leaded glass designs that add to the room's storybook appeal.
Rooms with dormers are a natural for country decorating, and they make extra-cozy nurseries. The puffy wall quilt and window treatments add softness; their fabric also muffles noise. A futon nestles in the dormer space, creating a cozy place to read a book at bedtime or naptime.
The deep, bright blue of the crib stands out nicely against the subtle yellow of the walls. Cloud and plane decals play up the sky tones. It's a pleasing scheme suitable for a baby from newborn days well into toddlerhood.