Here in the design community, I’ve found that kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces tend to get all the love. But you might be surprised to learn that some of my favorite spaces to design fall within the kids’ room category.
Whether it’s designing a nursery for a brand new baby or transitioning a space to “big kid” status, I love the interplay of creativity and whimsy that makes these spaces so special. Plus, the balance of kid-friendly form and function is always a fun challenge to take on.
Today, I’m sharing how I approach projects for my littlest clients with fresh ideas to infuse personality and practicality every step of the way.
Design by Julia Miller Interiors
Design + Photo by Catarina Skoglund
There’s nothing like the anticipation of bringing a new baby home, and designing the nursery is such a memorable part of the process. Whenever I approach nursery plans, I like to design with the caregivers in mind. Creating a calming space for those endless diaper changes and night feeding sessions is so essential, and I’ve found that comfort in a nursery is key.
If you’re wondering where to invest, I’ve compiled a few items I consider non-negotiables for any nursery space.
Rocking Chair or Glider. I cannot stress the importance of investing in a comfortable nursery chair enough. As every parent knows, that chair is likely to see hours upon hours of use, and may even double as your sleeping quarters now and then. Just pair it with a cute pouf as your footrest, and you’re good to go.
TIP: I’ve found that high-quality rockers and gliders hold their value pretty well, meaning you can easily resell on Facebook Marketplace whenever the time comes.
Design by Pierce & Ward
Dresser. Purchasing a quality dresser for your nursery space is always a safe bet. This is the one piece of furniture that can grow with a child, from nursery to big kid room and well beyond.
Soft (Yet Durable) Rug. Here’s the deal—rugs make a room, but this is not the time and place to try an unforgiving option. Instead, stick with a soft yet highly durable rug (patterns are your friend!) and save yourself the headache of stain removal from all those special baby moments.
Crib. I love purchasing a more affordable crib in favor of spending on a bigger bed down the line. Believe it or not, the crib phase is pretty short-lived, and you’ll be happy to put your budget towards a bed that will get years and years of use.
Accessories. In general, I try to avoid specific “themes” when it comes to nursery and kid room design. Babies and kids outgrow themes so fast, which is why I recommend not splurging on art or accessories in this department.
Lighting. Don’t underestimate the importance of soft and ambient lighting in a nursery. You’ll be so thankful for a calm lighting option when those middle-of-the-night wakings roll around.
BIG KID ROOM DESIGN
While “theme rooms” aren’t typically up my alley, I do love to infuse a sense of playfulness and personality, especially in big kid spaces. I start by getting an overview of personal interests, favorite colors and any special items we should incorporate.
When designing kids’ rooms, I also think it’s really important to look five to ten years down the line. This helps guide my clients’ decision making with larger investment pieces while allowing me to have some fun with art, bedding and accessory selections.
As I’m pulling together their space, here’s a few design elements I always consider:
Window Treatments. Quality window treatments are a must for nursery and kids’ rooms alike. Black-out drapes (with no light leaks!) are a lifesaver for parents, and it’s a room investment that easily grows with them.
Wallpaper. Hear me out: wallpaper has come a long way since the days of your grandmother’s kitchen, and it’s one of my favorite ways to bring visual interest to a kids’ space. Several great companies have easy-to-remove wallpaper options, so you can add some pattern play without the long-term commitment.
Toy Storage. Regardless of their age, every kids’ room needs some clever storage solutions. I love using pretty baskets to hide those diapers and wipes, which can easily transition to hold lego, toys, and craft projects down the line! Believe me, giving every toy a proper storage basket makes clean-up time go that much smoother.