Picking Colors and Themes for a Nursery

A nursery doesn't have to match the rest of the house, so any theme or color combination will do.
first step in nursery design is deciding on theme

first step in nursery design is deciding on theme

Figure A

A good first step in nursery design is deciding on a theme. You may find a rug or a print that you love and that inspires you, or you may want to go to your local library, bookstore or stationers. Inspiration abounds: you just have to know where -- and how -- to look for it.

Once you've decided on a theme for the nursery, the next step is to choose a color scheme. Researchers say that babies actually see only three colors: black, white and red. Most people, however, prefer a more delicate palette for a baby's room. You may want to create a nursery that would be suitable for this baby and any others you might have in the future, and that also would work for an older child.

In this example, fabrics include toile, gingham and ticking. The walls are painted a soft green taken from the colors in the rug. Green is a color that reminds us of nature, of bringing the outdoors in. After allowing the base coat to dry thoroughly (at least 24 hours), use painter's tape to mark off 12" stripes. To achieve a subtle effect, use a high-gloss version of the same color to paint every other stripe, or use a lighter version of the green (achieved by adding enough white to bring the color down two tints), again using a high-gloss finish to provide a textural variation.

Behind a jutting wall in the room was a pleasant surprise: the chimney of the downstairs fireplace. Removing the drywall exposes the brick chimney. Softening the brick would work better in the French-inspired nursery décor; a simple dry-brush technique using a 50-50 mixture of white latex paint and water lightens the brick while still allowing hints of the red to show through.

The brick wall section ends about an inch from the floor, so to camouflage the gap, a new wider molding is constructed: two layers of 1" by 6" wood are sandwiched between the original molding and a larger base molding to increase the thickness. Behind these, a wider molding adds height, and the joint is hidden with a strip of crown molding. Finally, a narrow base shoe is added. The result is a thick, deep molding that looks as if it had been in place since the house was built.

Next Up

Decorative Touches for a Cowboy-Themed Nursery

Consider these ideas for walls and fabric to create a fun cowboy room for a baby boy.

Finishing Touches on a Baby's Room

Add a little personality to a nursery with these decorating ideas.

20 Shops For Amazing, Modern Nursery Decor

Plan a cool, inspired space for your child by tapping into the designs sold by modern furniture and home decor manufacturers and makers.

Accessorizing a Nursery

Learn how to add the three categories of accessories to a nursery -- decorative, background and functional.

Arranging Furniture in a Nursery

Follow these tips to establish logical traffic flow in a nursery.

Furniture and Accessories in a Nursery

Giving old furniture a few easy touch-ups can make a baby's room bright and inviting.

Think Again: Things You Don't Need for Baby

A list from a Mom who loves baby gadgets and their conveniences, but would rather only splurge on the necessities. 

Finishing Touches on a Redecorated Bedroom

These details add a polished look to a room that has recently been renovated.

15 Creative Kids' Room Decor Ideas

Get inspired with these cute and clever decorating ideas for your little one's space.

Bedroom Hotel-Style How to

You don't have to travel far to enjoy the comforts of a 5-star hotel. Create your own at-home bedroom getaway with inspiration from these chic hotel-style boudoirs.

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.