As a designer, you often have to design things that are a little out of your wheelhouse. For instance, I, barely more than a child myself, have been tasked with developing a list of necessities for designing a nursery. Luckily for me, everyone around me has just had a child. 

So, from the mouths of babes (or at least their parents), I have created a non-comprehensive list that any designer, parent-to-be, or curious mind can reference. Since children are the future, we can provide them with a strong foundation—a well-designed nursery.

1. Research | Designing a Nursery

When looking to design a nursery, the internet provides a wealth of information. See what other parents are doing and ask pertinent questions. You might have one idea for your nursery, but in asking around and looking for inspiration you may learn about an important addition. 

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Research ©

2. Emphasize Function

Babies do not yet understand aesthetics, so while adorable decor and matching furniture are fun for you, it is meaningless to your baby. Instead, focus on picking things that are safe and comfortable. Find a rocking chair you can sit in for hours. Pick a changing table that has adjustable heights. 

Keep said changing table, baby baths, and bassinets close to one another for easy access. Make sure that why you can access these things, baby cannot. Organization is the key; keep any items related to the baby in the same area and clean them regularly.

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Emphasize function ©

3. Safety | Designing a Nursery

Never hang giant things over babies that can fall in an emergency. Remember, your baby does not care for aesthetics, so keep areas above your baby free from debris. Large wooden letters are never a good idea. If wanted, you can paint a name mural anywhere in the space. 

Small soft toys like mobiles can hang over your baby, but make sure it is not directly over where your baby sleeps and supervise when the baby is awake.

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Safety ©

4. Appreciate Open Spaces

Make sure the room has enough space for a small play area on the ground. Anticipate if this is where your baby will play most often by making sure that it is clean and empty so that baby cannot get injured. 

Keep furniture close and secured to the walls or another surface. Babies are nosy and curious, so they need to be protected. But they do not need much more than space to crawl around.

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Appreciate open spaces ©

5. Keep Things Out of Your Baby’s Crib | Designing a Nursery

Crib bumpers, bedding, and stuffed animals are not recommended for safe sleep, so find other creative ways to display similar items. Putting them in a separate playroom or playpen is probably best. Remember to plan your space around how your baby will use it.

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Crib ©

6. Design the Playroom Around Your Baby

Make sure to recognize that your baby will not be able to do anything for a while. That does not mean that the baby will not need stimulation. By making your baby the center of your design, you can ensure that it stays very happy. 

Try to keep things, like books to read to the baby and music players nearby to entertain the baby while it just exists. You may have to reconfigure your nursery to introduce new things to the baby, so think ahead about how and where things are placed. 

Playroom ©
Playroom ©

7. Pick Surfaces with Varying Textures

While babies don’t do much on their first few days in the world, after a few months, they will need things to keep them engaged and stimulated. They will want to practice moving around when they are ready, so make sure you have safe spaces for babies to crawl around in. 

Vary the textures of the floor with small carpets, especially ones with fun shapes and colors. Make sure to keep the carpets clean and wash them regularly. Large, colorful toys with different tactile functions will be useful for babies when they have any motor skills at all.

Textures ©
Textures ©

8. Choose a Neutral Color | Designing a Nursery

Gendered baby rooms are a thing of the past! Instead, look to color theory to find subtle ways to encourage and stimulate your baby. Paint a bright purple for royalty and wisdom, pale green for calm and youthfulness, even a light orange to bring joy and serenity. 

By painting the room in a tertiary color, you allow yourself more freedom when picking out colorful decor. A color wheel will be your best friend here, so make sure to use it wisely. Neutral colors also make great bases for murals or other painting projects you may undertake.

Neutral colours ©
Neutral colours ©

9. Pick Furniture that Assists With Sleep

Babies have a difficult time sleeping, so make it easier for them with curtains that simulate night and block out light. A sound machine will also help by playing soothing noises. A bassinette or rocker in the nursery can be helpful, as well.

Furnitures ©
Furnitures ©

10. Decent Light Sources | Designing a Nursery

Take control of light sources in your nursery by picking a room with good sunlight access. Sunlight is always a good idea, especially when you and your baby will spend hours in this room

Coupled with blackout curtains, you can decide when the baby should be awake or asleep. A small nightlight can also be helpful whenever you check up on your baby and provide a soothing light source. 

Light Sources ©
Light Sources ©

Nia Smith is an architecture student at Howard University. She uses her background in fashion to design spaces that are useful and beautiful. As an environmental advocate, Nia focuses on low-income housing made sustainably with circular design theories.