Baby Nursery Inspiration and Ideas

17th October 2023

Tips & Tricks Design & Inspiration

With a newborn pending, one of the top priorities is to set up the perfect nursery. Whether you're a first-time parent, adding to the tribe or gaining a much-loved surprise, a new baby needs a perfectly tranquil baby nursery to call home.

Henley Design Manager and mum of two, Vicki Gillingham, talks us through nursery trends and must-haves, so whether you're having a baby girl or baby boy, we've got you covered!

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Essential things every baby room needs

Every parent dreams of creating the perfect environment for their bub. Whether you’re designing a nursery for a baby girl, a baby boy or going for a neutral nursery, here are some essentials every baby room must have:

A safe and comfortable cot: At the heart of every baby's room is a cot. Ensure yours complies with safety standards and has a comfy and snug fit mattress. Also, position it away from windows or heaters.

Storage: Although babies are small, they come with lots of stuff! A baby nursery will need great storage options like wardrobes, drawers and shelving. You could also use decorative baskets for smaller items.

Changing table: A changing table provides a safe place for your baby during outfit switches and nappy changes. Many cots can double as a 'two-in-one' if you're low on space. Complete your baby room with a change table where you can comfortably stand and check out what sort of storage options it has.

Comfortable seating for parents: Whether you're doing a 3am feed or a bedtime story, you’ll spend a lot of time in this room too, so invest in a comfy seat.

Night light: Essential for those nighttime visits, a soft glowing night light won’t disturb your baby’s sleep and will provide enough light for changing and feeding.

Blackout curtains: Blackout blinds or curtains can help to ensure the baby's room remains dark during daytime naps and long summer evenings.

Soft and safe flooring: Whether it’s plush carpets or soft rugs on wooden floors, ensure your nursery floor is soft when your little one starts crawling and exploring. You won't want your baby practising tummy time on hardwood floors.


Colour me this

When painting and decorating your baby's room, consider keeping the colours light and neutral. According to Vicki, these types of colours come with a deeper sense of serenity and calmness for you and your bub, which is always high on the list for a baby's nursery.

“While there may be a temptation (if you know the gender of your baby) to go with the pinks for a girl and blues for a boy, selecting white, creams and very pale hues are also a great palette to keep the room feeling airy and light,” she said.

White walls, warm neutrals, rattan furniture and light-coloured open shelves offer just the right amount of light in a modern nursery and will help your little one stay calm and relaxed when they're in their nursery.

“With a neutral foundation, you may like to add some gentle tones such as light greys or lattes, keeping a relaxed and softer feel to the baby's room. You might also like to add earthy colours such as mustard or burnt orange to create a real cosy feel within the space which are especially great for a contemporary nursery. I highly recommend bold colours to be allocated to the playroom in another area of the house!”

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Let there be natural light

To make the nursery feel welcoming and soothing, consider dialling up the natural light by having sheer curtains or blinds complemented with block outs which are ideal for daytime naps.

“Natural light sifting through the room is such an inviting experience to the senses – for both parents and baby,” Vicki said.

Try and avoid bold colours and heavy fabrics in curtains and use soft ceiling lights in your baby's room which you can adjust the settings of. And don't forget, having a stylish lamp or a night light is fantastic nursery decor to let in only small amounts of light during night-time changes and feeding.

Playing with texture

Soft and natural fibres should be at the forefront of a nursery so parents and babies feel cuddly and comfortable in this space.

A luscious soft rug on the floor on hardwood floors to be enjoyed underfoot and textured blankets over a feeding chair in gentle subdued hues can add texture and cosiness to a modern nursery. Look out for natural fibres such as organic cotton and super soft cushions.

“Textured wallpaper can also be a lovely touch in neutral or earthy tones, but keep in mind it might need to be updated as the baby gets older! Instead, consider adding some wall art that exudes a sense of calmness and composure.” Vicki adds.

Fit it out with furniture

To create a gentle and calm ambience, keep your baby's nursery decluttered so it does not overstimulate your little one. Consider a book nook featuring picture story books and plush toys and a changing table with ample storage. Open baskets for toys, clothes and nappies can also work well in your child's room for decorative purposes as well as practicality.

“Set up the cot, crib or bassinet away from the window to avoid draughts, with a lamp or night light for softer light when you need to change nappies,” Vicki adds.


Trending nursery ideas

Today's baby nursery ideas go beyond simply looking good and being practical. An extensive range of designs now blends stylish flair with eco-friendliness. Parents are choosing more sustainable choices, favouring non-toxic paints over traditional paints to ensure a safe space for their babies.

If you're considering wallpaper, consider using patterns instead of just block colours. Things like circles, curves, and arches are becoming highly sought-after patterns as they add texture and depth to a room.

Decorating with softness in mind is key – think fluffy rugs and plush cushions that invite cosiness. Lastly, as a nod to the modern era, many parents add white noise machines to their children's rooms to mask unwanted sounds and create a cosy ambience.

"These small touches amplify a nursery to create an inviting space that soothes and relaxes,” Vicki said.

Adding a touch of your own personal style

Decorating your baby's room is an opportunity to embed your family's unique style and essence across your entire home. From the bed where your bub will drift into sleep to the walls watching over them, adding personalised elements can turn a simple nursery into a room filled with memories and meaning.

Consider custom items like hand-made quilts. These not only beautify a room but they tell a story. Personalised name plaques, custom prints or heartfelt artworks can also transform the space, reflecting your personal journey and character for your child.

After all, while design guides can inspire, it's the individual touches you add that make a room truly special.

Extra decor to jazz up your nursery

Elevate your nursery with a touch of charm by incorporating additional decor pieces. Think delicate mobiles above the cot, cosy rugs, lamps with a soft glow, cushions and wall hangings. These small touches bring texture and intrigue to a room and make it nice for you and your bub, transforming a baby nursery from functional to fabulous.

Add a parent corner

The contemporary nursery is yours too, so don't forget to add a parent's corner and decorate it so it becomes a place you'll enjoy spending time with your little one.

“Creating a mum or dad corner, featuring a comfortable chair for feeding or cuddling is the perfect addition to a beautiful baby room. Consider adding a footstool and a small table next to the chair too. These will help you feel more comfortable so you can put your feet up on the stool and sit water or the baby's bottle on the table, as you'll likely find yourself spending a lot of time there,” Vicki said.

Nursery ideas and themes for inspiration

When envisioning your perfect baby room, exploring various design ideas and themes that resonate with your house and personal style can be super fun and spark some creativity for how you want the nursery to look and feel. Googling images and using apps like Pinterest are great places to find nursery ideas. Here are some quick design ideas you might want to consider when designing your baby's room:

Themed Nurseries

Whether it's jungles, the deep blue sea, Disney or fairy tales, a well-themed baby room can ignite wonder and imagination.

Simplicity and Minimalist Design

Minimalist furniture and subtle decor create a calm, uncluttered space for you and your baby, remember, less is more!

White Nurseries

Pure, timeless, and versatile, white nurseries with white walls exude peace and serenity. The simplicity of a completely white room also gives you a blank canvas for future decorating.

Neutral Colour Palette

Neutral tones provide flexibility and sophistication in nursery ideas. Merging greys, muted tones, and beiges creates a versatile baby room that can grow with as they do.

Vintage and Retro

Infuse your nursery with style by selecting vintage furniture and retro decor. This nostalgic approach brings a touch of history to the baby's room, and if your house has a similar vibe, you may as well stick to it!


Natural Materials

Sticking with woods and other natural materials with furniture and decor adds a grounded, earthy feel to your baby nursery, they also pair well with hardwood floors.

Natural Fibres

Combining the clean lines of Scandinavian design with natural fibres like linen or wool promotes both comfort and style, fostering a warm, inviting nursery environment.

Building Nurseries and Childhood Memories

Building, designing and decorating an ideal nursery is a special dance between finding functionality and cosiness. As Vicki eloquently put it, "A baby's room isn't just a place to sleep or change nappies; but about the memories you'll form and the emotions the room will evoke." So, as you begin your decorating journey, remember to design every corner with love and care.

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