I was recently working with a new nursery design client, and she told me that she hastily purchased her nursery furniture but later decided that she didn’t like it. It wasn’t returnable, so she asked me to work on ways to incorporate her existing furniture into the design. The problem was that she wanted the nursery to feel light and fresh, but the furniture she purchased was dark espresso wood and heavy looking. What to do?
This design dilemma is fairly common with nurseries because many families are working with hand-me-downs, heirlooms or other items that don’t necessarily fit their personal style. Luckily, there are some simple tricks that you can try to pull in pieces or styles that wouldn’t ordinarily fit together to make it work in the nursery.
Stick to an eclectic design style. Let’s say you had your heart set on a minimalist modern space, but you inherited your grandmother’s vintage wood cradle—unfortunately those two things will not mesh well. Instead, envision the space with an eclectic eye, which will allow you to marry differing styles together. Rather than stark modern, go with boho modern because there’s more wiggle room when it comes to wood tones and textures. This nursery has a great balance of modern pieces with bohemian accents.
image from Amber Interiors
Balance the room. If you’ve inherited a set of silver picture frames, use silver somewhere else in the room too. That way, the space will feel balanced and nothing will stand out too noticeably (especially if it’s an item you don’t like). In this nursery, our client wanted to display a wall hanging that was a very different style than the rest of the room. In order to make it work, we repeated each color from the artwork in a few other places in the nursery so it blended seamlessly.
Re-purpose. If you’ve found yourself stuck with something truly difficult to work with, think about changing it up. An ugly chair can be reupholstered, a dingy dresser can be refinished and quilted blankets can be framed or sewn to create other things. In this room, the client already owned the dresser, but it was a mahogany brown color with outdated hardware. She wanted the new room to be modern, so we refinished it in gray and added updated pulls for a whole new look.
image from Little Crown Interiors
The most important goal is to create a space in which you feel comfortable, so don’t be afraid to try new things—or try new things on old things—to make it work in the nursery!