It’s safe to say, here at Project Nursery, we are serious fangirls over the work of designer Belinda Nihill, of Nest Design Studio. She’s been adding her beautiful children’s room designs to our gallery for years, and we are consistently wowed by her work. To celebrate the release of her new book, Beautiful Babies’ Rooms: Inspiration and Ideas from an Expert, we asked Belinda if she would share some of her favorite nursery tips with our readers. We’ll let her take it away from here!
After designing nurseries and children’s spaces around the globe over the last six years, I am starting to get asked if I get sick of it. And the answer is still a big fat NO. What’s not to love? I get to help my clients design a room for the most exciting and joyous adventure of their life! It is a complete and utter privilege. I’d love to share my tips on creating the perfect nursery, no matter what your budget is.
Where to Start. It can be totally overwhelming (in an exciting way) when you first start to picture the room you want to create. Don’t walk into the baby store and buy everything straight away. Think about how you want your room to look, which cribs catch your eye and if there will be a theme (see point 3). Start to collect ideas on pinterest (make sure your board is set to private!), and you will soon see that there is a thread that gathers all the images together.
Think Practical. This one is not an exciting tip, but it is the most important. I’ve had three babies, and I couldn’t even tell you the number of nurseries I’ve designed—the thing I’ve learned is there is no point in having a beautiful room if it doesn’t function well. Things to think about include the height of the furniture. Are you short/tall? Will your changing table be a good height for you? What about your side table (yes, you need a side table). Is it too high for your chair? (Yes, you need a chair.) And what about room layout? Make sure you make the space work for your family. For the nursery below, I included a reading nook for the baby’s older siblings to read in while mom nursed.
Theme is Not a Dirty Word. Do you shudder when you hear the question, “What theme are you using for the nursery?” Here’s the thing, keeping an underlying theme running through the room is not a bad thing. I recommend between 3-5 items representing the theme for the room, no need for overkill.
Make It Personal. One thing that is really important for me when I’m designing a space for my clients’ little ones is to make sure that it pulls at the heart strings. I aim to include things in the design that really make the space unique and personal. Think about special little sayings or songs that you as a couple or family might have, memories you love, a place you have visited, etc. For me, I had a miscarriage with my first pregnancy and nicknamed that baby apple, so I painted a little apple on the tree in my eldest’s nursery. My youngest’s nursery includes constellation artwork because my husband loves star gazing. It’s finishing touches like this that change the room from a beautiful room to a special room.
Gender Neutral. Keeping the sex of the baby a surprise but worried about how to decorate the nursery? Designing a gender neutral room does not have to be dull. When I’ve worked with clients who didn’t know if they were having a boy or a girl, we kept the base really simple (usually white and gray) and then I provided them with options to add touches of pink/blue after the baby is born. Alternatively, keep it all white but add texture throughout the room to give it warmth.
And if you are still stuck? That’s okay! There are professionals out there that can give you a hand too!
Thank you, Belinda, for all of your teriffic advice. To see more of Belinda Nihill’s design work and tips, be sure to check out her new book Beautiful Babies’ Rooms: Inspiration and Ideas from an Expert.