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Serene, Gender-Neutral Nursery for a Surprise Baby


We waited to be surprised by the gender of our baby boy. That made it tough to come up with a design that was truly gender neutral. So I chose a warm grey paint for the walls and neutral furniture and then brought in pops of mustard yellow and turquoise. I thought it would be interesting and fun for a little one if I hung art that consisted of "found objects"-- butterflies and feathers. We also found some great animal prints and an elephant bust to fill the walls.

Design Inspiration

I wanted a calming space that would be gender neutral for a baby  of whom we didn't know the sex. 

Decorating Style

I love the look of traditional and antique pieces, but too much of them in a room feels heavy to me. So I add some modern accents and hope that the traditional pieces can then stand out. 

Project Details

I read every design magazine I can get my hands on. I pored over design blogs and picture after nursery picture, so I found inspiration from a million rooms to come up with a design of my own.  Etsy is my best friend. 

Resources: Paint Color- Benjamin Moore Pashmina, Crib- AP Industries Lollipop Crib, Lantern-, Rug- Dash and Albert Scroll Platinum Wool Hook, Lamp- T.J. Max, Storage Basket- Serena & Lily, Curtain Panels- Ikea, Curtain Rods- Home Depot, Glider- Serena & Lily Presidio Glider, Round Ottoman- Urban Outfitters, Animal Portraits- Berkley Illustrations on Etsy, Throw Pillow- Anthropologie, Bedding & Curtain Embellishment Fabric- Osborne & Little Moravo, and CLarence House Leighton in Sunflower, Sheepskin Rug- Ikea, Dresser- Thrifted, Elephant Bust- Anthropologie, Changing Table Topper- POttery Barn Kids, Framed Butterfly- Bug Under Glass Shop on Etsy, Feather Watercolor- Etsy, Real Feather- found (frames for both are Ikea), Little Girl in Boat Watercolor- Etsy, Frog Picture- Thrifted, Teddy Bear Sketch- homemade gift from a friend, White Laquer Tray- West Elm, Diaper Basket- Target, Ballooning Over Paris Picture- we had it around the house

Favorite Items

I love the elephant bust, the rug, and the animal prints. I think in doing a gender neutral nursery, the art can really make the room since the rest of the decor needs to be subtle. 


If you're looking for a calm, serene place to be with your little one, lots of soft, light fabrics make a difference, as well as layering (like the sheep skin rug on top of the area rug). Lighting is also a big deal. We put the overhead lantern on a dimmer switch so there is always soft white light in there and it feels so comfortable and soft. Also, don't be afraid to mix finishes of your furnishings. We have a bright white crib, a cream, patina dresser, and a natural wood changing topper. I think the mix ended up looking eclectic and not so stuffy. 

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  1. […] are full of amazing attributes that are sure to inspire new parents everywhere.{picture sources:1,2,3,4,5 and […]

  2. What size are the esty animal illustrations? Did you go with the 5×7 or 8×10? Thanks!

  3. avatar Erica says:

    I absolutely love this room, especially the “Ballooning Over Paris” print. I just bought that exact print for my baby’s room.

  4. avatar B says:

    I know this is an old thread, but I’m wondering if you have any feedback on how you liked the glider?

  5. avatar says:

    I LOVE this room. It is so stinking adorable. I just might have to copy you.

  6. avatar sks says:

    I checked out your website and the nursery details are awesome!  Thank you for all the ideas…. oh, and your blog is hilarious.  I have one question, did you sew your own bedding or did you have someone do it for you?  I saw you ordered the fabric, and then poof, it was the crib bedding.  I was wondering if you could elaborate on that… I really would like to pick out my own fabric BUT don’t know how to sew that well… I could always learn.  

  7. avatar kbtimmerman says:

    STOP. Anyone who does not vote 5 stars for this is INSANE. You did an amazing job. I want to live in this room. FABULOUS all around!!!

  8. avatar Ysczabel says:

    I like the colors — dominantly gray and yellow. It has a very calming effect. I also like the details you have added into the room, especially the framed arts scattered on the walls, he elephant head, and the rug.

  9. avatar Gretchen Schuett says:

    I use a Nikon D5000 with a Nikon 35mm F/1.8 lens and I love them both. The lens makes all the difference in the world and the 35mm is pretty reasonably priced (I think around $250 but I got it a few years ago so I can’t remember exactly). 

    All the best with the rest of your pregnancy! Enjoy it. I feel like it went so fast. (Easy to say now that it’s over, right!?)

  10. avatar twstdhrt says:

    Thanks for the link! I’m 29 weeks right now so maybe I’ll take on this DIY endeavor! I was browsing your blog and random question- what kind of camera do you use? All your photos look amazing and great quality.

  11. avatar Gretchen Schuett says:

    Thank you so much! Such nice complements! 

    @twstdhrt – Yes, I lined the drawers myself. It’s a bit of a process and it takes a big chunk of spare time, but I think the result is worth it (especially in an older dresser with not-so-perfect drawers).

    I detailed the method I used on my blog here:

    I forgot to mention it in my article, but once you have all the pieces cut and covered in fabric, use a little line of wood glue to adhere them to the inside of the drawers. 

    Hope that helps!

  12. avatar twstdhrt says:

    I love this nursery! Definitely one of my all time favorites! I’m assuming you made the fabric liners in the dresser? I’ve been trying to find a way to do this to my son’s dresser- mind sharing what you used?

  13. avatar KelleJoya says:

    The patina dresser and the lights are really adorable. Your lovely room is gender neutral but even before reading what you wrote, I already had the feeling it was for a boy. Maybe it’s because of the really cute wall art of animals in coats.

  14. avatar cheathat says:

    Perfection! Love the blend of modern & vintage, all the animal pics, and the colors.

  15. avatar Gretchen Schuett says:

    Thanks so much! I just added a list of resources. I had the bedding made from fabric that I found and loved. It’s listed above. 

  16. avatar Emiwallace says:

    This is so great! One of my favorite nurseries on this site!   I especially love the bedding and the rug, would you mind sharing where you found both of these?