Want to get cracking on decorating the nursery space, but not sure if the baby’s a boy or a girl? These gender-neutral decorating ideas are a great way to get the nursery all set up way before the baby is even due to arrive! There are lots of ways to incorporate different color(s) into a room without making it a “boy” or “girl” space.
A great place to start is with a theme or even a piece of bedding. Whether it’s a quilt or a piece of artwork, let the color (or colors) in that piece drive the rest of the room. Keep in mind that it is much easier to find a color in an already-selected pattern, rather than trying to match patterns to a wall color later.
An important tip is to remember that color often looks darker on the wall than it does on the paint chip at the hardware store. Buy sample-sized jars of different colors and paint large swatches of color on the walls. Watch how the light (both natural and artificial) changes the color of the paint throughout the day before deciding on a color.
Neutrals like white, gray, beige, and brown make a room into a blank canvas. But neutral doesn’t have to be boring! It’s easy to mix in colors with wall art, accent pillows, lamps, and area rugs. For brighter and more colorful walls, many people think that yellows and greens are the best bet for a gender-neutral nursery, but some prefer to experiment with reds and oranges. And blue definitely isn’t just for boys anymore!
15 Blue Is Not Just For Boys
When it comes to painting the nursery, don’t think that blue is only suitable for a boy’s room. This bright sky blue paint with murals (or decals) makes it look like the baby will be sleeping among the puffy, white clouds. Toss a shaggy green rug or play mat on the floor and the baby can play in the grass! Feeling crafty? Try a DIY rainbow mobile tutorial to complete the room!
Blue is a color that is believed to bring down blood pressure and slow breathing and heart rates. It is considered calming and serene, which makes it a good color choice for a nursery or bedroom. Tone down the sky blue paint with a more muted, pastel version and the room will be relaxing and peaceful.
14 Minimalist Gray and White
Gray is a color that manages to feel warm or cool, depending on the furniture, lighting, and accents in the room. Although painting a baby’s room with light shades and using so much white might seem like an invitation for messes and disaster, white is actually very open and inviting. Think about the soft, tempting sheets on the bed in an upscale hotel room–who doesn’t want to curl right up and go to sleep?
The best part about a minimalist palette like this one is that it will easily grow with the child. It will be simple to add other accents and fun pops of color later on, changing up the look of the room, without having to paint the entire thing! If the girl in this room grows to love pink, this room would look lovely with layers of pink from bubblegum to fuschia thrown in for fun. For a boy, add something bright and bold, like navy blue or brick red.
13 Black and White with a Pop of Color
What’s black and white and… has a bright splash of color here and there? This baby’s room! Black might seem a bit dramatic for a baby’s room, but it doesn’t have to be everywhere. If added to the room in small areas like the furniture or the picture frames, black really isn’t so bad! However, if black still doesn’t seem right, go with a dark walnut or espresso finish on the furniture.
The best part about this color scheme is that it will be super simple to add in other colors down the road. And if that little baby decides they like green one year and purple a few years later? Mom and Dad don’t have to spend a fortune trying to redecorate. Keep the big basic items in neutral black and white and swap out (or repaint/repurpose) the smaller accent pieces like lamps, pillows, rugs, curtains, and art prints, to mix in different colors.
12 Bright and Sunny
Many people associate yellow with the sun and with flowers. Many also relate the color to happiness. Studies have also tied shades of yellow with motivation, concentration, and improved memory. However, be cautious of using too bright a shade of yellow; despite how cheerful the color may seem, some decorators actually consider it a bad choice for the main color in a color scheme. Some studies have shown that people are more likely to get frustrated and babies are more likely to cry in yellow rooms.
Don’t want to use yellow for the walls? Keep the walls a pale neutral color and bring in some warm, sunny yellow in the curtains, the rugs, and the bedding. Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns like stripes, chevrons, plaids, and polka dots. Want to add in some other colors? Try yellow alongside gray, turquoise, or navy blue–the deeper shades should balance out the brighter hues.
11 Add Some Texture
Not quite satisfied with how the wall color turned out in the baby’s room? Does the room seem a little too monochromatic? Adding texture to a wall is a great way to add some depth and interest to a room without going too color-crazy. Whether the texture is light and gives the appearance of patterned linen on the walls, or whether the walls look like they are covered with molding or faux bricks, there are lots of ways to experiment with texture!
Remember to balance color and texture in a room. If there is a lot of contrast between the colors in the room, the textures in the room should be similar. If the colors in the room are close in tone, it’s safe to go with more contrasting textures on the walls, floor, and even ceiling. This is especially true in a room with a minimalist or a monochromatic color palette. A variety of textures can be added through the window treatments, area rugs, and bedding.
10 Classic Stripes
Give a blank wall personality and pizzazz with some stripes. There are lots of wallpaper patterns out there to choose from, but stripes are a great decorative painting technique that isn’t too hard to master. There are also lots of options for combining colors. Leave some of the wall plain white (or whatever the base color of the room is) and paint on some stripes of color–or colors! Alternate different shades of the same color, as pictured above. Experiment with different paint finishes. Paint stripes in the same color, but alternate, glossy-finished stripes and flat-finished stripes for a subtle difference.
Remember that horizontal stripes make a room appear wider and more spacious. Stripes that run vertically will add height to the room by making the ceiling appear higher. Feeling really creative? Mix in thin stripes with wider ones. Want to be even more adventurous? Try painting some trendy chevrons on one wall!
9 Gray and Yellow
Move over, beige! Gray is a popular neutral color that is very versatile. It can look warm and cozy or cool and crisp, depending on the light and the furnishings in the room. Many decorators suggest picking a warm shade of gray and adding bright accents to keep the room from looking dull and dreary. One way to make it more fun is to add a little spark of yellow! Why are raincoats and rain boots bright yellow? They brighten up a gloomy day!
If gray is used as the base color for the room, it’s easy to swap out accent colors later on. Gray and hot pink make a pretty pair in a growing girl’s room. Gray also pairs well with soft shades like peach and lilac. Want to make the room seem more like a little boy’s space? Add some dark hunter green or some maroon.
8 Chalkboard Wall
How much fun is this chalkboard wall? Any wall (or flat surface, for that matter!) in the house can be turned into a giant, hands-on writing area. Imagine all the room the kids would have to draw and doodle! In the kitchen or living area, the family could set up a giant chalkboard wall calendar to keep track of everyone’s activities!
Want to try chalkboard paint, but afraid that it might encourage the kids to get a little too crazy with their artistic ability? Paint a small section of wall with chalkboard paint and either frame it or stencil around it to decorate the edges. This might help the little artist in the house to understand that not all walls are meant to be drawn on! Or don’t use it on the wall at all! Try chalkboard paint on the back of a door, the sides of a bookshelf, or on an old play table.
7 Crazy Colorful
Trying to decide on a color scheme for the baby’s nursery can be tough. For some parents, it can even be as agonizing as trying to decide on the baby’s name! Some parents lean towards making the nursery as soft and soothing of an environment as possible, hoping to promote peaceful, restful sleep.
Other parents lean towards more colorful, stimulating spaces. Some researchers claim that babies that spend a lot of time in stimulating environments are more likely to reach their developmental milestones faster. Babies living in colorful spaces are supposedly also more likely to be curious and have better memories and attention spans. C’mon and admit it, a colorful room like the one above sure does look fun and playful! Thinking it’s better to sacrifice color for sleep? Save the crazy colors for the baby’s playroom or give them a spot in the living room where they can explore different colors.
6 Neutral Grays and Browns
There is nothing wrong with leaving the baby’s room plain and neutral. Some parents argue that all the baby does in there for the first year or two is sleep, anyway. Some families may rent an apartment or house and may not have any say as to what colors the rooms are painted. And some parents may just have more important things to worry about.
Neutral doesn’t have to be boring, and a lot of popular, neutral paint colors are actually very calming and soothing. A fresh cream color on the walls will make the room seem crisp and clean, and with just a bedside lamp on in the evening, the room will appear nice and cozy. A toasty beige or even a darker tan will also give the room a warm, inviting feel. As with any neutral-colored walls, it’s easy to pull in colors from everywhere else–the bedding, the window treatments, and the artwork.
5 Primary Colors
Why pick just one color for the baby’s room? Pick the primary colors, instead! Bright reds, yellows, and blues make a baby’s room fun and stimulating! Red is known to promote self-confidence. Yellow is supposed to enhance intelligence. Blue doesn’t have to be depressing; a vibrant shade can be uplifting.
Primary hues are often combined with geometric shapes in modern design, but aren’t often used as the main color of a room. We see lots of their derivations in home decor–there are tons of paint shades in light blue, pale yellow, and soft pink. Same with the secondary shades of orange, green, and purple. Those secondary shades vary widely from pale peach to burnt orange and from barely-there lavender to deep royal violet. Remember when working with bolder colors, a little goes a long way. They work best if mixed in with a neutral, and when used in small doses. Think pillows, picture frames, curtains, and lamps.
4 Under the Sea
Turquoise or aqua blue is a great color for a nursery because whether it is more vivid and vibrant or softer and more pastel, it is a color that inspires relaxation. In addition to being a soothing color, this blue-green hybrid is a great base for an ocean-inspired nursery. Enlist someone to paint a bottom of the sea mural on one wall, or find some great fish decals for a more temporary decor option.
The ocean theme is one that can be cartoonish or realistic, so shop smart and gather all of the room’s accessories before painting. Target, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and other stores have a ton of underwater bedding sets that are cute and sweet without swimming into Spongebob Squarepants territory. Collect seashells and use them for crafts throughout the room. Frame underwater scenes or quotes to hang on the wall. Or, give the undersea theme a spin and make the baby’s room into a surfer-inspired beachside hut!
3 Cheerful Orange
Orange is uplifting and warm, and the color can be bold and bright or soft like the shades found in a sunset. For more subtle, soothing decor, try a shade of paint that has a cream colored base with just a tinge of barely-there peach mixed in. For a more energetic, playful room, consider adding a dramatic pop of color with a bright orange accent wall. As a wall color, orange is said to help people express confidence and feel younger.
Love the color, but maybe not so much for the walls? Try refinishing a piece of furniture in this fun orange shade, like the crib in the above picture. This is a great project for parents who love scouring flea markets, thrift shops, and garage sales. Find an old, inexpensive crib, bookshelf, or dresser, clean it up, and paint it in a fun color. What a great centerpiece for the baby’s room – a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture!
2 Welcome to the Jungle
This fun nursery theme can be done one of two ways, either with lots of neutrals, or lots of bright colors. If going the natural, neutral route, which some consider a little more sophisticated, think safari gear, palm fronds, and pith helmets. Lots of beige, browns, and greens. Mix in some animal colors like elephant gray, giraffe yellow, and tiger orange. Maybe even add some potted greenery to a corner of the baby’s room.
Going with the wild and more colorful jungle theme? Try a fresh green shade on the walls. Green is associated with nature, obviously, and is a symbol of health and well-being. It’s also supposedly a color that increases concentration and even reading ability! (What a great color for a kid’s room!) Throw in some splashes of color to the room to liven things up. Get some inspiration from parrots, macaws, and other jungle birds–add some vivid reds, yellows, and blues!
1 In the Navy
Ahoy, matey! How cute is this nautical nursery? Even though navy is a shade of blue, and technically a color, many decorators consider it to be similar to a neutral because of how versatile it is. It is possible to pair so many other colors with this particular shade of blue: Soft coral or bright orange. Hot pink or bright red. Seafoam or dark hunter green. The possibilities are endless, and whatever colors are used, the combinations always seem to work out great!
For a crisp nautical theme, keep the walls fresh and white, and throw in lots of navy accents. When contrasting two bold colors like navy and white, it’s fun to play with patterns. Look for fabrics in nautical inspired prints (anchors and whales) or in stripes and polka dots. If considering adding another color, keep it simple and limit it to one other shade, like bright red or kelly green.
Sources: Parents, HGTV, The Stir