Homes & Interiors

Baby steps

There’s a new arrival in nursery design… Laura Dweck weaves her interior magic to ensure your child’s room stays current far beyond their first years

Gone are the days where you would have to settle on a theme for your nursery by visiting a high street baby shop, with everything matchy-matchy from the cot bumper to the wall stickers, lamp shades and mobile. Now thanks to our friends in Scandinavia – who have nailed nursery design – you can create a sophisticated scheme by steering clear of garish and childish décor you wouldn’t normally let cross over your well-curated threshold.

So whether you are creating a nursery from scratch for your first-born, want to make some updates to an existing space or are feeling generous enough to create a room for visiting grandchildren, here are some ideas from the recent creation of my own nursery (with the added challenge of getting it twin ready) to get those nesting instincts flowing.

Interior tastes have changed and attitudes have become less wasteful thanks to the upcycling movement, so the need for a nursery design to adapt beyond the infant years is at the top of most parents’ criteria. Rest assured there’s now a huge amount of transitional nursery items that do the job.

The choice of cots, mini cots, cot beds and coloured cots on offer can be bewildering compared to the standard rectangular white one we might have grown up in. After a lot of research, we opted for the Stokke cot bed, which grows with your child up to age 10. With two cots to fit in, we knew that we wanted something a little bit special to take centre stage, as they were inevitably going to be the dominant piece in the room. We particularly liked the distinctive oval nest shape which lends itself to more placement options than a rectangular shape.

Seen here with the canopy rod, we added a white muslin canopy trimmed with white pom poms because I wanted to encourage an appreciation of pom poms from an early age. A musical rainbow mobile from Cam Cam Copenhagen, made from bang on-trend felt, fitted snuggly within the canopy, creating what we hope will be a secure, sleep-inducing environment.

If there’s one piece of your nursery that will get a lot of use prior to your baby taking residence, it’s the nursing chair. It’s essential that it’s in a practical material to cope with every liquid that gets thrown at it. Some people opt for a rocking or gliding mechanism, but I personally couldn’t find anything that rocked that I could envisage in my home after the nursing phase, so went for the classically-shaped Snowdrop armchair from in a textured linen that I would be happy placing in any room in the house afterwards. Watch out for good chair arms, which are essential for support whilst feeding, as is the height of the chair as you need to be able to stand up whilst carrying your baby.

As every parent can testify, something so small sure does come with a lot of paraphernalia. To contain the chaos, clever storage (not necessarily lots) is imperative. Opt for a chest of drawers which doubles up as a changing station, with multiple drawers that can assist the routine by separating items. Here we opted for an upcycled ship’s chest which provides plenty of smaller drawers for changing items such as nappies and wipes, and larger drawers used to separate clothes for each twin. Keeping the transitional criteria in mind, drawer pulls can easily be swapped for dinosaurs/footballs/unicorns (delete trend as appropriate) when tastes evolve.

If there’s no room for a wardrobe, take the opportunity to marvel at the cuteness of your little one’s outfits by keeping the best ones on display using a shaker peg rack – because who wants to hide away smocking like that?

Textiles are a great and relatively low-cost way to ring in the changes as your baby grows, as well as adding pattern and texture. Here the essential swaddle muslins draped over a cot from royal favourite Aden & Anais have been used to incorporate a touch of pink.

Now for the fun bit – ­if ever there was an excuse for going bold with wall colour, it’s in a nursery. If your budget permits, who wouldn’t want a hand-painted jungle scene mural to entertain their little ones when insomnia permits? For those with moving plans in a year or those who don’t want the hassle of repainting when their little darling is old enough to vocalise their demands, then why not look at some alternatives, such as a stencil.

Here we created a star effect in a soft grey which is a great unisex option. It’s also a new, neutral colour and great for promoting a calmer sleep environment. The fun, playful side can easily be captured by adding cheeky animal prints (downloadable from Etsy), which clearly resonates with young, enquiring minds.