Always in Vogue: Sophisticated Nursery Design Ideas

[The following post was graciously written by guest blogger Tracey Clayton.] As a mother, I have always viewed my kids as royalties, especially when they were still babies. When designing a room for a newborn, some parents decide on “cartoonish” and overly fluffy décor. I myself like to create just the appropriate balance of playful and polished. Although aesthetics is what first comes to mind when mentioning a sophisticated nursery, there is also a practical side to it. Elegantly designed nurseries age more gracefully, meaning they can be adapted to kids’ needs and tastes as they grow to toddlers and to school-age. They are also characterized by soft and gentle colors which make them more pleasant for the baby’s eyes. Finally, they never go out of vogue. If you’re on the same page, here are some great ideas for creating a refined nursery. Photo credit: thespruce.com, thehomeandtheheart.com, homeandecoration.com, laurelandwolf.com Go with a single color.  Creating a monochromatic nursery can be a challenge, but if you do it right, it will be the ideal backdrop for an elegant design. If you decide on a single color, make sure you use various slight variations of it to introduce some contrast and interest. Mixing several different neutrals will help you achieve a similar effect, too. Photo credit: lifeasmama.com Mix up the textures. Combinations of different textures will make the room look warmer, cozier and, of course, more sophisticated. Just imagine a raw wood crib, smooth hardwood floor and lacquered dresser combined with soft round rugs, plush sheepskin throws, faux fur details and interesting pillows. Photo credit: home-designing.com, thechillmom.com Choose a wonderful crib. The crib...

How to Use Wall Murals in the Nursery

In case you haven’t heard, wall murals are slowly becoming a popular choice instead of traditional style wallpaper. What’s the difference? Wall murals are an overall design meant to cover an entire wall, rather than the repeating patterns of wallpaper. I love wall murals because they work like a giant piece of wall art and they can really make a statement in a nursery or kid’s room. I’m working on a home right now and we are using wall murals in all three of the children’s rooms. In the first girl’s room, I chose a gorgeous large floral wall mural from Anewall. The overall design of the room is soft neutrals with touches of blush pink, and this wall mural is perfect. Large florals are still having their moment, and I can’t wait to see this one once it’s installed! Blush Floral Wall Mural by Anewall Here’s a sneak peak of the floral paper going up at my job site. This next design may look familiar to you. That’s because a different colorization of it was used in Emily Henderson’s nursery, and it was splashed all over social media—and for good reason! This nature-inspired wall mural is so pretty, and my client fell absolutely in love with it. She wanted to incorporate some lavender into the space, so we opted for the purple version instead. Bellewood Rainbow Wall Mural by Rebel Walls Here it is going up in my client’s space. In the third room, my client wanted something more educational and vintage-inspired for her son. His colors were also neutral with pops of sage green, so this map...

Fresh Nursery Finds from the ABC Show

October is one of the best times of year to be in the nursery design biz.  Every year, all of the baby and children’s manufacturers gather at a big trade show in Las Vegas to showcase their new product.  This is where I go each year to personally see, touch and inspect new nursery furniture and decor.  I like to stay well informed about what the new products are, but also to be able to tell my clients with certainty that the items I recommend are high quality, safe and stylish. There were some great new products this year, and I’m happy I got to see them all in person!  Here are some of my favorite new baby and kid’s products from the 2017 show. After 9 years of attending this trade show, I still get the most excited to see what’s new at Nursery Works.  This high end nursery furniture manufacturer always has something unique and beautiful.  Their most iconic new addition over the past several years was their all acrylic Vetro Crib, and this year they debuted it in a mini size. I also love to stop by Oilo Studio to see what new textile patterns they have.  Oilo is known for their simple, modern patterns with subdued color palettes, so it was fun to see them step a little outside of the box with the new Fawn print. I’ve been excited about this velvet rocker ever since I saw it’s debut in a gorgeous blush pink.  This year, they are offering it in a saturated navy, which pairs so well with the stunning rose gold legs....

All White Celestial Nursery Design Reveal

A few months back, you may have seen my post featuring an all-white nursery e-design reveal over on Project Nursery. Lucky for me, my e-design customer was actually located in Redondo Beach, which is not too far from Orange County, so I was able to have the nursery photographed. After I submitted the final e-design to my customer, she requested a few changes, such as the chandelier and side table. I made the few revisions, and she got to work ordering all the items I have specified and putting the space together.  Crib | Changing Table | Rug | Glider | Mirror My customer had requested a monochromatic nursery design in all white, with a few touches of silver or gray and a very subtle celestial theme. I chose pieces that were sleek and modern but that were also functional and easily cleaned. Mu client already owned the white crib and didn’t want to go overboard with fabrics in the room, so we opted to do only a fitted sheet on the crib and forgo the skirt. This nursery was on the large side, so we had plenty of space for additional furniture items, like the storage bench under the window. The silver celestial chandelier adds so much to the space and also creates fun shadows on the wall at night!  Because there was a raised ceiling, we had extra room for a nice sized statement light fixture. Crescent Moon & Stars Set I love using details that are dimensional in a nursery, so to add to our celestial theme, I designed a set of custom cut wood moon and stars...

Kate Spade Inspired Nursery E-Design

I was contacted recently by a client in Central California who wanted a nursery design for her baby girl.  Since I’m based in Orange County, I explained that my e-design service would be perfect for her.  She explained to me that she wanted the room to feel colorful, vibrant and fun without feeling overwhelming or crazy. Her main design inspiration came from Kate Spade and Jonathan Adler, which pretty much makes her my dream client. She already owned her crib and dresser, which were given to her by a friend. The first thing I did was to make sure the model of the crib was current and met all of the safety standards (since you never know with used cribs).  Then I moved on to the floor plan to see what other pieces would fit in her space. Her nursery space was not large, and there were a few challenges to get everything to fit. It was better to have the crib on the left wall so it would be visible from the hallway, but there wasn’t quite enough room in the corner next to it for the glider. I ended up placing the dresser under the window and the glider in the bottom corner near the closet. It will block a tiny bit on the closet door, but it won’t affect closet access. I centered the color palette around the beautiful abstract art piece over the crib, which was something she already owned and loved. I chose a rug with a little color and pattern but nothing too bold since there is a lot of color elsewhere in...

A Colorful Kid’s Room E-Design Reveal

I’ve been working with a great E-Design client in Chicago.  Six-year-old Nyla is adorable and bubbly (and yes, I spoke to her on the phone).  Her family had just moved into a new home and she needed a complete design of the space.  Her mother informed me of all the things she wanted in her bedroom design, and it was a long list!  Six can be a tricky age because the child is old enough to voice their opinion, but still young enough that they will certainly change their mind frequently (and ask for a room with the theme of their favorite toy-of-the-moment). Nyla wanted hot pinks, purples and possibly some light blue.  She loves hearts, crystals and cozy textures.  Mom wanted to make sure the room was also sophisticated, so I went with neutral wallpaper and window treatments that will grow with her, and added in pops of her favorite colors and themes within the decor. I always start with the floor plan in any design project so we can see what sizes of items to shop for.  This room was on the larger size, so we had plenty of space for a queen sized bed, two night stands and a desk. Above is the first draft of her E-Design.  It’s hard to tell on a small image, but there’s a gorgeous patterned wallpaper paired with a soft blue rug.  I added a customizable bed and suggested that we go with a hot pink velvet fabric.  I added a few heart themed decor items, like the wood wall heart, some art prints and an adorable heart shaped clock...

The Nursery Trend That Just Won’t Go Away

I’ve been designing nurseries for about ten years now, and I’ve seen a lot of trends come and go. Most nursery trends blow up, stick around for a little while and then fizzle out eventually (as is the nature of trends). However, there is one trend that has been consistently popular for several years, and only seems to be getting more prominent in nursery designs all over the web and social media. The most interesting thing about this trend is that it’s not a pattern, texture, color or even design element. It’s a very specific item: The Little Darlings from The Animal Print Shop. Safari Nursery by Little Crown Interiors I first started getting asked about these photos from clients about four years ago, and I’m still getting frequent requests for them today. Their popularity is so widespread that even Restoration Hardware noticed and picked up the line for RH Baby & Child. The Project Nursery Shop carries some as well! So what’s the big deal with these photos anyway? Well, they are adorable, simple, know no gender and match virtually any decor, from traditional to modern and everywhere in between. It’s the perfect formula for a nursery decor smash success. When a trend like this pops up, I always like to have some alternatives ready for clients who want something a little different or perhaps don’t have the budget for the original item. The Little Darlings can be pricey, especially if you want to display multiples. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite animal art alternatives to widen the pool of options when it comes to adorable animals...

An All White Nursery E-Design Reveal

It seems like e-designs have become very popular in nursery design lately as technology is allowing interior designers to work across the country remotely. I’ve been getting more and more requests for nursery e-designs, and I just love how it allows me to create a nursery space for anyone, no matter where they live. I was contacted by a client who wanted a very specific look in her nursery—all white. This is actually much more of a challenge than it may seem!  As anyone knows who has ever tried to choose a white paint color, there are hundreds of shades of white, and they all have a subtle yet different undertone.  Matching whites can be very difficult, especially when ordering products online. But before we get into the color, or lack thereof, we needed to nail down the floor plan.  This client had a large space with high ceilings and a unique curved wall.  The floor plan came together fairly easily, as there was really only one wall that would work for the crib.  Putting the crib on any of the other walls would have either blocked a walkway, a sight line, or posed a safety hazard (such as in front of the window). My client knew she already wanted to use the Oeuf Sparrow Crib in, of course, white.  I didn’t want the design to feel overly coordinated since we were already limited on color, so I opted to choose the other furniture pieces from different brands.  Here is where matching whites comes in.  The key here is to include enough variety that each white may be slightly different,...

A Fully Vintage Mid-Century Modern Nursery

Including a vintage piece or two in a nursery design can add character and charm.  The vintage market is bustling right now, especially for Mid-Century Modern pieces.  I’ll use a vintage piece every now and then in a design, and it’s always a fun process. I was contacted by one of my favorite online vintage retailers, Chairish, and they asked me to put together a mid- century modern nursery design using only vintage pieces from their Mid-Century Modern collection.  That’s certainly something I’ve never done before, mostly because of some of the safety issues you can read about below, but I was up for the challenge! Every single item in the design below is from the Chairish collection, and almost everything is from the Mid-Century Modern era.  I kept the wall color and rug fairly neutral and the rest of the palette bright and fresh so it wouldn’t feel like the back room of an old antique shop.  My personal favorite is the set of brass seagulls over the crib.  I just so happen to have something very similar in my living room, and they are glorious. Crib | Brass Seagulls | Globe Sputnik Chandelier | Children’s Chairs | Pink Painting | City Scape Painting | Dog Painting | Cockatoo Lamp | Brass Dog Figurine | Ceramic Horse Figurine | Dresser | Sheep Ottoman | Wooden Toy Dog | Ottoman Stool | Swivel Chair | Side Table | Gold Halo Lamp | Green Round Pillow | Color Block Pillow | Turkish Rug   Here comes the safety speech… Are Vintage Items Safe for a Nursery? Maybe.  There are definitely some considerations here, and...

No, I Didn’t Design George Clooney’s Nursery

About 2 years ago, I started getting emails from friends, family and colleagues asking why I didn’t tell them I was secretly working on designing George and Amal Clooney’s nursery.  I was so baffled by this because I had nothing to do with their nursery, nor did I even know they were expecting.  Many confused emails were exchanged until I figured out what had been going on. It turns out they weren’t even expecting at that time, but some reporter somewhere had made up a story about me designing the Clooneys’ million dollar nursery, and it got plastered all over the internet.  I’m living proof that most of what you read about celebrities is probably not true.  If you search for “George Clooney Nursery Naomi Alon”, there are many websites reiterating the same article, mostly UK based.  How they even got my name?  I have no idea.  Here’s a fun excerpt from one of the articles: “The couple has reportedly began construction on their Berkshire, England Mansion and according to a new report they are building a $2 Million baby wing.” “It will include a nursery, spa, mini swimming pool, children’s library, two playrooms, and nanny quarters, an insider told In Touch. “They have already hired Los Angeles nursery designer Naomi Alon, and Amal is putting orders in at designer baby boutique Petit Tresor. Amal wants it to be a dream sanctuary!” Nope.  Not even a little bit true. When I saw yesterday that the Clooney’s had welcomed home their twins, it reminded me of this funny story.  Here’s the thing though – I did a little internet searching to see...

Truly Unique Cribs for the Nursery

I’ve been a nursery designer for over 10 years now, and I always aspire to find nursery furniture for my clients that is not only beautiful, but also has great function, quality, and provides a good value.  That means I do a heck of a lot of research and shopping so I can keep up on which brands are safe, which brands to avoid, and which brands have released the newest and trendiest designs.  Every now and then, I’ll come across a piece that is truly strange and I think, “Who would ever buy such a thing?”  Of course there are people who buy such things, and I hope one day I will get to design a nursery for one of them. Most of my clients choose to go with “normal” nursery furniture, but I have definitely had a few who went for something a little more out of the box, like the all acrylic Vetro Crib (still one of my all-time favorites). Here are some seriously unique crib designs that I just can’t look away from, and secretly hope that I get to use in a nursery design some day! I came across the Shell Crib by Luke Miller Studio while I was browsing on 1stDibs, a high end antique and vintage retailer.  I immediately stopped and stared at it with surprise for two reasons:  1. The design really is beautiful, despite its strangeness.  2. The unbelievable $18,000 price tag.  Being in the interior design field, I am certainly no stranger to luxury and high priced items, but this is by far the most expensive crib I have ever seen. I first...

Your Nursery Design Questions

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being a guest nursery design expert for Tinyhood, a fantastic website and app for parents and parents-to-be.  There’s a huge library of experts on all different subjects from breastfeeding to sleep training to help with any issue you might be having.  During my session, I tackled all types of questions, from nursery floor plans to dealing with a small space nursery and we even delved a little into organic nursery items (my favorite!).  It was a blast, and I thought I’d share a few of the questions I received from readers. Q: Our daughter is in a small room and we are looking for creative ways to store toys, books, and accessories without buying bulky shelving/storage units. Any advice for using wall space (going up) that’s not dangerous?   A: Small rooms are definitely a challenge, but there are some great creative ways to make use of the space. One of my favorite items is wall ledges. They are like wall shelves, but much shallower so they don’t stick out into the room. You can get many of them and stack them up the wall for books, small toys and picture frames. Just make sure they are installed nice and secure and you shouldn’t have any safety issues. If you’re worried about your daughter trying to climb up them, you can try starting the lowest shelf a bit higher than she can reach.   You can also get some small bins or boxes to tuck away under the bed or wherever you have the space. As far as your design and decor goes, keep it simple. You...

New Nursery Furniture Finds at the JPMA Show

Last week was the JPMA Baby Show (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association), right here in my Orange County backyard.  This is a bit of a smaller show compared to the annual ABC Show in Las Vegas, but there were still some great new nursery furniture brands as well as some other fun finds.  This is definitely one of the perks of being a nursery designer – I get to see all the newest brands up close and personal, which is important since I’m recommending these brands to my clients. My first stop was Little Seeds.  I noticed their booth right away because it was designed in all black and gold.  Little Seeds is essentially a more affordable version of some of the designer nursery furniture companies you may have seen.  The gold metal crib and changing table collection above is taking inspiration from the gold trend that’s everywhere right now. Little Seeds is also creating modern crib designs, like the one above.  Again, it’s definitely an homage to the higher end brands using beautiful hardwoods, but they’ve made it into a much more affordable option by using less expensive materials. Next up is Kidsmill, a nursery furniture company out of the Netherlands.  I was charmed by their accents and their delicious Dutch cookies that kept ending up in my hands.  They are branching out to the U.S. with their sleek designs, and everything should be available this coming Fall.  And yes, they assured me that everything will be up to the U.S. safety standards (after all, this was the JPMA show which monitors safety guidelines).  I’ve always been a fan of nursery furniture...

Floral Nursery Wallpaper From Pip Studio

When I was just starting out as a nursery designer (10 years ago!), I can still remember the first time I went to my local fabric and wallpaper showroom.  I’d been there before on other jobs, but never for a nursery.  Back then, a lot of people were still afraid of wallpaper and I wasn’t getting very many requests for it, but I decided to take a gander anyway. The room had literally hundreds upon hundreds of wallpaper books, along with even more wall panel displays – seriously overwhelming.  But here’s the thing:  a wallpaper stock room in Orange County is going to be about 99% neutral.  You know, beige, tan, ivory, grey, etc.  Thousands of shades of neutral patterns.  So when I saw the spine of a wallpaper book that was neon pink, I got pretty excited. That wallpaper book was from Pip Studio, which I had never heard of at the time.  The name “Pip” comes from the designer’s alter ago.  Yes, you read that right.  ALTER EGO.  It’s like an adult’s imaginary friend created this wallpaper line.  Let’s take a gander… Pip Studio Melody Wallpaper See what I’m talking about?  I’m sure you’ve seen the bold floral nursery wallpaper trend that’s happening just about everywhere lately.  Well, Pip Studio was onto that trend years ago.  And the Chinoiserie trend.  And the bird trend. Pip Studio Lady Bug Wallpaper Oh, and the gold metallic trend?  They have that one too.  I’ll be honest, this lady bug pattern actually makes me cringe a little, but objectively it’s really cute (for someone who likes bugs).  This one comes in...

Nursery Safari Wallpaper in Sophisticated Neutrals

A few weeks ago on Instagram, I shared an image of a nursery design I’ve been working on for a client in Los Angeles.  When I first met with her, she knew she wanted some safari elements in the room, possibly in a wallpaper design. Safari nurseries have been a huge trend for such a long time, but even within the safari theme, things have changed a bit over the years.  I used to get requests for a more traditional safari look, with lots of earthy tones, browns and greens.  Nowadays, people are opting for a much more sophisticated look in the nursery.  I can’t even tell you how many clients have been asking for neutral colors, monochromatic looks and even all white or all ivory. So, back to my client.  When I went back for her first design meeting, I brought a few fun safari theme wallpapers for her to choose from (as well as a rustic wood paneling look as an alternative). Option 1: Zebra print wallpaper from Sissy + Marley.  I just love the geometric lines of this one.  The other great thing about it is that the color of the zebras is fairly subtle, which means it wouldn’t be overwhelming on all four walls of the nursery (which we wanted to do). Option 2:  Rifle Paper Co. Safari Wallpaper from Hygge & West.  This pattern was definitely at the top of my list.  I love how the style of the drawing has whimsy and because the animals are on a slight diagonal, it really gives them movement.  And again, the colors are subtle, so it wouldn’t be overwhelming...

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