Decorating Tips

How To Decorate a Baby’s Room

October 8, 2013

Hello friends! This month we will begin working on our baby boy’s room. It’s the tiniest room in our house, a former guest room, but I’m still so excited to transform it! I’ve been thinking of what I’d like to do and am flooded with ideas. I want to incorporate all of the things that we love as his parents (for now) until he is old enough to find his own style and turn his room into whatever he would like.

How To Decorate a Baby's Room

I want to incorporate Liberty London prints because I don’t want a typical boy’s room in the sense that I really don’t want to raise a little man to be scared of floral prints disregarding them as “girly”. There are so many stylish men running around wearing colorful trousers, floral bow ties (like my husband), and flashes of neon on their shoes (my husband has a pair with neon blue soles)… So why not bring these touches to his room too? I also want the room to fit the rest of our home for now until he decides to pin up Transformers posters later on (which is fine!). But for now, mommy and daddy make the decorating decisions so I’m going to rule with my heart and go for it.

The first step to any decorating project, at least for me, is to collect inspiration. Is that how you begin? I’ve been collecting ideas over at Pinterest (here), but I’m still on the fence with lots of things and cannot decide. This is rare for me, but given that I’ve only designed a few nurseries for clients in my life, I lack experience with them so I’m not so sure where to begin. Nothing like learning with your own child, so this is a fun chance for me to explore something new. I’m thinking to begin in the way I would embark on a living room or bedroom, so I’ve put together this list and plan to follow it!

How To Decorate a Baby’s Room

1. Start pulling magazine tears or start a Pinterest board dedicated to your project. From there, locate a single source of inspiration that will inspire everything else. A piece of fabric. An image. A painting.
2. Measure your space and create a mood board – a physical board or a digital one works.
3. Decide on a basic color scheme (usually pulled from your inspirational source) then mix in fabric choices, though remain flexible. Look for patterns in several scales.
4. Decide where the focal point should be in the room and start “building” from there.
5. Buy your key piece of furniture, which is often the largest and most used in the room. For this space, it will be the crib. So I will buy his little bed first.
6. Decide how to make your focal point a genuine focus. For this space, I will need to strip off the current raufausertapete (it’s a bumpy woodchip wallpaper in white that is throughout our home, sadly thanks to the landlord) and then either hire someone to plaster the walls or wallpaper them. I may paint or wallpaper the wall the crib is on in a different color.
7. Clean out the room, strip the walls, paper or paint, let the room air dry for a few days and then clean it top to bottom.
8. In the interim, decide on what else is needed in the space, at least for furniture and lighting – a dresser? A pendant? A lamp? A changing table? Rocking chair? Bookshelf? Closet? Start collecting pieces that you love (photos) and move them around on your mood board until pieces begin to “fit” together visually. Also MEASURE every piece to ensure they would fit. Start working on a floor plan and sketch something up to add to your mood board.
9. Order the pieces that you decide on or start flea marketing to find what you need.
10. Consider soft furnishings. A soft rug to crawl on, pillows, blankets, window treatments. For this space, I want a roman blind because I don’t think curtains and kids work so well together and don’t want curtains hanging to the floor in that room (dust collectors and easy to pull down). I will most likely have one custom made since the window is an odd size and I want a blind that blocks out light at night.
11. Consider storage. What do you need to store now and what can you imagine needing to store once the baby arrives?
12. Think of decorative ideas. Back to your focal point. What can you do to make the focal point more interesting through decorative elements? Start making decisions.
13. Shop and Decorate! Buy what you need for storage, soft furnishings and decorative accessories. Once your furniture has arrived and is in place, begin your decorating plan of attack. Arrange, hang, etc. Also think of what you can make by hand. This is a special little space, bring lots of mommy love to your little baby love.
14. Wash all of the cute little baby clothes you’ve acquired over the months (if you’re like me you already have enough for the first few months) and enjoy the process of folding and hanging sweet little sweaters and trousers and stacking all of your hats with ears (my current obsession).
15. Take a final inventory. What are you missing? Burp cloths? A diaper bin? Something to hang on the wall that is a family heirloom? Is the lighting adequate? What is missing? NOTE: It’s better to have only key elements in place before the baby arrives and not to obsess over making the room perfect or packing it with stuff “just in case”. Like any room in your home, it needs room to breath, to expand, to evolve. Even more so with a room that will have a brand new occupant whom you’ve never met before, who will have their own needs and those needs will only be known after the little one arrives. Just have the basics in place for now.
16. Have you “babyproofed” the room? There is a great article about this on Lifehacker, so please read it if you’re soon to be a new mom like me. Also remember: There should be nothing in the crib with your baby but the baby and the bottom sheet which should fit snugly over the mattress – no covers, pillows, bumper pads, no positioning devices and no toys. If you have these things “displayed” in there before the baby arrives, remove them and place on a chair until he is older. Read more about SIDS prevention here.

That’s my list and is all I can think of for now. I can’t wait to start my mood board and really begin on this space. I would love any baby room tips that experienced moms out there may have to share, so please add them into the comments section below.

(Photo: Norwegian photographer Elisabeth Heier, visit her blog – it’s gorgeous!)


  • Reply Bonnie October 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Holly, I would have LOVED this post 10 years ago when I had my first little one! I still love it now though as I find I am scratching my head a lot about how to create/design our space so that it feels right. I tend to get stuck already on point 1, with too many ideas flowing around in my mind. Choosing a single source to inspire the rest makes so much sense and I am already certain that a lot of frustration will evaporate by applying the rest of your steps (bar the specific baby prep stuff). Best of luck with your space. I am sure it will be stunning.

  • Reply Holly {Avenue} October 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    What an exciting time for you both, Holly. I can’t wait to see how his room turns out. If you have anything to do with it, it’ll be beautiful.

  • Reply Louise October 8, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Loved this post, Holly, and am excited to see how your little room turns out. I was so happy to hear you want to incorporate florals and prints. The gendering of babies really bugs me; I mean, yes a child might grow up to fit a stereotype.. but if they don’t, how are they going to feel when they realise they don’t “match” the parents plan for them? I also hate to see only girls given toy kitchens and boys given guns? Like what kind of messages are they sending out?! I’m far from having kids myself, but I always thought that when I do, for as long as I can influence them, I’ll encourage tools, not toys. Arts and crafts! Books! Something like Lego to make them be creative and use their brains!

  • Reply Cindy Lindgren October 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Great ideas. I’m in the process of designing my next fabric collection for Modern Yardage in honor of my new little great niece, Amelia Harper. Her Mom, Jessie, wanted something gender neutral and not too girly. It’s also practical so if their next child is a boy, they won’t have an abundance of ‘girly’ items to use.

  • Reply Dianna October 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    This is my favorite topic right now! We are decorating our lil baby girl’s room as well and I’m having way too much fun. We painted the room a light gray a while back, way before our wedding even, because we wanted a neutral wall color for a boy or a girl. Now that we know it’s a girl, our colors are gray, pink and yellow and brown. We have purchased some furniture and have a really fun light pink shag rug that should be arriving soon! We got a ton of inspiration of pinterest and then it was on to Etsy shopping. I found this GREAT shop who puts different print designs on large wooden ABC letters. I found a set with our colors and ordered immediately. I’ll likely post on my blog once the nursery is complete. We don’t have a theme per say, but ABC, 123 will be on the walls. Eeboo has a really cute “counting birds” series of 8×10 cards. LOVE IT!
    I didn’t realize about the bumper. We registered for bedding and have the bumper in there. I thought they were good so the baby doesn’t wack it’s head on the spindles of the crib. I guess they are bad?
    Have so much fun decorating for your little boy!!!

  • Reply Sarah from a fine line October 8, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    We’ve actually just reached the point you are describing, when a child begings to have their own taste and style. My three year old has been asking for a purple bedroom for a few months now (her room is currently the perfect muted minted aqua color). She’ll get what she wants, but still in a way that fits in to the rest of our house. I refuse to allow princess posters take over in there! I’m thinking a pretty lavender on the walls, lots of black and white photography, and a jenny lind bed if I can ever find one!

  • Reply Martina October 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Hi, I would consider having the baby bed for the first 6-12 months in your bedroom. That is really practical and cosy when you have to get up during the night for feeding the baby. You will be thankful if you don’t have to walk around too much every time you get up during the night.

    Besides decorating your baby boy’s room you could decorate a nice corner in your bedroom if at all possible? I can highly recommend it (I am a mother of three, the youngest being nearly three) and most people I know did the same.

  • Reply Winonah Wiffen October 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Send me some more pictures and ideas for doing up baby room.

  • Reply Angel B. October 8, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    interesting tips, thanks for sharing them!

  • Reply Mina October 8, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Great guide! I’m starting to think about re-decorating my little girl’s room because she’ll be transitioning to a toddler bed here in the next few months. I love your Pinterest board. Verrrry similar to the look I’m going for with her room. I want a peaceful, clean palette with Scandinavian touches. I’ll want to live in her room, I’m sure! : )

  • Reply Catchiness turner October 8, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    I painted my sons room grey, (Cornforth F&B) and used the ‘Far & Away’ fabric & a frieze from Harlequin fabrics. V pleased with results, and was easy to update with riches of pink for my daughter two years later.
    I would say, for baby boys, use a washable paint near the changing mat….

  • Reply Gwen. The Makerista October 8, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Really great to see your process. And I look forward to seeing your sweet boy’s space!

  • Reply Pretty Dandy October 8, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Hi Holly,

    This is a lovely post… I hope we get to see some pics through the process!

    Just thought I might suggest using eco-friendly paint. A lot of people think it’s better for us in terms of fumes, so it might be a nice thing to do in the baby’s room.

    Enjoy all your planning and preparations!


    • Reply decor8 October 8, 2013 at 11:17 pm

      @Pretty Dandy – YES definitely – I will post photos for sure!

  • Reply Shay October 8, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    I agree with the comment about somewhere for the baby to sleep close to you. It’s great for feeding or calming fussing at night and typically baby and Co sleep much better. If cosleeping isn’t for you I recommend a cosleeper (attaches to the side of the bed) or bassinet for your room. In my experience still having a crib in their own room is wonderful for nap time and establishing a routine.

    Additionally skip the blackout curtains until the little guy gets here. It’s much better for children to sleep in “normal” lighting so their body adjusts to the differences of napping and going to sleep for the night. (Obviously some children struggle with this and dark curtains are an asset for them).

    I love that you’re going to add some floral to his room. I used an Ikea duvet cover with a floral print as a crib skirt ( and it never stood out in his room.

    I think your best advice is to let the room keep evolving with your child. My Son’s room isn’t “done” at 14 months old. But I’m getting the idea it won’t ever really be finished since his needs are constantly changing his room changes with him.

  • Reply Julie the Alkaline Sister October 8, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Decorating nurseries is so exciting, so glad you get to experience this! but hey, don’t for the nursing rocker or glider! This is where you will sit and gently rock as you nourish your precious baby and marvel at the miracle you created, day….. after day….after day:)
    And initally you may, like other are saying, want a co-sleeper for up to 5 months of age or so! After 2 kids, the 3rd slept between us and I actually got some sleep and was much more sane than I was with the first two! Wishing you a joyful pregnancy:)

  • Reply Erin Frost October 9, 2013 at 12:39 am

    Holly, hello from downtown Boston. Designing any room is fun but especially exciting when your family is growing. I have a boy. I am sorry to say that after weeks of planning his nursery (and it turned out beautifully) it basically collected dust. We just didn’t spend much time in the bedroom. What I wish I had spent my time on was the following. Made myself a nursing area in the main room of the house (so we could spend time together). Created a stylish cary-all so I could change diapers anywhere. Made the kitchen cozy for sleepless nights (lots of tea and healthy snacks for nursing), froze lots of delicious meals. Picked out a highchair that I loved and worked in both my kitchen and dining area. I bought 4 before I found the right one, sad but true, don’t even ask about the strollers and diaper bags. Created a play space (comfy rug, book and toy storage) in our main living area. I wish I had done more research about children’s books (and created a used library while I had time to hit stores) and educational toys. I did eventually do all these things but it would have been so much more fun to have the leisurely pace and attention of a first time pregnant mom. Best of luck, I love being a mom.

  • Reply Kate @ Songs Kate Sang October 9, 2013 at 1:16 am

    Holly, This is stunning! I love all of the inspiration you have pulled together!

  • Reply Yael October 9, 2013 at 4:22 am

    My son has a toy kitchen, and it’s one of his favorite toys! (He’s almost 5 and a REAL boy, loves his trucks and Legos). You’re right, there’s no reason to play by the old gender rules.

    Holly, great post – I’m decorating a baby’s room now too and it’s so much fun! Just one point – you say you want Roman blinds, make sure they’re cordless (though I’m sure you knew that from the babyproofing articles!)

    Good luck! Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  • Reply Eva October 9, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Our daughter is six months old and doesn’t have her own room, yet. She sleeps in her crib in our bedroom, so I don’t have much experience about creating a nursery. One thing that comes to mind about nursery furniture is that I would recommend not spending too much money on a changing table. Of course everybody is different, but we are hardly using ours anymore. Now that she moves and squirms around more we mostly change her on the floor. We bought a very simple Ikea table and I made some storage pockets for it, because we didn’t want to commit to where it should stand and so we didn’t have to attach the storage to the walls and drill holes. If you want, you can have a look here:

    During my pregnancy I was eyeing a table that was MUCH more expensive and now I’m glad we didn’t make that investment.

    I like your ideas about creating a nursery and all the great tips can be adapted to any room! Also, I think you’re right to give the room time to develop. It’s all too tempting to go overboard with a nursery. :-)

    All the best for you and enjoy this special time dreaming and planning and creating for your baby!

  • Reply Michael October 9, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    For the first eight month our daugther slept in a crib called “babybay” in our bedroom. This really great recommendation of our midwife is a crib which will be fixed to parent’s bed. So the baby sleeps just beside his mom which makes breastfeeding, etc. at night very comfortable.

    What I really like for decorating a baby’s or toddler’s room are the wallpaper trees and animals of dutch designer Inke Heiland (

  • Reply Andrea November 30, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I started a Pinterest board too, which has now morphed into all things children as before you know it they are toddlers. I still pin madly as a boys room is ever changing! Storage becomes critical too, unless you want a trail of duplo through the house…what am I saying, that happens anyway!
    I suddenly have to house wooden train sets and duplo and child care clothes (i. e the ones that will get trashed) and still cloth nappies and paper nappies, and portacots and clothes grown out of (maybe for a number 2?) and and and. Yes, even the moat minimalist of homes needs storage for kids toys!

  • Reply Andrea November 30, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    P.s best thing we did was put a double bed in our boys room- you never know if you are going to get a good sleeper or not. We didn’t, and some nights it was (still is) a life saver!

  • Reply Margaux Corbusier December 2, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you for this lovely and inspirating post :) and I love the point when you start washing the baby clothes because he’s coming soon! What do you use to wash this delicate clothes? I wash mine with some Marseilles Soap Flakes from a French brand Marius Fabre, they are great because hypoallergenic and I can wash all the family laundry with it! You do your own mix once, melting the flakes and hot water and can store it for the next washes. Eco-friendly and so sweet to the baby skin :) I buy it on this great new website Blanc Home:
    Have a lovely end of day,

  • Reply Jennifer July 20, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Love the classic looks and there are so many great options out there that are clean and timeless. Thank you for the post

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