How To Style A Child's Nursery (So They Don't Grow Out Of It In 5 Minutes)


Baby is on its way - time to turn that guest bedroom/home office/place you hang damp washing/dumping ground for the hoover and the ironing board into a proper bedroom that you will spend more time in than you ever imagined feeding/nappy changing/begging for your sanity. It will also be frequented by a vast stream of guests, as well as being your new little pals first bedroom where they sleep (hopefully) for their first few years in the world.

Before baby is even here it's hard to imagine them as being anything other than that - a baby. Yet give what seems like 5 minutes and your baby is a proper mini-adult and that pastel room with a farm animals mobile is looking dated and in need of redecoration. It is best to get it right first time round, so take a peek at my simple steps below on how to style a child's bedroom that will take them from age 0 to 8-10.

1) Go neutral on the expensive stuff and build colour with everything else

Curtains for a nursery tend not to be cheap as it's best to go for black out lining to stop the light seeping in and waking baby earlier than needed. Even though those nursery curtains with teddy bears on are super cute, it's best to go for a plain neutral colour and build colour elsewhere in the nursery so you only need to change the curtains when they have had it, rather than because your child has outgrown the pattern.

My son's nursery in our home.

My son's nursery in our home.

Likewise go for a hardwearing, neutral carpet and add a cheap rug for protection. This pillerbox red Ikea rug I brought for my son's nursery has saved the carpet from smudges of sudocrem, peanut butter fingers and nappy disasters and really adds a nice layer to the rooms decor.

2) Don't go near pastels or use gender-associations with wall colour

Long gone are the days that nurseries are pale pink for a girl, light blue for a boy and yellow for the unknown, thank God. Baby pastel colours date fast when your baby grows and becomes their own little person. Paint the room a neutral colour and then build up the room with objects and accessories in bold reds, greens, yellows, oranges, navy, fushia (even neons) for an on trend room that won't resemble the inside of Barbie's castle.

Walls are painted in 'Parchment' by Crown Period Colours.

Walls are painted in 'Parchment' by Crown Period Colours.

3) Add awesome handles to pimp up children's IKEA furniture

I was surprised at how expensive children's furniture was from the usual suspect high street kids stores. It made sense to purchase a wardrobe and chest of drawers from Ikea for less than £150 for both and change the handles to make them look a bit different. You can update handles easily as they grow to suit their interests. General DIY stores and places like Not On The High Street and Anthropologie sell quirky knobs, pulls and handles. I purchased these cool hand painted transport knobs from Ebay for £2.50 for a total of 16! 

This is the Hensvik kids wardrobe and the Hemnes chest of drawers both by Ikea. The hand painted transport knobs were an Ebay purchase.

This is the Hensvik kids wardrobe and the Hemnes chest of drawers both by Ikea. The hand painted transport knobs were an Ebay purchase.

4) Add wallpaper as a feature but think carefully about the design

As my son has a decorative fireplace in his room I knew I wanted a feature wall on the chimney breast. There is a great view of the London skyline from the window, so I used that as inspiration for the paper choice. At first I fell in love with this Cath Kidston London Wallpaper, but after thinking about it for a while I realised he'd grow out of this design really quickly and went for this London wallpaper by Graham & Brown instead which should last him until he's much older:

This wallpaper is 'London Red' by Graham & Brown - a total bargain at £10 a roll!

This wallpaper is 'London Red' by Graham & Brown - a total bargain at £10 a roll!

If you live in a more rural area this Squirrel and Dove wallpaper by Sanderson below is perfect. If you want to use your child's room as a opportunity to really be adventurous with wall paper then these Deco Palm, Flamingo or Geometric wallpapers by Cole & Son are just amazing. I SO want to use the pink Deco Palm somewhere in my house!

'Squirrell and Dove' by Sanderson. 'Deco Palm', 'Flamingo' and 'Geometric' all by Cole & Son.

'Squirrell and Dove' by Sanderson. 'Deco Palm', 'Flamingo' and 'Geometric' all by Cole & Son.

Wallpaper Direct is a great place to source wallpaper for your kids bedroom.

4) Choose a cool, adult chair for your feeding chair that you can use elsewhere in the house later on

You can't be without a feeding chair, be it boob or bottle or even just somewhere to have a cuddle. You'll be spending a lot of time in this chair, trust me, so get one that you will love to sit in and can use somewhere in the house later on when the chair needs to be removed to make way for a playtent/playstation. I have the Kartell Ghost Chair in my sons room which I absolutely love. It is also a total blessing as being transparent it doesn't make the room look too busy with all the toys, it's also really easy to clean spilt milk off of it!

This is the Louis Ghost Chair by Kartell. And Geoffry the giraffe.

This is the Louis Ghost Chair by Kartell. And Geoffry the giraffe.

I also like this replica Eames chair below that Emilie from blog Stella + The Stars uses in her nursery for her daughter. The Eames rocking chair is also a perfect choice - you can get replicas of this in a whole range of colours. Remember your chair should be an armchair (so have handles/sides) so you can rest your arm when cradling babies head.

Nursery photo taken from Stella + the Stars www.stellaandthestars.net. The chair is a Eames replica in teal.

Nursery photo taken from Stella + the Stars www.stellaandthestars.net. The chair is a Eames replica in teal.

5) Use wicker baskets & other cool storage ideas to keep the plastic ratio down and visual appeal up

Once you have kids you also then own a lot of stuff. Even if you do not buy this stuff yourself, every well wisher will bring a little something and before you know it you need somewhere to put all this stuff so you are not falling over it when you creep in to check on your child to make sure they are still breathing (which you will do, all the time). The first thought is to buy a plastic crate or plastic box to store all the plastic toys, but then your child's room just turns into one giant plastic container. Use more visually appealing solutions like wicker baskets that you can buy in DIY or craft stores, or there are some great options available online like the cool paper storage bags featured below.

6) Use fun, cheap decorations that your child will love and cost next-to-nothing to change as they grow.

In my sons room I use these paper poms poms from The Hanging Lantern Company to hang over his cot as they add a fun layer of colour to the room. When he was really young he loved to watch them spinning around as the air circulated:

Pom Poms and lanterns by The Hanging Lantern Company.

Pom Poms and lanterns by The Hanging Lantern Company.

Cheap fun decorations like pom poms and string lights are great in a child's nursery and they can be updated and removed quickly and easily.

Here is my pick of some of the coolest products currently available online to buy for children's nurseries: