Tips for Designing the Perfect Nursery

This award winning, gender neutral nursery was designed by M Monroe Design in NYC and completed one month before the new baby boy’s arrival. The process was not only a fun way to get even more excited for the baby’s arrival, but the designer help was also a low stress way to ready the home, during such a stressful time. The space was originally a small office, storage area, and guest room with dark brown walls and jarring amounts of light.

Read more below for design tips and details on the room!

Photo by Dylan Chandler, Design by M Monroe Design 

Photo by Dylan Chandler, Design by M Monroe Design


Before the dark walled, brightly lit office became a nursery

The Nursery Essentials:

  1. Blackout Curtains- window treatment options for filtered light are very important. Here, the semi sheer roller shades allow for less harsh light when desired and the total blackout curtains facilitated daytime naps with ease.
  2. Dimmable (and baffled/ soft) light fixtures- The ceiling light and the wall lamp were each equipped with dimmers. Additionally, the soft outer layer of these Nelson fixtures made it easier for babies and adults alike to look directly at the light without hurting their eyes. The option to lower light levels in the evenings around bedtime is not only nice, but also practical in that it aids in coaxing our circadian rhythms toward restfulness by simulating the low light of sunset.
  3. Ceiling Pattern- When designing the nursery, we knew that we wanted a subtle/ gender neutral wall pattern. Timeless gray and white stripes would surely do the trick, but why stop at the ceiling? Babies spend a lot of their time looking up, so the ceiling should always be considered along with the ceiling light. As you continue around the room, we added white bird wall decals to add interest and break up the stripes with organic shapes and movement.
  4. Flow of space/ layout- Every space and every parent is different. In this case, the parent wanted fast easy access to the changing table, and planned to spend a lot of time in the glider. For those reasons, the changer is near the door and the glider sits firmly in the corner with full view of the room and out the door and windows.
  5. Multi function- In a small space like this, pieces with multiple functions are ideal. The wall lamp between the glider and the changer swings to give dual function for lighting a late night diaper change or an evening book read. The white side table beside the glider has a wood texture to continue the subtle nature theme and has a top that opens to reveal storage for blankets and books by the chair. 

Other Features:

  1. Dresser/ Changer: The custom dresser with changer top from The New Traditionalists has soft-close drawers for entry without noise disturbance. Self-closing drawers are also great for that occasional “mommy brain” that’s so busy it forgets to close them. This piece is an investment that will grow with the child for many years to come. The custom dresser also features inset pulls. Thinking ahead to walking stages, we avoid bumped heads on protruding handles. Last, the exterior color of the dresser was custom matched to the crib to give the room a beautiful overall look and flow.
  2. Crib: This gray Oeuf crib is simple, modern and functional. Made up with Auggie bedding, this clean look with modern textures and subtle patterns was a gender neutral dream. Most importantly, we bought the toddler bed conversion kit and put it in storage for future use. We believe that good design is always thinking ahead… especially when there are children involved!
  3. Glider with ottoman: Monte makes this beautiful modern glider and ottoman pair. There are multiple color options and easily cleanable fabrics.
  4. Rug: The 6 pelt sheepskin rug is one of our all time favorites for any kids space. They are soft enough for tummy time, floor play, or even a tired parent nap. Loved by humans and animals alike, we often find the family’s yorkie taking a quick snooze on the rug.
  5. Shelving/ storage: The wall mounted shelving was custom built into the space when it was an office. Instead of paying to have it removed, we simply painted it and repurposed it to showcase a selection of favorite stuffed animals/ gifts. The low walnut and white shelving is from BluDot. Initially this piece added much needed storage to the nursery. Later, it will continue on with the child into toddler and “big kid” room designs. We like to design nurseries with pieces that can grow with the child and don’t have too much of a ‘baby’ feel.
  6. Art: Classic Kids Photography took the photos shown on the walls, and M Monroe Design chose the matting and framing to compliment the space.


Update: Since the completion of this room in 2013, M Monroe Design has worked with the clients to aid the transition into toddler room and a modern Montessori set up. As planned, the storage furniture, dresser and bed have all become excellent investments! (Not to mention all the other pieces that have been easily transitioned, including the sheepskin rug). As the child grows, his room has taken on a very stylish (parent pleasing) fun and functional (kid pleasing) vibe that includes lots of walnut, white, and sheepskin. More information and photos to follow at a later date! (Finished Nursery Photography by: Dylan Chandler)