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How to Style a Kids Room or Nursery in Darker Colours

A black or brown nursery – or any kids space that uses darker colours, for that matter – isn’t something to be afraid of. I know when you first think of a dream nursery, colours like black and brown don’t immediately spring to mind. I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people tend to use whites and creams in kids rooms, punctuated with some blue for boys or some pink for girls.

Now, I’m never one to bag out anyone else’s style choices. But I do want to encourage you to consider expanding your horizons on the decorating front. Because phenomenal rooms rarely follow the rules. And I figure that kids spaces are the best places to get out of your comfort zone.

In today’s post I want you to get thinking about abandoning the white-and-bright colour palette for kids rooms. The reason I say this is because I think every room in your home should flow somewhat seamlessly from one space to the next. From a design perspective, I mean. Your living room should connect stylistically to your bedroom, your dining room to your laundry, and so on.

And with so many homes adopting a darker colour palette, it’s time to take that into your little one’s space as well!

How to Style a Black or Brown Nursery

black white and brown kids nursery with feature wallpaper and dark brown cot

Colour Palette

You’ll notice in the imagery here that the colour palette is completely monochromatic. It ranges in tone from black, to brown, to tan, to beige and then to white. It also features a cool grey to break up the warmth of all those chocolate tones.

Take a look at the shell of the room, too. The floor, roof, and three walls all feature a different (but complementary) colour. This is the key to getting a black or brown nursery right; you have to have a nice balance – and variety – of tones. If you have a large chunk of black or brown – like the cot – balance it out with equal or greater proportion of white/cream shades.

You can bring in some small amounts of colour, of course (it can’t all be dark), but just make sure the colour you introduce is never the hero of the space.

black and white nursery bedding with cloud cushion cover in brown cot

to the moon and back kids wall handing with the book with no pictures

black and white wallpaper pattern design for baby nursery feature wall

black pom pom trim on white sheer curtain in kids nusery


I can’t stress enough how a variety of textures will make any room feel resolved and welcoming. The most texture you have in a room, the more inviting it will appear. And who doesn’t want that for their kids room?

I never like to buy complete sets of anything – for any space – and the same goes for the black or brown nursery. Don’t buy your cot in the same finish as your tallboy, or change table, or rocking chair, or wall shelf. By purchasing pieces with different finishes, it creates a far richer visual story but also makes the space feel tactile and unique.

Go well beyond furniture too when it comes to varying your textures. Think of lampshades, mobiles, curtains, bedding, throws, rugs. These all have a huge impact on how the space feels too. (Sidenote: The felt mobile in this post is so adorable, don’t you think?).

Pattern and Shape

When you’re working in a black room, or brown nursery, or space that’s restricted in terms of colour, you have to up the pattern. And I don’t just mean finding bedding with polka dots on it (but that is a great place to start!).

Think outside the box with pattern and be gutsy. A patterned wallpaper, like the one in this post (or these), is the star of the nursery if you ask me. It bring such warmth, interest and detail to the room. And the dot pattern speaks wonderfully to the curtain trim and the bedding in that cot.

Also take a step back and consider the shapes in the room, too. You want to opt for a combination of clean lines and fluidity. Go for some structured shapes (like a rectangular cot, square tallboy etc) and some softer shapes (the round rug, the round lampshade, the curved armchair). A nice balance of shapes will make the room feel neither too formal or too relaxed.

black grey and white felt cloud mobile for baby nursery

Finishing Touches

I think all rooms should have a dash of whimsy to them, but a black or brown nursery or kids room needs it even more. Because this colour palette is considered far more subdued and sophisticated then your typical kids space, you’ll need some cheeky and fun finishing touches to keep it looking cute.

The good news is that you can find whimsical decor for kids spaces in black, white and grey shades. And awesome art like this helps make the space feel unique too. As a general rule, keep the shell of the room sophisticated and not baby themed, and look for furniture they can grow with.

This approach will save you big bucks in the long-run. If you took the cot out of this space and put in a bed, for example, it could easily become a tween room or adult space (sans mobile and baby books, of course).

Do you have a brown nursery, black kids room, or little one’s space that strays from the norm? I’d love to hear about how you achieved it in the comments below.

This post includes images and/or videos of Metricon display homes and events, reproduced with permission. © Metricon Homes Pty Ltd 2016.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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5 Responses

  1. hello I am in love with that crib just what I was looking for.
    Do you happen to when where I can find it?

    thank you, Layssa.

  2. Hi! I love that set of black & white framed prints on the wall. Can you please tell me where they’re from?
    Thanks, Mel

    1. Oh Mel I wish I could. Sadly I don’t have the deets. Metricon get a lot of their display home products on loan from Guest, but I don’t know if these prints are part of the loan or not. They are divine though aren’t they?

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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