Can I just say how much I’m loving the gender neutral nursery movement? It’s not that ideas around pink rooms for girls and blue rooms for boys are outdated. But, you know, there are better ways to make your bub’s room a stunner.
That’s not to say gender-specific nurseries will ever go away. And hey, if that’s your vibe then you do you. But if you’ve landed on this post today I sense something in you wants to move toward a more refined, designer look for your baby nursery that avoids some of the common cliches.
As an interior designer I adore the notion that your baby nursery design can be an extension of your home’s current scheme. It can give your little one all the excitement and stimulation they need while not being a shrine to Bob the Builder. Or having it become a hot pink Barbie explosion like one of The Block’s recent master ensuites (look at that space at your own peril!).
It’s not just yours truly sharing my gender neutral baby nursery ideas today. I’ve brought in Metricon’s interior designer Kristina Orban to throw her ideas into the ring too. She and the team are responsible for the design of all the baby nurseries you see in this post. So who better to talk style with than someone who walks the walk all the time?
As always, I’ll see you in the comments at the end of this post so you can share some of your own gender neutral nursery design ideas, or ask any questions you might have about styling spaces for little ones.
Pull Ideas from your Homes Current Scheme
It’s odd to have your home decorated in a soft Scandi style, for example, and then open the doors to your baby nursery and have it slap you in the face with a barrage of bright colours.
Examine the colour palette of the other rooms in your home and use this as the basis for your baby nursery. If you opt for timber nursery furniture in the same colour as the other timber pieces in your home, it’s a nice way to link the spaces stylistically.
Essentially the foundation of your baby nursery should be the same as the rest of your home’s interior. You’ll just layer over more juvenile and whimsical finishing touches so it still reads as a baby room. The room above is the perfect example of a nursery that still feels ‘baby’ while clearly channelling a mature bohemian vibe.
“Keep in mind what you have throughout your home, but allow this space to be a bit more personalised to your child,” Kristina advises. “It’s their little zone, so you can be a bit more playful and fun!”.
Bright Green and Yellow Need Not Apply
The traditional approach to gender neutral nursery ideas was to go in a green or yellow direction. I recall being an uncle in the nineties and seeing my fair share of nurseries in these tones. Thankfully, the modern approach is to move away from brights and embrace a more organic palette.
“We are definitely seeing a steady trend using earthy tones in cream, clay, terracotta, brown and grey,” Kristina tells me. “Colour is still used but it’s often a very dulled down version”.
What I love about executing the colour scheme this way is that it grows with your child far more easily and allows longevity in the room’s design. Rather than painting it bright yellow and then having your child dislike it in years to come.
“Children grow fast,” Christina says. “They’re not babies for long and soon enough they’ll outgrow the space”.
Also don’t feel like you can’t use a mature colour like the blue above in a gender neutral nursery. It’ll work for years to come.
Play with a Calming (Non-White) Paint
I’ve been on a mission for years now on this blog, trying to get people to give up the white paint obsession. So it delights me to no end that baby nurseries are at their best when a variety of non-white neutrals are at play. By exploring a medley of soothing neutrals you’ll not only evoke calm but also carve out a space that works for now and in the future.
Kristina has a whole host of fave paint colours for baby nurseries, with Dulux Unforgettable, Pukaki or Loop Hole being her most often go-to’s. She also advises to think beyond just splashing the entire wall with paint. There are some cool tricks you can try to bring interest and dimension to the room.
“You may just like to paint a couple of walls, or my current go-to; painting two thirds up all walls, leaving the top half plain. Gives you a modern dado look, without adding all the trimmings and doesn’t look overkill by adding too much colour”.
I love this idea. It gives your baby nursery design such a point of difference.
Twist: Use Blue and Pink Together
The image above is a really successful example of a room that reads as gender neutral but uses pink and blue together. In fact, the pink tone is actually more like a coral or apricot, so I see this entire space being perfect for a new baby regardless of gender. Of course, it’s all about the amount of blue and pink you’re mixing together. Keep it to small doses and you’ll have your bases covered.
A lot of the styling and soft furnishings above are things you’d expect to see in any room of the home, which just goes back to what I was saying earlier about pulling things from your interior’s current scheme.
Think beyond the strict idea that a colour is assigned to a gender and decorate the room with a mixed-colour approach instead. It’s a really nice way to evoke adventure and play but still have it feel refined and gender-neutral.
Subtle Nurseries Need More Texture
This is the advice I give clients and readers alike regardless of the room we’re designing. So when thinking through all of your gender neutral nursery ideas, ensure you dedicate some time to introducing a slew of texture.
Layering materials will not only look visually appealing, but when bub is big enough to crawl around and play on the floor, you want things to feel plush and inviting.
“This is the perfect way to add interest and pattern to the room,” Kristina says. “A beautiful floor rug, bed linen, floor cushions and drapery can really help to soften the room and provide opportunities to use different textures and patterns”.
You might even wish to opt for a subtle cloth wallpaper. This will add a gorgeous layer of warmth to the nursery, but if it’s in a calm colour it’ll look just as good long-term. You could have it for decades!
Gender Neutral Furniture for the Win
We’ve already mentioned the idea of avoiding bright blues and pinks, and even yellows and greens on walls. The same, of course, applies to the furniture you bring into the room.
The smart move here is to look to colours in furniture that feel more adult, more sophisticated. Think blonde timbers you’d normally see in living room or dining room furniture. Or go for a soft grey cot like in the room above, which provides a nice contrast the paint colour on the wall.
“White will always have its place in a Nursery,” Kristina concedes. “However, we are noticing a shift to include a mix of materials such as white and blonde timbers, to adding features of cane and rattan. You might like to keep your cot and sideboard the same, but mix it up a bit with a beautiful cane rocking chair”.
You can even think beyond baby furniture. Outside of the cot, everything else could be adult furniture you’d normally not see in a nursery. This is another great way to ensure your home’s design scheme is carried across all the rooms consistently.
Gender Neutral Can Still be Exciting
Just because you’ve decided to avoid the usual colour cliches and have your baby nursery design feel more sophisticated, it doesn’t mean you can’t inject fun in considered ways.
It’s just about choosing what your one wow design moment is going to be and then building the room around it.
“It’s advisable to decide what you are going to use as your focal point,” Kristina explains. “For example, a bold wallpaper. Then counteract that with a soft minimal piece of artwork. Don’t over complicate the room with a barrage of patterns. By keeping the room reasonably minimal, it won’t feel overwhelming once full of toys as the child grows”.
How gorgeous is the modern Provincial nursery above? I love that the rug brings some drama and the rest of the pieces support it by not competing visually.
Introduce Gendered Colours in Easy-Change Doses
Lastly, of course, we should explore how you can eventually bring in some gendered colours once your baby is born. You didn’t think I was banning blue and pink altogether did you? What sort of monster do you think I am?
The best way to do this though is in smaller moments. Keep the shell/foundation of the room feeling really curated, subdued and somewhat adult, and then layer in small doses of fun and colour that feel distinctly ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ if you wish.
“Changing bed linen is much easier than repainting,” Kristina advises. “Also, wall decals are great – they peel straight off! Also choosing decent sized furniture, like a chest of drawers they can still use in five years time”.
And rather than having those drawers be pink or blue, consider applying decals to a white or blonde timber piece, or change the handles so that they feel more playful (a pink or blue pull handle on a white set of drawers is subtle but super cute!).
What Are your go-to Gender Neutral Nursery Ideas?
I’d love to know if you’ve had a play with your nurseries at home using a gender-neutral approach to the design. Drop me a comment below and share some of your fave ideas or let me know if you have any questions.
Happy decorating at your place, and I hope you got some food for thought out of this post. A big thanks to Kristina as well for sharing all of her designer tips.
This post includes images and/or videos of Metricon display homes and events, reproduced with permission. © Metricon Homes Pty Ltd 2016.