Baby Nursery Ideas: Everything You Need to Know and More

Adding a baby to your family is a happy occasion … and one that might be making you feel a little anxious, especially when it comes to the nursery. Even though newborns are teeny-tiny, there are lots of factors to consider when setting up their space.

There's the fun part where you get to scroll through your social feeds looking for inspo, picking color palettes and the perfect style. But then there are the nuts and bolts that come into play, too, like outfitting the space with vital must-haves like plenty of storage and safety features.

Yup, we know — this sounds like a lot, and feeling overwhelmed is totally understandable. That's why we've broken things down so you can plan your nursery with ease. Here are the key things you need to ponder when setting up your little one's space, along with inspiration and shopping suggestions.

True Colors

If you're talking to a friend about your nursery ideas, their first question will likely be: "What are your colors?" Nurseries and color choices always seem to go hand-in-hand, ever since blue was associated with boys and pink was assigned to girls.

Luckily, those old rules about traditional nursery colors have gone out the window. Whether you've chosen to know the gender or simply want to create a gender-neutral space, it's anything goes. If you wish to have a black-and-white nursery that mirrors the decor in the rest of your home, we say go for it. Pink with pops of orange and gray? We're here for it. A navy-blue accent wall? Sign us up.

Or, you can choose to paint the nursery in a top-to-bottom shade of dark gray, a look that's both soothing and beautiful, as demonstrated by this nursery belonging to Lindsey Lutz of Life Lutzurious.

So Many Styles

Another "nursery rule" that has gone the way of the dinosaurs is that it should look completely different from the rest of your house and only include "baby" things. Yes, baby stuff is generally adorable, but there's also no rule against hanging a fiber art wall hanging, decorating with houseplants, or bringing in an on-trend cane dresser, elements that can be seen in this nursery created by Mandi of Vintage Revivals.

A baby's room isn't unlike the rest of the spaces within a home that can be punched up with a popular decor style. For your nursery, take cues from the rest of your home and incorporate that same aesthetic into your baby's space, from bohemian to farmhouse to midcentury and everything in between.

Essential Must-Haves

When planning your nursery, there are a few essential pieces that you'll need to include in your space, such as a crib, rocking chair, diaper pail, and changing table, to name a few. Brittni of Paper & Stitch covered those bases and then some in this sweet nursery.

But there are also a few bonus items that perhaps you haven't thought about. For instance, what about using the top of a dresser instead of a changing table so you can save space and have storage within reach? Another good idea is keeping a throw blanket or two up on a high shelf — not for baby, but for you when you get up for a chilly middle-of-the-night feeding.

Another way to soften things in the nursery is to provide low lighting that won't disturb baby or your sleep-deprived eyes. A white noise sound machine can create a calming environment for you and your little one, or you can always include an Amazon Echo to play soothing music.

Sanity-Saving Storage

Babies require lots of little items that are oh-so important, and that means you'll need ample storage. A nursery closet organizer can make your life easier, and it's ideal for those times you're pulling out the fourth onesie of the day. Don't purchase a changing table that's just a table — make sure it also has drawers or shelving so you can stash away necessities like diapers and wipes.

If your nursery is on the small side, you can still have all of the storage you need with a bit of ingenuity. Look for vertical storage opportunities, like Kristina Lynne did in this modern nursery, and hang shelving or picture ledges. Place baskets out of reach of baby and set them at the top of a closet or on top of a dresser. And be sure to label everything to create a smooth routine.

Other Things to Think About

There are safety measures and childproofing features that need to be included in a nursery as your baby reaches different stages. You'll also need to set the scene to achieve baby's best-possible sleep.

Some safety precautions you can take center around the furnishings. When choosing nursery furniture, you should naturally avoid any pieces that have sharp edges. When your furniture is in place, the next step is to anchor those pieces to the wall since toddlers can climb on them and potentially tip them over.

Other steps center around their sleep. First of all, the rule of thumb is that you shouldn't place anything in the crib with baby during sleep, and this includes crib bumpers and blankets — these items can increase the risk of SIDS. In a nursery designed by Naomi of Little Crown Interiors, the throw pillow and stuffed animal can be easily removed from the crib before baby lays down for their nap.

Another way to ensure that your baby (and you) sleep well, is to hang blackout curtains in the nursery — you can thank us later when your little one sleeps straight through their afternoon nap. Another idea is to turn the crib away from the window so that any peeks of sunlight won't reach their sleeping space.

Where to Shop for Baby Nursery Ideas

Green baby nursery idea with white crib and mirror hanging on wall with wall sconces
credit: Wit & Delight

Now that we have your wheels turning, it's time to head to some beloved retail destinations for nursery ideas. Kate Arends of Wit & Delight turned to several shopping spots to outfit this green nursery, including Schoolhouse, The Citizenry, and Pehr.

For handcrafted, truly one-of-a-kind visuals for your baby's nursery, Etsy is a natural choice. From wooden toys to customized decor to the cutest stuffed animals ever, it has it all.

If you can't get enough of the Pottery Barn look and want to weave those classic aesthetics into the nursery, Pottery Barn Kids is right up your alley. It has lovely nursery furniture options, along with bedding, rugs, decor, and more.

The Land of Nod is now Crate & Kids, otherwise known as Crate & Barrel's delightful sister brand. Its products are perfect for a modern nursery, one filled with abstract-yet-nursery-friendly art prints, surprisingly chic furniture, and brilliant storage solutions.