small guest room nursery combo
credit: Amy Bartlam

Decorating a nursery that doubles as a guest room is notoriously difficult. Striking the right balance between chic and charming can be challenging for even the most devoted design enthusiast, so when a Los Angeles-based family of three discovered that they were soon-to-be a family of four, they tasked interior designer Courtney Nye of Courtney Nye Design with transforming a small bedroom in their Santa Monica rental into an elevated half-nursery, half-guest room.

The overall goal was to "create a nursery that was a little unique and playful but not too 'baby,'" the designer tells Hunker. "Babies see more contrast and shapes early on anyway, so this room embraced more of a fun take on that with graphic art and high-contrast pattern." To add a splash of color to the space's predominantly neutral palette, Nye brought in shades of cobalt — a nod to the home's proximity to the beach. The result is a nursery slash guest room that feels modern yet soft and comfortable.

Ahead, the designer takes us on a virtual tour of the space and shares her tips for designing a charming nursery that doubles as a chic guest room. Keep scrolling to step inside.

half guest room half nursery
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7 Photos
credit: Amy Bartlam

Luckily for Nye, the room was a blank slate with great bones. "Being a newer home, it was in excellent condition and, thankfully, didn't need any renovation, as it was a rental," the designer explains. "Even the paint was nice and neutral so we had a great base to add our own style via furniture."

nursery with daybed
credit: Amy Bartlam

Mindful of the home's rental status, Nye selected furnishings that the family could easily repurpose once they moved into their forever home. For instance, "while the baby's a newborn, they need a twin bed for someone to be able to sleep in the room with him if need be, so we chose a daybed that could possibly transfer into a future playroom space or another bedroom," explains the designer. This chic CB2 daybed checked all the boxes.

crib in a small guest room nursery combo
credit: Amy Bartlam

To help conserve space, Nye opted for an adjustable oval crib from Stokke. "Additionally, a crib was selected that could be quite small for a newborn, which was helpful in this space as the layout and flow were challenging with all of the items we needed to include (especially the daybed)," notes Nye. "The crib has various adjustable sizes to grow with their child and be flexible in their future space."

half bedroom half nursery
credit: Amy Bartlam

Selecting a color scheme proved to be one of the more challenging aspects of the project. "Their daughter's room already had a lot of soft ocean-blue tones, so they didn't want to duplicate any soft blues, which can be a common direction for a baby boy's room." Instead, Nye pivoted and took a bold approach, incorporating cobalt tones into the space.

Here, an abstract print by Somée for The Poster Club and a low side table by Matthew Philip Williams add a splash of color to an otherwise neutral nook. A high-contrast rug by Loloi and artwork by Block Shop and Kirill Bergart play up the graphic motif, while a boucle chair by Goop for CB2 adds some much-needed texture to the space.

scandi-inspired guest room slash nursery
credit: Amy Bartlam

Above all, Nye wanted the guest space "to feel soft and welcoming yet somewhat minimalistic as this room was a little tight after fitting a king bed," she explains. "The bed having an airier feel, lifted off the floor on a frame with a low-profile headboard, helped with that, as did the simple pedestal side tables."

Thoughtfully chosen finishing touches like a space-saving vertical storage ladder from The Citizenry, a narrow bench by Frama from Finnish Design Shop, and a pair of raised planters from The Citizenry contribute to the warm and welcoming aesthetic of the space without adding visual clutter.

minimalistic nursery guest room combo
credit: Amy Bartlam

The minimalist bed frame from Design Within Reach and sculptural side tables from &Tradition are offset by soft linens from Room & Board and Jenni Kayne and a textured wool rug by Loloi. A framed photograph of a beachscape from Anthropologie ties the space together, completing a chic yet charming half nursery/half guest room that's splashed with deep ocean-inspired hues, organic shapes, and graphic patterns.


Megan Beauchamp

Megan Beauchamp

Megan Beauchamp is a writer and editor in Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared in MyDomaine, House Beautiful, Bustle, and Brit + Co., among others.