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Baby Steps

Designing a nursery

Exciting, daunting, overwhelming and thrilling —  just like the arrival of your baby, designing the nursery can bring an array of emotions. Whether starting with a blank canvas, or converting that guest room, office or junk room into your baby’s sanctuary, here are a few ideas to help you coordinate this most important space.


Traditonalist or modernist, fun and preppy or gender neutral, with all of the options available, how do you narrow down a color for your baby’s room?

We like to start with an inspiration piece. It can be something nostalgic; a framed print of a character from your favorite childhood book or a scarf knitted by your grandmother, with pops of turquoise or yellow. You may find the perfect area rug, with a grey and white chevron pattern or a bright bedding set that is just right for your new arrival.

The inspiration piece for this room was a vintage rocking horse that reflects the homeowners’ love of horses, along with framed competition ribbons that add a splash of color and a nod to heritage. The dark red on the horses bridle is a repeated element throughout the room, which though subtle, can be found on the bedding, the sofa and the airplane shaped shelving on the wall, tying the room together for harmonious design.

The vintage desk and chair set are complemented nicely with a traditional dresser in a distressed brown finish, and the modern, brightly colored clock adds interest and whimsy.

While the traditionalist may want to find out the gender of their newest addition, having a professional to guide you through the overabundance of blues and the surplus of pinks can help keep the project from becoming overwhelming.

The gender-neutral room can have a soothing palette of whites and creams, or the trendy boldness of aqua and orange. Leaving space for accessories and items to be placed after the baby’s arrival can make the design of a gender neutral room more personal.


Cribs, dressers, storage and diapers! Planning the layout of the room is the best way to make sure you have all of the items you really need to make your baby comfortable while also making the room functional for those midnight feeds and diaper changes.

Storage is very important, so a dresser is usually a key piece. It can also double as a changing table, as long as the changing pad is securely fastened. Storage units with baskets are another great option, with plenty of room for diapers and ointments; these baskets can be used for games and books as your baby grows.

For a truly functional design, you may consider a custom dresser with shelves and drawers for diapers and clothes, and a hidden diaper genie within a pull out cabinet – for the hundreds of diapers you will change that first year!

Look to the other rooms in your home and think about your design style. Are you a minimalist or do your tastes tend to be more traditional? Do you envision a girly room with French-legged dressers, crystal knobs and intricate carvings or a trendy and bright room with a mid-century modern twist? Pulling together pictures from magazines and online sites will help you and your designer get a complete look.


You don’t have to buy everything at once. Plan a layout and carry the measurements for furniture with you. Not everything that you find for your nursery will be in a baby shop. Decide on a budget and identify the key pieces that you want to spend money on or are planning on buying new. Then keep an eye out for sales and steals as well as unique or unusual pieces that can serve as end tables for books or bottles, accessories and storage pieces.


The most important element in planning for your new baby is safety. Whether you are buying new furniture or repurposing a used piece, it’s important to ensure your furniture meets current safety guidelines.

The chemicals released from the furnishings, appliances and cleaners in our homes cause indoor air pollution. By selecting furniture made to meet high standards of quality control and by painting with low or zero VOC paints air pollution can be minimized.

Natural design options are constantly evolving and using eco-friendly fabrics and materials for your baby’s room will have long-term benefits.

Hiring a Professional

Baby room design trends are ever changing, but a design professional can help navigate the countless variations of styles and options available as well as guide you in selecting items that will keep the project within your desired budget. A good designer will not only listen to your ideas and create a unified design concept, she will also be there to organize and oversee delivery of furniture and to style the room so it is ready for the big day!

While designers earn from $100-$275 an hour, a good design team will be able to evaluate your project and give you a proposal that estimates the amount of time it will take to complete your dream nursery, helping you budget accordingly.

Kylie Italiano and Enrique Crespo, with Casa Nova Design Group, pride themselves on distinctive style and creative thinking. Call 813-837-8282 for an initial consultation or visit to their design portfolio.


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