March 15, 2017
Photo by Jonathan Fong.

There must be something in the water because a lot of my friends are having babies right now. And because I’m a designer, they usually pick my brain about how to decorate the nursery.

For many expectant parents, having to furnish a nursery can be a daunting task. There’s already so much to do to prepare for the baby, and suddenly they have to play interior decorator, as well.

Worry not, Uncle Jonathan is here with some helpful advice. Think of it as my baby gift — just don’t ask me to help change the diapers.

Decorate for yourself, not the baby

The first thing to remember is that you should decorate the nursery the way you like, not the way you think a baby would like. Yes, I’m sure your baby will be an Einstein out of the womb, but he really does not care how the room looks. As long as the milk train is always at the station, baby is happy. So decorate in a style that reflects your own tastes. If you’re shabby chic, go with that. If you’re a modernist, I’m sure the baby will love the new digs, too.

Try a neutral palette

When people select wall colors for a nursery, they often prefer pastels such as baby blue, blush pink and butter yellow. These colors are fine, but a neutral color palette in the gray or cream family can be just as soothing as a pastel, and they go with practically any other colors you decide to introduce into the room.

Plan for the future

Instead of choosing a specific theme, such as zoo animals or dinosaurs, consider a more timeless design scheme that will be appropriate for years to come. Classic patterns like stripes, chevron or polka dots can add style and whimsy to a nursery without making it look dated. And as the child grows up and develops interests, you can incorporate those themed items via bedding and artwork — items that are easy to replace as time goes on.

Think earthquake safety

Here in Southern California, we have to be prepared for the possibility of earthquakes. Don’t hang pictures where they possibly could fall into the crib. Anchor furniture to prevent it from tipping. And secure items on shelves with museum putty so they don’t fly off during a temblor.

Have everything within reach

When you’re changing diapers, you’ll want all the important things close to the changing table. We’re talking diapers, burping cloths, pacifiers — even the dirty diaper basket. By having plenty of storage nearby, you won’t have to step away from the baby at any time.

Block out the light

To help your baby fall asleep when it’s still light outside, use blackout window shades and curtains to simulate nighttime. But don’t place the crib near the curtains. After babies can stand up in the crib, there’s a risk that they’ll pull on the curtains, which can cause them to fall down, along with the hardware.

Make it easy to clean

Babies are eating, peeing and pooping machines, so the nursery is not going to stay pristine. Hard surfaces such as wood and laminate are easy to clean, but textiles can stain, so make sure area rugs, upholstery and throw pillows are washable.

Look beyond the baby aisle

Check out discount stores like Ross and HomeGoods for great artwork, rugs and accent furniture. Be sure to look in your garage or storage space for furniture you no longer use. With a simple paint job or by changing the knobs, you can give new life to an old furniture piece. And with a baby on the way, we’re all about new life and beginnings.

Jonathan Fong is the author of “Walls That Wow,” “Flowers That Wow” and “Parties That Wow,” and host of “Style With a Smile” on YouTube. You  can see more of his do-it-yourself  projects at jonathanfongstyle.com.

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