Decorating a Nursery: 6 Dos and Don’ts

As a mama-to-be, there are an endless number of decisions you need to make before the baby arrives. Although some of those decisions may feel a little daunting, one of them is bound to be a blast: decorating the nursery. From choosing a cute nursery theme to picking out the perfect nursery furniture, crafting an inviting and stimulating nursery design for your baby can be a fun and rewarding experience. 

If you don’t have much design expertise, try not to stress! Decorating a nursery isn’t nearly as complicated as it sounds. Here are a few simple dos and don’ts of decorating a nursery that will help you create a beautiful (and functional!) space for you and your baby. 

Decorating a Nursery: 6 Dos 

  • Do choose a theme. Having a theme or a style for your nursery, even if it’s loose or abstract, can help you bring your design elements together and set the tone for the room. Can’t decide on a nursery theme? Try picking out your crib bedding first. If you fall in love with the adorable giraffe pattern on your baby boy bedding, you may decide to build your nursery theme around it.
  • Do select furniture that grows with your baby. Babies grow at a rapid pace. To avoid spending too much time and money on nursery furniture that the baby will inevitably outgrow, look for nursery furnishings that will have a life beyond baby. Consider buying a convertible crib that transforms into a toddler bed to give the baby room to grow. If you’re shopping for a changing table, look for one that comes with shelves or drawers to use long after the baby is out of diapers.
  • Do make it mom-friendly. It may be called a “baby nursery,” but remember that it’s your space, too! While buying nursery essentials for your baby, don’t be afraid to get a few things that are strictly for your own benefit. Really, go ahead—splurge on a lumbar pillow to support your back as you rock the baby to sleep in the glider. Keep some snacks in the nursery in case you get hungry. These things can make life easier for you, which in turn, makes life better for the baby.

  • Do keep nursery essentials within reach. When setting up your nursery, be sure to keep diapers, wet wipes, toys and other essentials within easy reach. One stylish solution worth considering is a DIY pegboard above the changing table. You could spray paint the pegboard in your nursery colors and use it to keep the baby’s diapering essentials nearby.
  • Do add something personal. Some of the best nursery décor pieces come from the people who love you and your baby. Did your grandmother give you a special heirloom? Think about ways you could potentially incorporate it into your nursery design. If a best friend made a beautiful hanging backdrop for your baby shower, consider using it as a backdrop for the baby’s crib. With a few personal touches, you can instantly add more warmth and love to the baby’s nursery.
  • Do free up floor space for playtime. Baby needs some space on the floor for tummy time. If you’re working with limited space in the nursery, free up some floor space by thinking vertically. Instead of placing a small bookshelf on the ground, use floating shelves to display your baby’s books. If you’re working with a small space, skip the bulky changing table and install a drop-down changing table.

Decorating a Nursery: 6 Don’ts

  • Don’t wait too long. Don’t wait until the last minute to begin setting up the nursery. By the time you reach your third trimester, you will be far too exhausted to even think about paint colors, let alone paint all four walls of the nursery. In general, the best time to set up the nursery is during the second trimester when morning sickness is a thing of the past and your energy levels aren’t yet depleted.


  • Don’t go overboard with color. Try not to go too crazy with color in your baby’s room. You want this to be a relaxing space for you and baby, and it can be pretty difficult to relax when you’re being bombarded by all the colors of the rainbow. Stick to one primary color and add one or two accent colors. For a balanced look, use the 60-30-10 rule in your baby’s nursery.
  • Don’t use harsh lighting. Fact: No one enjoys getting blinded by harsh lighting in the middle of the night. To prevent rude awakenings in the wee hours of the morning, install dimmable lights in the nursery. With softer lighting, both you and the baby will have an easier time falling back asleep after late-night feedings.
  • Don’t forget to baby-proof. Above all, you need to ensure that your nursery is a safe space for the baby. Start with the crib. Does it meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recommended standards? Is it located far enough away from cords and windows? Don’t forget to cover up electrical outlets and use finger-pinch guards for door hinges.
  • Don’t overlook blackout curtains. Yes, blackout curtains really are a must-have for your nursery. Babies need darkness to fall and stay asleep. Blackout curtains shut out natural light, allowing your baby to sleep better and for longer. Even the tiniest bits of light filtering through your blinds can potentially disrupt the baby’s sleep, so be sure to add this one to your baby shopping list.
  • Don’t buy anything that isn’t machine-washable. Avoid buying anything that says “spot-clean only.” Trust us, you will come to regret your decision later. The same goes for anything else in the nursery that may prove difficult to clean. It’s just not worth the hassle when you have a newborn!

Have Fun with It 

Decorating a nursery can feel overwhelming, especially in the beginning. Just remember that this room is for you and your baby only—no one else. Have some fun with your nursery design and let your creativity run wild. Soon enough, you’ll be rewarded with a one-of-a-kind nursery that perfectly suits you and your baby.