12 Nursery Design Ideas for a Sweet and Sophisticated Space

Sophisticated modern nursery design ideas

Stephanie Hoey Interiors

Design-obsessed parents-to-be, this one’s for you. If your family is about to grow, you’re probably thinking about nursery design. The ideal nursery is a space that feels full of imagination and possibility, that will remain timeless as your little one changes, and that you won’t mind spending a lot of time in. In our book, that means you should ditch quite a few of the traditional tropes of baby décor (think overflowing toy bins, bows, and the like).

To inspire a design that you and your baby will adore, we’ve gathered 12 sophisticated nurseries that get it right and added actionable tips to help you bring the look home. From peppering in vintage details to balancing pastels with sleek, grounded counterpoints, these adeptly executed abodes channel a timeless aesthetic that promises to grow along with your little one.

Don't Go Overboard With a Theme

Gender-neutral modern jungle nursery
Black and Blooms

Adopting a theme in your nursery design can be beneficial, as it will help guide your design choices. But when every item in a nursery is a reflection of a theme, it becomes distracting and overpowers the space. Avoid this too-much-of-a-good-thing pitfall by being judicious about the themed pieces you incorporate into your nursery's design. Here, two framed prints and a mobile hint at the nursery's jungle theme, while the crib sheets and walls are left in palate-cleansing neutrals.

Add a Pop of Pattern

Modern nursery removable wallpaper
Anne Sage 

When you want to make a statement in your nursery without laboring over the design, turn to wallpaper. Above, wallpaper with a tropical motif adds color and vibrancy to the nursery while also making the most out of the dead space above the window. If you're intimidated by the idea of wallpapering an entire room, just wallpaper one wall (or even the ceiling). And if you're worried that your little one will request a new design a few years down the road, the option of removable, adhesive-backed wallpapers should ease your apprehension.

Cut the Cute

Modern girl nursery mobile
 Anne Sage

Nursery furniture doesn't necessarily need to be frilly and cutesy. Modern, design-forward options exist, as evidenced by this minimalist nursery nook. Suspended over a vintage-style cane crib, a contemporary mobile in natural wood tones is a welcome departure from the twee mobiles we've all become accustomed to. The mobile's neutral colors and geometric shapes are echoed in the art print and the curtains, creating a striking vignette.

Carefully Consider Your Extras

Modern gender-neutral baby nursery
Cathie Hong Interiors 

This light-filled nursery has all the essentials—a cozy glider, storage for books, a blonde wood crib—but its accessories take the space from ordinary to elevated. Take, for example, the woven rattan pouf: It's an unexpected choice in a room that's typically reserved for all things soft and cozy. Meanwhile, the drum ceiling light is accentuated by brass tones, bringing a hint of drama to the design.

Stick With Neutrals

Modern Scandinavian baby nursery
Anne Sage

When a clean, easily customized nursery is your endgame, lay the foundation with neutrals. Not only will neutrals bring an element of sophisticated restraint to your design, the palette can go with anything and easily serve as the backdrop to your decorating whims, whether you're experimenting with a nursery trend or sprucing up the space for a future baby. The use of nubby textures helps the neutrals skew warm rather than stark, as shown in the photo above.

Opt for an Accent Color

Modern baby girl nursery idea
JLA Designs

Proving that neutrals needn't be cold and sterile, this elegant nursery relies on sheepskin textiles, floral wallpaper, and a patterned nightstand to create a cozy, come-hither space with design prowess. The accent color, pink, pops against the nursery's ivory palette—because sometimes less really is more.

Use Grown-Up Pieces

Modern sophisticated baby nursery
JK Interior Living

Love pieces from a certain era or style? Don't hesitate to incorporate them into your nursery's design. In this decidedly refined nursery, a bergère-style rocking chair is complemented by the classic spindle-leg silhouette seen in the floor lamp and side table. The result? A polished space with European flair and a cosmopolitan edge. A woven pouf and striped wallpaper temper the formality of the nursery and introduce levity to the design.

Don't Be Afraid to Go Dark

Modern sophisticated baby nursery
Katherine Carter

For a nursery that defies convention, side-step the pastels in favor of dark, dramatic hues. To wit: This handsome nursery, which eschews tradition via a bold black-and-white color scheme. Equal parts striking and comfortable, it's a design choice that promises to grow along with the nursery's lucky occupant.

Strategize Your Storage

Modern sophisticated nursery
Stephanie Hoey Interiors

Nothing derails the curated aesthetic of a sophisticated nursery faster than clutter. And because babies come with a lot of cargo, it's important that there's ample storage to stow all of those toys, burp cloths, receiving blankets, diapers, and so on. Here, nursery storage shines as a design element, as an open closet is swathed in floral wallpaper in a delicate blue-and-white colorway. Wicker baskets serve as catch-alls, while pink baby clothes double as a sweet display.

Think Vintage

Modern baby girl nursery
Stephanie Hoey Interiors

Charming and relaxed, vintage-style furnishings are a fitting choice for a nursery. Above, a thrifted dresser has been repainted in chalk paint in a soft pink hue and given new life as a changing table. Bonus: By going the vintage route, you'll be able to furnish your nursery on the cheap, whether you repurpose pieces you already own or snag a budget-friendly find at a flea market.

No need for uni-taskers: A dresser that doubles as a changing table saves space in the nursery and can still be used once the baby transitions out of diapers.

Tame Your Textiles

Modern sophisticated boy nursery
Stephanie Huey Interiors

While we love playful patterns for nurseries and kids' rooms, there's nothing wrong with opting for textiles that are a little less twee—particularly when your desired result is a sophisticated space. Here, pompom-trimmed striped curtains bring a touch of color and whimsy to the nursery, without being overtly cute. The same can be said for the ivory rug: Its creamy hue anchors the room without overpowering the space, while its geometric weave appears touchably soft—perfect for tummy time and learning to crawl.

Accessorize With Warm Metals

Modern sophisticated baby nursery
Anne Sage 

Warm metallic hardware is to furnishings and décor as jewelry is to an LBD: It takes it from ho-hum to haute. Here, a trio of brass elements—the round mirror, the dresser knobs, and the ceiling light—bring modern sheen to a design dictated by clean lines and warm neutrals.

Related Stories