20 Nursery Design Ideas That Are as Sophisticated as They Are Youthful

Whimsical nursery with rocking giraffe, floral wallpaper

Design: Anne Sage

Design-obsessed parents-to-be dreaming up your nursery, this one’s for you. The ideal nursery feels full of imagination and possibility, and remains timeless as your little one grows up. In our book, that means ditching traditional baby décor tropes like overflowing toy bins, bows, and the like.

Instead, we curated 20 sophisticated nursery ideas that get it right. From sprinkling 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.

01 of 20

Restrain the Theme

nursery design ideas

Design: Black and Blooms

Adopting a theme in your nursery design can help guide your design choices. But it becomes distracting and overpowers the space when every item in a nursery reflects it.

Be 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 crib sheets and walls are left in palate-cleansing neutrals.

02 of 20

Add a Fun Pattern

nursery design ideas

Design: Anne Sage

When you want to make a statement in your nursery without laboring over the design, turn to wallpaper. Here, wallpaper with a tropical motif adds color and vibrancy to the nursery while also making the most out of the empty 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.

03 of 20

Choose Tonal Shades

nursery design ideas

Design: 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.

04 of 20

Keep It Neutral

Modern nursery with drum light fixture, pouf in natural material

Design: Cathie Hong Interiors 

This light-filled nursery has all the essentials—a cozy glider, book storage, 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.

05 of 20

Consider Gender-Neutral Design

nursery design ideas

Design: Anne Sage

When a clean, easily customized nursery is your endgame, lay the foundation with neutrals. Neutrals bring an element of sophisticated restraint to your design, and the palette can also go with anything and easily serve as the backdrop to your decorating whims, whether you're experimenting with a trend or sprucing up the space for a future baby.

Nubby textures help neutral tones skew warm rather than stark.

06 of 20

Pick an Accent Color

nursery design ideas

Design: 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 pink accent color pops against the nursery's ivory palette—because sometimes less really is more.

07 of 20

Incorporate Grown-up Pieces

nursery design idea

Design: JLA Designs

Don't hesitate to incorporate pieces from a particular era or style into your nursery's design. In this decidedly refined nursery, a bergère-style rocking chair complements the classic spindle-leg silhouette of 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.

08 of 20

Go Dark

nursery design ideas

Design: Katherine Carter

For a nursery that defies convention, side-step 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.

09 of 20

Strategize With Storage

nursery design ideas

Design: 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.

10 of 20

Mix in Vintage Pieces

nursery design ideas

Design: 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.

11 of 20

Tame Your Textiles

nursery design ideas

Design: Stephanie Hoey 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 overly 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.

12 of 20

Choose Warm-Toned Metals

nursery design ideas

Design: 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 a modern sheen to a design dictated by clean lines and warm neutrals.

13 of 20

Add a Large, Framed Piece of Art

Nursery features framed photo of puppy, patterned area rug

DESIGN: AMBER INTERIORS; PHOTO: TESSA NEUSTADT


A large-format art piece, whether a photograph, painting, or graphic gives a nursery a visual focal point. Contrasting yet complementary patterns add texture to otherwise minimalist décor.

14 of 20

Select Style-Forward Storage

Nursery features illustrated animal print wall paper, woven baskets

Design: Sarah Sherman Samuel

Storage that looks like décor, like these woven baskets in natural materials, is practical and chic. Store extra throws and pillows when they're not in use. Then style baskets in a corner or front and center next to the crib.

15 of 20

Consider a Day Bed

Nursery features daybed filled with stuffed animals, black wall sconces

Design: Christine Dovey; Photo: Tessa Neustadt

A day bed is versatile enough to play roles as visitor seating and adult rest area. And when your baby gets older, it can even be repurposed into a child's bed when a crib is no longer needed.

16 of 20

Repurpose a Dresser Into a Changing Table

Nursery features bunny-print wallpaper, white area rug

Design: Emily Henderson

We're all about IKEA-hacks here at MyDomaine, and that includes finding innovative ways to spruce up its iconic pieces for the nursery. For example, convert one of their dressers or bookshelves into a changing table.

17 of 20

Personalize With Throw Pillows

Nursery features dark floors, dark wood-trimmed windows, floating shelves

Design: Nicole Franzen

Selecting fewer, yet visually or texturally impactful décor items is really all you need to give a nursery some personality. Think: Patterned throw pillows or a statement-making area rug.

18 of 20

Think Transitionally

Nursery features lots of natural light, modern rocking chair, cream colored pouf

Design: Amy Bartlam

Nurseries don't remain nurseries for long, so style your space with items and in a color palette that transitions well throughout baby's years. A neutral color palette like this nursery pictured is timeless and versatile, and furniture can easily be moved to different rooms in the home, if needed, and blend in.

19 of 20

Go Whimsical

Nursery features lemon tree-print wall paper and tasseled drawer pulls

DESIGN: DINA BANDMAN, PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER STARK

There's also value in embracing the current moment. And if that means wallpapering your nursery in a playful, colorful print, or adding tasseled pulls to the baby's changing table, you definitely don't need our permission to do so.

20 of 20

DIY Décor

Nursery with brick accent wall, tasseled garland in pinks and creams

Alyssa Rosenheck

Whether it be a DIY, fringy paper garland or painted accent wall mural, adding a décor element you made yourself ensures your nursery will be one-of-a-kind. Other ideas might include chalkboard wall art or a homemade mobile.

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