DIY Nursery Decorating Ideas to Inspire You

The time has finally come. You find out you’re expecting, you’ve gone through the amazing range of emotions and you’re ready for your new journey. Now, you need to create a space that captures all of the love and joy that your new baby will bring. And with no surprise, many parents want this space to be perfect for their little one. Although it might feel overwhelming at first, knowing where to start and what steps to take can help transform that spare room you’ve been waiting to fill into the nursery of your dreams with our DIY nursery decorating tips. 

Getting started with your nursery

Whenever you’re starting to design your nursery, creating a plan can help you ensure that your vision comes to life. And just like any other room in the house, following this order can help things go a lot smoother.

Evaluate your space

When it comes to starting your DIY nursery decorating project, the best place to start is with evaluating your space. We often get so caught up in grand ideas and beautiful Pinterest boards, which can be great for inspiration, but we also have to be conscious of how those ideas fit inside our own homes. Look at things like the setup and makeup of the room. You may want to ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • What is the shape of the room? Is it a square where I can evenly place furniture, or do I have a longer wall that will need to accommodate multiple furniture pieces. 
  • Are there things about the room that can’t be (at least at this time) changed. These could be things like ceiling shape and height, flooring etc. Take mental note of how these things might impact the design. 
  • Where are the windows located? Do they provide bright, natural light to the room, or will you need to work in additional lamps?
  • Where are your outlets at? Are there items that you plan on buying for baby (electronic rockers, baby monitors etc.)

Having a better understanding of your foundation can ensure that you can create a plan that works for you. This starts you off with realistic expectations, which is important, especially when you will likely already be so filled with so many wonderful emotions. 

Decide on your theme
Once you’ve evaluated your space, it’s time to decide on your theme. There’s so many ways to choose this, however, a great way is to browse online. Pinterest, online magazines and mommy blogs can be a way to start deciding what you do and don’t want. 

You may decide that you want the room to fit the overall theme of your house (farmhouse, modern, bohemian – for ideas on general home décor themes, take a look at our mega list of interior design styles). Or, you may decide you want a more specific theme, such as adventure, safari or floral. You can also choose to take elements of each and combine a general home décor style, with a specific theme. The choices here are endless.

This is also a great time to decide on a color scheme as well. Are you going to paint the walls? Finally try out that great wallpaper pring you have been eyeing? Are you looking for soft gentle colors, more common for nurseries? Are there certain colors you are interested in? You can go big by painting an accent wall or add these colors in places like throw blankets, wall décor and curtains.

Creating your theme can help the task of decorating a nursery less overwhelming. It can help provide direction, and oftentimes, certain pieces will start coming together and a wonderful snowball effect of ideas can come about. 

Start with large items
Once you’ve chosen your décor style or theme, it’s time to start with furniture. A general rule when designing a room, is that you’re going to start with the larger items. Starting with larger items helps you decide the central focus of the room and allows you to build your décor based off of where they are placed and how you are going to accent those items.

Do you want them to be neutral and accented by fun prints, or bold with subtle accents around the room? As with deciding your theme, choosing your large items first can really help some of the rest of your decision come easier, and help slowly tie your plan together. 

Cribs: There are a few things to consider when choosing a crib, including:

  • Size – Although most cribs are made within a similar size range, it’s important to choose a size that will fit your space. If the room is larger, consider getting a larger, or even taller crib to help fill the empty space and make the piece central to the room. If the room is smaller, you may want to consider a smaller, sleek crib as to not overwhelm the room.
  • Style – Second to how the crib will take up space, crib style is one of the most important aspects of starting your nursery. It is going to be the central piece of the room, and help set the tone for the rest of your decorating. If you are going for a minimal theme, you may want to try an earthy, wood crib. If you are going for a more magical feel, you can consider cribs that have more ornate rails or features.
  • Function – It’s also important to consider the function of the crib. Although some of these things may not be known at the time, if you know you are planning on having more children down the line, you may want to invest in a lasting crib for more little ones to come. However, you can also look into cribs that can later convert into a twin bed, that can save time and money from having to look for a transition bed later down the line. Additionally, depending on the size of the space, you may want to choose a crib that has built-in storage underneath to help reduce clutter in the room. 

Changing tables / dressers: Now that you’ve chosen your theme and your crib, the next item up is the changing table or dresser. Some people who have a larger space to work with will choose to have these two items separate, however, others may choose to have a combo changing table dresser. Many changing tables are made with built in storage now. 

At this point, you can choose to have these items match the crib, or you can choose items that complement the crib. For example, if your goal is to design a boho nursery, you may choose a white or wood-stained crib, and then the opposite color or stain for the changing table. For some, the matching set brings a cohesiveness to the room, where for others, a more eclectic look fits their style.  

Again, the size of the room comes into play here. It’s important to keep in mind late nights with the baby for midnight feeding or rocking. The goal is to have enough space in the middle of the room for walking or crawling, while still having all of the necessities in one place. 

Rocking chairs: The final of the common larger pieces for nurseries is the rocking chair. This is a personal preference, however, the rocking chair proves to be an essential piece for parents time and time again. Some prefer the traditional rocking chair where some prefer gliders. This is something you’ll want to test out before you purchase as this piece is more for the parent. Once again, you want to make sure that the color or style of the rocking chair fits the overall design theme of the room. You can choose to have it match the color of the crib or dresser, or potentially do something that provides a unique accent piece.  

Choose accents
At this point, you have your theme, color palette and main pieces chosen. This leads to a great foundation for an absolutely perfect nursery. Knowing this information can allow you to begin to search for the accents you want, without feeling overwhelmed by endless choices on the market. This is where things like Pinterest, Google and blogs will become your best friend. 

Going for a boho nursery? Searching terms such as “boho nursery blankets” or “boho nursery wall accents” should lead you exactly where you need. Looking for that perfect animal print for above the crib? Searching terms such as “woodland creature prints” or “safari prints” should lead you in the right direction.

In fact, since we’re all about sustainability here, this is also a great time to support small businesses. Searching for some of these items on places like Etsy not only help support small shops, but can also lead you to some unique finds for truly special nursery items that you can’t find in stores. 

Personal touches
We all want our child’s nursery to be a wonderful place for them to rest and grow and one of the best ways to create that mood for this space is to add personal touches. These are things that you usually can’t buy in stores or things that are hand-made specifically for this space. 

Personal touches can range from items that have been passed down through the family to pictures of loved ones. Whatever your choice, adding personal touches to the nursery can make such an amazing space even that more special. There is nothing like holding your little one in their room while looking at or holding something that is near and dear to your heart. It’s something that goes beyond décor and into a moment you will have with your child.

Baby girl nursery ideas
If you’re looking for a place to start, here are some of our favorite ideas for a baby girl nursery.

Neutral Baby Nursery
Photographer: Kandice Marino for Inspired By This

This absolutely stunning nursery by Inspired By This, boasts wonderful neutral main pieces and is accented by bold colors and lush plants. This nursery looks and feels crisp and fresh. This is a great option for those who are looking for a modern or boho feel as an extension of their current home décor. It is bright and sure to be a space to be filled with smiles.

baby nursery with flowers
Source: KVC Photography for Loverly Grey

This floral nursery by Loverly Grey is the perfect example of how your baby can get off to a chic start in life. The beautiful wallpaper, which can easily be substituted for wall decals, sets the tone for a whimsical space. Accented with boho baskets and lamps, it’s the perfect blending of two décor styles. This space truly says “welcome baby girl” in every single way.

Baby boy nursery ideas

Source: Bri William/Instagram

These woodland themed nurseries from The Spruce are the perfect inspiration to create a space for you little baby boy. From animal prints and pillows to tents and earthy wall décor, these spaces are filled with adventure from head to toe.

Source: Christine Farah Photography for Project Nursery

There are options for those who are looking to stay neutral, go bold or fill their space with fun prints. Woodland theme nurseries are becoming increasingly popular these days and we love these ideas for inspiration. 

These ideas for a modern baby boy nursery by Uniquely Taylor Made are stunning in every way. They combine the adventurous feel of the woodland theme nursery with modern touches and furniture pieces. Modern prints – from walls to pillows – and greenery fill the room to bring this look together. Again, this is another example of a great way to have your nursery be a décor extension of the rest of your home.  

Gender neutral nursery ideas
Although there are endless incredible nursery ideas for your baby boy or baby girl, many parents are also opting for gender neutral nurseries. Most of these trends come from giving the nursery a more mature design look instead of a traditional nursery or “baby” feel. 

Source: Dana Abel/Instagram

Oftentimes, these nurseries will mimic the overall design and style of the house instead of having its own separate theme. There are so many incredible gender-neutral nursery inspirations on this list from Babylist. Not only are these ideas stylish, with many options to fit your home décor style, but they also allow for pieces that can be reused as your family grows – a great choice when it comes to playing your part in a sustainable planet.

Regardless of how you choose to decorate your nursery, remember one thing. Whatever your choice, it ultimately has to be a space that works for you and your newborn, a space that is special for both of you. You can always rehang pictures, change curtains or swap out baby blankets. The goal is that this is a project that feels fun for you, a way to nest and create a beautiful room for you and your child. Try not to get too stressed and enjoy the time preparing for your little one.

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