Neutral Nursery Colors

Neutral nursery colors provide a nurturing environment as your child grows and matures.



Nurseries can be incredibly arduous spaces to design but Dan shows no fear in tackling this space for actor Jason Priestley and his family. Managing to make it feel both baby-friendly and sophisticated, Dan smartly borrows elements that allude to the sea while avoiding both kitsch and standard nursery fare. A serene painting of the sky graphically hangs from nautical rope above toy storage, while tin whales spouting stars glide across the crib wall. Subtle greens and blues intermingle perfectly while a giant floor mirror (leaning on a wall that has been painted to appear as if the sea is rising on it) beams light back into the space beautifully.

Choosing neutral colors for your baby's nursery will give this special room a nurturing palette that will last as your child grows and matures. Colors ranging from white to brown offer a soothing mix of cool and warm, and combinations of these colors are less trendy than brighter hues. Find a blend of neutrals in your furnishings and walls that creates a look that both you and your baby will love.

Create a Classic Neutral Nursery

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A tiny 9x7 second-floor bonus room was transformed into a little boy’s nursery with careful space planning, a smart use of mirrors to reflect light, a mix of patterns and classic color choices.

Although the space was specifically designed for a 2-year-old boy, its color scheme works well for either gender. The use of taupe and black together can easily become masculine with the addition of dark green or brown, but accents of coral or tangerine keep the overall palette cheerful and gender neutral.

Rooms where little ones crawl around on the floor definitely require soft underfoot surfaces. A flat weave rug was used to introduce the color black into the room design, and since the large-scale geometric lattice pattern is not specific to children, it can be used later in any room of the house. Flat weave rugs get their name from being woven (resulting in a flat appearance) rather than knotted (resulting in a more plush, piled effect), and therefore they tend to be thin and lightweight.

Interior designers often use mirrors in small rooms to help reflect natural light and create the illusion of more space. A round mirror featuring letters of the alphabet was secured to the wall with safety anchors and a child-proof latch. The mirror helps keep the nursery bright and airy as it reflects natural sunlight streaming in through the window.

Plantation shutters are the ideal choice for window coverings in a child’s room. Their lack of cords makes them preferable over blinds or drapes, plus their easy-to-clean wood construction stands up to sticky fingers much more practically than window coverings made from fabric. Additionally, plantation shutters are timeless in style, making them an excellent investment for the home.

With plantation shutters covering the lower half of each window, custom Roman shades were installed along the tops, just out of child’s reach. In addition to helping keep the room cool, the black and taupe striped linen ties the classic color scheme together.

When Roman shades or blinds are used in rooms occupied by children, it’s a must to install protective hardware that keeps cords safely bound and out of reach. By simply installing a cleat hook along the trim or the inset of a window, then wrapping the cord around it, there is no danger of a child becoming tangled.

During the initial conceptualization of the nursery design, black metallic grasscloth was considered for covering the walls. The idea was discarded, though, due to concerns over the room being too dark. Instead a natural-toned grasscloth featuring a chevron pattern was chosen. Upon entry to the space, the chevron strictly reads as a faint texture; when seen up close, however, the graphic pattern adds the perfect amount of movement to the room. When using grasscloth wall covering in kids’ rooms, it’s best to stay away from anything with loose fibers. In fact, there are many styles of vinyl wall covering available that have the look and feel of grasscloth but with commercial-strength durability.

The homeowner decided to have the small corner nook of the nursery outfitted with a window seat made from basic lumber and tongue-and-groove beadboard. To make the window seat, the space was properly measured, then a frame structure was cut to size and assembled. The bottom was kept open to allow for storage baskets, and the exterior and interior of the frame was clad with beadboard before being painted ultra-white with an HVLP (high-volume low-pressure) paint sprayer.

The window seat is used daily and is certain to receive its share of wear and tear. To ensure it holds up, a three-inch cushion upholstered in stain-resistant indoor-outdoor fabric was custom-sewn to fit the top. Food and juice spills can easily be wiped clean with a damp cloth.

In addition to sleeping and story time, the nursery is used for plenty of play. Since the space can’t accommodate additional furniture, open storage was integrated into the bottom of the window seat. Mesh baskets help keep everything -- stuffed animals, books and Matchbox cars -- organized and within arm’s reach.

A wooden crib in an espresso finish was chosen for its timeless appeal. The lack of ornate detail gives the crib a design style referred to as transitional or updated traditional, implying the use of classic lines with a fresh, up-to-date spin.

When choosing cribs for a nursery, keep in mind that many options are available which incorporate storage into the crib’s construction. The transitional espresso crib has an extra deep drawer integrated along its bottom that keeps both play clothes and PJs easily accessible.

Believe it or not, safety is the most important factor in choosing and displaying art in a child’s room. From the proper hardware used to secure art to the wall to the choice of framing and glass, every detail should be kid-friendly. A trio of vintage blueprints were framed with lightweight lacquered wood, and a shatterproof acrylic insert was chosen to protect the print rather than glass.

Classic toys and pieces were selected for this nursery, including a plush rocking horse that is not only fun to ride but soft to the touch.

Beige, taupe, grey and green can all serve as a backdrop for your baby's furnishings; they work well if you're waiting for the birth of your child to learn the gender. Neutral for a nursery can also mean gender-neutral. You can blend beiges and whites with pops of yellow, green and other bright but soft colors in wall art, quilts, lamps and other furnishings that work well for a little girl or boy. You can also get the foundation of your room ready and add gender-specific touches after the baby is born.

You can play with varying tones of one color, even incorporating softer hues of yellows and greens to maintain your goal of a gender-neutral color scheme. If you know your baby's gender, you can still create a neutral setting with touches of pinks or blues for a classic look that still has personality. Even dark grey can work in a nursery, lightened with white window treatments and furniture. Add a touch of bright pink, blue or green for a nice color pop.

White is a good neutral nursery color that works well for baby girls and boys. Keep a nursery with white walls from looking cold by adding neutral earthy elements such as a jute or sisal rug, bamboo or rattan shades or unpainted wood furniture. Soft bed linens and drapes, even if they are also white, will add warmth to the room.

Whatever shades you ultimately choose, most design experts advise against created a themed nursery with a wallpaper border or a mural in a cartoon character; children outgrow these much more quickly than a room that incorporates timeless style. You can certainly go with a mural, stripe or stencil, but you should stick with subtle looks. For a mural, look to nature—the elegant silhouette of a tree painted in white on a neutral wall is a look that is timeless enough to be appropriate for a child well into grade school.

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