Baby nurseries and children’s rooms are coming of age, and a growing number of tots are starting life in spaces that are so stylish, I would trade bedrooms with them in a New York minute. We are having more fun working with the moms-to-be, new moms and grandmothers who come to Nell Hill’s for unique fabrics, furnishings and accents that will allow them to put their stamp on baby’s boudoir. The result is well-appointed rooms that look like they are from the pages of decorating magazines, soft and sweet, playful and fun, but not too cutesy or cliché. Here are some ideas to inspire you, whether you are designing a nursery or redecorating a child’s bedroom. 

Find Your Inspiration

We just finished helping my cousin Kathy’s daughter, Kate, with her baby nursery, and it turned out too stinking cute! Kate says she tells people that her newborn daughter, Evelyn, has a better bedroom than she does. That’s because the baby’s nursery is filled with fabrics and finishes that are chic and stylish, timeless enough to grow with her so she can keep the same room for years.

Kate’s journey to find a room that was just-right for her baby started by flipping through decorating magazines, seeing what grabbed her and what didn’t. When I work with customers who aren’t sure what they want in a room, that’s exactly what I recommend: Go through a stack of home décor magazines and books, and put a sticky note on the rooms that wow you. Then review the rooms you’ve marked. What do they have in common? Maybe it’s a color scheme or a furniture style. Use that as your guide when designing your room.

That’s how Kate happened upon a fabric that would serve as the inspiration for her baby nursery.  She came to Nell Hill’s Briarcliff in search of a fabric that was similar, and that’s when she found the perfect fit. The clouds parted, the angels sang and Kate’s search was over. Her fabric wove together lilac, blue, light gray and apple green – a great mix of hues that served as the color palette for the entire room. She painted the walls of the nursery light gray, then had curtain panels made out of her inspiration fabric, banding them with an apple green flange. The baby’s bedding repeated the lilac color, and an area rug repeated the apple green color.

Pull Together an Interesting Blend of Fabrics for the Bedding

The crib or bed is often the star of the show in a nursery or child’s room. Now the sky is the limit when it comes to selecting fabric for youth bedding ensembles. We’re designing bed skirts, bumpers, quilts and pillows out of a wonderful assortment of fabric that spans the spectrum from soft florals to menswear plaids, trendy geometric prints to texture-upon-texture solids. My favorite approach for any bedding is to mix together an assortment of fabrics that bring in different colors, patterns and textures. The same principle holds true for bedding in a baby or child’s room.

Not long ago, mom-to-be Meredith came to Nell Hill’s Briarcliff with a fun decorating challenge. She didn’t want to know the gender of her baby before it was born, but she wanted to get the nursery ready ahead of time. So she came up with an ingenious solution. Meredith worked with our design team to select fabric for a boy’s room and for a girl’s room. Then, when she left the store, she gave us an envelope containing her baby’s sonogram picture so we could see its gender and prepare the right fabric for the nursery. It was a boy! Meredith and her newborn son came home to the darling bedding pictured above.

As the Nell Hill’s team was working on the bedding in the photo above, created for a young mom named Erika for her baby girl, I kept thinking, this bedding is so beautiful I would put this in my own bedroom! She and the design team went through our ever-expanding selection of fabrics-by-the-yard and picked vibrant colors like turquoise, magenta and apple green, brought to life through patterns like this pagoda toile and the textured embroidery. To give the baby’s bed lots and lots of drama, Erika plans to mount a crown she purchased from Nell Hill’s above the crib, then drape the long panels she’ll make from the fabric so they cascade down and frame the head of the bed.  It will be fit for a princess.


Select Furnishings that Can Grow with Your Child

Right now a lot of new moms are bypassing made-for-the-nursery furniture and instead use timeless pieces they will be able to keep in their child’s room for years to come. This photo is of my friend Lisa’s daughter’s room. Lisa designed the most amazing children’s rooms I’ve ever seen for her three daughters, using vintage furnishings and textile ensembles from Nell Hill’s. She found the perfect balance between making the spaces soft and sweet, yet grown up enough that the girls will enjoy them for years.

To add a personal touch to her nursery, Kate took an old dresser that was her changing table when she was a baby and gave it new life with a coat of lilac paint and crystal knobs. It looks perfect in Evelyn’s room. Along with using several other better-than-new pieces, Kate purchased a comfy upholstered rocking chair from Nell Hill’s and had it covered in an outdoor fabric in a dark gray geometric pattern, durable enough to handle anything baby dishes out.

In this photo, you can see how Lisa used interesting pieces she discovered at antique stores to give her girls’ rooms singular style, like these plaster cherubs and the wall bracket that holds the crown drapery panels. The upholstered rocker is a great fit for her growing daughter, not too grown up, not too little-girl.


Finish with Finesse

One of the best parts about finishing Kate’s nursery was accessorizing it with some truly unusual accents. A few months earlier, I had a baby shower for Kate at my home and used colorful paper lanterns and tissue paper flowers as part of the centerpiece and front door decorations. After the party, we carefully pulled down the lanterns and flowers and transported them to the nursery, where we hung them from fallen sticks painted apple green to match the nursery fabric.

Kate and her mom intertwined these delightful banners into the display, making a heck of a mobile over Evelyn’s crib. Such creative touches are a great way to finish off a nursery or child’s room, making the space all your own.

Need ideas to make your child’s room unique? The Nell Hill’s design team is full of them. Bring in snapshots of the room and we’ll help you design a fabulous place for your little one that’s as wonderful as he or she is.


Next Week … Get a jump on your holiday entertaining by getting your dining room in order now. I’ll have suggestions for picking the perfect dining room pieces.

P.S. Don’t miss a bit of Nell Hill’s news – stay up to date on my favorite finds, new arrivals at the stores and all our special events by checking the Nell Hill’s Facebook page every day. You don’t have to have a Facebook page yourself to look in on the fun, but if you’re already on Facebook, “like” us today!


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6 Responses to “Kids’ Rooms Are Coming of Age”

  1. Jennifer Sharrick Says:

    Love it! My boys are now 9,12,13, & 15 but I planned a french country nursery that I was able to use for all four. It started with great quality fabrics and colors.
    At Show Me Decorating, we love to help families create their holiday wishes. For kid’s rooms, a personal Christmas tree can be just the thing. For a girls tree, it can be decorated with her ballet shoes, favorite doll, and maybe a TuTu for the Tree Skirt. For boys, trophies, baseball gloves, and balls can create his favorite past time. We always start with 3 key ingredients-Great Ribbon, Balls, and Floral then add in your own personal collection of ornaments.
    Your blog and store are in inspiration!
    Jennifer Sharrick

  2. Anne Green Says:

    Just a reminder, no matter how beautiful and interesting to baby — ANYTHING WITH STRINGS should NOT EVER be hung over where a baby sleeps. I say that because I once put an aunt’s gift (acrobat clown) on the ceiling over the crib and one day came in to find it had come down from the ceiling and was now lightly wrapped around my sleeping daughter’s neck. Thank God no harm done but it was a frightful thing to come in the room and see that. It had been far out of reach on the ceiling, but somehow fell. So, no matter how beautiful , remember safety too. That said I love your design and the apple green!

  3. Betty Bakk Says:

    Gorgeous children’s rooms, but SIDs suggestions no longer allow bumpers in the crib for young babies. I was surprised wheny daughter-in-law told me and that was almost 2 years ago. I think bempers really add a lot of decorating space, but safety first!

  4. Nancy Says:

    It’s so much fun to decorate for a child, no matter the age! I am do glad to see you promote unique color schemes and themes, and pieces the child can grow up with. Kate repainting her childhood dresser proves hand-me-downs can add pizzazz to any space. One of the best child’s rooms I saw was fiberfill sheets stapled in puffs on a ceiling in a rental home that the landlord wouldn’t allow to be painted. Birds were hanging down at various heights, along with hot air balloons. Never thought about the potential for any of it to fall. Great reminder!

  5. Mary Carol Says:

    Anne—Thanks so much for your input. So much of what happens is for a ‘photo shot’ and Kate immediately moved her babies bed away from the things hanging from the ceiling. Thanks so much for the reminder of ‘safety first’!

  6. Mary Carol Says:

    Thank you so much for your reminder Betty.

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