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Tired of doing your kids’ rooms in the latest comic book character or TV show theme? A growing number of young moms are passing up on passé approaches to decorating their children’s rooms and are instead creating fabulously stylish spaces. At Nell Hill’s, we’ve got a serious case of baby fever and are having a blast helping moms and grandmas create wonderful looks for their little ones’ rooms.

If you’re in the process of decorating a kid’s room, here are some tips for creating a space that will celebrate your child, grow with him or her through the years and, best of all, reflect the sensational decorating style you’ve established in the rest of your home.

Baby Fever at Nell Hill’s

Baby fever began to spread at Nell Hill’s a few years ago when a growing number of new moms started coming in, looking for ways to create lovely spaces for their kids. Not content to buy generic products emblazoned with characters from the latest kid TV show or movie, these moms craved a more sophisticated look in their kids’ rooms. They wanted a decorating motif that was fun yet timeless enough to grow with their kids and that harmonized with the beautiful style they had already established in their homes.

I was thrilled! This was a take on baby décor I could get excited about. Even though we have never before carried lines specifically for babies, young moms and grandmas have shopped here for decades for furnishings, rugs, artwork and accents for kids’ spaces. Now we’re carving out more and more floor space at Nell Hill’s Briarcliff to showcase the amazing baby furniture and products I flipped over at market. We also have an array of fabrics perfect for curtains, pillows and upholstered furniture in kids’ rooms. And we’ve started carrying a popular, affordable line of bedding that’s a hit with tweens and teens. We’re now in the baby business and loving it.

Decorating Tips for Kids’ Spaces

If you’re decorating a room for a little one, here are some tips for making it a wonderful haven that will tickle you and your child pink for years.

1. Pick a Palette that Lasts. Primary colors and pastels will always work for babies, but if you want your child’s room to grow with him or her, consider picking a more enduring color palette. I recently helped a young mom create custom linens and furnishings for her baby’s nursery and was thrilled as she gravitated toward navy and cream patterns. This smart mom knew her son wouldn’t care for light blue and tan when he was a rough and tumbling toddler and savvy grade schooler, so she wanted to go with colors that would keep pace with him. She picked a geometric pattern in navy and cream for the drapes. To carry the color scheme into her son’s bedding, she had us make custom fabric slipcovers for the crib’s headboard and footboard that sported the baby’s monogram. When he grows out of his crib, she plans to remake the monogrammed slipcovers into keepsake pillows.

2. Select Fabulous Furnishings. We all danced with delight when the crates of baby furniture started arriving from market this spring. I was over the moon about this great line of heirloom quality furniture, which includes the cribs and changing table pictured here.

For older kids, wrought iron bed frames are a great pick. Thanks to their timeless style and solid craftsmanship, these classic beds are a perfect fit from the moment your little one is ready for a big bed up until you send him or her off to college.

My friend Lisa has done an amazing job outfitting her girls’ rooms with vintage furnishings. She is partial to pieces that look like they have a history, so she scoured resale shops and antique stores for unique furniture that needed a little TLC. Then she used her considerable imagination and artistic skills to remake the pieces into treasures that gave her daughters’ rooms loads of personality. You’d be amazed by how you can transform a bargain find using nothing but some paint.  If you have a copy my book Nell Hill’s Feather Your Nest, check out Lisa’s handiwork on pages 76-81. (If you don’t, you can order a copy today at Nell Hill’s Online.)

3. Get Creative with the Bedding. A great way to make your child’s space truly unique is through custom bedding. Whether you’re outfitting a baby crib with a skirt, bumper and quilt set or spicing up your pre-teen’s pad with a funky duvet and loads of crazy pillows, this is your chance to let your child’s personality shine through.

Pick an interesting mix of textiles for your bedding and pillows, being sure to incorporate touchable fabrics and trims like chenille stripes, pom-poms and rick rack. For fun, personalize a pillow or two with your child’s name or monogram.

We’re carrying a linen fabric right now that I’m crazy about. It has the wonderful natural look of linen, yet is soft to the touch and easy to care for. You can toss it in the washing machine and start it in the dryer, removing it before it’s fully dry then laying it flat so it won’t wrinkle. We’re also using lots of outdoor fabrics for kids’ rooms right now because it’s virtually indestructible. Another perennial favorite of mine is a good matelasse quilt. Just toss them in the washer and dryer. The more you wash them, the softer they become.

4. Finish off with Accents. What would a nursery or kid’s room be without huggable stuffed animals? Instead of making them an afterthought, why not pick cuddly plush animals that harmonize with your color scheme? The cute doggie pictured here is just one in a new line of big, soft plush animals we’re now carrying at Nell Hill’s Briarcliff.

There is so much stuff to sort in a kid’s room, you’ll want to pick containers that work hard but also add to the style of the space. Store cotton balls in graceful glass apothecary jars. Keep baby’s jacket on an adorable hook or coat tree. Put diapers and wipes in antique wooden boxes. Store toys in lidded baskets.

Another way to heighten the style of your child’s room is to replace the generic ceiling light fixture with an unusual chandelier. Don’t forget great accent lamps, which work perfect as night lights.

Bring personality to the walls of the room with great artwork. My friend Lisa filled her girls’ walls with memorable vintage pieces like framed pages from old nursery rhyme books, a pair of plaster cherubs salvaged from an antique store and a wall shelf she used as a crown for a bed canopy.

5. A Few Things to Spoil Baby. I just had to finish off today by showing you some of the super cute gift items we’re carrying now for babies – I couldn’t keep my eyes or my hands off of them at market. Take a look:

Have fun making your little one’s space superb!

Next Week … In honor of Father’s Day, we’ll be talking about Man Caves. These guy-only retreats don’t have to be horrid holes in the corner of the basement or the garage! I’ll share some tips for making your man’s space as stylish as the rest of the home.

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11 Responses to “Baby Love”

  1. Nella Miller Says:

    Dear Mary Carol,I have been following your design style for several years. I had a home decorating store in Canada for 8 years, but have been involved in design for most of my adult life. When I saw your Christmas video, it brought tears to my eyes. I do not know who the lovely lady with the oxygen is, but when I had my store and did my Christmas open houses,my Mom(also on oxygen for many years) was always at my side. My customers loved her and her beautiful smile and sweet disposition.She always helped my sister and I with all our endeavors and was our greatest fan. My Mom passed away a year ago and I still have that ache in my heart which I doubt will every go away.You hugging her at the end just made me feel so much closer to her.I have a feeling she is your Mom. Thank you for sharing such a lovely video. Kindest regards, Nella

  2. Betsy Woods Says:

    Mary Carol,
    How beautiful – My daughter and I bought all the fabric for her nursery in 1998 from Dieboldt’s. The pattern was “Playtime” and it was absolutely adorable from the curtains, crib set and rocker cushions. You ask me to get photos and I failed you. I am happy to see that you are still in the beautiful fabric business. I also brought 2 friends from Colorado Springs, CO, and one of them purchased all the fabric for her drapes in her new Florida home from Dieboldt’s. We were all very pleased with the purchases and the outcome.
    Thank you, Mary Carol for your excellent style.

  3. Dee Ann Doxsee Says:

    Always enjoy these wonderful ideas!
    Anyone of these would be loved by anyone’s child!
    Afterall, we’re all just a “kid at heart” and these rooms and ideas are really great!

    Thank you, so much, Mary Carol!!

    Dee Ann

  4. Jacqueline Gillam Fairchild Says:

    Dear Mary-I think your ideas just keep getting cuter and cuter.

  5. Ale J Moliani Says:

    I would like to order your book “Nell Hills Feather Your nest”……..
    Didn’t know where to leave my request for the book.
    Please contact me….
    Alice J Molisani

  6. Mary Carol Says:

    Alice–Just call 877-746-4320 and ask for Janet–she can take care of that for you.

  7. Katherine Bruner Says:

    Mary Carol-
    I was just sent a link to your blog from a friend and could not be more excited about the beautiful fabrics, furniture and baby items! I am expecting a boy this winter, so I will be over soon to start the decorating process. Hope you are having a great summer,

  8. Joanna Says:

    Do you have any ideas of what to do for a 10 year-old’s room that can grow with him? Would love to see some pictures.

    Thank you.

  9. Mary Carol Says:

    Joanna–If you are local–would love for you to come in and see some of our fabulous bedding and let our folks help you. We love to start with something masculine even at a young age–some stripes with a tie-in cowboy pillow and prints as a start. If you are long distance check out our Facebook grouping of photos under bedding–I believe their are 19 pics. You may get some inspiration there!


    I have a grand kids room in our new home. when we built 5 years ago I had 4 granddaughters. Thinking I would never had any boys(God’s suprises) I put in a lavendar carpet & walls. I have an antique bed & the room is “girlie”. the boys are now 1 1/2 & 3. I can paint the walls—-what color—-and put in an metal bed and a chest that has baskets. What do you think?? I really cannot change the carpet because of cost. The girls are now 17, 10, 7, and 3. The 17 year old now sleeps in the guest room when she comes. The other grands visit at least once a month. I will be in KC next week & plan to go to the store there on Tuesday or Wednesday——

  11. Mary Carol Says:

    Sandy–So happy you will be coming in—Kathy in bedding would be happy to assist you with your updated room. If you want to call for an appointment before you come in you can reach her at 877-746-4320.

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