August 18, 2009

Designing a Modern Nursery

in Nursery Design

Post image for Designing a Modern Nursery

Designer David Harris of New York-based baby furniture manufacturer, ducduc, offers his best design tips for furnishing and decorating a modern baby nursery.

The one thing that defines modern nursery design is, it’s probably not your childhood nursery.  Other than that, there are no rules.  Just well executed, functional rooms filled with color,  personality,  and a bundle of joy.  It may be true that junior or juniorette may not see color right away, but you do! And you spend a lot of time in the room. As CEO of ducduc, Philip Erdoes, says, “why check your taste at the nursery door.”

Modern Boy's Nursery

A bit of history about modern nursery design;  there really isn’t any.  It really is a blank slate!  A few years ago, there was not even any furniture to chose from.  Now, modern furniture for the nursery comes in white lacquer, hickory, oak, birch, walnut and a variety of bright colors.   These finishes, even if they are found in the nursery, are sure to compliment the pieces of Christian Liagre, Poul Kjaerholm, or Hans Wegner, that you have in the living room.

Let’s break it down and start with the basics, a checklist of the essentials:

  • crib, that coverts to a toddler bed.
  • changing table
  • rocking chair
  • lighting
  • rug
  • window treatment
  • accessories

Starting with the furniture you can begin your floorplan.  Just like the refrigerator, stove, sink configuration in the kitchen, the nursery revolves around the crib, changing table, and rocker. Just remember, you probably want to keep the crib away from the window so sleeping will not be interrupted.  I like the crib that turns into a toddler bed because it will last longer and many kids get attached to their crib, so it all works out for the best if you have it as long as you can.

Once you have selected the pieces you like….think outside the box.  Remember, no rules!  Alanna Stang of Cookie Magazine brought a Persian rug from her family into the modern mix of her son’s nursery to ground the room and make it cozy.  She also uses a simple Thomas Moser rocking chair combined with a natural walnut austin crib from ducduc and an orange storage piece from DWR.

Comfortable Rug in Nursery
image: Chris Callahan

As for the rug, there are thousands of options and prices.  This is really a decision based on what you are comfortable with and what you want to spend. I am a big fan of the round fuzzy rug in the nursery.  It softens the room and your feet. Vintage Children's Book Cabinet
image: Celerie Kemble, “To Your Taste”

Interior Designer Celerie Kemble used a vintage cabinet to keep her nursery playful and not so serious. Chandelier in Baby's Nursery
image: NY Spaces Magazine

Even a sparkling chandelier from another era.  A bright and shiny object of some sort in the nursery is always good to catch the eye of you know who.

Maybe not exactly what you were thinking of when designing a modern nursery?  Nevertheless, these flourishes bring personality to the room, add some fun, and make the space truly unique.

Baby Nursery with Green AccentsA Pink NurseryGo Orange for Your Baby's Nursery
Ghislaine Vinas, Interior Design

Now what about those walls?  Once you have decided on a color scheme put your money where your mouth is and throw it on the wall.  Stripes and bold color combinations may not be fitting for the living room, are perfect for the modern nursery. Wallpapered Accent Wall in Nursery
nursery design by ducduc

Or check out one of the many new wallpapers out there.  Try doing an accent wall only.  It will create a great backdrop for the room.

Butterfly Window Treatment in Baby's Nursery
Butterfly Window Treatments

For window treatments I like to keep it simple. Black out shades behind a soft roman shade are practical, functional, and dress the window ever so slightly.  Done!

When starting out, remember these tips:

  • make it your own by adding cool accessories
  • use fun, colorful, accent pieces.
  • think outside the box
  • let your hair down, and have some fun!

Nursery by Victoria Voytek, Interior Designer
Victoria Voytek, Interior Designer

Nursery by Anjali Pollack, Interior DesignerAnjali Pollock, Interior Designer

Nursery by Amanda Moore, Interior Designerdon’t forget the artwork  |  Amanda Moore, Interior Designer

Check out New Editions art for kids.  It’s never too early to get the kids started looking and appreciating art.  A simple and inexpensive idea, and one of my favorite things to do, is frame pages from children’s books you like in simple white frames like you see at the galleries. Hang them in groups of 4, 6, or 8.  It gives order to the room and at the same time adds interest, and looks modern and chic.

nursery by Amanda Moore

Designing a modern nursery for your home is probably one of the most perplexing design projects you will undertake, if only because you have never done it before.  Everyone approaches it differently.  Some decide to do nothing until the baby is born. Others want it all set up months in advance.  Whichever route you go, designing the nursery allows you to be more playful and creative than other rooms in your house, like the dining room or master bedroom.  Even with the clock ticking and the hormones raging, designing a modern nursery for your home should be fun, and fit into your house just like your new baby will fit into your life.

Resource List

New Editions
Thomas Moser
Design Within Reach

1st Dibs
Cavern Home
Smith and Nobel
Flensted Mobiles
Wall Candy

David Harris is the Director of Communications for ducduc and an Interior Designer, David Anthony Harris Interiors.  He lives and works in New York City and is an “Uncle” to many of his friend’s kids.

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