An Expert’s Guide to Decorating a Nursery

Amy Berry's Nursery Design Tips

Decorating the nursery can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of preparing for the arrival of a new baby, but it can also seem like an overwhelming project thanks to a plethora of options for everything from paint colors to practical items to small personal touches. To help those who are in nursery setup mode create a beautiful and functional space for their baby, we turned to Dallas, Texas-based interior designer Amy Berry for some expert advice. Here, she shares tips and tricks for expectant parents, as well as a helpful reminder to “have fun with it.”

Know the key components: “The three most important pieces a designer can add to a nursery, in my opinion, are seating, window treatments, and storage,” says Berry. In terms of seating, she recommends not skimping on the chair or glider, since you’ll be spending a lot of time there. “You’ll want something comfortable, and if the room allows, an ottoman is always useful, too.” As for the window treatments, “When in doubt, go for the blackout lining,” Berry says, noting that babies need a dark place to sleep. Finally, maximizing storage space is key. “Babies come with a lot of stuff,” Berry says. Therefore, you’ll want to incorporate baskets, ottomans with tops that lift off, and other options that will let you get to what you need quickly.

Decide on a style. When it comes to deciding on a design direction for this space, Berry recommends going with a mix. By balancing both old and new elements, you’ll avoid creating a one-note space that feels like it can be “shopped.” Berry’s perfect combination? “Traditional upholstery, more modern lighting, and then a few unexpected elements in between.”

Pick a soft color palette. “I think it’s important for the nursery to be an overall soothing space,” Berry says of selecting hues for the baby’s room. While partial to blue, she says any soft, warm color will do beautifully. Keeping things on the neutral side at the beginning will not just create a calming environment for you and the baby, it will provide you with the perfect backdrop for bringing in brighter colors as the child grows up.

Pay attention to fabrics. While the room is meant to be soft, soothing, and sweet, the nursery will also have to stand up to the task of being a space where things like spit-ups can happen. To that end, you’ll want to look into fabrics that last. “We use a lot of Perennials and Crypton fabrics for their durability,” Berry says, adding, “Fiber-Seal is a great resource, too. Treating your rugs so they are stain resistant is always a good idea.”

Incorporate special touches. Adding antiques, homemade elements, or framed keepsakes are wonderful ways to make the room feel unique and personal. “I always love incorporating something old in nurseries,” Berry says. “Reframing something that was in a parent’s nursery is a nice way to do that.” For example, she has a pair of framed needlepoint nursery rhymes hanging in her child’s nursery that were hers when she was little, as well as a little rocking chair that was her mother’s when she was young. “Repainting it gave it new life, and I love that our daughter loves that little chair too,” she says.

Engage an expert. While you should absolutely embrace your nesting instincts, engaging an expert who can help you make decisions and turn your nursery ideas into a reality will make the process that much sweeter (and smoother). “I spend a lot of time getting to know my clients before I do anything; I think having a relationship with the people I design for is so important,” says Berry, who likes the spaces she designs to reflect the people that live in it. “If anything, I think it’s my job to enhance what my clients envision for themselves,” she says. Another benefit to working with a designer is that they can give you a plan and an overall concept, which will help prevent you from making any costly missteps.

TSG Tip 248 from Amy Berry of Amy Berry Interior Design & Decoration in Dallas, Texas. Featured nursery designed by Amy Berry, image courtesy of Amy Berry.