Setting up a nursery is one of the many exciting things you’ll do in preparation for baby. That said, picking a theme can feel overwhelming with the thousands of options out there, so we’ve narrowed down some of the most stylish and practical finds for baby’s new space.

The nursery is, after all, where you both will be spending a lot of time bonding, so why not make it a space you’ll love? Forget traditional “pink or blue” themes–there’s a variety of fun color palettes and patterns you can explore! Make it special; they’ll only be this small once.

Simply follow our essentials checklist for the nursery, and the rest is completely up to you to customize and decorate!

But First: Nursery Essentials

You can embellish and decorate to your heart’s content–but make sure you have day-to-day necessities close-by and organized for ease of access. Check that you have the following:

  • Crib: The only area you’ll be leaving your baby alone for the first few months, the crib is arguably your most important purchase in the nursery. Take the time to research and ensure baby’s crib meets all safety standards (check out our crib buying guide for more info)
  • Changing table: You’ll want to have all the essentials at-the-ready at your changing table, because things can quickly get messy. Keep diapers, baby powder, rash creams, and burp cloths and towels nearby in case of an accident. The less you have to lean or dig for something, the better! You’re going to have your hands full as it is.
  • Plenty of storage: Giving everything a “home” in your nursery is vital for organization. Whether it’s wall shelves or cubes with extra bins, you’ll feel much better being able to tuck clothes and toys away when they’re not being used. Consider labeling your compartments–it’ll help you later when you’re sleep deprived.
  • A nursery chair: Sometimes baby is going to have a hard time sleeping, so having a chair to rock him or her to sleep and nurse them in is a must-have. Just be sure you also don’t fall asleep with them, as that can be a safety hazard.

Now that all your essentials are out of the way, it’s time for the fun part–decorating!

1. Neutral Nuance

Gray is a popular neutral and very fashionable by today’s standards. Not only that, it’s also the perfect color scheme if you prefer a gender-neutral nursery. The relaxing hues are sure to keep you and baby feeling soothed and calm.

2. Colored/Patterned Ceilings

Nursery with colored ceiling.

If you’re worried about too much color on your walls, then a colored or patterned ceiling is a perfect alternative. Add a bold shade or an accent pattern that complements a rug or ottoman like the image above. A vibrant nursery can make a happy nursery!

3. Display Your Newborn’s Initials

Pay homage to your baby’s name by placing their initials upon the wall. Whether you choose a fancy script or big, block letters, it’s sure to be a fun decoration piece in the nursery. Experiment with colors, materials and even patterns in the initials for a pop of excitement.

4. Use Decals or Wallpaper

Going with a specific theme in the nursery means you have a lot to play with, including wood panel decals and wallpaper! Pick a print that encourages curiosity and exploration in your little one. You’ll also want to make sure it’s something you don’t mind looking at, either. Many places have easy stick-on and removable decals and wallpaper, so you can replace once they’re older and want a different look.

5. Add Nature Elements

It’s amazing how greenery can add such an inviting and lively element to a nursery. Those looking for real plants can go with child and pet safe options such as a spider plant or jade plant–which are also conveniently easy to care for. If your green thumb is lacking, though, faux plants are just as beautiful and feel right at home with a forest, tree or animal theme.

6. Add an Eye-Catching Mobile

Keep baby entertained in the crib or at the changing table. The fun shapes and subtle movement of a mobile bring a sense of magic to the nursery. Just make sure the bottom hangs around 16 inches above the crib mattress surface and the strings don’t exceed seven inches for safety reasons. Newborns have a line of sight 8-12 inches, so positioning it too high means they won’t get to truly enjoy it.

7. Explore Rugs

Give your baby a comfortable place to crawl and have tummy time–while also accentuating style. Rugs integrate texture and interest into any space; all you need to do is unroll and enjoy. Just clean regularly so when it’s time for your little one to explore, they don’t get a mouthful of hair or lint.

8. Use Blackout Shades or Dimmer Lights

Curtains among nursery decor.

It’s been proven that babies need darkness to sleep–so using blackout curtains or shades can be integral to helping them take daytime naps. There are a variety of styles to choose from, and it’ll help them feel comforted and sleep better. Another option to help them get in the mindset of bed is to use a dimmer switch before bed. All babies are different, but it’s important to regulate their circadian rhythm and put them to bed and wake them up around the same time every day.

9. Include Things They’ll Grow Into

Your little one is going to grow up quickly (almost too quickly). To help their developing minds, it’s important to have things they can easily transition into, such as a cute chair like the picture above or a pouf that they can sit on as toddlers and play tea with, for example. Transitional pieces such as crib-to-bed models also help ease the financial burden of constantly buying new furniture every few years as they grow out of cribs and toddler beds.

10. Personal Items for Design Flavor

Whether it’s a personal keepsake for baby or grandma’s hand-stitched blanket that’s been passed down, decorating with something personal gives the nursery homey charm and a sense of identity. You can even use this item as inspiration for the entire nursery theme–it’s entirely up to you!

We hope you found this blog useful as you decide on the perfect nursery theme for your family. Have any cute nursery pictures you’d like to share with us? Make sure you follow us on Instagram and use the hashtag #MyAshleyHome to display your gorgeous space to the world!