Creating A Versatile Nursery To Grow With Our Baby Boy

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When I set out to design Baby Mac’s new room, I really wanted to create a versatile nursery that didn’t feel too baby-ish. Although anything and everything baby is tiny and cute, baby decor, in general, can quickly look a bit tacky if you aren’t careful. So what should you do? Stick with the baby gear and risk tacky or skip the baby stuff and create a grown-up nursery? My answer — neither!This room has a lot of potential to be a great nursery for a baby on the way. A baby nursery can still be designed cohesively with the rest of your home.

Who says a nursery can’t be appropriate for a baby, yet still “flow” with the rest of your home’s style and aesthetic? I’m here to prove that you can still have a trendy nursery and one that fits your home’s style too!

Today, I’m sharing the tips I used to avoid the traditional nursery decor and instead create a space that everyone in the family will love now and well into the future.

How to Design a Versatile Nursery

The first step towards building a new nursery is gutting the room. Adding wood floors to this nursery pair well with the light walls.

Choose Colors That Will Transition EasilyA lighter paint color will transition well as the baby grows.

One of the first decisions we made in the nursery design process was to identify a color scheme. A lot of traditional baby decor is a bright color, or the traditional pink for girls, and blue for boys. But instead of rushing to use these bold color schemes for the entire room, I think it’s important to stick with a neutral base and then add more temporary pops of those other colors.

This beige paint color is light and pairs well with the room decor. This is especially important when you’re choosing paint colors. My advice would be to choose a paint color that will grow with your baby and one that can be versatile if you do decide to someday change the rug, textiles, or general decor. We went with a super light greige (the color “silver satin”), which was the same color we used throughout our entire first floor. It’s versatile, it matches with just about everything, and it doesn’t scream “NURSERY!”, which was exactly what I was hoping for in a paint color.

Skip The Theme

nursery blanket with pom pomsThe trends in nursery nowadays suggest that themed nurseries are out, and mixing and matching decor for a more sophisticated look is IN! This was probably my biggest goal when putting together Baby Mac’s nursery. It’s easy to default to a “theme” when it comes to decorating a nursery but if you’re trying to build a nursery that will grow with your little one — do everything you can to avoid a theme!

nursery dresser turned changing tableInstead, focus on the color scheme, textiles and how you want the space to feel when you’re in it. When I see a nursery that sticks to a strict theme, it tends to look very “baby-ish” and even a bit tacky. Not that you can’t incorporate elements of a theme, but getting everything that is matchy-matchy and aligned with that one theme is not a good way to create a space that will grow with your little one.

Don’t Go All BabyBuy items that aren't from baby stores, like this dinosaur succulent plant.

If you’re only shopping at baby stores for your nursery, chances are the decor will be solely baby-ish, making it hard to eventually transition this space as your child grows. So try to think outside of the box when you’re shopping for furniture, rugs, curtains, and even accessories.

Not everything you buy needs to be from a baby store. Avoiding the big box baby stores will help make the nursery one that reflects your home’s style a bit more.

These woven baskets add hidden storage in the nursery. Of course, it’s important to buy some baby stuff (I mean, how could you not?! It’s all so cute!) but not everything. I made a point to buy large items like furniture, lights, window treatments, the rug, and even art at places that aren’t necessarily known for baby gear — like Lowe’s and the Mine!

Choose Items That Can Work All Over The HouseAdding black accents in a neutral nursery looks great.

I didn’t know how realistic my goal of creating a nursery that would blend with the rest of the house was but I think I was able to come close, yet still make this room feel calm and cozy for our little guy. I kept this goal in mind from the very beginning when pinning images, creating a mood board, and eventually designing this nursery.

It helped that when I was purchasing items, I constantly tried to brainstorm where else I could use these pieces when we eventually tweaked the nursery. From the fiddle leaf, to the rocker, to the side table, I chose these items because I’m confident I can use them in other rooms of our home someday because they’re that versatile.

Heck, I already want to steal the fiddle leaf for our living room and have thought about adding the white shelving unit in our bathroom or basement someday! And that rug?! I’m obsessed and would happily add it to just about any of the rooms in our house if I could.Items like this dresser can be reused throughout the home as the baby grows.

This strategy helped me make choices that reflected our home’s style and made me feel less guilty about splurging on these items. I know I’ll get use out of them even after the Baby Mac starts growing!

DIY with IntentionAdding a letterfolk sign to a nursery is a sweet personal touch.

Obviously, we love the idea of incorporating some DIY projects into every space and the nursery was no different. It’s a great way to save money and bring a little extra love to your little one’s new room. But when I was planning these projects, I wanted to plan ahead to create  (or even save room!) for projects that would grow with this little one.

Ledges against the wall to hang books saves space.

I kept this in mind when building the book ledges and choosing where they were hung. I think someday it would be awesome to add some hanging baskets under the bookshelves for Baby Mac to store his toys and stuffed animals in. That being said, I kept some room under the bookshelves to accommodate this idea in the future.

I also want to add more hooks behind the door and more art someday. Having a tentative “long-term” plan allows this space to transition without a ton of inconvenience.

Get Creative While AccessorizingA shelf with all baby accessories is a must in a nursery.

Here’s where I finally give you permission to bring on all things baby!! Accessories will change with the baby’s age and that’s okay because these are inexpensive and a fun way to “change things up” over time.

So from shelf decor, to pillows, or even toys, this is where you should incorporate baby and HAVE FUN with it! I mean, how adorable are some of these cute pieces?! My heart just melts looking at these mini details. They really are the icing on the cake for this space and the perfect way to make this stylish nursery age appropriate too!This nursery is beautifully decorated to reflect the style of the rest of the home.

Shop This Look


Tomorrow I plan on sharing a detailed source list of where everything in this room from, but for today, you can shop some of our favorites finds in the images above.

What’s Next in the Nursery?Hanging all the baby clothes is a great way to stay organized.

I’ll also eventually be checking in with details on how I finally decided on the layout in here, how I organized Baby Mac’s stuff so far, and how I have (and plan on)  baby-proofing the nursery over time. If there are any other topics you want me to tackle about the nursery, please don’t hesitate to let me know and I’ll add them to our calendar! I’m happy to share, but don’t want to bore you with too many of these details if you’re not interested.Create a nursery that will grow with your baby like this one.

Thanks for following along so far, what a fun process it has been bringing this room to life!This before and after of a gender neutral nursery space is amazing.


For the Full Source List of products, check out this blog post.

The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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