“Sea Otters at Play” Sherpa Blanket by Christopher Lyles
When I found out I was pregnant with Miles and started nesting (like all new moms do), I was determined to create a nursery that was unique. I wanted our baby space to both fit in and stand alone against the rest of my household decor. In my haste to find appropriate bedding, accessories, and furniture, I realized the flaw in my plan. Nursery decor usually comes in one of two colors: baby pink and baby blue. Neither of those color palettes excited me whatsoever.
Whether you want to plan ahead for multiple children, don’t yet know your baby’s gender, or are tired of classic/traditional decor—a colorful yet ungendered nursery is a great choice for your little one’s first home. I dove into paint swatches and Pinterest to put together a handful of my very favorite gender-neutral nursery color schemes for you to play around with in your own home. These color ideas will help you create a contemporary and comforting nursery space that’s perfect for your little one.
Throw Pillows by Mouse + Magpie
Here’s my advice for creating the easiest gender-neutral nursery: start with grey. Slate, platinum, pewter, silver, ash—simply pick one of the thousands of cool-toned shades in this spectrum and start by painting a wall. Alternatively, you could anchor the nursery space with a statement wall in a more saturated grey for an editorial, HGTV-type look.
Jungle Celebration by Alexandra Petracchi
Here’s where it gets interesting. Grey is a solid, calm, grounding color that brings peace to any space. But the success of your grey-based nursery design is tied to how you accessorize with pops of color. Above, I’ve selected six shades that can be arranged in literally any combination against your grey base for an adorably gender-neutral nursery. Trending right now is the combo on the top row: grey, navy, aqua, and coral. Or you could go with a light grey, tangerine, and pale green—a combo that just begs to be paired with safari decor. Picturing these six shades side by side, you can see exactly why grey is so valuable as an anchor and a connecting thread between other bright colors.
Once you have your accent colors picked out, find the remainder of your nursery decor in those shades. Choose a children’s artwork print you love to add brightness and visual detail to your nursery. Accessorize the rocker by draping it with a soft, colorful blanket. When you start with grey, practically everything you put on top of it looks deliberate and thoughtful.
Stories in the Garden by Emma Talbot
Going to the complete other end of the spectrum, we’ll embrace gender-neutrality with a mixed color palette (like the one artfully used in Emma Talbot’s work above). These looks take a little more finessing, because you really don’t want to overwhelm the nursery space with unnecessary contrast. But with a careful eye and a good color palette, you can create a really special and cohesive finished product.
Llama in the Garden by Neesha Hudson
Each of these colorways takes a different paint color (in a relatively neutral shade) and pairs it with a variety of primary and secondary pastels to create a unique and visually pleasing combination. Any balanced combination of cool and warm pastel tones can make a really bright and fun nursery design. Pull colors from a whimsical throw pillow or a bright piece of kids’ clothing instead. Or you could choose a piece of pre-framed children’s artwork for inspiration, like Neesha Hudson’s adorable Garden Party, shown below.
Garden Party by Neesha Hudson
Finally, you could choose to create a gender-neutral nursery using varied shades of a single color. This strategy creates an instantly cohesive room, with the right balance of light and dark and plenty of calming nuance. Grab a paint swatch from any home improvement store in a color you like, and use the range of shades provided to form a special nursery design. I usually recommend selecting one of the lightest shades for a wall color and painting a statement wall two or three shades darker. Some of my favorite combinations this year are based on deep mauve, fern, and pumpkin, with desaturated tints for a richer-than-white wall color:
Woodland Friends by Anna Abramskaya
In this design, you want to keep your accessories well within the color theme whenever possible. We’re not looking for giant pops of contrasting color with this one—instead, all of your bedding, furniture, and accessories should help to unify the room into that vein. You want to keep your pops of color small—like the bright yellow in Rebecca Huang’s “Blue Whale and Submarine” illustration. Let your nursery wall art have the most color variety in the room, and you’ll add natural focus to the softness of the design. For instance, if I were decorating a room based on the gorgeous green palette above, I might choose a piece by Anna Abramskaya— those colors are just begging to be part of a woodland themed nursery!
No matter which color combination you choose, a gender-neutral nursery is a practical choice that really allows you to flex your creative muscles. Once you decide on a palette that suits you and your child, you get to play with color in a big way, adjusting the nuance of the room with each accessory you bring in. Feel free to ditch the pink and blue for combinations that are more interesting, more lasting, and certainly more pleasing to the eye. The decor you add to the nursery space will provide all the whimsy you need.
Want more inspiration for your child’s living space?
Find even more stunning visual ideas for bedroom and bathroom on Mouse + Magpie’s social media.
Become a Mouse + Magpie insider and get exclusive offers, details on new product launches and updates from our independent artist community!