One of the best ways to make a big impact on a budget in baby’s room is on the walls. It’s a great opportunity to add charm, style, and warmth to your baby’s nursery. You can completely change the look and feel of a room in just an afternoon. In this article, I’ll share some of my best baby nursery wall ideas as well as a few important things to consider when painting a baby’s room.
Pick Your Paint Wisely
Choose a safe paint.
The Environmental Protection Agency has great information about exposure to paint and paint fumes. In summary:
- Pregnant women and babies should avoid exposure to paint and recently painted rooms. Try to get the room painted well ahead of baby’s arrival. If you can, enlist the help of your partner, family, or friends to get the painting done. If you insist on helping, you can set up the tarps and get all the taping done – then send in the painters while you kick up your feet for a few.
- When painting, open all the windows and direct a box fan towards the exterior. Keep the fan on for at least 48 hours to remove as much of the paint fumes as possible.
- Use low- or zero-VOC paint whenever possible. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds, which are released via the potentially hazardous fumes in most paints. But remember that these “safer” paints still can contain some VOCs and do not mean you don’t have to follow the other safety recommendations.
- Latex-based paint is considerably safer than oil-based paint (plus, way easier to use).
Now that we’ve discussed safety, let’s move on to the fun part…design!
One question people usually have is “how do I choose a color”? It can be incredibly overwhelming to look through swatches at the pain store unless you have a basic idea of what you’re looking for. So where do you start?
1. Choose an inspiration piece.
This could be a piece of artwork, baby’s bedding, a small rug, or even a favorite piece of clothing. With my second child, I found an adorable navy and white romper that inspired the design of his nursery. The navy accent wall, the cream colored wood trim, and the striped drapes were all inspired by this cute little onesie.
I love to choose an inspiration piece that I can bring with me to the paint store. You can either use their paint-matching machine or simply find a swatch that is a close match. Pro tip: I always buy the little sample jars and slap some paint on the wall before I invest in gallons. Make sure you love it at different times of day and in different lighting. You don’t want to have to paint twice!
2. Choose a mood.
You probably already know that the color of the room has a huge impact on the mood. A bright yellow kitchen encourages energy and creativity. A soft sage green bedroom makes you feel relaxed and peaceful. An all-red room can make you overstimulated and can even increase your blood pressure and heart rate.
In general, pastels and neutrals are great for a baby’s room where you are hoping for peaceful, calm, and happy moods.
If you want to use a bright or dark color (like the navy in my son’s nursery), consider making it an accent wall, or go with neutral walls and introduce your other colors through accessories. A bonus to this strategy is that babies love contrast…lighter colored walls with colorful graphic art, for example, would be beautiful and engaging for baby.
3. Choose a theme.
Lots of people start their nursery by choosing a theme. Similar to an inspiration piece, a theme can guide you in your design choices. Popular themes include owls, jungle, sports…the possibilities are endless. Pro tip: you can also incorporate your theme into your baby announcements, baby shower invitations and decor, and even baby books.
Consider choosing a theme that could grow with your baby. For example, a sports-themed nursery would be adorable for a baby but just as fun for a boy or girl to grow into and personalize as they begin to have favorite sports and teams, and maybe even their own trophies and medals.
The most important point with a theme is to be sure you don’t overdo it. A theme can be simple – there is no need to spend hundreds of dollars on theme-specific items. Use simple, neutral anchor items (like your furniture, bedding, and curtains) and accent with themed items (like your artwork, lighting, accessories).
Stencils and Stripes
In a later post, I’ll go into more detail about techniques for adding interest with paint. But in the meantime, let’s visit two of my favorites.
Stencils provide an endless amount of options for wall decoration. Stars, arrows, letters, animals – you can find stencils for any theme. One of my favorite techniques is to use the same color paint but a different finish to make subtle stenciled images. For example, a high-gloss paint on an eggshell wall would add subtle interest and style.
Stripes can add architectural interest to a room without much work or expense. You’ll need tape, a ruler, and a level – and a little patience – to make this technique come to life. Go with low contrast colors or finishes to avoid a jail cell feel.
A Little Paint Goes a Long Way
Paint is an inexpensive, fast, and easy way to make a nursery feel complete. In most cases, you’ll spend less than $50 on supplies to paint baby’s room. Combine that with your creativity, and the impact will be priceless. Take a before picture so you can remember what you started with. You’ll be impressed with the difference a can of paint makes.