To create a soothing mood, nothing is more important than lighting. “I like to use ambient lighting for a nursery,” says Sachs. “Recessed lighting is best, but in some older houses there may just be one light in the center of the ceiling. If this is the case, you could put a larger fixture in its place and change the switch to a dimmer.” You can get that mood even if you choose to use lamps. “A lamp store can put a dimmer switch on any lamp,” Sachs says.
When thinking of color, first decide what color you want to paint the walls. “The rule of thumb is that the wall colors are on the lighter side and the darkest colors in the room should be the furniture,” says Sachs. To create a playful, cheerful room, think beyond the traditional pastels, she says. “A boy’s room could be a combination of reds, blacks, and blues,” she says. “For a girl, instead of white, maybe go with bright pinks, yellows, and lavenders, with black accents.” Feel free to mix stripes, gingham, floral, or polka-dot patterns with solid colors.
■ Personal accents
For the final touches, look for simple art pieces to put on the wall. You could frame a decorative piece of fabric or vintage wrapping paper, family photos, or pages from old children’s books. A colorful quilt could be hung on one wall. Antique dolls or baby books of your own could be placed on a high shelf that goes around the perimeter of the room. If you want to hang a mobile, just make sure it’s well out of baby’s reach. If you love the look of big, colorful pillows, scatter them on the floor.
Your excitement will mount as your due date gets closer and you begin to see your dream nursery become a reality. Once the baby arrives and you start spending all your days and nights together nursing, singing, dancing, and playing, you’ll be glad you created a room that so warmly welcomes this new person and relationship into your life.
Elizabeth Parker is a Los Angeles writer and mother.