I had my children very close together, my first born was a boy and I went blue mad with the nursery, only to have a happy arrival of a little pink one only a year later! It got me thinking about more gender-neutral nurseries, and I called on Ursula Wesselingh our wonderful interiors guru to talk us through how to decorate the perfect gender-neutral nursery in 8 simple steps.
Whether it’s because you don’t want to know your baby’s sex until birth, have a girl and a boy sharing and want to keep the peace, or because you want to avoid gender stereotyping on more philosophical grounds: there are plenty of good reasons to go for a room that works for either sex. Here are some tips to make gender-neutral decorating a success:
- Choose strong, simple lines for the main pieces of furniture and don’t over decorate – the simpler you keep it, the less there is to say boy or girl.
- Reduce your palette to white and muted neutrals such as stone, beige or grey. This soothing background gives you the option to introduce more (gender) specific colours once your baby is born, if you wish.
- Steer away from boring and bland by layering in lots of texture and natural materials like timber, soft fabrics, fluffy pillows and woven rugs.
- Create an accent wall with patterned wallpaper or a bold two-tone paint effect to create focus and interest.
- If you want to use more colour, choose grown-up variations such as grey- blue, celadon, ochre, mustard, dusky plum, midnight blue.
- Avoid themes – these are usually gender led, with the exception of nature inspired themes, such as a woodland nursery, stars and clouds, animals, or letters and numbers.
- Use geometric pattern or simple shapes such as chevrons, stripes and stars, rather than, say, flowers or cars. Shapes are often more gender defining than colour. To illustrate, no-one is going to confuse a blue nursery with frilly lace curtains and a ballerina stencil around the room for a boy’s room.
- Shop away from the high street, where gender stereotyping still dominates children’s dÃ©cor – though there are exceptions. Instead seek out indie designers and look at Scandinavian brands, which are generally better at avoiding the boy-girl divide.
The images below illustrate these principles perfectly.
Main image: Room to Bloom
X Ursula from Room to Bloom