Hey guys! Jacqueline here with another baby-related / kid-friendly post. For those of you who don’t know, I’m an elementary teacher by day. I teach second grade and one of my favorite aspects of teaching is having my own classroom and getting to set it up exactly how I want each year to meet the needs of my students. In college, I studied early childhood environments and designs for living and learning as my senior capstone project. I learned about the importance of using neutral colors, accent lighting and natural light as well as soothing sounds to make children feel comfortable and welcome in these environments. When it came time to start designing our nursery, I knew I wanted to implement some of the same concepts I learned throughout my capstone and apply in my classroom every year. Check out my tips for creating peaceful spaces for little ones below! There really is a science to it.
S O U N D
First and foremost, designing a quiet space is key (especially for a nursery). Before Luca’s room was a nursery it served as our guest bedroom. By far the weirdest part of the room was the awful slotted pantry doors the previous owners used as a bedroom door. I always felt terrible because the few guests that stayed over and utilized the room had little to no privacy. We always knew we would add a real door someday but never got around to it until we started the nursery. We ordered a solid wood door from Lowes, painted it white to match the rest of our bedroom doors and added new brass hardware (c/o Nostalgic Warehouse). After seeing their hammered knobs on Sarah’s interior doors I had to check them out. All of their hardware is gorgeous and it’s such great, heavy quality! We went with their New York knob and door hinge in antique brass because it was very similar to the original hardware we had on the other bedroom doors. After adding a new door and proper hardware, the room is much quieter and more appropriate for baby.
All of this to say, a quiet and calm bedroom is essential for promoting sleep. In addition to the solid wood door, other items that help with acoustics are: textiles, like a plush wool rug, window treatments, and upholstered furniture all help to absorb and divert noise. The only good kind of sound preferred to promote a sleeping child is white noise. I’ll touch more on that below!
Although my classroom is not always quiet (pretty much impossible with 20 seven and eight year-olds), I do enjoy times of quiet work paired with relaxing classical music. My students almost always choose to work to music when given the choice…kids love it! It helps them focus and relax. Dan and I have a few Sonos speakers in our home and we plan on buying another one for the nursery once Luca is completely moved in. Right now he loves listening to lullabies we find on Amazon Music or Youtube. They also help us stay calm when he’s having a fussy night…ha! For sleeping, we use a white noise machine. After much research, we added the all natural Marpac Dohm Baby Sound Machine to our registry and so far we love it! It has both a high and a low speed with a built in fan that creates the sound of rushing air. It does a great job of drowning out unwanted sounds so you can sleep peacefully at night. We have even joked about buying another one to keep in our room once Luca starts sleeping in the nursery.
L I G H T I N G
Another important factor is lighting. When it came to the nursery I knew I wanted blackout shades – good for naps and falling asleep on summer nights when the sun stays around a little longer. Plus, they just look so good! I love these simple, custom shades we chose from Blinds Galore. We went with the designer roman shades in linen and added a contrast border. For more of their products see Sarah’s post on roman shades.
I know this may seem strange, but I hardly ever have my overhead lights on in my classroom. I absolutely hate harsh fluorescent lighting. Research shows that using accent lighting instead of overhead lighting calms children as they come into a room – especially children with special needs. Instead, I use several lamps and sets of string lights around my room to provide light and I always have the blinds open on the windows to allow as much natural night in as possible. I also use mirrors to reflect light throughout the room. Similarly, you can see some of those same elements used in Luca’s nursery.
C O L O R S
Finally, one of the most important things I took away from my research in college was the benefit of using neutral colors in spaces designed for children. This may go against everything you have heard before, since most kid-friendly spaces are full of bright, primary colors. Since I am already a big fan of neutral hues, I had no problem adopting this idea in the nursery. For Luca’s room, I wanted to create a bright, light space that also felt warm and inviting. Even though the wallpaper is very busy, the room sill feels calm due to the neutral color palette and added textures.
M A T E R I A L S
Lastly, I wanted to touch on materials. Much like food, the products in our homes contain some unhealthy materials. Carefully read product specifications and stick to natural materials. For example, when shopping for a rug, opt for cotton, wool, or jute as opposed to synthetic materials. They’ll last longer, feel better, look nicer, and most importantly- are kid and baby friendly. Some of the non natural options contain nasty ingredients like formaldehyde. We don’t want our little ones rolling around and playing on carpet that has fibers that eventually become airborne and contain chemicals.
It’s just like baby proofing your home… you wouldn’t buy a sharp object and allow your child to play around it. The same goes for unsafe decor.
To recap… here’s how to create happy, calming spaces that promote better sleeping and learning:
- Update doors and windows.
- Layer textiles (rugs, window treatments, insert upholstered furniture)
- Insert soothing sounds like relaxing music or white noise.
- Invest in black-out drapery, to keep out light during the day or in the morning / early evening hours.
- Rely on accent lighting more than overhead lighting.
- Incorporate neutral colors into the room to help children feel calm and comfortable since bright colors can be over-stimulating for little ones.
- Stick to natural textiles like cotton, wool, jute, etc.
- Carefully read specifications prior to purchasing decor.
I would love to hear how you guys have used these tricks in your nursery or if you have any tips you would love to share (you can never have too many)! Also, favorite music playlists for your babies? We are going to be looking for some pretty soon so I’d love your ideas!
*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Nostalgic Warehouse. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we truly use and enjoy!
Naman ModiJanuary 16, 2018 at 5:31 am
Another thing I would recommend is installing a dimmer on your overhead light in the nursery so you have a choice between dark and full light. You’ll appreciate that in the middle of the night
SarahJanuary 16, 2018 at 7:56 am
Such a smart idea!
JacquelineJanuary 16, 2018 at 10:11 am
That is a great idea! We have dimmers on other lights in our home and it never crossed my mind to do one in the nursery. Maybe we will have to add one. :-)
carolineJanuary 21, 2018 at 11:28 am
Looks beautiful! Great tips too. Would you mind linking to the door you got at Lowe’s? I need new interior doors but don’t love some of the paneling styles. Thanks!
JacquelineJanuary 23, 2018 at 12:48 pm
Hi Caroline! Since our house is pretty old, we actually had to order a custom solid wood door from Lowes. We gave them our measurements and it took about two weeks to come in. Sorry I can’t help more with a link! Best of luck on your project. :-)
Judi MooreAugust 24, 2018 at 8:46 am
Sarah, quick question about the shade. I’m just about to pull the trigger on shades through Blinds Galore. I was curious about the pattern you mentioned. When you say linen did you go with the Linen texture? I read your advice on going with natural products so I’m curious if you went that route or if referring to color? They look fantastic so I’m going with whatever you chose :)
SarahAugust 25, 2018 at 11:45 am
Hi Judi, I always try to choose a natural material- like linen, cotton, etc. I just think it lays better and looks higher end… so in short, I was referencing material rather than color. Hope this helps! xo