Nursery Design Guide with Timeline

Hey there, I'm so glad you're here!

Congrats on your pregnancy!! Such an exciting time, but let's not pretend it's not a little stressful too. As a mama myself I remember all too well the many sleepless nights and time spent worrying about all there is to accomplish in 9 short months! Don't worry, I'm here to help with one of those things at least! I've spent the last 12 years helping mamas just like you design their dream nursery in time for baby's arrival. I've definitely learned a lot along the way and have put together this little guide as a stepping off point on your nursery design journey. Some things might work for you, while others may not, but I've found it helps to see the overall process and make a plan that works for you. An empty nursery can be so overwhelming, but this guide shows you where to start and the stops to make along the way. You'll find it's much more manageable then you realize! I'm passionate about helping you create your version of the perfect nursery, not someone else's.....So you can relax and enjoy your pregnancy journey, knowing you already have the perfect nursery awaiting. I hope this guide helps with that, and be sure to check out my blog (The Nursery Spot) for even more design guides, tips, and inspiration!


Start browsing Pinterest, blogs, magazines, and baby shops to see what’s out there…what catches your eye? Do you like something cute and fun, or something a bit more understated? As a general rule of thumb, I try to match the overall ‘style’ of the nursery to the rest of the house for a cohesive look (a super modern home with a shabby chic nursery doesn’t exactly work). With a caveat that the nursery can definitely be more fun and whimsical, you can take some chances you might not take in another room! As you narrow down some looks that you like, be sure to note color palettes that would work. Sometimes the color palette is the theme and that works too! At this stage, you are going to want to start a mood board to help narrow down some looks that you love. Try to find some running themes in the items you add (from textures and colors, to themes or styles).....are there certain interior styles or colors that you seem to be drawn to? Have fun with this and take your time, the extra effort spent here will pay off in the next steps!



Now that you had all the fun creating a moodboard, it’s time to do a little work! It’s time to start working on getting your nursery empty and taking some measurements. You will want to measure all the wall widths, as well as height. Also measure any windows from outside of the frame (width and height). You’ll need this info when you start choosing furniture and window coverings! Now that you have a nice empty room to work with (or mostly empty, just do the best you can), you can start ‘zoning’ your nursery. Don’t worry, it's easier than you think….you know that saying you see on all the onesies,‘eat, sleep, poop,repeat’? Well that’s totally true and that’s how I zone a nursery! You will need an eating zone, a sleeping zone, and a poop zone. Thinking of these 3 zones makes the goal clearer and not so overwhelming. EATING ZONE…some must-haves for this area are a comfy rocking chair and ottoman, as well as a nice side table to set things on. A storage basket nearby for extra blankets or burp cloths is helpful too. Ideally, it’s nice if your chair can be facing the crib or near the crib to watch baby sleep:) Adding a fuzzy little rug is a nice touch, you’ll want to feel extra cozy and comfy here, where you’ll spend so many hours making so many memories. On to the SLEEPING ZONE…which will be the crib, and of course your crib bedding. For this space, I like to consider where the vents may blow harshly or where light from a door opening might shine in, you want to keep baby comfy and sleeping! Also, when placing your crib, be sure to stay away from drapes, cords, tall shelves, or anything else that could fall down or be pulled down by baby. Finally, the POOPING ZONE, you’ll be spending a lot of time here as well! You will need a dresser with a changing pad, diaper/wipe organization, and your trusty diaper pail. I also like a dim lamp for overnight changes, so be sure there is an outlet available. If possible, keep this area close to the closet and hamper for easy access to fresh outfits. Don't miss our round up of changing tables HERE! This may seem like a lot, but honestly in most rooms, there is an obvious best choice that just seems natural for each of these zones;)These are just suggestions and may not work for every space, so just do the best you can!



I know what you’re thinking…it’s an empty room, there’s so much to buy, how do I know where to start?! Here’s my order and why:

FURNITURE: We just did our zoning, so you know you will need a crib (with mattress), rocking chair and ottoman, side table, and changing table (with changing pad). There are other things you can include, but these are the must-haves. Go back to your mood board for ideas on colors and style. While you are creating this vibe, it is also a good time to order any light fixtures that need installation (not lamps). Check our blog for so many ideas and tips on these items!

PATTERNS/STATEMENT PIECES: After you have your main furniture items, the next goal is to get any pieces with prints or patterns on them. These are the patterns that will bring out your ‘theme’ and really tie the room together. Generally this includes nursery linens (crib bedding, changing pad cover, curtains), wallpaper/decals, or a rug. It could include wall art if you have your heart set on something specific. Basically, any main theme must-haves, everything else will work around these items (example: I am in love with this wallpaper and need to make it work, or that crib sheet is exactly what I had in mind). We have many more guides that speak to these items, check out our blog for more tips and guides.

PAINT: Do yourself a favor and WAIT until you have your patterned pieces in hand (or swatches) before choosing a paint color. This is why I suggest starting that early. Paint can be matched to anything (seriously, your local paint shop can mix a paint to match your curtains or wallpaper!), but if you choose paint first it can be really hard to find items that coordinate with it. Again, check our blog for more nursery paint color guides and palettes.

FINAL TOUCHES: These are the items that just add that finishing touch and can be purchased anytime. This may include things like baskets/bins, a bookshelf, lamps, wall shelves, a crib mobile, wall art, or any other decor items. Ideally the timeline for this shopping is as follows. Order furniture as early as possible, with your patterned pieces shortly following (furniture must come first so you are sure your crib bedding fits the crib you chose). If your pieces are custom, or with a long lead time, be sure to ask for swatches. As soon as you have your patterns in hand, you will want to start with paint samples and ideally have the nursery painted before the furniture arrives (or wallpaper installed). It’s much easier to paint an empty nursery! This is also a good time to install any wired lighting fixtures. Allow plenty of time for the room to air out before installing the newly arrived furniture in the proper zones. Once the paint is dry, it’s a good time to install window coverings as well. Do yourself a favor and make sure you have blinds, or add blackout lining to your curtain panels. See our blog for nursery window covering ideas and measuring tips!