Skip to main content

A simple DIY guide for a neutral baby nursery

Whether you don’t want to push gender norms on your baby or you’re not sure of your baby’s sex yet, a neutral palette for a nursery is fashionable and practical. If you don’t know your baby’s personality yet and want to keep it a calming space for you and them, going neutral is a safe bet. You can add pops of color in a mobile, rocking chair, wall decorations, and crib bedding that you can change out much more easily than a wall color. And if you have a neutral wall, you can change out any of those features for different colors or even a new theme anytime.

ocwarfford/Shutterstock

Neutral doesn’t mean just white

Not using pink or blue doesn’t mean you can’t use any color. Green and yellow are classics for unisex nurseries, but what about tan or gray or even orange or teal?

The real magic is in a color combo, maybe even with a pattern on the wall. Here are some exciting ideas:

  • Mint and navy
  • Gray and gold
  • Aqua and yellow
  • Gray and aqua
  • Yellow and gray
  • Black and white
  • Teal and yellow
  • White and gold

Any pastel will give a feeling that invokes “baby” and can easily be combined with beige, gray, or white for a classy look. The pastel will keep a muted tone as opposed to a bright and bold color that wouldn’t be very neutral anymore. If you want just gender-neutral and not neutral itself, feel free to go bright! The advantage to a softer palette is the calming effect of a place intended for sleep and the ability to swap out decor while still having a base that won’t clash.

Berg Dmitry / Shutterstock

Themes beyond pink and blue

Gender isn’t a theme, so choosing a gender-neutral nursery still lets you have lots of fun with the decor. Consider these gender-neutral nursery theme ideas:

  • Nautical (ships, anchors, navy and white)
  • Beach (seashells, starfish, beige)
  • Nighttime (moons, stars, navy)
  • Forest (bears, trees, owls, green and brown)

For many nesting parents, finding every little thing that is in line with the nursery theme can be an enjoyable way to wait for Baby’s arrival. You can bring all of this in with these decor elements:

  • Color of the crib, dresser, rocking chair, and changing table
  • Decals for walls and ceiling
  • Crib mobile
  • Color and pattern of crib sheets
  • Color and pattern of changing-pad covers
  • Wall art
  • Wall mural
  • Throw pillows
  • Area rug
  • Curtains

It’s also possible to be very subtle and choose one item — like stars — and bring that one motif back in a throw pillow and a few decals, but not everywhere you look. No matter how all-out you go, you will be choosing the color of all of these items (except a few nonessential items like throw pillows you can skip if keeping things simple), even if that color is white. Remember that all of these items will add up to be the feel of the nursery, so don’t get clashing items.

Going theme-free

The freedom of a neutral baby nursery is to choose not to go the way of any theme and keep things very simple, which can be stress-free for you and calming for the baby, too. A pure bright white wall will get scuffed and dirty easily and may be a bit stark, but a beige could accomplish the same neutral feeling but with some warmth. You could choose a color palette like beige and white, and get all of the furniture in one of the two hues you’ve chosen and call it a day. Color will come in through crib sheets and small ways like that you didn’t even think of, and the space will be primed for your baby to put their own spin on it when they’re a preschooler.

You can still make the space inviting with a brown teddy bear and other items in your theme-free palette. Filling the space with photos of the baby’s parents that can be replaced with family photos will make the space especially personal and comfort your baby, as well. You can also put glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling above the crib or other elements that don’t need a full-on theme to give the room some character.

Choosing a neutral baby nursery can be a relief because you don’t need to think of redecorating in six months when you’re sick of the seaside theme or when your two-year-old wants only dinosaurs (that don’t match well with outer space). Chances are, you’ll be grateful for your classic gray wall in the long run.

Editors' Recommendations

Sarah Prager
Sarah is a writer and mom who lives in Massachusetts. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, National…
What is the Ferber Method, and is sleep training safe for my baby?
Is sleep training using the Ferber Method right for your child? Learn more here
A baby awake in their crib in a sleep sack

One thing all new parents have in common is sleep deprivation. You can't really understand just how sleepless your nights, days, and everything in between can be with a new baby in the house until you're living it, but it doesn't take long to learn the hard way. Getting your baby to sleep can be a struggle, which is why many parents choose to sleep train their baby, often using something called the Ferber Method.
The Ferber Method is named for Richard Ferber, M.D., a pediatrician who created the method in the mid-80s and based his 1985 bestselling book,  on his methodology. If you've been struggling with sleep deprivation and are eager to get just a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, sleep training may be something to consider.

What is the Ferber Method?

Read more
Doula vs. midwife: What’s the difference?
What do midwives and doulas do?
Pregnant woman on a bed.

Finding out you're pregnant is an exciting time, but also one that comes with lots of decisions. For many, that's deciding whether to use a midwife or a doula throughout the pregnancy and labor. Individuals who are hoping for a drug-free delivery often prefer the services of a midwife or a doula; however, many don't know the differences between the two. While both these professions aid those through the labor process, their roles are actually quite different. Keep reading to decipher this: doula vs. midwife.
What's a midwife?

One of the biggest differences between midwives and doulas is that midwives are certified healthcare providers trained in obstetric and gynecological services. According to The Cleveland Clinic, midwives are "experts in uncomplicated OB/GYN care." Because midwives tend to prefer a more natural, unmedicated, and holistic approach to childbirth they are often favored by those looking for that in their childbirth experience.

Read more
Flying while pregnant? This is what you need to know
Know these guidelines about flying while you're with child
A family walking in an airport

Maybe you have to travel for work. Maybe you already had a vacation planned before finding out you were pregnant. However you got here, the reality is you're pregnant, and you have to get on a plane. Can you fly if you are pregnant, or is it on the list of no-no's, like soft cheese and deli meats? Whether you already booked that plane ticket or not, there are a few things about flying while pregnant to know. 
Traveling while pregnant
Let's break it down by trimester, so you know where you'll be when you take your trip.

First trimester travel
The first part of your pregnancy is usually OK to travel during. Most women don't start to show yet, feel pretty normal, and aren't physically restricted by a beach ball blocking everything they do. But there are two things to know if you fly in your first trimester.

Read more