How One Interior Designer Curated a Playful Yet Sophisticated Nursery

As an interior designer, I’ve worked on every room of the house, and I have to say baby nurseries hold a particular joy. It’s the room in a home that evokes youthfulness and hope; I love seeing parents’ excitement when they step into the space where their children will play and grow. When I began my own pregnancy journey, designing my son Quinn’s room was a highlight. I spent many afternoons sitting on the floor of the future nursery, envisioning a whimsical, visually stimulating space that would eventually inspire some of his first memories.

I began the process by ordering over 20 wallpaper samples from Schumacher, Pierre Frey, Scalamandre, and Rebel Walls because I knew that was going to really make the room. The nursery could have gone in many different directions—I considered a dizzying assortment of wall coverings, from animal themes to space scapes, playful repeat patterns and abstract color washes—but I ultimately decided on a mural as the ideal way to maximize the visual experience. Rebel Walls’ jungle wallpaper achieved a playful sophistication that I wanted. It reminded me of my time spent with UNICEF in the lush forest of Rwanda, and I wanted to bring the outdoors in, especially since we live in the concrete jungle that is New York City.

Photo: Courtesy of Kirsten Francis Photography

Photo: Courtesy of Kirsten Francis Photography

When it came to other design elements, I prioritized items that would inspire learning experiences. For the art, I knew even before finalizing the wallpaper selection that we had to have a piece in the room by my close friend Shantell Martin. Her work is uplifting and always makes for a fun pop. Anytime Quinn is fussy, we bring him over to Shantell’s piece and, without fail, he is transfixed. If you know me, you know I love anything black and white, and the combination is especially beneficial for babies as the high contrast can help improve vision—not that I needed an excuse for a Shantell Martin moment!

Art by Shantell Martin.

Photo: Courtesy of Kirsten Francis Photography

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