5 Best Modern Gender-Neutral Nursery Themes

The countdown is on! As you prepare for your baby’s arrival, decorating the nursery is one of the most fun to-dos to cross off your list—especially because modern nursery designs aren’t limited to a stereotypical choice of pink, blue, or yellow. Whether you’re a minimalist, a maximalist, or somewhere in between, these days you can create a baby nursery that reflects your own personal style.
One of the top trends in nursery design is a gender-neutral space. Whether you want a gender-neutral nursery because you’re keeping your baby’s sex a surprise, you don’t want to impose gender norms, or you just want a space that you can use for future children, a gender-neutral scheme is a popular choice for a room that will grow with your baby—and it offers lots of options to create a chic and creative nursery for your little one.

Themes for a Modern Baby Nursery 

Not sure where to start? Check out these five nursery ideas that we love.

1. Take a Look in a Book

Find inspiration for your baby’s nursery ideas in the pages of a favorite children’s book. Classics like Where the Wild Things Are, Guess How Much I Love You, or The Very Hungry Caterpillar provide lots of design elements you can weave into the room. Start with a color palette inspired by the book—think bright, primary hues for The Very Hungry Caterpillar, pretty pastels for Guess How Much I Love You, or muted tones for a Where the Wild Things Are theme—and fill in with textiles, rugs, stuffed animals, and art prints.

Alternatively, you can go with a general book theme and frame art from your favorite kids’ books to hang on the walls. Etsy is a great resource for affordable yet unique nursery art, and many of the artists can customize or personalize pieces just for you.
If you opt for a book-themed baby nursery, ask shower guests to bring their favorite children’s book with a personalized inscription to add to your baby’s library.

2. Bring the Forest In

Want nursery ideas that celebrate the great outdoors? A woodland theme can create a chic yet welcoming space for your baby. Start with neutral beige and green walls and floor coverings, then layer in a tree motif with wall decals and faux branches artfully placed throughout the room. For the finishing touch, hang sweet, framed photographs of baby bunnies, deer, owls, or other adorable woodland creatures.

3. Take Inspiration from a Favorite Tune

Create a gorgeous modern nursery design with a “You Are My Sunshine” theme. Use subtle whites and greys for walls and floor coverings and bring in bold, sunshiny hues through textiles, décor, and bedding with a sun and hearts motif. Complete the room with a “You Are My Sunshine” banner.

4. Go Bold

Break free of the pastel palette of most nursery designs and boldly go with a rich, dark wall color for a sophisticated look: think deep greens, blues, or plums. You can lighten things up with white or light-toned baby furniture, colorful bedding and window treatments, and playful décor, such as a lucite lamp and wicker baskets. Not only is this a stylish approach that can blend with the rest of your home, it’s a practical one that lets you layer on items to personalize the room as you get to know your baby and learn what he or she likes.

5. Look to the Sky

Puffy white clouds and twinkling stars are a dreamy theme for a minimalist baby nursery. Choose a soft, crisp grey for the walls, a simple white crib and dresser, and gauzy window coverings that let in a lot of natural light (you can mount a simple blackout shade on the window frame to block light for nap times). Complete the look with a fluffy white rug, a cloud mobile, and some gentle twinkle lights to illuminate the room at night.

Remember that for the first few weeks and months, your baby’s “nursery” will extend beyond the four walls of his or her room. For convenience, many parents choose to set up areas throughout the house for their baby to sleep, play, eat, and get changed. Chances are, in the beginning your baby will spend more time sleeping in a bassinet in your bedroom and playing in an electric baby swing in the living room than they will in their own room. Even so, your baby will still need their own dedicated baby nursery space where you can store their things, change their diapers, and provide a safe place for them to play and sleep.

Whichever theme you ultimately choose, make sure your design is as functional as it is beautiful by carefully thinking about how the room will be used. You’ll need a place for your baby to sleep, play, and get changed, a space to store clothes, diapers, bassinet sheets, a baby playard and other baby needs. You and your baby will be spending a lot of time together in the nursery in the months to come, so create a thoughtful design to make it a space that you love being in.