Choosing a Colour Scheme For Your Child's Nursery

by Sarah Hurst

You may think that choosing a colour scheme for your child’s nursery would be one of the easier points of parenting – surely you just pick a colour you like and away you go?

Well, hold your horses for a minute, because there are a few things to consider before jumping in with the paintbrush and roller…

Choosing a colour to promote sleep

Believe me now when I tell you just how high up on the agenda this will become. Yes, for the earlier days of your child’s life they will be sleeping in your bedroom with you, perhaps even co-sleeping, but as they get older and move into their own rooms you will want to maximise the sleep opportunities wherever possible! This includes thinking about the kind of colours you have within the bedroom surroundings. Here are a few things to think about:

  • Paler, more toned down shades promote a more calming atmosphere than bright and vibrant colours
  • Matte colours appear much softer than gloss paint which helps with the wind-down for sleep
  • Avoid purple – this colour is great for creativity as it keeps the mind awake, not so great for sleep!
  • Avoid energetic colours such as red – although, dimmed red lights ARE the right choice for sleeping as they don’t interfere with the sleep hormone in the same way that white and blue lights do.
  • Pastel pink is very close to many natural skin tones which is recommended by those who practise feng shui as a way of maximising a zen-like state within a room
  • Pastel blue is believed to be the calmest colour of all and perfect for promoting a sleepy surrounding
  • Light greens can help to mimic the look of nature, helping to promote peace and positivity!

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Choosing a colour scheme dependent upon age

Although your baby will be sleeping in your room at night time, perhaps you will still place them in the nursery for daytime naps?

Are you hoping to promote a place of interest, happiness and security rather than just a place to calm down and sleep?

Young babies respond best to high contrast objects and images such as black and white, so whilst the muted tones of the cot mobile may look lovely, they won't hold your baby’s interest as much as a black and white pattern.

For older children, you may which to make their room more of a sanctuary, somewhere they enjoy playing ad imagining during the day, and drifting off into dreamland at night time. Choose wall murals, decals and stickers carefully. Enchanted woodlands and forests may help to promote calm and wonderful dreams whereas an animal kingdom, jungle theme may not…is your child at the age where they are prone to nightmares or scared of shadows? Try to limit pictures and images on the walls if so.

Do you know whether you are having a boy or a girl?

If like us, you’re decorating the nursery ready for a little arrival – sex unknown – you may be wondering how best to go about this?

Obviously, that’s not to say that you have to avoid a certain colour if you’re having a boy or vice versa if you’re having a girl, but you may prefer to choose a more ‘neutral’ colour, appropriate for all interests and personalities!

We decided to go with a grey colour in our nursery, as we knew that we would be able to ‘accessorise’ with almost any other colour alongside this later on, and it would still look great. I can’t think of a colour that wouldn’t work alongside a grey, can you?

There are lots of temporary changes you can make in the rest of the room such as a light shade, temporary wall decals, handles on drawers or wardrobes, bedding, soft toys etc which will add additional colour to the room without having to repaint the walls!

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50 shades of grey…

If you decide to go down the neutral grey route, just how do you choose which shade to go for??

Greys can often have undertones that become more obvious when painted on a larger scale….brown greys, lilac greys, green greys…make sure you do your research and look at the colours in natural lighting and also within the room that you will be painting.

The size of the room will make a big difference to how the shade will look. Smaller rooms tend to cast more shadows and look darker, and therefore smaller, than larger rooms. Try to choose a paler shade for a smaller room than you think in necessary, and look at where the natural light falls within the room itself.

My biggest tip: Paint some plain paper with your colour sample test pots and stick them up on your wall. It means you don’t have to paint lots of tester colours on your actual wall, and you can move the paper around to see how it looks within different parts of the room.


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Written by

Sarah Hurst

YBC Blogger, EYFS Teacher, SME Owner and Mum of 2
Sarah is an EYFS Primary school Teacher, Blogger and mum of two to Arthur and Charlotte. You can find her over at www.Arthurwears.com , a child development and family lifestyle blog, sharing her favourite tried and tested ‘Learning Through Play’ activities; thoughts and advice on parent and child wellbeing; and Lifestyle recommendations for busy families. Never without an emergency stash of dark chocolate (or a small child to share it with) you can also follow her sleep deprived updates on social media.

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