How to Decorate a Bright and Colorful Nursery

9 Tips for Creating Bold and Beautiful Nurseries

Bright and colorful boy's nursery in lime green and navy blue
Photo via The Bell Family.

It's amazing what a touch of color can do for an otherwise blank canvas. Bold and vibrant color combos—like orange and hot pink or lime green and teal—enjoy a certain infallible trendiness and bring a fun and fresh feel to any room. That being said, working with color can be intimidating.

Feeling a little less than confident about your color scheme? Check out these helpful tips for creating a bright and colorful nursery space.

Consider Your Canvas

When working with bold colors, it’s important to take your design cues from the existing space. Bold colors can easily overwhelm a small room, but if used conservatively, those same hues can actually make a room appear bigger and brighter.

If your nursery is small, be sure to incorporate a lot of white space, allowing accents and accessories to create a bright and energizing splash of color.

If you do choose a bold shade for the walls, opt for a cooler color, such as a bright blue or green. Warm colors draw the walls in, making the room seem smaller, but cool colors tend to make a small space feel bigger.

Have your heart set on a warmer shade? Consider using a monochromatic color scheme. Using a single color throughout your design diminishes visual breaks, making the space appear larger and more open.

Be Color Conscious

Color can have some powerful effects. Studies have found that exposure to certain colors can evoke positive emotions, improve sleep habits, increase memory power and even enhance academic performance—excellent benefits for growing minds and bodies. Before slapping any old shade on the wall, why not take a moment to learn about the potential psychological effects of your color choice.

Consult a Color Wheel

Choosing an attractive, well-coordinated color scheme can prove challenging, especially when working with bold colors. Looking for a supporting cast for your star hue? Take a cue from professional designers, and pick up a color wheel.

Colors basically coordinate in one of two ways. Complimentary colors sit in direct opposition to one another. These color pairings, such as blue and orange, create balance.

Analogous colors sit next to each other on the color wheel. Analogous or “similar” color pairings, such as pink and orange, coordinate because they share a base color.

It may be a little tricky at first, but once you understand how to use a color wheel, identifying coordinating color schemes can be fun and easy—and a lot less messy than experimenting with finger paint.

Remember: Less is More

When choosing your palette, be sure to limit your selection to just two or three hues, making an effort to use each shade multiple times throughout the room.

Aim for at least three uses per color. This helps to create continuity, ensuring a flowing and well-coordinated design. Also, never underestimate the power of white space. A little bold goes a long way. White space creates contrast, giving the eyes a break and allowing bold hues to pop.

Find Fabric First

Settled on the perfect color scheme? Don’t pull out that paintbrush just yet! Before you show up at your local hardware store, paint chip in hand, you might want to do a little shopping. Finding bright orange crib bedding is enough of a challenge, and nothing is worse than being forced to relinquish the perfect accessories because you’ve already made your paint selection.

Given the astounding array of available paint colors and the prevalence of color-match technology, it's definitely easier to choose your textiles first and then buy paint to match.

Introduce a Bold Pattern

Bold patterns look great with bright colors - just don’t overdo it. Choose a large-scale pattern that incorporates plenty of neutral space, and use it sparingly, taking care to break up patterned elements with blocks of solid color.

For example, if you choose a patterned bedspread, pair it with a solid bed skirt in a complimentary color. Using patterned wallpaper? You might want to consider a solid curtain fabric. This creates clear visual boundaries between patterns, eliminating confusion and giving each patterned element a crisp, clean look.

Testing 1…2…3

Once you’ve purchased your key accessories and found paint chips to match, it’s time for a test run. Paint chips can be deceiving, and colors often appear different once they’ve made it to the wall. Before committing to your colors, bring home samples and paint large swatches, paying attention to how they are affected by the room’s natural light throughout the day. Satisfied? Get your roller ready! If not, choose a slightly different shade and try again.

Work Under Primed Conditions

While primer is not always necessary, it has many benefits. Primer is specially formulated to make paint adhere to the wall, creating a better-looking, longer-lasting finish. If you are painting virgin drywall, it’s a good idea to prime the surface first as drywall can suck up a lot of paint, resulting in an uneven finish. Primer also ensures that the color you buy is the color you get, especially if you are painting over rich colors. Making the effort to prime your walls can save you time and money in the long run, preventing you from having to apply a second or even third coat of pricy paint.

Go Bold with Accents

Love bold colors, but limited on space‑or courage? Why not choose a daring accent color? Even in a small room, a single, well-placed accent wall in a bold color can add depth, making the space appear larger. You can also introduce a bold hue by opting for bright accessories, such as curtains and throw pillows.

Looking for more ways to bring a little color into your life? Give your baby’s room a color boost with these simple tips for creating a more colorful nursery space.