Nursery Themes: Arctic Explorer

Rustic winter-themed kids bedroom

 Photo via Restoration Hardware.

Looking for a nursery theme that's a little out of the ordinary? If penguins and polar bears tickle your fancy, an arctic explorer theme may be just what you’re looking for!

This imaginative theme offers a fresh take on the nature-themed nursery, combining rustic woodland charm with world-exploring adventure. It's also a completely gender-neutral theme, making it an excellent choice for shared spaces and for parents who don't yet know the sex of their baby.

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    Incorporate your Favorite Decor Styles

    Whether you prefer modern, minimalist décor or something a touch more rustic, you won’t find it very difficult to integrate your favorite design style into this fun and flexible theme.

    If stark and icy is your angle, aim for a more modern design, featuring cool neutrals and clean lines. Picturing something a little cozier? Introduce rustic design elements, such as natural woods and raw textures, for a look more reminiscent of a warm winter cabin.

    Can’t decide? Do both! Scandinavian style decor does an excellent job of creating simple, modern spaces with nature at the center, combining minimalist design principles with rustic comforts.

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    Go Beyond White

    Think white is boring? Think again! This crisp, clean neutral is far more complex than it looks. Dozens of shades, featuring rich and varying undertones, make the arctic tundra a far more colorful place then you might imagine.

    Still, while whites, greys, and blues may be the obvious choice for an arctic-inspired palette, they are not the only choice. Don’t be afraid to play with a broader spectrum of frosty pinks, purples, and even greens. Want to make your icy palette really pop? Try incorporating a bold accent like red, teal or navy blue.

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    Play with Texture

    To make your baby’s wintery world look like the real thing, concentrate on incorporating authentic textures. Stone, glass and metallic accents create a fun, frosty feel. Make your walls shimmer with metallic decals and fill the space with sparkly silver accessories. Try creating an icy accent wall using glass tile or stone; or build an Igloo playhouse out of glass bricks.

    Remember, contrast is key, so be sure to layer in lots of soft and cozy textures. Think fur throws, rich woods and other natural materials, such as wool and wicker. 

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    Get Creative with Christmas Decor

    Christmas is the perfect time to pick up some great, arctic-inspired accessories, but be careful not to go over the top with the holiday trappings. Think wintery wonderland - not Christmas kitsch.

    The goal is to incorporate holiday décor in unusual, unexpected ways. Try filling a glass vase with icy blue Christmas lights for a frosty nightlight. Drape icicle garlands across the windows, or use individual plastic icicles to make a one-of-a-kind chandelier or an elegant, light-catching mobile. You could even create a cozy little pine grove using two or three rustic-looking Christmas trees of varied size and texture. The possibilities are practically endless!

    If you prefer something a little more understated, look for accessories that give off a wintery vibe without screaming "Christmas."

    With their bright red finish and cheery glow, the "Illuminated Stars," pictured above, add just the right touch to a rustic, wintery space.

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    Inspire Wonder

    Snow, ice and fluffy, arctic friends make for adorable nursery décor, but if you want to up the educational value, try making science and exploration part of your theme.

    Stage an arctic expedition, incorporating accessories such as maps, globes and steamer trunks into your design. Stars and constellations also fit well into an arctic motif. (After all, nothing beats the view from the top of the world!) Light up the night sky with an inexpensive star projector, or dazzle your little stargazer with nature’s greatest show: The Northern Lights