By Bonnie Siegler
If you’re planning nursery décor, your color choice may be more than just a preference. Inspired by a few celebs’ favorite hues, expert color theorist Dewey Sadka and Serena Dugan, co-founder of premier linens and décor company Serena & Lily, combined color personality theory with decorating advice to help you create your ideal baby retreat. Plus: nursery feng shui and a baby registry for the real world.
JULIA ORMOND (mom of Sophie, 5)
“I’ve always preferred being outdoors, so nature’s colors, such as blues and greens, help recharge my batteries and are indicative of my happy childhood.”
Optimistic and dreamy, blue buffs overlook little slights and stumbling blocks, give ¬others the benefit of the doubt, and see the sunny side of life. If you like blue, you create a ¬positive, upbeat presence that keeps those around you moving forward. Julia’s concerned about creating an environment that creates a great future. Sophie is surrounded by a positive, stimulating, illusive dream world that emits an ordered, traditional home feeling.
Blue is always a great direction for a boy’s nursery, but it can work just as well for a girl. Consider mixing shades of lighter blues and bright greens or yellows for a fresh take on a girl’s room.
ANA ORTIZ (mom of Paloma, 1½)
“I love Indian batik prints in bright yellows and reds. I just think those colors are so gorgeous and vibrant.”
A fondness for yellow suggests Ana’s an optimist who
accepts people for who they are and likes to make everyone feel good. She extends herself without expecting anything in return, but she doesn’t accept kindness easily, so it’s hard for others to do nice things for her. Ana is the ultimate caretaker. She creates a very comforting life for Paloma. In Ana’s home, the child can develop on her own. Their world emits warm, clear thinking perspectives.
Yellow can be a great color for a gender-neutral nursery, but the actual shade makes a big difference in the overall effect. Opt for a punchy, strong yellow on bedding and furnishings paired with lots of bright white on furniture and walls.
For a secondary accent color, try cornflower blue for the Provençal look, or a little bit of black, for more Paris than Provence!
Gold & Bronze
KATHY IRELAND (mom to Erik, 15; Chloe, 11; and Lily, 7)
“When I’m overwhelmed and want a cozy place, I’ll dress in warmer colors such as gold or bronze.”
A woman who’s drawn to bronze and gold is not the type to sit back and let the world pass her by. She has high ambitions and enjoys life to the fullest. Kathy is constantly asking what’s best for her children. Their world is full of innovative thoughts and artistic experiences.
Gold has more life than a neutral. Use it in a girl’s nursery in tandem with shades of camel and pops of peach or coral. Bring color in with pictures and mirror frames or decorative pieces. Seek out decorative
COURTNEY COX ARQUETTE (mom to Coco, 6)
“Green reminds me of fresh-cut flowers, which I love.”
A preference for green reveals a person who’s a terrific listener and never too busy for others—a real help when you’re a mom. A green lover’s true gift is the ability to put herself in other’s shoes. Green is nurturing and supportive. Courtney has a natural intuitive response to what’s needed. Coco likely feels secure with her constant attention. Their world emits a trustful, relaxing feeling.
Green never goes out of style. It’s a classic compliment to pink for a girl or blue for a boy. Or make it its own story in a neutral nursery by mixing various shades of green, tempered
by a lot of bright white for a look that’s classic, yet unexpected.
HALLE BERRY (mom to Nahla, 2½):
“I like the basic color black a lot, but I also like pink, which is very feminine.”
An affinity for black indicates that you’re fiercely loyal, committed to all of your relationships, and extremely disciplined about achieving goals. Lovers of black tend to be emotional people and often make decisions based on feelings rather than logic. Halle has a deep, powerful, emotional connection to Nahla. Feelings are primary. When her child is happy, she is too.
Black in the nursery can be a very crisp accent when used right. In a girl’s room, pair a black crib and dresser with shell pink and loads of white instead of the over-used pink-and-chocolate color combo.
JESSALYN GILSIG (mom of Penelope, 3½)
“Putting orange in my house made it feel really child friendly and full of spirit.”
Full of spirit and creativity, Jessalyn and Penelope have
a very huggable relationship. Their days are full of together experiences and non-stop action. Their world emits a freethinking, bold, progressive energy.
Orange may be my favorite punch of color for a boy’s nursery, yet it has to be used sparingly to be
effective. Pair it with any shade of blue, or for a less predictable look, combine it with brown or cream.
NICOLE KIDMAN (mom to Sunday Rose, 2)
“I loved the dress I chose for the Oscars several years ago – a mixture of blush and pink.”
A preference for pink comes with a genuine concern for others. It makes you appear angelic—that’s your great strength. But you need appreciation for your deeds in order to move forward in life. Nicole is very giving. She sees Sunday Rose as a powerful individual. Her smile encourages her to be herself and express how she feels. Their world starts each day anew, guided by encouraging, calming love.
Pink can go in so many directions, from toned-down and almost neutral to bright and feminine. Feel free
to experiment and choose a shade
you can live with.
MOLLY RINGWALD (mom to Adele and Roman, 10 months; Mathilda, 6)
“I tend to favor jewel tones and red in particular. Red is a powerful color.”
A passion for red announces loud and clear that a woman is a mover and shaker who does nothing halfway. Direct and practical with a clear idea of what she wants, Molly lets others know where they stand and establishes firm boundaries. She’s the ultimate mom. She lovingly teaches her children how to take care of themselves. She’s out to make sure they have the power to make their dreams come true. Their world emits a grounded, forceful, authentic energy.
Red can be a great punch color in a boy’s room, when used either sparingly as a bright or in a darkened, almost neutralized shade. A deeper shade of red can be beautiful as a crib color, then picked up in details around the room.
Newborns can benefit from balance in their lives, and with a nursery designed according to the Chinese art of feng shui, “the child will be at peace and naturally sleep well,” says Valerie Bogdan, a feng shui consultant in Long Branch, NJ.
Feng shui is deeply rooted in nature and simplicity. Bogdan recommends organic bedding, natural-fiber carpet, full-spectrum light bulbs that provide natural light, and paint instead of wallpaper. “You want everything pure, simple, and real,” she says. Bogdan also recommends a balance of textures—soft, smooth blankets with knobbier knitted ones, for instance—and a variety of shapes. Because most furniture is angular, blend in circular shapes, such as round pillows on a comfy glider.
Movement is key, and babies love it, too. A crystal hanging in the window creates prisms—perfect infant entertainment. A fan clears stagnant energy and releases a soothing sound. “Feng shui is based on things that have life,” Bogdan says. Also try a mellow mobile—placed out of reach of the crib.
Bogdan avoids overtly gender-conscious themes: A harmony of masculine and feminine is comforting and creates balance. She suggests soothing artwork and photos of important family or caregivers.
When I picked out gear for my first child, I was clueless about what a baby really needs. We ended up with stuff we never used (wipes warmer, I’m talking to you) and neglected to ask for items we soon found indispensable (hello, bedside bassinet!).
Don’t let your registry become a cautionary tale. Follow our
mom-created guide to what you really need.
Many parents don’t use the nursery much at first, but once baby outgrows the bassinet, you’ll want:
CRIB Fine to get secondhand if you’ve checked for recalls, but avoid drop-sides.
MATTRESS, PAD, and CRIB SHEETS
ROCKER or GLIDER
VIDEO BABY MONITOR Kennette Jones, mother of two in Murray, KY, says, “When they’re crying, I can see if they’re just fussing in their sleep or they really need me. Plus it’s very entertaining to see what they do at night!”
Changing table? You’ll change baby
everywhere but there. What you will need:
DIAPERS and WIPES
DIAPER PAIL Sensitive smellers swear by Diaper Genie (playtexbaby.com), but others say any lidded pail will do.
DIAPER CREAM Boudreaux’s Butt Paste (buttpaste.com) is a rash-fighting superhero.
DIAPER BAG with travel wipes case.
NEVER KNEW YOU NEEDED IT With a diaper caddy, you take the changing area to baby.
Source this second-hand, with one notable exception—car seats. The must-haves:
STROLLER or SLING Most moms prefer one or the other, but you may not know which until you try both. Be sure to try slings on for size.
LAYETTE Try eBay before retail!
BABY SWING or BOUNCER
CAR SEAT Buy new.
NEVER KNEW YOU NEEDED IT Two shopping-cart covers, one for the laundry, one for the car.
A few items to make life simpler for yourself:
A QUALITY BREAST PUMP
NURSING BRAS Factor in post-baby milk-enhancement when sizing.
NURSING PADS Reusable silicone Lily Padz (simplylily.com) nip leaks in the bud.
BPA-FREE BOTTLES 2–4 for nursing moms, 8–10 for non-nursing moms.
DISHWASHER BOTTLE BASKET This is good for sippy-cup parts, too.
PORTABLE BABY-BOOSTER SEAT NEVER KNEW YOU NEEDED IT Baby’s own space in an Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper. Everyone will sleep better and safer. It’s great for travel, too.