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Room Tour: An On-trend Nursery That Works for a Boy or a Girl

Fashionable dark blue teamed with fresh coral makes for a stylish, gender-neutral nursery perfect for any baby

Houzz Contributor. Custom decorating professional and content creator for the home… More

Ever since her first baby came along, interior designer Rebecca Hay has been repurposing rooms around her house the way others might rotate their seasonal décor. First, she retrofitted her home office into a charming, gender-neutral nursery, where her toddler lived until baby number two took up residence in her brother’s old digs.

Since the room was designed to be gender-neutral from the start, passing the proverbial torch from toddler son to newborn daughter has been mercifully easy for this professional mum. Here’s how the space came together.

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Room at a Glance
Who lives here Designer Rebecca Hay, her husband and their two young children
Location Toronto, Canada
Size About 11 sq m
Designer Rebecca Hay of Rebecca Hay Designs

Photos by Stephani Buchman Photography

With all the office clutter out of the way, the small room needed little more than a fresh coat of paint, child-appropriate furniture and some style and personality.

Since designer Rebecca Hay and her husband didn’t know at the time whether they were having a boy or a girl, they wanted a flexible palette without resorting to the same grey-and-yellow scheme that seemed to have become the trendy default for gender-neutral nurseries.

Instead, she looked to the room’s natural light, or rather the lack of it, for inspiration. The small space is relatively dark, so Hay decided to embrace that fact and paint the walls in navy.

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Hay leaned on Houzz ideabooks to help her gather inspiration, looking at photos both of nurseries and other rooms that captured the moody depth she was after.

She had considered papering the walls, but decided star decals would be a better use of her decorating budget. Against the celestial navy, they hint at a “little explorer” design concept, Hay says.

She intended that the stars would burst out from the corner of the room, but during the “star sticker party” she hosted with her mum and husband, her approach suddenly seemed too structured: putting the stars up at random was a lot more fun.

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After choosing the wall colour, Hay shopped for the major pieces before layering accessories. Nursery or not, she wanted this room to relate to her home’s overall style, which mixes modern and traditional. So she selected a classic curtain style in a modern fabric, set against traditional wainscoting alongside a midcentury modern cot.

The coral curtains lean more to gender-neutral orange than girlie pink and are meant to stand out against the navy. “I love using fabric to bring in interest, texture and colour,” Hay says. The off-white pompom trimming on the leading edge is a “playful detail” and, rather miraculously, only a single ball has been plucked off by little fingers.

The fun light fixture is from Ikea and creates a lovely warm glow when dimmed.

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Hay had initially hung three bookshelves behind the rocking chair to house her son’s bedtime stories, but the plaster walls of her old house made it extremely difficult to find any studs to securely attach the shelves. In the middle of the night, the shelves came crashing down. So she strategically hung framed photos of her son and his birth certificate to hide the drilled holes.

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Hay customised an affordable Ikea chest of drawers with square brass knobs to give it some personality.

Drawer knobs, Anthropologie.

What do you think of this gender-neutral nursery? Are there any ideas you’d steal? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.

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