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New ideas for nurseries

From the Resene decorating blog

Decorating a nursery is an exciting time – especially if it’s your first time.

Woodland whimsy - child's bedroom

A simple hand painted tree lends this child’s bedroom some woodland whimsy.

The wall is painted in Resene Schooner with tree and shelves in Resene Silver Sand. The bird and yellow leaves are painted in Resene Apache, as is the lamp. The floor is Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Bed frame painted in Resene Aquaclear Satin with tips in Resene Elephant, stool in Resene Frozen and wooden mountain toy in Resene Elephant. The toy box is stained in Resene Colorwood Natural, sealed in Resene Aquaclear Satin, with triangles in Resene Crusoe, Resene Apple Blossom, Resene Cashmere, Resene Nero, Resene Spring Wood, Resene Bullwhip, Resene Half Kumutoto and Resene Rice Cake. Project by Annick Larkin, image by Bryce Carleton.

Of course, preparing for a baby can also be an expensive time, so finding the right balance of creating a perfect baby bedroom at a reasonable cost, can be tricky.

Redecorating with Resene paint can be a help because it’s relatively inexpensive, and you can easily upgrade to a new look as baby grows up into a toddler, tween and then teenager!

Here’s a look at some fresh ideas for decorating a modern nursery, without blowing your budget, that will leave you with a space that you love to spend time in with your baby or toddler.


Like any room in your house we can see trends come and go for decorating nurseries. Though being ‘trendy’ isn’t necessarily top-of-mind for most new parents when they’re looking at creating a baby’s room, a look at some recent trends can help you narrow down what you’re looking for.

As with many of our interior spaces, one of the biggest trends for nurseries is about simplifying everything and getting back to nature. Think natural fibres and materials with plenty of wood grain finishes and soft natural textiles like cotton and merino.

Try a pared-back colour palette of natural neutrals like wood stained in Resene Colorwood Natural or given a touch of colour in Resene Colorwood Deep Oak or washed with Resene Colorwood Rising Tide.

Pair your wood finishes with other earthy whites neutrals like Resene Blanc, Resene Spanish White and Resene Half Parchment. For a more botanical finish try deeper shades like Resene Double Lemon Grass or grey-blue Resene Tuna.

Wallpaper is also making a comeback into nurseries as another simple, cost-effective way to add biophilic designs and colours. Try a mural feature wall with the simple, charming tree design of Resene Wallpaper Collection DGN102367198 or opt for the pared-back texture of subtly pink Resene Wallpaper Collection E307338.

Top tip:  If you love a wallpaper print but don’t want to paper the whole nursery frame small drops to hang as art. Some Resene Wallpaper Collection designs are available to buy in small sections rather than whole rolls.

If you want a little more colour for your nursery space mauves and purples are really popular right now, and make a more modern alternative to old school nurseries in blue or pink. Try a tonal layered effect with walls in soothing Resene Poet, with decor pieces in Resene Sonique and Resene Unicorn, with a bolder accent note in Resene Paua.

Alternatively, try a mix of soothing pastels in Resene Chino, Resene Half Perfect Taupe and Resene Soothe.

There is definitely space for darker shades in nurseries, to help create cosy rooms designed for restful sleep. Dark, inky blues like Resene Ocean Waves are perennially popular. Cut through the dense colour with a note of delicate Resene Pale Rose, or a bolt of yellow in Resene Light Fantastic.

A nursery with a painted night sky backdrop

The night sky makes a beautiful backdrop to the cot in this nursery.

The rear wall is Resene Warrior with stars in Resene Black White topcoated in Resene FX Nightlight. Left wall and floor painted in Resene Mystic, star ornament in Resene Proton metallic paint, toy box, wall hook and shelves in Resene Reservoir, vases in Resene Half Jumbo, Resene Reservoir, Resene Warrior and Resene Hermitage and DIY kite mobile in Resene Proton, Resene Reservoir, Resene Half Jumbo and Resene Black White with wooden beads accents in Resene Reservoir. Cot from Mocka, bedlinen and cushions from Kmart. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

An Antarctic themed kids bedroom

Simple colour schemes can be added to as your child’s room evolves from nursery to bedroom.

This upper wall is painted in Resene Quarter Frozen with lower wall in Resene Spinnaker and iceberg painted ‘headboard’ in Resene Sea Fog, Resene Frozen and Resene Blue Moon. The floor is Resene Spinnaker. The dresser is also Resene Quarter Frozen (top section) and Resene Spinnaker (lower section). Shelf painted in Resene Blue Moon, pendant lamp in Resene Bright Spark, yellow bedside vase and pencil cup in Resene Fuel Yellow, small bedside vase in Resene Bullitt, shelf vase in Resene Frozen and small box in Resene Matisse. The penguin skittles are painted in Resene All Black, Resene Sea Fog, Resene Smoke Tree and Resene Roxy. Bedlinen from Citta, throw from Freedom, penguin puppet from Toyco, cushion from Briscoes. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

Themes to try

Theming a nursery can be a fun way to pull a whole look together. Done with the right, versatile wall colours, themes are often easy to change out as your child grows.

Whimsy:  Nurseries are the perfect place to indulge in a little whimsy. Using playful, fanciful design ideas is a nice way to have your nursery bridge the gap between being a child’s bedroom, but also, initially at least, a space adults will spend a lot of time in. Try dreamy colours like Resene Duck Egg Blue or Resene Springtime on the walls and consider hand-painting a design on the walls. Keep it to something simple like a chain of flowers and leaves. You could also try the charming, playful swimmers featured on Resene Wallpaper Collection ONB102696234.

Sleepy serenity:  Create a night sky ceiling or walls with Resene FX Nightlight glow-in-the-dark paint, and a deep shade like Resene Carpe Noctem or Resene Epic. Prime your wall then paint patches in Resene White then Resene FX Nightlight. When dry, create star, moon and planet shapes out of masking tape and stick to the walls. Cover the wall in two coats of your night sky top coat, then, when dry, carefully peel off the taped shapes.

A soothing nursery design

A mix of soothing neutrals and greys create a fresh nursery. The side wall is painted in Resene Ted with the rear wall in Resene Eighth Pearl Lusta and floor in Resene Colorwood Breathe Easy. Skirting and coat rack painted in Resene Pearl Lusta, cot in Resene Ted, plinth table in Resene Eighth Pearl Lusta and Resene Tua Tua, light shade in Resene Creme De La Creme and pattern on the bag in Resene Ted. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

Joyous optimism:  Colour is a beautiful way to celebrate the new arrival to your family, and reflect it in your nursery. Sunny, golden yellows like Resene Moondance and Resene Daylight, soft aqua shades like Resene Green Acres or Resene Idyllic, or muted oranges like Resene Awaken or Resene Tropical are all instantly uplifting without being so bright they’ll be overstimulating or overwhelming.

Beachy bliss:  Give the trend for natural finishes and connection with the environment a soothing summery spin, by opting for a beach feel in your nursery. Try subtle blues like Resene Comfortably Numb or Resene Upside, with washed wood finishes in Resene Colorwood Breathe Easy or weathered green Resene Colorwood Shore Thing. Paint stencil seashell and starfish patterns with draped throws in sandy-coloured muslins or linen.

Magic forest:  Deep primordial greens like Resene Welcome or Resene Top Notch are an extremely soothing shade to use when your baby is young, but they can also evolve to become the backdrop for a magic forest theme as your baby grows. Add lighter greens such as Resene Wabi Sabi or Resene Nirvana, and paint features like toadstools in Resene Smashing with Resene Alabaster. Paint fairies, gnomes, unicorns and dragons using stencils, with mobiles and even a tiny fairy door on the wall.

Resene Creme De La Creme

Resene Breathe Easy

Resene Tua Tua

Resene Awaken

Resene Ted

Resene Comfortably Numb

Resene Upside

Resene Springtime

Resene Rising Tide

Resene Shore Thing

Resene Wabi Sabi

Resene Green Acres

Resene Moondance

Resene Daylight

Resene Light Fantastic

Resene Tropical

Resene Idyllic

Resene Epic

Resene Ocean Waves

Resene Carpe Noctem

Resene Top Notch

Resene Welcome

February 17, 2023

For more ideas and inspiration for your child’s room, see the habitat plus – kids’ spaces book available free from Resene ColorShops or view on the Resene website.

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