Designing a fun & functional nursery

Avril of Avril Murphy Allen Interior Design shares her top tips for a fun and functional nursery.

In the first few weeks of your baby’s life, pretty much all they’ll need is you. It will be a busy time. So, well before then it makes sense to prepare the look and feel of where your baby is going to sleep. That way you won’t feel rushed.

You want to create a space that will grow with your baby. But don’t forget you’re going to spend quite a bit of time in the room yourself, so you want to create somewhere that you will enjoy too. The decor calls for something cute, that’s for sure, but it should also make caring for your baby easy and safe.


The colour you choose for the nursery is important. Colour is very personal, so make it personal to you and your baby. While white is pure, soothing and angelic it offers little stimulus. Pick your favourite colour and tone it down a bit. The colour you use in your baby’s room will probably be their ‘happy colour’ for the rest of their lives as this is one of the safest and most nurturing of environments. Use colour to evoke emotion and development. If you are using strong colours, use them sparingly and balance them with whites and soft greys. Avoid strong acrid colours as they can be over stimulating.

Floors and ceilings are very popular surfaces at the moment, either to pick out in a different colour or to use pattern. So much fun to paint something on the ceiling especially as your baby will spend lots of time on their back.


The nursery is the one room that works well with a theme. Anything from animal themes to favourite fairytales to simple ABCs and with a huge selection of ready made wallpapers, it doesn’t need to be hand painted.

When choosing finishes, choose paints and varnishes that are eco-friendly. Floors should be warm, comfortable and easy-clean. Furniture should be safe, cosy, functional and conforming with safety standards, whether they are new or second-hand.

Handy check list:-

  • Cot – adjustable would be practical
  • Black-out blinds – either a roller blind or black-out lining on curtains
  • Feeding chair – a rocker would be lovely
  • Changing table – custom made or a dresser with a changing mat on top
  • Night light or lamp with a dimmer switch
  • Tranquil and calm environment
  • Daylight, lots of it