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Gender neutral nursery ideas – 19 ways to decorate to suit a girl or a boy

Homes & Gardens logo Homes & Gardens 5/17/2022 Jennifer Ebert
a bedroom with a bed and a chair in a room: Gender neutral nursery ideas featuring red and white wallpaper, a white painted crib and brown armchair. © Provided by Homes & Gardens Gender neutral nursery ideas featuring red and white wallpaper, a white painted crib and brown armchair.

Gender neutral nursery ideas allow you to step away from customary color palettes and create a room to be enjoyed by a girl or a boy, or for sharers.

Unisex nursery decor might be bold and bright or major in neutrals with pattern and texture adding depth and interest to the room. But whichever approach you prefer, it can provide a beautiful space for the new addition to the family.

Be inspired by these bedroom ideas for your baby or toddler and create a wonderful environment for them and a space you love, too.

Gender neutral nursery ideas

We've collected together a whole host of gender neutral nursery ideas to inspire your unisex scheme, whatever shape or size your space is.

1. Keep core pieces neutral 

'When it comes to designing nurseries I like to keep the large pieces neutral so they can be used for additional children and any gender,' says Emily Ruff, owner and principal designer of Cohesively Curated. ‘Artwork, rugs and textiles are the places to bring in some color. 

‘Vary the finishes and textures of your neutral pieces to add visual interest and contrast. Babies love contrast too so it’s a win-win.’

2. Choose two shades of the same color

If you're going for a predominantly single colored scheme then keep it interesting by using textures and pattern in the same shade. 

‘The walls here have a paint effect which acts as a tactile element; this gives the room depth,' says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens. ‘Tie it all together with simple spot-themed bedding and a matching rug.’

3. Lift a dark room with sunshine yellow

'Yellow is a joyful shade that appeals to any gender, making it the perfect choice for adding a pop of color to a gender neutral nursery,' says Dominic Myland, CEO of Mylands.

‘We love a bright yellow like Golden Square No. 131, as it’s warm and inviting with orange undertones that give the pigment depth, creating a cozy backdrop that isn’t overwhelming, and it coordinates beautifully with the subtler tones Lemon Salts No. 43 on the woodwork and fire surround.’

4. Fall for Scandi-style simplicity 

Take your cue from Scandinavian style to create a gender neutral room. 'Nothing quite beats the pared-back Scandi way of styling a room,' says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens

‘Pale blonde wood is a must and it's easy to see why it's so popular – it enhances any color scheme and doesn't affect the visual balance of a room. The barely-there gray walls will work equally as well with pastel pink or baby blue if you wanted to later introduce those colors.’

5. Dress up the walls

'One of our favorite spaces to design are kids’ rooms,' says Britt Zunino, principal of Studio DB.  ‘We can be more whimsical and playful in a way that we wouldn’t necessarily be in other spaces of homes. We like to use pops of color, mix bold-patterned wallpapers and add unexpected decor pieces.

'In one of our projects in Chelsea, we designed a nursery using colorful animal prints and shades of brown and yellow to contrast with the neutral background of the room. We added floating shelves and a faux-taxidermy moose head mounted on the wall that ties into the wood tones of the furniture.’

6. Mix up textures 

'Tactile materials like rattan and wood are key to creating an inspiring gender neutral nursery. They add the interest when the color scheme is muted,' says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief, Homes & Gardens.  

‘The wall hanging creates a sculptural aspect in this stylish nursery that's designed by Lindye Galloway and we love the retro-style furniture which adds a contemporary edge.’

7. Perk up a scheme with pops of color

'This is one of my favorite nurseries,' says Lina Galvao, co-founder and design principal at Curated Nest. 'When you are in the room, it feels really soothing – the bright green and the canopy blend really nicely. There's a soft light coming in from the dormers; it has a really lovely feel.'

8. Add drama with a mid-tone green

'Not knowing the baby's identity before arrival lent itself to creating a welcoming gender neutral nursery,' says Anne Golliher, lead interior designer at Storied Interiors.  

‘We combined masculine colors with feminine lines and further balanced the curvy crib with stripes, plaids, and an antique jacquard coverlet, all topped with an original suede stork ready to watch over the little one.' 

9. Embrace the folk trend with clashing prints 

Bring a nursery to life with pattern. 'Team a monochromatic wallpaper with a folk-inspired colored rug and large print blanket,’ says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens. ‘We love the extra touches here like the laser-cut wood at the bottom edge of the cot – it's these details that set a scheme apart.'  

10. Use a strong accent color

A red cot adds a powerful accent shade to this room. 'Nurseries are my favorite spaces to layer textures and colors,’ says Lorri Hicks Cazenave, owner and lead interior designer at HC Interior Design

‘This nursery appeals to aspects of modern and traditional tastes, but most importantly, the space is suited to the family.'  

11. Create a calm, gender neutral nursery

Give your gender neutral nursery ideas an earthy, grounded aesthetic with a soothing color palette. Although pink is normally associated with girls' nursery ideas, muted shades work just as well woven into unisex nursery schemes, as above.

'When shopping for a nursery color scheme, we are so often drawn in by the loving details, the delicate patterns, and the neutral colors,' says Lee Chambers MSc MBPsS, psychologist and wellbeing consultant. 'In our minds, we are looking to create a place of serenity for our precious bundle of joy.'

Surprisingly, a white nursery scheme will work regardless of your style of home. Evoking purity and cleanliness alongside confidence and sophistication, white is a wonderfully versatile and timeless color – and a classic choice for gender neutral nursery ideas.

12. Add interest with wallpaper

Designed by Christine Lin at Form + Field, this playful unisex nursery scheme will suit your child as they grow, saving you both time and money in the long run – but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be fun, or spark creativity. 

'In this space, we wanted to evoke a bright and cheerful aesthetic, so it was essential for us to get this right,' says Christine. 'Botanical wallpaper ideas are back in a big way for this year, so we found an enduring style that we believe will be a timeless addition to this nursery.'

13. Go for a modern monochrome scheme

If you’re preparing the nest for an imminent new arrival and have avoided the temptation to find out the sex of the baby, go for a monochrome scheme that will work equally well as a girls' or boys' nursery ideas

With clever use of paint, prints and accessories you will be able to create a room you’ll feel proud to bring your baby home to. This contemporary look will work for your child for years to come, and can be easily updated to incorporate kids' room ideas as your little one grows.

14. Work in a flamboyant flair

Create a look that is bursting with fun and originality by mixing old and new. This gender neutral nursery is a masterclass in how to mix colors, styles and patterns effectively. 

Touches of fire engine red – in the bedroom wall decor and window treatment – add a glorious contrast to this otherwise primarily monochrome scheme.

'When choosing pattern you also need to take into account scale,' says fabric and wallpaper designer Charlotte Gaisford. 'Scale is important and can really help pull an idea together, the main thing being to mix the scales from large to small.'

15. Introduce a nostalgic element

Add an element of old-school nostalgia to your gender neutral nursery ideas. Not only will a host of primary colors excite your little one, but a map of the world will also stimulate their curiosity for life – and can be integrated into playroom ideas as your child grows.

Here, brightly colored lockers provide heaps of color-coded bedroom storage space, while decorative letters, spelling out their initials, give the room a personal touch. Finish off this creative scheme with a cane chair and throw – great for a spot of quiet reading.

16. Pick out playful elements

Choose a plain backdrop for displaying bright, modern artwork and unusual furniture. Keep your child stimulated with a teepee tent made from white cotton and wooden sticks. This creative little hideaway will provide a cozy retreat to while away the day, and can be fitted into even small bedroom ideas for kids.

Fill it with colorful cushions and toys so they will never be bored. Pair with a white cot, accessories in primary colors and soft, sheer muslin curtains for an understated gender neutral nursery that you and your child will be happy to spend time in.

17. Decorate with a restful palette

Blue is a popular choice in nurseries due to its calming effect When paired with soft grays, like in the soothing scheme above, it creates a restful palette that can encourage sleep. 

Avoid very dark shades, however, which can appear gloomy in gender neutral nursery ideas – soft, mid tones of blue and gray are ideal.

18. Decorate with white-on-white

If you are stuck on where to start when designing a gender neutral children's room, go for a foolproof all-white scheme. It is the ideal canvas to build upon with colorful accessories and furniture, which can easily be changed as your child grows.

Layer the room with modern artwork and quirky curios to bring a touch of fun to an otherwise cooler scheme, which will also work in bedroom ideas for teenagers.

19. Keep it simple and understated

Use contemporary ideas to decorate a room in a listed period house. Nothing says gender neutral more than a cream scheme, but that doesn't mean it needs to be so vanilla. 

Here, hand-blocked children's bedroom wallpaper with a quirky alphabet design works perfectly alongside the striking original features, which are the real stars of the show in this room. 

If your space is verging on the small side, then it is best to keep furniture to a minimum. A painted chest of drawers, wicker baskets, chequered blinds and a plantation-style armchair are beautiful additions to this traditional unisex nursery scheme.

How do you decorate a gender neutral nursery?

It’s the one space in the house where you can cut-loose and indulge your sense of fun when choosing a decorating scheme. A nursery room isn’t only a place for sleep – see it as a play space that will spark children’s imaginations, too. 

Decorating a gender neutral nursery for a baby or toddler is a completely different kettle of fish to a teen’s room. Try to plan ahead to choose furniture and a decorating scheme that will last at least three years. 

Neutral colors tend to be calming, easy and super stylish to decorate with – making them the ideal choice for unisex nursery ideas. 

When pushing back on color in a bedroom, be sure to address the question of materiality and architectural detailing; it’s perhaps particularly important in a nursery room, where a monochrome palette could arguably end up subduing some of the magic of childhood. 

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