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Room of the Month - Kara's Cheerful Nursery

By Sarah Van Arsdale on November 04, 2008

At NYIAD we teach our students a simple Three-Step Method for designing every room they create:

  1. A successful room is functional.
  2. A successful room expresses a mood.
  3. A successful room exhibits a sense of harmony.

This simple Three-Step Method is the secret of every interior ever designed. We teach our interior design students to consider these three steps every time they look at a room. You'll find the great home decorating ideas in our Room of the Month series as well as in the design tips on this site helpful in creating outstanding room designs.

When our students mail in their interior design project for analysis by their instructor, the instructor starts by commenting on these three Guidelines. Of course, the instructor analyzes other elements of the project too – decor, layout, furniture, style etc. But the key to good decor – and the essential element of every great interior design – is adherence to these three NYIAD Guidelines.

How do they work? How can you apply them? It's beyond the scope of this Web site to teach you every nuance, but you will get an inkling from the Room of the Month Analysis that follows.

In each issue of Designer Monthly, we take a look at a room we think has been designed with particular panache. We look at it using one of our tried-and-true techniques, the three Sheffield Guidelines to Interior Design: function, mood, and harmony.

Crib and Window Decor

Creating a nursery for a new baby can be one of the greatest challenges for a designer. You have to consider the usual challenges of decorating a room: function, mood, and harmony, but you also have to take into account the quickly changing needs of Baby, the safety needs of Baby, and the sitting-down-for-a-minute needs of Mom or Dad.

This month, we’re turning the Room of the Month analysis to this delightful nursery, which takes all these concerns into consideration.

First, looking at the function of this room, of course the function of any nursery is to offer a room in which Baby can sleep and in which the parents can attend to Baby’s various needs. The crib, of course, is the centerpiece of this. This one is simple and stylish, and serves the function of keeping Baby safe and sound while sleeping. The changing table across from the crib is handy for changing Baby, and of course is the appropriate height so the parents’ backs won’t suffer.

Nursing Chair
Linen Arrangements
Inside the Crib

Next to the crib, there stands a sweet chair for Mom or Dad to take to, while feeding or rocking Baby. Sometimes, of course, Mom or Dad will just want to sit and read while Baby falls asleep, so there is a handing reading lamp by the chair.

The closet is the piéce de resistance of function in this room, as it is so highly organized that it really can serve the function of holding all Baby’s teeny tiny clothes. The hanger space is limited, because Baby of course isn’t yet in need of a collection of power suits or evening dresses, but there is plenty of room for folded jumpers and shirts, and the baskets are perfect for corralling tiny undershirts, socks, and the like.

The mood of this room is one thing we like best about it. It’s soft and welcoming, which is perfect for Baby, but it isn’t ridiculously juvenile. Some nurseries look as if they’re trying so hard to brand themselves as “Baby’s Room,” no self-respecting adult would dare to cross the threshold. The mood here is one of light playfulness, but with a touch of sophistication to make it appealing to even the most discerning Auntie Mame.

Harmony Items

Finally, the room harmonizes beautifully, primarily through the smart use of color. Even though many parents today know the gender of Baby before the due date, we like the use of Baby-neutral colors of pale yellow, lavender, and white. The slight emphasis on pink is appropriate for a girl’s room, without emphasizing Baby’s gender to a point that’s silly.

The room is harmonized also by the use of items in a country, almost “shabby chic” style, from the old-fashioned reading lamp to the embroidery-hoop frames on the wall.

This nursery proves the point that even when taking into account several needs, a smart and stylish decorator can pull together a nursery that will bring Baby up in terrific style.

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