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Nurseries + Nests: Why Today’s Most Stylish Nurseries & Kids’ Spaces are Becoming Gender-Neutral

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Christina Henck gender-neutral nursery design
Neutral color palettes layered with trending textiles help maintain the gender-neutral look in nurseries and kids' rooms.

Nurseries are the sweetest spaces to design, and there’s lately been a radical departure from the typical inspiration that’s always been front and center. Whether you're outfitting a soft, neutral kids room with pink accents or a dramatic boy's nursery with grays and blues, in this day and age of gender-neutral palettes for kids rooms, we designers must ask ourselves, “How can we push the proverbial envelope?” 

Let’s face it. Pinterest is driving today’s clients’ interests, and some are asking “What’s happened to good ole’ fashioned pink and blue children’s rooms”? There are some new rules to take into account and neutral, layered nurseries with a natural feel are the most popular style, while wall art and soft bohemian touches add identity.  

What makes baby’s room both stylish and gender neutral?

  • Color palettes and choices like dusty purples and darker jewel tones create depth that allows for transition into a guest room in the future, giving clients flexibility in their homes. When a client wants to think ahead or consider an out-of-the-box look for his or her nursery, secondary colors and neutrals can be great way to go.
  • The Bohemian/Scandinavian look is light, airy, and gives the natural feel that appeals to many home buyers while creating an easy direction for future designs to consider no matter what the room’s purpose later.
  • A totally neutral palette seems to be the most on-trend way to outfit kid’s rooms at the moment, achieved by layering trending textures like sheep skin, shag rugs, wall tapestries and grassy/beachy lighting and other decor items. The clean white with black look is also in high demand for kid’s rooms and allows children to grow into spaces for years to come, while also maintaining the gender-neutral look.
  • Top ways to incorporate the latest looks are via stick-on wall decals, wallpapers and wall-hung shelves to display toys and kids' books.  
  • Wallpapers that are most frequently used in more high-end spaces for obvious reasons and the most commonly published spaces as of late tend to be vintage florals and geometric prints.
  • Popular Pinterest-inspired looks inform kids' spaces. There’s a fine line between the latest Scandinavian looks, modern farmhouse style and bohemian trends, so be certain about which aesthetic you’d like to achieve for baby and kids before launching your project.

Classic Pink & Blue – The History of Things

It turns out, according to Huffington Post, blue and pink was just a marketing ploy in the mid 20th century by children’s toy and clothing manufacturers to segregate the market and have parents identify with which color to buy their infants from the start. 

We all know gender reveal parties are going viral lately and there’s no doubt these traditional colors are here to stay. Although the tried and true baby colors may never truly go away, who knows with Millennials having kids now and the Gen Z’ers (born 2000 to present) up next! Could the future color palette of baby and kids be totally neutral?

According to the above-mentioned Huffington post article, having gender-specific products “… is the primary danger of exposing children to our prejudices at such an impressionable age.” This seems to the experts to be creating pressure from birth for boys to shun pink toys, urging them towards tools and cars, while keeping girls more focused on stereotypical feminine activities, and many new families are more aware of this now.

There is a growing movement back towards promoting gender neutrality. Target recently initiated a gender-neutral policy in most of its stores for kids and baby categories. This is not to be taken lightly.

Do parents and designers have a responsibility to not stereotype children through the use of traditional colors? That’s up for debate, and (for now) all that aside, in today’s day and age social media is at it’s peak, and in my opinion, the interior designer's best friend (or at least can be, if you let it) is Pinterest.

Pinterest has made it’s mark on how consumers choose for product for their interior spaces, DIY projects, wardrobe decisions, and more. When it comes to baby’s room, this is no exception. Look up "nurseries + nests" on Pinterest, and you’re sure to find what’s in style for such spaces.

No matter where you stand on today’s gender issues that are now seemingly arising at birth, the trends speak for themselves.  Use Pinterest as your guide to stay on top of what’s current in and around children’s spaces, and once you’re aware, you’ll begin to see this baby and children gender-neutral movement everywhere.  Why is this happening? Well, we can’t point to any one single event, but the reality is that it’s happening and if we are to deliver fabulous nurseries for design clients, we must know about the who, what and how of things.

Designing for you,

Christina Henck, Henck Design – Philadelphia, PA

Christina Henck on beige chair

Christina Henck is an interior designer and founder of Henck Design. Based in Philadelphia, Henck is known for her "Classic Modern" aesthetic, which honors architectural styles and time periods while mixing old motifs with modern touches. 

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