Emerging trends for babies & kids' rooms

Updated July 20, 2017

In the months leading up to the big day, expectant parents get serious about decorating their baby's room, making it just perfect for the newest member of the family. These days they have a lot more options than pink for girls and blue for boys, and instead of being restricted to ruffles and bows or sailboats and toy soldiers when it comes to a theme, the sky is their limit. At the International Gift & Home Furnishings Market in January 2012, Dwell Studio founder Christiane Lemieux, said six emerging trends have taken centre stage.

The most important new trend is hipster heritage.

Christiane Lemieux, founder and creative director of Dwell Studio

Hipster heritage

"The most important new trend is hipster heritage," said Lemieux, author of “Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design." This do-it-yourself effort means finding accessories that may be scoped out at car boot sales. It may also be created from new items with a timeless feel, she said.

Simply recover the cushions on a vintage rocking chair or overstuffed sofa instead of opting for a new chair. Select rugs that appear sun-washed and homespun, and choose artwork from colourful, hip, vintage signs or inexpensive framed posters, Lemieux suggested.

It’s no-holds-barred on accessories -- from a framed collection of bugs in a boy’s room to a gaggle of dolls hanging out on a shelf in a girl's room. A ceiling fixture in the shape of a star can cap off the theme. Baskets filled with teddy bears, along with knitted throws and pillows.


The new wave of minimalism, according to Lemieux, means open and airy with clean lines, in tones of whites and greys accentuated with dusty colours, ranging from pink to grey-black. Furniture is generally white with little embellishment and provides multiple storage solutions in chests, armoires and shelving.

Texture is important, too: Think of a soft faux sheepskin throw in a comfortable rocking chair or a plush animal skin rug that protects small knees from the wooden floor, she said. Wallpaper patterns are graphic or botanical, and the lighting is minimalist. Curtains often have borders in an accent color while retaining the same graphic lines as the furnishings. Far from sterile, rooms are functional and fun with wooden toys and animals, but are not overly accessorised. An enormous world map or large painting in pastel colors ties the room together.

Divine decorating

The "divine decorator" pulls out all the stops for wee princesses and princes who reign over nurseries. This is a favourite look for the offspring of Hollywood’s top celebrity couples, said John Sedigh of AFK Furniture, which recently furnished the nursery of famous twins he was not at liberty to name. (An April 20, 2011 article in the "Daily Mail" suggests Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, new parents to twins that year, were the celeb clients.)

Stars, in particular, like to approach a nursery in much the same way they decorate their own opulent bedrooms, he said. Every piece is high-end, from canopied cribs, chests and changing tables to upholstered chairs and rockers and custom-made window treatments, fine linens and designer floor coverings.

From conception to completion, divine decorator styling is an investment, not only for this generation but also for the next, Sedigh added. Children outgrow their cribs and should transition easily into convertible youth beds or full-size beds that will take them through their teen years.

“At AFK, round cribs are making a comeback,” said Sedigh, whose company manufactures furnishings with "Old World craftsmanship applied in a new way." Jenny Lind beds with turned posts on all four sides bring the style into the 21st century. Because of safety concerns, every crib has stationary sides. Drop-sided cribs may no longer be manufactured.

AFK cribs frequently have elaborate canopies or tufted head and foot boards that may be custom-made to complement the window coverings or upholstery. Sedigh urged parents to opt for solidly built furniture. "Disposable furniture is about the least sustainable thing you can do," he said.

Floral wallpaper epitomises this style for girls; more graphic designs work for boys. Both are often combined with bold wall graphics and custom murals.

Nearly every aspect of the room is layered, from the spread with dust ruffles and piles of pillows to antique mirrors with intricate frames. Crystal chandeliers, whimsical hot air balloons or even crystal ships provide overhead lighting, and nostalgic accessories like antique rocking horses -- either large enough for a toddler to ride or small enough to decorate a nightstand -- finish the mood. Frequently, soft, plush oversize animals hang out in corners, providing a cosy space to read or play.

Graphic modern

The graphic modern trend features bold colours -- think Kelly green and bright orange -- twisted together, Lemieux said. The look, exuberant as a child’s painting, may have a ceiling festooned with wide stripes or exposed wooden beams.

On the walls, removable circle decals in pink, orange and red or any favourite colour palette create a lively mood. Add a shelf with cut-out circle openings that mirror the wall decor, and the basic decorating scheme is sealed. To add to the fun, every corner of a room styled in graphic modern reveals splashes of color, like contemporary flowers on the foot of the crib or a funky, bright blue Eames rocking chair.

The furniture has clean lines, is generally white, and sits on cheery rugs with bold designs, such as a stop sign, star, animal or multicolored stripes, Lemieux added. Accessories, too, are graphic, and lighting is angular and geometric in bright colours. Window treatments vary from Roman shades in a print that ties all the colours in the room together to minimalist curtains.

Travel mode

For parents whose passion is travel, the "global traveler" trend combines an eclectic collection of mix-and-match styles from around the world, incorporating items the couple has picked up during their wanderings. Lemieux said the rooms are lively and designed to instill a love for far-off places.

Instead of pastels or even bright primary colours, the colour palette is spicy, with oranges, rusts and golds.

Furnishings incorporate a mix of exotic items, perhaps from Morocco, India, Africa or South America. Accessories and rugs -- it matters not whether they come from or are inspired by one country or many -- may be either vintage or new: the more the merrier. The entire design may be enhanced with a large swath of a wall covered with chalkboard paint to allow a budding artist to draw on the wall to their heart’s content. The pop of color, Lemieux said, might be provided by a painted globe in one corner.

For further inspiration, add a map mural, a globe overhead light, ceramic or wooden animal heads on the wall, or references to famous buildings, such as the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal.

Safety first

Safety is paramount when it comes to cribs. These tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission may be helpful when you are ready to buy a crib.

• Look for cribs certified by the Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA). Drop-sided cribs are no longer available. • Avoid cutouts in the headboard and footboard so a baby’s head cannot become trapped. • Check for loose, broken or improperly installed screws, brackets and other hardware. • Select a firm, tight-fitting mattress so a baby cannot become trapped between the mattress and the crib. • There should be no tears, holes or loose threads. • Mesh should be securely attached to the top rail and floor plate.

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About the Author

Mickey Goodman is an award-winning writer with bylined articles in Thomson-Reuters, "People," "Veranda," "Southern Living," "Holmes," "Canadian Architecture & Design," "Women’s Wear Daily," "Atlanta Magazine" and other publications. She is president of the Southeast chapter of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), a national board member and blogs for The Huffington Post.