Navigating a Gender Neutral Nursery

My really wonderful Arlington Street clients in Houston just became a family of 5 and as part of the joy of already having a little girl and boy, they decided to leave #3 a surprise. As we were finishing up their family and play rooms over the summer, we simultaneously started discussing schemes for this gender neutral nursery and their son's room (which I plan to blog about next!).

After honing in on some really positive inspiration shots with my client, the little boy's room came together very naturally. Surprisingly for me, the nursery took a little more time to piece together, I think, because I didn't have a known personality in mind. Even though it is fun to dream about having total creative freedom in a space, it honestly makes it a lot harder! Having personalities, preferences, or even just a name to consider makes designing a space that much easier and all the more personal...or so has been my experience.

That being said, I am pretty thrilled with how this sweet nursery played out. My clients were, like I mentioned, really wonderful and open to ideas that would make the space tailored to their general taste and also be flexible should they need to do some room shuffling down the line. 

In this particular space, we worked backwards from a leading fabric selection to really zone in on the feel in the room. We already successfully installed Schumacher's reissue of Josef Frank's gorgeous Citrus Garden print in their playroom and decided we just couldn't get enough and selected another exceptional Josef Frank print for the nursery. Playful, colorful, and decidedly "gender neutral", the "Birds" print won our hearts. 

Rather than create a traditional bumper, we went for an "over-the-rails" bumper so mom has a little cushion when leaning in the crib. We used a classic green ticking for the bumper's contrast welt and for the crib skirt fabric and took a modern leap by added a fun new Samuel & Son's fretwork trim along the bottom. We layered in a geometric indoor-outdoor rug picking up on a non-dominant color in the fabric to create a little balance.

For the windows, I also thought it would be really fun to do something a little different here. Instead of a fabric pelmet, I had my carpenter create a wooden pelmet which we had the painter gloss up in the perfect "gender neutral" green. The drapery fabric has a beautiful, but subtle embroidered trellis and since it neither leans feminine nor masculine, it was the perfect selection for this space. Added bonus? All we have to do is paint the pelmet should their daughter eventually be moved into this room.

We zushed up this child's sweet bookcase with baby's first LL Bean Boat & Tote, books + bookends, blocks, painted animal set, puzzles, and other fun child-proof objects. I was also very happy to have the opportunity to use Inslee's darling animal counting series prints above the changing table.

Having the benefit now of knowing it is a boy, we have a few more personalized items on the way to finish off the space, but all-in-all I think my clients and I did a nice job of navigating this gender neutral nursery with style and practicality. 

Emily C. Butler

Emily C. Butler, 1153 3rd Avenue, New York, New York 10065, USA

Emily C. Butler is a New York City based interior designer + decorator.