Preparing a space for your new baby is a rite of passage for every expectant mum (even if you know it’ll be months before you can bear to let them spend a night in there!)
Creating a physical space in your home and your life for this new little person is all part of the psychological preparation for his or her arrival and of course, a key part of that irresistible nesting urge that takes over in those final weeks!
Many modern families already know the gender of their baby before he or she is born, which makes it easy to select soft furnishings and accessories for the nursery. But for those that believe the ‘gender reveal’ should remain one of life’s great surprises, decorating baby’s room can be a little more tricky – or at least it was, until the arrival of the new monochrome.
Thirty years ago, it would have been unthinkable to decorate a nursery in shades of black and white. The generation just gone was all about those classic pink and blue pastels, and the only neutrals were garish primary colours or even worse, muted shades that should have been consigned to the 70s (rust, anyone?). But today’s modern mama is discovering that done right, a monochrome nursery can be unisex, super-stylish, pretty AND stimulating for baby, all at once!
In their first three months of life, babies actually have very limited vision and will respond best to strong colour contrasts in their environment – it’s why they’ll focus intently on a caregiver’s eyes, or become transfixed by a bright light or sunny window. Incorporating monochrome styling into a small baby’s environment helps to stimulate their developing eyesight and may even help to calm a grizzly newborn by giving them something to gaze at just long enough for you to change a nappy, or better still, for them to fall asleep.
There’s a key to all of this though – you can’t just go gung ho with the black and white and end up with a beautiful, restful nursery space. The trick is all in the proportions – and for a baby’s room, a 70/30 split in favour of white is a good rule of thumb to help you achieve a crisp, calming room rather than a visually chaotic look. Choose whimsical patterns to add interest to the space – simple polka dots are beautiful such as the ones showcased below, or perhaps hand-drawn scenes such as jungles and streetscapes. Later, you might even let a little artist customise their room by colouring them in!
To prevent a monochrome scheme from feeling cold, add warmth with blonde wood tones in both furniture and accessories, and bring in texture with elements like handwoven wall art, cute cushions, a cosy rug for the floor or some snuggly knitted blankets.
Adding an accent colour (sparingly!) also looks amazing – neutrals such as mustard or mint can really help a monochrome scheme to pop, while adding grey can soften any harshness and make a space feel a bit more liveable.
The beauty of a cleverly planned monochrome space is that it can and will evolve after your baby arrives, and forms a perfect backdrop for the colours and items your little one loves best as they grow.