Nursery Know How

Hi! I’m Katy Costner- an interior designer, home coach, and mom of 3!

As a mom, I’ve had many nurseries in our home. And as an interior designer, I’ve had the privilege to design many and have found that a well-designed nursery is one where function meets form. Each nursery typically contains the same basic fundamental items and from there you get to make it your own.

Before designing a nursery I like to explore Pinterest, get ideas, and think through how the room will transition into a big kid’s room. The crib is typically only used for the first few years so I find it helpful to think about what the room will look like when transitioning to a toddler or big kid’s bed.

Let’s talk fundamentals. Each nursery typically has: unique walls, a rug, window coverings, a glider chair with a table and lamp next to it, the crib, a dresser with a changing table topper (or a separate changing table), a bookcase, accessories and wall art. Let’s break down each of these:


The first thing to consider is what you want to do on the walls. The simplest option is making it your own with a fresh coat of paint. From there, you can add wallpaper, create an accent wall with decals, or add wall paneling with board and batten. Use the walls to inform and create your base layer for your design decisions.


A nursery rug should be soft underfoot. I really like the rug to take up most of the space in the room leaving about 12-18 inches all the way around the room. Consider natural fiber rugs and ones that are cleanable, just in case!

Window Coverings

The most requested window coverings are blackout window coverings. The best way to accomplish this is to do a black out roller shade or Roman, and finish the window with a pair of curtains. Another option is using blackout drapery. You’ll want to make sure that when closed, they cover the entire window. With drapery, there will be a little light leakage but it’s not huge.

Glider with Table and Lamp

In most rooms, a glider fits well in a corner with a table next to it and a floor lamp behind it or beside it. The best side tables are round to help avoid sharp corners. I like using floor lamps behind or next to the glider so that the baby is less likely to pull a lamp down from the table as they get older.

A glider should have performance fabric and be comfortable for mom and baby. You are going to spend some late nights here so get cozy! If you can sit on it in a store, great! If not, read the online reviews and see what others have to say about the chair.


There are really two kinds of cribs: a standard crib and a convertible crib. The jury is split on which is more advantageous. A crib will be used for the first few years of your baby’s life and then you can move onto a toddler bed or bigger. A convertible crib converts into a toddler bed and then sometimes a larger full bed. If you are going the convertible crib route, be sure you know what all is needed to convert the bed down the road. Consider plans for future children when making this decision.

Crib Skirt Tip: Typically on a crib, you drop the mattress down as the baby gets bigger. Because of this, if using a crib skirt, I recommend a crib skirt that is made in three separate pieces with ties at the top so that you can pull up the crib skirt as the mattress drops, keeping the skirt level with the ground.


If you are short on space, use your dresser as the changing table. Add a topper and call it a day. The best dresser is one that can work for you and can transition with the child as they get older. If you do it right the first time, you will not have to replace it in the future.


The size and style of the bookcase will depend on how much room you have in the nursery. You can use everything from a freestanding tall bookcase to some shelves that display books like these IKEA ones. The main thing to think about is if the baby can access the books as they get older. I like books to be at the kid’s level so they can always see them!

Accessories and Wall Art

This is where you make the nursery your own! Pick some fun pictures to hang on the walls. A popular option is hanging a mirror over the changing table. Get large baskets for toys or the hamper. Add layers with fun items that go with your style. Make it your own!

A nursery is forever the sweetest room in the home and I hope that these tips empower you to create a wonderful one that you will cherish forever. I have the fondest memories of rocking my babies in our nurseries throughout the years. Xx Katy

For more tips and tricks, you can find me over at or on Instagram at @katycostner!

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