The Art + Science: Creating a Nursery

Somewhere towards the end of your second trimester and the beginning of your third there may be an urge to prepare you home for the upcoming baby. Nesting is a natural instinct and can be very exciting and fun to prepare your home or there may be strong overwhelming feeling to clean and prepare.

As you are nesting, cleaning, organizing, and preparing the nursery, the development of your baby’s vision and creating a transitional space are two things to consider.

 The Science: Development of Vision

The nursery you decorate can help with the development of your baby’s vision in the first eight months. Between months 5 and 8 babies is when your baby will gain full development of color vision. A newborn can’t focus more than 8-12 inches in front of their face, they can make out the face of the person holding them. The baby’s vision is fuzzy, and may have trouble focusing on near objects, but they can see light, shapes, and movement. A newborn can see color but mostly black and white with shades of gray.  At birth, babies can see color but do not have much clarity on specific color as they are not fully able to differentiate similar tones. In the first few days their eyes develop to see colors and during the second month is when the baby learns to differentiate between similar colors and begins to see more colors. Around month 4 is when the baby will develop depth perception. During month 5 the baby will have stronger color vision as they are able to differentiate between similar colors and tonal differences. By month 8 the baby will have full vision development and their color, clarity, and depth perception are similar to an adult.

Source: www.webcontacts.com

Source: www.webcontacts.com

Science shows that using bold color and patterns with more contrast in a nursery can help with eye sight development. “Baby colors” are usually softer, muted, pale colors along the lines of soft pink, baby blue, white, or other light and pastel colors. Pastels are not stimulating for the baby’s vision as high contrast and primary colors are most stimulating for a baby’s vision. Create a room that helps with vision development by decorating the room to help stimulate your baby’s vision.  Be mindful of what you can do to help with your baby's vision development by hanging a brightly colored mobile with various shapes over the crib, adjusting the lighting in the room, and using various colors and shapes. Help stimulate vision development by creating a nursery with bold colors, bold patterns, high contrast, black and white, bright colors, and complex designs.

Source: Robert Peterson/Rustic White

Source: Robert Peterson/Rustic White

The Art: Creating a Transitional Space

You may be creating your nursery in what used to be a guest bedroom, home office, workout room, or you may be adding a few touches to make the current bedroom room feel like a nursery. Most importantly, think long term in order to create a transitional space. In 10 years will the décor and furnishings in the room still be appropriate?

Realistically, what do you want this room to look like for the next few years as your infant grows into a toddler? At this point you may be expecting the arrival of a new baby or it just might be time to move the baby out of the crib into a ‘big kid bed.’ When shopping for a crib, search for options that offer a smooth transition. Nursery furniture can have transitional features converting a crib into a toddler bed, daybed, and a full-size bed. A dresser can also be used as a changing table, make your dresser double as a changing table by simply adding a changing table pad onto the dresser you already own. You can buy a changing table, which may be obsolete in a few years, or you could make the space transitional by using a dresser as a changing table.

Source: Tessa Neustadt/ J&J Design Group

Source: Tessa Neustadt/ J&J Design Group

Choose room décor that will transition from infancy through adolescence.  Stay away from huge trends and choose classic staple pieces that can be used for years. More than likely the crib, wall décor, paint color, window coverings, rug, lighting, and dresser will be in the room for years. Pieces such as the bedding, accent décor, accessories, and pillows can all be easily replaced to refresh the room.  The furniture and décor should be items you can keep for years and will be used as the child grows or as the next baby comes along. Create a transitional nursery through furnishing and décor that can be used seamlessly as your family grows.