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The Perfect Nursery: Q&A With Interior Designer Rachel Reider

The Perfect Nursery: Q&A With Interior Designer Rachel Reider

Your baby’s room should be a soothing, restful place for you as well as your child. We asked interior designer Rachel Reider for tips on creating a peaceful space for sleeping, nursing, diapering, and growing.

Q: What’s the first step in the nursery room design process?

I would recommend going through magazines and catalogs and pulling images of spaces you like. Not only does this help you identify certain products you like, but you may also start to see patterns repeat themselves, such as a certain color, theme, or design style. This is how I start every design project with a client, and it is so helpful in understanding their style and image for a room. Working from a shared vision, we can start to work together to bring that idea to fruition.

Q: What are the most important elements of a nursery? What should you spend the most money on?

I like to focus on creating a strong foundation with a well-made crib, dresser, and glider. Selecting functional and stylish furniture that can grow with your child – like the Monte Joya Rocker, shown here in easy-to-clean ultra suede – ensures that it will have a shelf life well beyond the baby years. It’s also important to consider purchasing items that are classic and gender neutral so that they may be passed along to a sibling if needed, regardless of the baby’s gender.

Q: How do you decide on a theme? What are some of your favorites? What are the most popular themes?

I don’t think a theme is necessary, but it can be a good jumping off point if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the design options. If you decide to use a theme, I would recommend using it sparingly in a few areas of the room rather than applying it across the board. Animals are a timeless and fun design option that spans across gender and age.

Q: What wall colors typically work the best?

While pale pinks, greens, and yellows are perennial favorites, I tend to opt for unexpected hues like shades of purple and orange. Soothing mid-tone colors are my go-to for children’s rooms: they are fun, fresh, and cheery without being overwhelming. Then, I layer in brighter colors through accents, accessories, and artwork.

Q: What are some of your favorite ideas for wall decorations?

Vinyl wall graphics are a great low cost, low commitment alternative to expensive artwork or wallpaper. With so many websites offering customizable graphics of all sizes and color palettes, the options are endless. Parents might consider a quote from a favorite nursery rhyme, or a monogram, or a growth chart. Etsy is a great resource for unique and well-priced wall décor.

Q: How do you choose the right crib, mattress, bedding set?

I consider the crib and mattress to be long-term investments, and as such, I recommend doing some research. The book Baby Bargains by Alan and Denise Fields was a lifesaver for me. Next, I would think about style: do you want something clean and simple, or more decorative? My preference is to choose a classic design for the crib and then have fun with the bedding, which can be switched out far more easily than the crib itself. I like to think of it as the frosting on the cake!

Q: Are there elements that make changing or feeding easier?

Definitely, a focal point by the changing table is a great way to keep a baby happily distracted during the changing process. We hung brightly colored letters on the wall above our changing table, and judging by the giggle fits my daughter had every time she was lying there, I would say that it was one of her favorite spots.

In terms of feedings, a comfortable glider is a must. If you have a chance to try out some of the various contenders before committing, I highly recommend it. This is a spot where you’re likely to be spending a lot of time.

Q: What are some things to think about when considering the longevity of the room (being able to use it as the child grows)?

The most important thing to consider is whether a piece of furniture can grow with your child. I recommend purchasing a dresser with a changing space on top rather than a changing table, so they can continue to use it for clothing storage for years to come. When selecting a color palette for a nursery, my intent is always to lay the groundwork for a color scheme that will age along with the child. I used purple, orange, and brown in my daughter’s nursery, and then layered in brighter colored baby-appropriate accessories that can easily and inexpensively be swapped out over time for each stage of life.

Q: How long does the planning and execution process typically take?

If you’re working with a designer, it typically takes four to five months from beginning to end, since many items have three- to four-month lead times. It’s important to remember that these lead times will also hold true if you choose to tackle the project on your own, plus however much extra time it takes to make up your mind!

Q: What are some general nursery trends that you’re excited about?

Going green! In recent years there have been huge advancements in green and sustainable products that are appropriate for nurseries, from paint to furniture to flooring, and everything in between. While I always recommend using a low VOC paint, I think it’s especially important in a baby’s room. Flor tiles are another fabulous green (and easy to clean) product, which is great since babies spend so much time rolling around on the floor.

Q: What’s your favorite part about designing a nursery?

A nursery is a space where you can have a lot of fun by pushing the envelope a bit and using brighter and bolder hues and patterns than you might use elsewhere in your home. While I enjoy the design process in any room, nurseries hold a special place in my heart. Seeing the parents’ excitement as they plan for a baby’s upcoming arrival never gets old.

Meet Rachel, and learn more about Rachel Reider Interior Designs at


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