Readying the Nest: Choose a Nursery Theme in 3 Easy Steps

Choosing a nursery theme doesn’t happen for all of us in one foul swoop. For some of us, it’s more of a decision-making process. Like any new project, sometimes it’s difficult to begin planning, because you don’t know where to start. In this case, brainstorming is a great way to begin! Here we'll walk you through an easy 3 step brainstorming process. We’ve compiled a list of ideas that will jolt you into brainstorming mode, we'll help you evaluate your ideas and have you choosing a nursery theme in no time, to get you well on your nesting way…


Brainstorming is a creative process used to generate as many ideas as possible, including some craaazy ones, to solve any problem. Although brainstorming is a creative process, it’s also a structured one and here, we’ll walk you through the 3 easy steps... Before we get started, it’s important to define the problem and the associated objective of the brainstorming sesh. We’ve defined the problem as “not having a nursery theme,” so the brainstorming objective is therefore “to choose a nursery theme”. 

Next step is to grab your pen and paper and write down all the ideas that pop into your mind as you work through our list of ideas below. Liberate your mind at this stage of the process - no idea is too radical. You can judge, criticise and evaluate your ideas at a later step. To get your creative juices flowing, we’ve started you off with a list of 10 ideas. Our ideas represent broad categories that nursery themes tend to fall under. Some of our ideas will be helpful and others won’t, just build on the one’s that appeal to you, or that stimulate your ideas.



Think of what items you have around the house that could be used in your nursery. Household items could include a chair for feeding, a lamp, a rug, a cushion, an art piece, a basket, or a decorative shelf to name a few. Go and have a look if you can’t think of anything. This is always a good place to start, as you can save money. Could a nursery theme or colour scheme be based around any of these items? List the items and write down any ideas they give you for a theme.


Do you have any special or sentimental items that you could use in your nursery? What style are they? What theme could you base around it/them?  For example, I used a decorative birdcage from my wedding in my daughter’s nursery. This sentimental piece gave me the initial idea of a shabby chic/vintage theme, which later developed into a bird and a tree (mural) theme.


Why not get your craft on? Or sewing on? Or art on? Or Etsy on? And add a unique touch to your nursery with something handmade. You don’t have to be an artist, or even creative to make things. There are lots of easy DIY activities that anyone can make to display in their nursery. If you need some inspiration…follow our Cloud 9 Baby Bedrooms Pinterest account. Making things is another great way to save some money on décor.


If you’ve got paraphernalia from your favourite sport or activity floating around your home such as ballet slippers and tutu’s, soccer balls and signed jerseys, fishing nets and rods (minus the fishing line and hooks), surf boards and skateboards, or musical instruments and records, as well as framed photos of Mum and/or Dad enjoying the activity, you could base your theme around this. If you’re planning to pass the activity onto your child one day, it’s a great way to ingratiate your baby.


Is there an environment that’s important to you? Are you more of a beach, forest, outback, country, or city person? Or perhaps there’s a significant place that you could build a nursery theme around, such as your country of origin, your honeymoon destination, your favourite holiday in Paris, or maybe you’re intrigued by outer space? Where’s your happy place? If it’s where you live, you can use items from your surrounds in your nursery decorating.


Is there a design style that you’ve always loved? Rather than use the same style as the rest of the house, you can opt for a different style – anything goes in the nursery! There are endless styles of design to choose from such as Minimalist, Maximalist, Swedish or Nordic, Contemporary, Mid-Century, Traditionalist, Urban or Industrial to name a few.


Are you in love with leopard print? Or everything damask? Or perhaps you’re stuck on the chevron nursery craze? What about polka dots, love hearts, clouds, or geometric shapes? If you’ve got a fave pattern in mind, you can begin your hunt for matching items, which may lead to another accompanying theme. For instance, a leopard print chair could pave the way towards creating a safari, or jungle, or tropical nursery theme, depending on the décor items that you find.


Are you an animal lover? Do you have a strong connection to nature? Why not choose a nursery theme from clouds, cacti, florals, ferns, pineapples, trees, flamingos or birds, cats, dogs, koalas – or your most beloved animal, pet or plant? Any ideas come to mind?


The qualities, beliefs, values, personality traits, looks and/or expressions that define you, could also be used to define your nursery theme, as might a group that you identify with. For example, you might like to express your eccentricity in your nursery design, or you may choose to create a nerdy nursery theme, an army nursery theme, a bohemian nursery theme, a cowboy nursery theme, or muso nursery theme - if you happen to identify with any of these.


If they’re in good condition - why not? (In saying that, make a mental note for the next brainstorming step, that extra caution IS needed with regard to the safety of second hand items, in particular with cots and bedding). However, items such as art pieces and wall décor, other decorative items, or a refurbished chair for feeding might be used to create a unique focal point in your nursery and possibly stimulate a nursery theme idea.  


Now that you’ve got some ideas on paper, you can categorise them, condense them, think of ways to combine them and of course refine them. Your ideas will continue to grow and morph into new ones once you get started on your nursery. It’s important to assess the ideas, prioritise your options and consider which options are most appropriate to be included in your baby's environment. You may want to create a separate list of ‘constraints’ to consider when evaluating your options.

Safety is the main constraint in the modern-day book of nursery design. This constraint will help you (sometimes to your dismay) exclude a plethora of items, decorations, bedding options, furniture options, bedroom lay out options and the list goes on…and on. Always carefully consider the safety of every item you want to include in your nursery and avoid making assumptions about safety. Sometimes common items and even so-called ‘baby’ items, have been found to be unsafe for babies in ways you could never imagine. Do your research.

You may have other constraints such as whether you want your nursery to be gender specific or neutral. Do you know, or intend to find out your baby’s gender? Do you intend to decorate the nursery for one baby, or will your next and subsequent babies be using the same room? Knowing whether the nursery will be gender specific or gender neutral might also help you to narrow down your list of nursery theme options.

Another consideration that may be important to you is whether you want your nursery to be stimulating versus relaxing. Do you envision a restful retreat that promotes sleep for your baby? Or do you want to jump straight into your education-oriented parenting program and stimulate the genius out of your baby from day one? There’s a lively debate (with no consensus) about the pros and cons of each approach. There’s scientific research findings to support both views, so ultimately this is a personal decision that may help you to think about what colours, patterns, toys and décor you want to include in your nursery.


Hopefully now you’ve chosen a theme for your nursery! If not, you’ll have some good ideas to at least get you contemplating your options for a nursery theme. As already mentioned, choosing a nursery theme doesn’t happen for all of us in one foul swoop - for some of us, it’s more of a decision-making process. However, now that you have a couple of ideas, you can at least begin your nursery decorating and you’ll come up with more ideas when you're on your journey. Your brainstorming efforts are never a waste of time, even if you decide not to have a theme in your nursery, at least you’ve considered all of your options and made an informed decision.

If you still can’t think of a nursery theme, you could always go eclectic! It’s the no-theme-theme, or you can ditch a theme for a colour scheme. Long gone are the pastel pink and baby blue colour scheme constraints for girls and boys in the nursery. Although the traditional colours haven’t been ruled out, you’ve a license to bend, stretch and break all the rules when it comes to using colour in the nursery. Even black is popular in today’s baby bedrooms – check it out on our Cloud 9 Baby Bedrooms Pinterest account! Here, you’ll find plenty of visual Pinspiration if you feel you need to continue your search for a nursery theme. We’d love to see your nursery reveal pics and don't forget about our Social Media Promo where you receive $50 cash-back as well as have your nursery featured in our Cloud 9 Blog!

Til then,

Happy Nesting!  

Author: Cloud 9 Baby Bedrooms