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Empty children's playroom with crib, toy planes, plants, furnituremiodrag ignjatovic/E+

Whether you’re embracing the element of surprise or simply not buying into the pink-is-for-girls and blue-is-for-boys tradition, you’re part of a growing global movement, to put it mildly. According to a recent worldwide trends report from Pinterest, searches for gender-neutral nursery decorating ideas shot up by 527 per cent (yes, you read that right) from July, 2018 to July, 2019.

The key with any nursery is not to make it too baby specific, so that junior can grow into his or her room and you won’t be redecorating every few years. Approach the nursery with a focus on good instead of cute design and you’ll be on solid ground.

One starting point for your space is to take the “neutral” part of gender-neutral quite literally. A room that’s done in shades of cream, black and grey feels grown-up enough to last for years to come. If you’re worried that kind of Scandi-inspired scheme sounds drab, there are plenty of ways to add drama as well as warmth: graphic wallpaper, big black-and-white photographs of animals, a striped rug, pale wood furniture and woven baskets for storage.

Another option is to veer away from neutrals and go all in with colour. You could source a bold rug and use it to pull some fun colours for a multitone palette. Or, take your favourite happy hue – say, yellow or green – and turn it up to 11 with varying shades within the same family for a monochromatic effect. Just be sure to give the eye a break with some neutral accents. So, if you paint the ceiling with yellow stripes, keep the walls white.

Sorbet-tinted pastels are soothing and pretty: Imagine both pale blue and pink combined with a few other colours such as peach, mint and soft turquoise. To keep a pastel scheme from looking too sweet, as you mentioned, consider some anchors of grey (black would be too strong), such as an upholstered rocking chair or painted dresser.

Normally I advise against decorative themes, but a nursery or kid’s room is the exception. If you’re tempted to go the theme route, I’ve seen the following done well: celestial (all things stars, moons and inky night skies); safari (a map mural on the wall, with accessories that have a well-travelled feel – think Indiana Jones Jr.); polka dots (reinforce the motif with multicoloured dots on the rug and crib sheets, along with painted spots on the wall). Any one of these would make your new arrival feel quite welcome!

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