Will Yellow Make Your Baby Cry? And Other Myths about Decorating for Children

The only thing that attracts unsolicited advice more than pregnancy or a newborn is how you should decorate your nursery. The myths and old wives tales abound about how best to put together this most exciting and important room in your house.

It doesn’t have to be another stressful preparation for the new addition to your family. Setting up your nursery should be where you relax, have fun and get creative. Who needs more rules?

So don’t listen to Grandma when she balks at your choice to install a black crib and a chalkboard paint wall. Black is not too heavy for babies and small children. In fact, it can be grounding, soothing and cocooning. It also creates a wonderful backdrop for all of the brightly colored toys and baby items that will inevitably begin to encroach on the space. Plus since baby’s brain hasn’t got the color wheel figured out yet, black can be a nice simple hue for her to relax around.


Benjamin Moore 2021-20

And no, yellow won’t make your baby cry. (Not any more than she’s going to already anyway). Unless you choose a yellow that is meant for caution signs or safety vests that is (above), because those would make me cry too. Maybe this is how the myth came to be? Yellow is the trickiest of colors to get right because it gets twice as bright when it goes up.

A pretty paint chip does not necessarily make a pretty wall color. The secret to finding the perfect yellow is to choose a mellow yellow that verges on buttery cream (below). A little sun-washed and with a hint of complexity. Then you will have the perfect fresh and soothing yellow that will make the nursery a very happy place for you and baby.


Benjamin Moore CC-170 / 206

The other mistake I see all the time is feeling that everything in the nursery must be the same finish.  You go to the furniture store buy a set and check it off your list. The simplicity of this is tempting, I get it, but consider purchasing your crib in a slightly different finish than your dresser and changing table or buying coordinating but different pieces for a more layered, collected vibe.

For example, you might opt for a classic vintage styled dresser that will grow with the needs of the child and mix it with a more whimsical child’s bed that will eventually be changed out to keep the feel of the room age appropriate. It is always a good idea to mix painted pieces (below) in with wood pieces to keep the room more playful and colorful.


Interior Design by Ruth Chancellor

A child’s room should be fun not stuffy. On the other hand, if you choose all bubble gum pink pieces, you will be changing it up in a few short years when she decides her favorite color is blue.


Interior Design by Ruth Chancellor

Pink is for girls and blue is for boys. This is one deeply grooved bias but did you know that a few generations ago the reverse was considered to be true? Red and its tint, pink, were considered masculine colors and soft blue was thought to be ideal for girls. So throw those gendered color stereotypes out the window and create a color palette you will enjoy. You don’t need to stick with grey or beige in the interest of a gender neutral nursery either for the same reasons.

So relax and indulge your creative impulses when designing your nursery. You will have enough conflicting advice to sift through (or ignore) over the coming months. A child’s room should not be a place of rules and formulas, but of whimsy and delight.

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