Tips on Setting Up Your Baby’s Nursery

Three of metro Detroit's top designers offer their tips on setting up a drool-worthy nursery for your new bundle of joy.

Since your little one spends hours a day snoozing, cuddling and cooing in their nursery, it needs to represent a space filled with love and care. Designing and setting up a nursery from scratch can be a daunting task for dads and moms, so take crib notes from Detroit’s top designers.

East Arbor Goods

Suzanne Sakowski recently completed a nursery project that includes her clients’ personalities and preferences.

“We first started with a geometric featured wallpaper wall. The mom loves fun graphics, and this was such a great way to add it and give the room impact,” she says. “Baby-changing baskets convert dressers into a changing area. It also lends texture and helps layer the room.”

Although floor poufs are popular, she used some throw pillows in the nursery for small hands to carry. It creates a little reading nook for the baby to grow into, but it also welcomes older siblings to get cozy and comfortable in the nursery.

She loves talking to her clients about their favorite styles and colors. “In this household, the mom likes playful graphics and a bit of traditional and bohemian styles, while Dad likes modern and mid-century accessories and furniture. For the nursery, I played up the whimsical modern graphics and continued to overlap their styles to make the nursery their own.” Finding where those elements overlap and complement each other is part of the process Suzanne enjoys.

Suzanne’s essential elements for a unique nursery:

  • A comfortable chair to unwind in, along with soft and round edges throughout the room. This gives you peace of mind as your little one grows.
  • Personal touches from your childhood add comfort or something that you look forward to sharing together.
  • A little family photo album! During reading time with her boys, they would sometimes flip through it while they pointed at the good memories and the faces who loved them. Artifact Uprising has a personalized baby board book you can create and add to your nursery.

Lily Jace Designs

Moms to five kids combined, Salma Amer and Lauren Wilson have designed numerous nurseries for their own kids, client nurseries, “big kid” transition bedrooms and playrooms that can grow with the children. They love to incorporate the child’s interest in an artistic way.

For example, for a little boy who loved trains, they displayed a vintage photograph of a train as art in the room. Another client had her little girl who loves the color purple, so they found a beautiful lilac rug for her instead of putting it as paint on the walls.

Their essential elements for a unique nursery:

  • Fun wallpaper is a good way to make a bold statement.
  • Stay away from cartoon characters because they have a new favorite every week and it won’t grow with them.
  • Contrast! For example, a soft pattern of a classic toile wallpaper in a girl’s bedroom paired with the edginess of metal bed.
  • Display the pretty, neutral, handmade and vintage toys and keep the plastic colorful ones stored.
  • Find a cute storage piece or use natural fiber baskets to add texture to the room.

North + Birch Interior Design

Owner Steph Morris is all about having fun with nursery design. “It is the perfect space to select colors and patterns that you might not be comfortable using in other areas of the home. Classic design elements like neutral colors and organic textures can be perfect teammates with whimsical décor items and a fun pop of color,” she says.

Embracing her tiniest client’s interests is a favorite way to personalize a nursery. “I am currently designing a toddler’s bedroom, and we are having so much embracing the little guy’s interests while keeping the overall design modern and classic. He loves the solar system, so we are pairing an oversized art print of a dark night sky with a simple patterned black and white wallpaper. We will incorporate pops of color with throw pillows and smaller décor items like wall hooks.”

Steph’s essential elements for a unique nursery:

  • Use greenery! A faux olive tree or succulents is a great way to keep the room feeling fresh and alive.
  • Incorporate a mix of prints and décor items purchased during travels or from a favorite artist at a local art fair.
  • Instead of using a paint color for an accent wall, use a wall treatment such as wallpaper, board and batten, vertical shiplap, etc.


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