5 Tips on Decorating a Nursery

What does a nursery really need? Comfort for baby, convenience for you, and sweet touches for both. Read more in Karen Kizer's Sonoma Magazine piece — as Bon Ton Studio owner, Erika, shares her nursery tips + essential decor picks.

Choose a color palette

“I always say with a lot of things, ‘Let’s try and keep things simple,’” says Dawkins. When decorating a room, she starts with a palette of quiet neutrals — beiges, whites and browns are the base — and then adds color with restraint. To add a few interesting elements, Dawkins lets herself “have fun with textiles and prints.” In her daughter’s room, for example, pops of terra cotta (in pictures and books) add warmth to an otherwise neutral color palette.


Keep things cohesive

At Bon Ton Baby, neutral colors and woven baskets set the scene. The look is then enlivened by soft colors: heather greens, lilacs, blush tones, terra cottas. Dawkins stays away from the gendered colors blue and pink and her shop is gender neutral; there are no boys and girls shelves. In order to stay within her chosen color palette, Dawkins sometimes have to forgo certain items and pieces for her store or her home. 


Communicate who lives in the room

“It’s a baby at first, but then they're a toddler,” says Dawkins about decorating a nursery. She likes to place shelves with books and stuffed toys at a child’s eye level so that growing children can reach them. She also likes to decorate and organize a room with storage in mind. “I'm a big believer in everything having a home,” says Dawkins. She uses storage baskets, like the pot belly baskets she carries in both her stores, to keep rooms organized. The baskets can be folded to create lower profile storage pieces.


Consider your own comfort, too

Since parents spend a lot of time in their small children’s rooms, Dawkins recommends adding items to these rooms that make them more comfortable for adults. A Moroccan pouf, for example, offers a comfortable low-to-the-ground seat, where parents can sit at the child’s eye level. As far as aesthetics go, Dawkins recommends making the child’s “space work with the rest of the house” and not going “overboard with themes.”


Collect furniture and decor from different sources

Dawkins likes to mix high-end items with budget buys and a little bit of vintage. “You just have to weave everything together and layer,” she advises. For her nursery at home, she purchased and placed the big items first — a birchwood crib, a white dresser (from IKEA) and a linen rocker. She then purchased shelves in blond woods from Target and many of the remaining items — baskets, poufs and linens — came from her own store. The room also features art from a local maker and pretty dried flowers by Flower Girl Em. “It doesn't need to match,” says Dawkins about the decoration and suggests opting for mismatched but well-coordinated pieces of furniture and decor.