At some point in the past decade, someone finally asked why nursery decor had to include so many ruffles and teddy bears.  And when nobody had an answer for it, nursery design became an extension of home decor, much to the joy of many (read: every).   But often times, parents nail the nursery design only to fail on functionality.  For tips and tricks on how to have it all, we drilled Lisa Jarvin, founder and lead designer of YouthfulNest, an online interior design service exclusively for nurseries and kids’ rooms.  Lisa broke down how to design a functional, time-saving, eco-friendly nursery that will feel as good as it looks in your insta-feed. 

When it comes to functionality, Lisa has found most parents miss the mark on the nursery’s glider area.  “A new mom doesn’t really know what functionality she needs, and second-time moms may not know how to add more ease and functionality,” Lisa says.  Her fix? You’ll want a space that allows you to keep essentials within reach—and during the newborn days, “within reach” means “with one hand and without having to make to many big movements that might disturb a feeding or a sleeping child,” Lisa explains.  She recommends including a tabletop area next to the glider to rest a baby bottle and mom essentials (read: phone, water, snack. All the snacks.)  Also essential and often overlooked: “task lighting for reading that you can reach to turn off or dim with one hand.”  

There isn’t a phrase quite as near and dear to a mother as “time-saving,” and Lisa gives that much consideration in her designs.  Lisa loves zippered crib sheets for those inevitable middle-of-the-night strips downs and wipe-clean changing pads for easy cleanups, sans spot-treating a changing pad cover (#praisebe). Her final time-saving tip might be a surprise to some: “we highly recommend having a mirror in the nursery for increased functionality and style, especially over the change table or near the glider,” she says. “It can be a source of entertainment for baby during changing time and a stealth way to sneak-a-peek to see if your baby has completely fallen asleep while rocking them. Plus, a mirror is the perfect decor piece that brings to express your style in the nursery.”

Babies and chemicals have never mixed, and thankfully it is easier than ever to avoid toxic chemicals in the nursery. “When it comes concerns about what is coming in contact with your child, we recommend splurging on the mattress and crib bedding with organic, non-toxic products,” which she suggests for good reason.  “Your baby will be spending 8-12 hours a day coming in contact with those elements, so this the number one place to splurge.”  Lisa is a huge fan of the GOTS certified (translation: the gold medal of organic)  Naturepedic Organic Mattress.  

After you’ve splurged on the mattress, it’s time to start googling ingredients in paint. “We love Colorhouse because it is a safe, quality product that goes on with excellent coverage, so you don’t need two coats,” Lisa says. “You can paint with the Colorhouse product or other ZERO VOC paints and sleep in the space that very same day without smelling or breathing in harmful chemicals.”  If you’re going the wallpaper route (so chic) look for non-toxic products.  And one final touch to keep the ickies away? A washable rug.  

So when does a modern nursery totally nail it? When it’s a “youthful space that mirrors the design style of a homeowner’s main living spaces,” Lisa explains.  And she emphasizes that nursery decor that goes far beyond how it looks.  A well-designed nursery can actually increase a mother’s or main caregiver’s confidence and happiness when caring for baby.  As for the future, Lisa suspects the minimalist movement is here to stay, as “expecting moms and second time moms discover real truths about must-haves for this unique space.”   Right on, Lisa.