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Interior designer Jennifer Hsu recently designed a nursery for her first baby. I fell in love with her clean, classic and refreshing design. Often nursery designs center too much on a theme and the design can become quickly dated after the child enters toddler years. Jennifer offers a few tips for designing a classic nursery that will function and look beautiful for many years.
LAMPS PLUS: How would you define your style?
JENNIFER HSU: My style is really a mix of modern and classic. I love to incorporate classic architectural details and mix in furniture pieces with clean lines, or vice versa. I also like to use rustic pieces with more refined furnishings. It is that balance between the old and the new that conveys a sense of history and a lived-in feel to a refined and polished space.
LAMPS PLUS: What inspires your design?
JENNIFER HSU: I majored in painting at art school; therefore, art and art history has always influenced my design aesthetic. I draw inspiration from the colors, textures, lines, and the sense of scale from all types of art mediums. As a result, I have a keen sense of color combinations that play a big role in my design process.
LAMPS PLUS: What are a few tips for designing a classic baby nursery?
JENNIFER HSU: A classic baby nursery is something that is timeless and not a lot of fuss. It is a soothing and calming place to be. To achieve a classic aesthetic, I prefer to use furniture with clean lines that are thoughtfully designed, but not overly designed. I select color palettes that are fresh and soothing and juxtapose them with some fun accent colors. I also like to bring in some traditional architectural elements and mix it up with modern furniture pieces.
LAMPS PLUS: Children's room designs change so often. What is your advice for designing a nursery that will last through toddler years?
JENNIFER HSU: My biggest advice for this is to go with a design you will enjoy and that works with you and your baby from day to day and don't concern yourself with trends. Use furniture that will grow with your child, like a crib that will become a toddler bed. Select furniture that can be multi-purposed, like a dresser that doubles as a changing table. This way you can get a lot more use out of the furniture well into the toddler years. Also, don't focus too much on a theme; children change what they like very often. Keep the background neutral and clean so adapting design changes from a baby nursery to a todder's room is that much easier.
LAMPS PLUS: How do you maximize storage in a baby's room?
JENNIFER HSU: Selecting kids furniture that has more than one purpose is a great way to maximize space. A crib that has a changing station that can be placed right on top or a crib with storage space underneath the mattress are great options. Another option is a dresser that can be used as a changing table. There are also many options in the market for folding or portable furniture that is easy to store when not in use. You can also maximize storage and save floor space by utilizing the wall space, like hanging the laundry bag on a wall hook instead of buying a floor hamper. Use wall mount shelves to put away books and toys. Organize the closet so you can store as many toys, diapers, and clothes as possible. Custom, built-in furniture is a clever way to make the most of every nook and cranny in a home. I love incorporating them because their custom nature has the ability to offer endless style and configuration options tailored to any space. Most importantly, only buy items and furniture you truly need.
LAMPS PLUS: What is your advice for incorporating artwork into a nursery?
JENNIFER HSU: I think it is very important to incorporate artwork into any space and especially into a nursery. Artwork doesn't have to be expensive; it could be as simple as a photocopy of a page from a favorite children's book or a shadow box containing items from their first days in the hospital. Your child's participation by painting their little hands and feet and stamping them onto a canvas is even more special. Whatever it is, it should be personal and speak to you and your child. Bringing artwork into the nursery also adds that extra layer of design and perhaps an unexpected splash of color to the space.
LAMPS PLUS: What are your favorite light fixtures for a nursery?
JENNIFER HSU: Although I like a grown-up looking nursery, I realize it is for a baby and should not lose that sense of fun and whimsy. Light fixtures are a perfect accent to bring those elements in. I like the Possine Euro Design Dandelion Chandelier - it is modern, light, and very whimisical. The Jonathan Adler Giraffe Wall Sconce will look so cute either next to a window, dresser, or above the side tables once the baby has transitioned to a big boy or girl's bed. I also like the Uttermost Burleson Natural Twine Pendant Light because of its classic shape wrapped in neutral burlap. The pendant will work with a lot of nursery style.
Possini Euro Design Dandelion Chandelier
Jonathan Adler Giraffe Wall Sconce
Uttermost Burleson Natural Twine 3-Light Pendant Light
Images: Jessica Comingore