7 Calming Nursery Colors That You Will Love
Want to create a relaxing nursery space for your baby? Choosing the right nursery color is a great place to start!
According to color psychologists, color can have a pretty significant effect on the psyche, influencing everything from mood to physical wellbeing. But you don’t have to be a scientist to reap the psychological benefits of color. Armed with a little color know-how and a can of paint, you can easily transform a big, lonely nursery into a soothing sleep sanctuary. Just choose one of these calming nursery colors, and let science do its thing!
Calming Nursery Colors
1-Subdued Blues Calming Nursery Colors
Like a calm sea or cloudless sky, soft shades of blue tend to relax both mind and body, giving us a sense that all is right with the world. Exposure to the color blue has been known to lower blood pressure physically, heart rate, and respiration, cooling the body and preparing it for sleep. Blue also decreases feelings of anxiety and aggression, making it a natural salve for nervous newborns and tantrum-prone toddlers.
That said, if creating a sleep-centered space is your goal, avoid dark blues. While light to medium shades promotes sleep, deep, dramatic blues tend to have an energizing effect, keeping sleep at bay. Soft, calming colors like powder blue, aqua, or even light shades of turquoise are a much safer bet.
2-Muted Greens Calming Nursery Colors
Green boasts all the nurturing power of Mother Nature, providing us with a deeply instinctual sense of security that we, too, will grow and thrive in its presence. Associated with health, healing, and well-being, green reduces anxiety, allowing for better concentration. Studies have even found that exposure to the color green may increase reading ability!
When choosing a shade for your nursery, opt for light to medium greens in earthy hues like sage and moss. Blue greens, like mint or seafoam, are also an excellent choice, combining the calming powers of both colors.
3-Pale Purples Calming Nursery Colors
Associated with wisdom and spirituality, purple combines the soothing properties of blue with the nurturing femininity of pink. Colors like lavender and lilac create a soft and serene atmosphere, but only in very pale shades. Choose too dark of a color, and your nursery may end up looking crass or gloomy.
To ensure a good pick, remember that purple will almost always appear darker than expected on the wall. Found a color you like? Opt instead for a hue that is at least one shade lighter than your original choice, and you’ll be happier with the results.
4-Pastel Pinks Calming Nursery Colors
Pink speaks of unconditional love and compassion, making it a fine fit for a baby’s room. It tends to inspire a warm and comfortable feel, which may help your little one relax. But while a soft pink nursery can make for a docile baby girl, pink overload may lead to agitation and anxiety in toddlers. To keep your kiddo calm and happy, opt for a pale, peachy shade or a dusty pastel and use sparingly, balancing the color with plenty of neutral space.
5-Earthy Neutrals Calming Nursery Colors
Neutral shades have a warm, grounding effect, and can be great for creating a cozy atmosphere. Neutrals are also easy on the eyes—literally. Earthy shades of beige and brown give baby’s developing peepers a much-needed rest from stimulating color and contrast, allowing your little dreamer to wind down and sleep.
6-Soft Whites Calming Nursery Colors
Much like the plump, little angels who inhabit them, white nurseries are innocent and sweet, evoking feelings of serenity and peace. That said, white can also seem cold and institutional and may promote secretiveness.
To create a soothing, white haven, think shabby chic. Avoid harsh, blue whites and opt instead for creamier shades, like soft ivory and antique white. You can also add warmth by incorporating lots of rich, earthy textures, like wicker and wood. Adding colorful accents will encourage openness, but stick to soft and soothing colors that won’t over-stimulate your little one.
7-Glacial Grays Calming Nursery Colors
Gray promotes thought and emotion, putting you in touch with your inner self. It’s a calming, contemplative color, but it can also create a sense of sadness if the shade is too dreary. To keep things looking cheery, avoid dark and stormy grays and opt instead for very light, blue-grays. Pair with clean, white trim and pretty pastel accents.
Choose the Right Nursery Color Using Color Psychology
Choosing nursery colors for a baby can be tricky. Hoping to escape the standard pink or blue options, many parents leap into the world of color armed with little more than a whim and a prayer. After all, color selection is not exactly a science, right? Actually, it is. Just ask the army of marketing execs who have poured millions into the research.
Psychological studies, first conducted by advertising firms, suggest that colors can influence mood and behavior, stimulate the brain and body, and even affect your little one’s health. Marketing experts have been using these findings to their advantage for decades. The décor at your gym, your day spa, and even your favorite burger joint have been specially designed to affect everything from your attitude to your appetite. But color psychology can be used to affect more than just your wallet. Scientific studies have also found that exposure to certain colors can improve sleep habits, increase memory power, and even enhance academic performance—excellent benefits for growing minds and bodies.
Whether you are planning a nursery or giving your teenager’s room a much-needed update, your design may benefit from a little psychological intervention. Before you open that paint can, you should take a minute to consider the psychological effects of your color choice.
Color Psychology 101
Different colors can have different effects on the mind and body. Wondering what your favorite hue can do for you? Here’s a quick breakdown of the potential benefits and drawbacks of each color family.
In general, warm colors elicit happiness and comfort, creating intimacy by making large, open spaces feel a little cozier. Bold shades of red, orange and yellow can stimulate the mind and have an energizing effect on the body. While this is beneficial for growth and development, it’s not much of an advantage when it comes to the nightly bedtime showdown with your average, overly energetic toddler. Thus, warm colors are best used in moderation.
Instead of painting an entire room a bold red or bright yellow, try painting a single accent wall and tying in a few matching accessories. You might also consider pairing warm colors with cooler shades to create a sense of balance and temper any negative effects.
Rich and highly emotive, red excites and energizes the body, increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.
Have a little athlete on your hands? Some studies suggest that physical effects associated with the color red increase athletic ability. However, red is also associated with increased aggression, an inability to focus, and even headaches. Some research suggests that exposure to the color red may even hurt your child’s academic performance.
Universally loved by little girls, pink evokes empathy and femininity and creates a calming atmosphere. However, despite an initial calming effect, pink can become irritating over time, leading to agitation and anxiety. While your princess may love this rosy hue now, you should be prepared for her to reject it in the future.
Bright and cheery, yellow is associated with happiness and motivation. Soft, subtle yellows promote concentration while brighter shades can stimulate memory and increases metabolism. However, too much yellow can evoke feelings of anger and frustration, resulting in fussy, over-stimulated babies.
Friendly and welcoming, orange borrows many of its parents’ positive attributes. Orange has a distinctly social nature, inspiring interpersonal communication and putting people at ease. Like yellow, too much orange can be over-stimulating, so use bold shades sparingly.
Cool colors have a calming effect on the body and can make your child’s room feel spacious and relaxing—think open skies and rolling waves. However, dark, cool colors can evoke all the doom and gloom of an impending storm and should be used in moderation.
Despite their soothing nature, cool colors are not particularly inviting and can leave people feeling cold and reserved if the atmosphere is too stark. To soften the effect, pair cool colors with creamy neutrals, and dress your space with soft fabrics and comfortable accessories.
The exact opposite of red on the color wheel, blue calms the mind and body, lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration and decreasing feelings of anxiety and aggression. Children who have trouble sleeping or are prone to tantrums and other behavioral problems may benefit from spending time in a blue environment. The physical effects of blue also cool the body, creating a refreshing oasis in hot, humid locations.
Associated with wisdom and spirituality, purple combines the stability of blue and the energy of red, taking on the characteristics of either, depending on the shade. Purple can also have a luxurious feel and is associated with wealth and royalty.
Green symbolizes nature and thus promotes a serene and calming environment. Associated with health, healing, and well-being, green has a soothing effect on the body and mind, reducing anxiety and promoting concentration. Exposure to the color green may even increase reading ability. One study found that by laying a transparent green sheet on top of the text, students could improve their reading speed and comprehension.
Trusting Your Instincts
While science can make useful generalizations, you should remember that psychological responses are deeply personal. You may feel differently about a color based on your own cultural and personal preferences, and that’s fine. If your little one loves the color red, don’t worry about the negatives. The brain is designed to identify what it needs and likes and will reward us for the following direction. In other words, if your baby is happy, their brain is happy too.
8 Tips for Choosing Nursery Colors You’ll Love
Need help choosing your nursery colors? Dig out those paint chips! There are several tips and tricks to take you from inspiration to paint selection, helping you pull together a palette that you and your little one will love for years to come. Here are some easy-to-follow tips for choosing nursery colors.
1-Consider Your Canvas
Before you find yourself up a ladder with any old shade of paint, holster that paintbrush and take a moment to consider the room itself. Is your baby’s room big or small? Does it benefit from natural light or is it in need of some brightening?
When choosing colors, it’s important to take your cues from the existing space. You may love deep, rich colors, but dark hues absorb light and can easily overwhelm a small room. Light colors, on the other hand, make a room appear bigger and brighter. Taking the room’s needs into consideration beforehand is the best way to make the most of your space.
2-Go Bold With Accents
If you love bold colors but are limited on space (or courage), consider choosing fun and daring accent color. Even in a small room, a well-placed accent wall in a dark color can add depth, making space appear larger. You can also introduce a bold hue by opting for brightly colored accessories, such as curtains and throw pillows.
3-Think Long Term
Your little one might love pink now, but it won’t be long before that soon-to-be big kid has a big change of heart. If you want to create a look that lasts, consider putting traditional pastels and primaries aside in favor of a more sophisticated color scheme. Try a fresh favorite like navy and coral or cool, minty green. You could also opt for a rich, neutral shade complemented by one or two easily updatable accent colors.
4-Seek to Soothe
Your nursery colors can affect much more than your décor plans. According to the science of color psychology, color can have a pretty significant effect on children, influencing their mood, their behavior, and even their physical wellbeing.
5-Settle on a Style or Theme
If you’re struggling to choose colors, try selecting a style or theme instead. Decorating styles often come with associated palettes, narrowing the field and making it easier to choose the perfect color scheme. For example, if you love rustic designs, you might want to focus on warm, rich, hues inspired by nature. Have a thing for shabby chic? Try a pretty pastel.
A theme can also evoke a specific color. One can hardly consider a pirate theme without an ocean-inspired blue, and what room could be deemed fit for a baby ballerina without a touch of iconic pink? Choose your favorite theme, and let your imagination be your guide!
6-Find Fabric First
Need more inspiration? Go shopping! A beautiful bedding set or stylish area rug can serve as the starting place for an entire design!
Even if you’ve settled on your colors, it’s a good idea to hit the shops before buying any paint. Paint should match more than just your paint chip. Why spend countless hours looking for the perfect accessories in just the right color when you could have your pick and simply buy paint to match?
7-Get the Balance Right
To create a well-balanced color scheme, limit your selection to a single primary shade and just one or two accent colors. Be sure to feature each shade multiple times throughout the space, aiming for at least three uses per color. (This helps to create continuity, ensuring a flowing and well-coordinated design.)
8-Be Picky About Your Paint
Ready to buy paint? Start small. Paint chips can be deceiving, and colors often look different once they’ve made it to the wall. Before you order a whole gallon of anything, take home a sample, and paint a large swatch. Wait for the color to dry, and pay attention to how it’s affected by the room’s changing light.
If you’re happy with your chosen shade, opt for durable paint with a semi-gloss finish that can be easily wiped down when sticky fingers attack. You should also consider buying low-VOC Volatile Organic Compounds or VOC-free paint, especially if you plan on painting the nursery yourself. Finally, remember to take note of the stock number and formula, and keep extra paint handy for the occasional (and often unavoidable) touch-up.