What is the best color for a nursery? Design experts and sleep psychologists advise

If you’re wondering what’s the best color for a baby’s room, chances are you’re decorating for the arrival of a new family member. It’s an exciting time, but choosing the best color for a nursery can create a dilemma for every parent.

You can plan nursery ideas with shades such as blue or pink in mind, or focus on creating a color scheme that can be easily adapted as your child grows. Or maybe shades that soothe, or even those that provide some stimulation, might be on your mind.

To help you decide, we asked color experts and interior designers to name the best color for a nursery — and why.

What is the best color for a nursery?

The best color for a nursery can be influenced by how long you want the design to last or maybe you want to base your choice on giving the baby better sleep?

“Something soft as a backdrop tends to work well so you can add more vibrant colors and patterns through accessories such as lamps, storage boxes and upholstery which can then be turned off if your child grows,” suggests Jessica Hubner. , founder of Hubner Studio (opens in a new tab).

“Dark colors tend to work well for this, like plaster pinks, chalky neutrals and blues or greens with a warm gray undertone, like Farrow & Ball’s Pale Powder.”

Whether you focus on baby girl nursery ideas, baby boy nursery ideas, or prefer gender-neutral nursery ideas, get inspired by the experts.

1. Choose pale green or blue to induce sleep

A baby boy bedroom idea with blue floral wallpaper and white cradle

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

Consider bringing color from the outside into the nursery. Pale blue is considered by sleep experts to be the best color for a bedroom (for babies or adults) because it creates a restful atmosphere that helps you sleep better.

Another popular option is sage green. “We think the best color for a nursery is green because it brings nature and nurturing ambiance to the room,” say Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters of luxury interior design studio Forbes Masters. (opens in a new tab).

“This color improves concentration and reading ability and provides a soothing effect to the room.”

“Pastel greens and blues are soothing and less stimulating to the senses than other colors. Pastel green is a great color choice for nurseries that won’t be out of place in a bedroom as your little one grows,” says Cathryn Sanders, Creative Lead at Earthborn Paints. (opens in a new tab).

2. Choose yellow to create a good mood

A pale yellow painted baby room with a white polka dot pattern

(Image credit: Future/Polly Wreford)

Color and mood are closely related, you might want to choose a hue that promotes happiness for a nursery.

“Over the past few years there has been an increase in yellow nurseries,” says the color consultant and senior designer at Crown (opens in a new tab) Justyna Korczynska. “Yellow is generally considered a gender-neutral shade. It is considered a stimulating and joyful color.

Rather than using yellow all around, consider it for accents. “Yellow hues are great for creating a focal point in a room,” says Justyna. “Highlight interesting architectural features, paint a wall mural, or add color to furniture and accessories to create an attractive space.”

3. Opt for soothing neutrals they can grow with

Child's room with blue wall leading to space with neutral wall

(Image credit: Earthborn Paints)

Thinking of decorating with white as your base color? You might find that decorating with neutrals is a better way to choose the best color for a nursery.

“Neutral colors such as creams, grays and beiges are perfect choices for a nursery,” says Cathryn Sanders, Creative Manager at Earthborn Paints. “Not only are they super versatile, but they’re not bothersome and can have a calming effect on the emotions.” White should be avoided as it can look too bright, cold and overwhelming under certain lights.

4. Choose pretty pinks and lilacs for a lovely quiet space

Pink nursery with pink painted wall, cream carpet and rug, white crib with pink painted rattan cabinet

(Image credit: future)

However, there are other soothing tones you might consider if neutrals aren’t providing enough color in your eyes.

“Using different shades of pastel pinks and lilacs can help create a calm, tranquil space that wraps your little one up like a cozy blanket,” says Cathryn Sanders, Creative Manager at Earthborn Paints.

5. Choose a comfortable color that’s perfect for small, dark rooms

Baby room with animal print wallpaper and wooden bed

(Image credit: Emma Green Design)

An alternative approach to choosing the best color for a nursery is to think about cozy and bohemian nursery decor. It works great in small rooms or small, light-hungry rooms where battling light levels and proportions with pale colors just won’t work. Dark and warm colors also have the advantage of ensuring that the nursery is as dark as possible at night.

“Instead of the traditional pale blues and pinks, I like to create a more cocooning atmosphere in a child’s room that is both soothing and sleep-inducing,” says interior designer Emma Green. (opens in a new tab). “Here I chose Farrow & Ball Inchyra Blue mixed with a fun, but not too childish animal wallpaper.”

6. Introduce warmth with earthy undertones

nursery with orange painted cabinet and blue accents, light wood crib with streamers and cushions.  woven laundry basket and rug on white painted wood floor

(Image credit: Matt Clayton Photography Limited)

The best color for a nursery can be chosen because it makes a room that is larger or lit with cool, north or east facing light feel warmer and more welcoming. Interior Designer Shanade McAllister-Fisher (opens in a new tab) also suggests moving away from the often preferred nursery color options.

“Terracotta, rust, and burnt orange — these gorgeous warm color palettes are rich, soothing, and bold,” she says. “They’re great for gender-neutral nurseries where you want to create a modern, less traditional take on the space.”

What color makes a baby sleep?

Pale blues are said to be the best colors to put humans to sleep as they create a relaxing and soothing backdrop. However, in our experience, what puts baby to sleep is a full belly, a clean diaper and a quiet, dark room at the right temperature. And even then, they won’t sleep any longer than it takes to empty that belly and fill that diaper.

What color makes a baby happy?

It’s hard to know what color makes a room happy, although psychologists often consider yellow to be one of the best colors for making a room happy. However, they also warn that this is a color that is also associated with high energy, so if you’re buying into color psychology, you might want to choose a calmer hue.

Dora W. Clawson