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Gender-neutral nursery ideas for a playroom without limits

Play with spirited styles to make a gender-neutral playroom for your little one to cherish

Published: January 12, 2022 at 2:00 pm
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If you've got young children of your own or you're expecting one soon, you've probably noticed the popularity of gender-neutral nurseries in recent years, as the strict pink-or-blue schemes of the past give way to a taste for less restrictive and more unisex themes.

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A stimulating nursery or playroom space at home will not only aid a child's development, but also give them treasured memories for years to come - and there are some fantastic gender-neutral ideas out there to help you create a special space where they can grow, learn and explore with no limits to their imagination. Plus, if you're expecting a baby and choose not to find out the sex, a unisex nursery is essential!

We spoke to expert Sylvia James, interior designer at HomeHow.co.uk, to get her advice for creating an inspiring unisex nursery. Check out her tips and our ideas for gender-neutral nurseries, from decor themes to furniture and lighting ideas.

So before you get lost in the nursery decor melting pot of sparkles, stars and stickers, check out our gender-neutral nursery ideas you can use in a little one’s room to make it an exciting and inspiring place to play for any child.

Gender-neutral nursery themes

Dorma Kubu laundry basket, £55; Mission honey storage bed, £239; Safari single bedding set, £14; Lion plush, £10; Amelia butterscotch throw, £18; Round knitted baskets, £25 for a set of two; Dorma Kubu basket, from £12; Sheepskin rug, from £35, all Dunelm
Safari single bedding set, £14.40, Dunelm

Inject some of your child’s personality into their playroom by following a theme. For instance, if they love wildlife, safari vibes will be right up their street!

Or maybe space exploration is more their style - work that into your theme instead. 'Adding stars into your interior theme is perfect for all genders,' says Sylvia. 'You can either create a whole ceiling filled with glow-in-the-dark fixtures, stencil them onto your walls or hang them from the crib.'

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However, don't feel obliged to design the whole room around a specific theme - a simple backdrop can work just as well. 'When it comes to colour and texture, you don’t need to always opt for a playful option,' Sylvia says. 'Natural wood furniture might seem like an adult choice but paired with geometric patterns, it gives the room a modern feel. The natural tones instantly add warmth to the space.'

Gender-neutral nursery furniture

John Lewis & Partners Elementary Dresser
ANYDAY Elementary Dresser, £150, John Lewis

When it comes to buying nursery furniture, start simple, and choose matching furniture as a base - look out for cots, wardrobes and dressers together as a set of three. Once you have your essentials, 'keeping with the colour scheme and texture of the chosen items, add in décor to match and personalise the room,' says Sylvia.

Don't forget to consider practicality as well as style, such as a dresser that comes with a built-in changing table.

Habitat Kids Play Mini Scandi Teepee
Habitat Kids Play Mini Scandi Teepee, £40, Argos

Remember when you used to make forts from sofa cushions and bedsheets? Well, you can save your own home furnishings from tiny terrors by creating a dedicated space for play time with a fabric tipi. A tipi tent like the one shown above is sure to ignite your child’s imagination and provide them with hours of fun!

Isabelle and Max Shields writing desk, £88.99, Wayfair
Isabelle and Max Shields writing desk, £88.99, Wayfair

Kids are full of energy, but like all of us they need downtime, too. Make a creative corner with a desk and stool set where your youngster can read, draw and later do their homework. The Shields desk from Isabelle and Max at Wayfair is open-top, perfect for hiding away all manner of treasures.

Habitat Kids Crocodile Bookcase, £60, Argos
Habitat Kids Crocodile Bookcase, £60, Argos

Teaching your children to tidy up after themselves is an important lesson which will – hopefully – encourage them to keep their rooms organised when they’re in their teens! To make tidying up a little more interesting, you can bring an element of fun to the storage solution by ensuring it fits with the theme of the space. For example, this crocodile-shaped bookcase is ideal for animal-loving kids.

Nursery lighting ideas

Woodland battery children’s fairy lights, £9.99, Lights4fun
Woodland battery children’s fairy lights, £9.99, Lights4fun

When creating a playroom, it’s more than just colour and style which factor into the design - lighting is important too. For children, fairy lights are a great way to bring a cosy atmosphere to the space and the soft glow they emit will ease little ones into a sense of calm before bedtime.

Cloud and moon children’s light, £12.99; Cloud silhouette battery night light, £19.99; Osby star window light bundle, £23, all Lights4fun
Cloud silhouette battery night light, £21.99; Osby star window light bundle, £29.99, Lights4fun

Moon and stars are a classic theme for lighting a nursery, and there are plenty of cute options to choose from. We love Lights4Fun's night lights in the shape of a cloud or moon, which cast a gentle comforting glow and look fantastic on a wall, too.

Best colours for a gender-neutral nursery

Yellow Brick Road matt emulsion, £15 for 2.5l, Homebase
Yellow Brick Road matt emulsion, £15 for 2.5l, Homebase

Yellow is the traditional colour for a unisex nursery - and it's a favourite for a reason. 'Not only is the colour soothing but it is associated with happiness and memory stimulation,' says Sylvia. It's a versatile colour, too, with options spanning from pale buttercream to vibrant sunflower shades.

'When it comes to colour, a little goes a long way. If you want your room to remain plain, you can instead add yellow statement pieces throughout the nursery instead. You could opt for a yellow changing mat or mustard rugs,' she suggests.

Valspar Rabbit's Foot matt emulsion, £18 for 2.5l, B&Q
Valspar Rabbit's Foot matt emulsion, £18 for 2.5l, B&Q

If you prefer a neutral backdrop for your nursery, you're not alone! Paint brand Valspar polled its followers and they chose Rabbit's Foot (above), a warm stone grey, as their favourite nursery shade.

Plain Scandi-style nurseries like the one above are all the rage at the moment, or you can add colour and fun with bright accents, vibrant wall art or even a colourful feature wall.

Polka Dot Wall Stickers, pack of 100, £9.99, Amazon.co.uk
Polka Dot Wall Stickers, pack of 100, £9.99, Amazon.co.uk
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And if you're struggling to settle on a colour, why not choose all of them! Sylvia is a huge fan of rainbow polka dots. 'The best thing about rainbow polka dots is that they provide a highlight of colour rather than a solid colour on a wall,' she says, as well as being 'an enjoyable way for babies to absorb their surroundings and add an element of fun into the room'. Using removable wall stickers to achieve this look, as shown above, makes updating the look in future years a breeze!

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