Home & Garden

Nursery is the latest room to get a design makeover

Who said nursery design had to be color-by-numbers?

Designers are putting a fresh spin on traditional baby furnishings for a generation of parents who favor contemporary décor. Americans spent about $1.2 billion on ­infant furniture in 2006, according to the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association.

”People want to apply the same aesthetic to the baby's room that they have done in the rest of the house,“ says Christiane Lemieux of DwellStudio, which has launched a line of baby furniture, rugs and clothing at Target. ”I also think that more and more parents want to surround their kids with great design right from the start.“

The trend is spurred in part by celebrity moms whose offsprings' cool digs make the pages of magazines. And it helps that new parents are willing to surf the Internet for stylish design. Retailers expect a further bump in the next few years, when millions of Generation Y women reach peak child-bearing age and more Baby Boomers become grandparents.

The options are dizzying: Stokke is selling an egg-shaped crib, and Argington, Nurseryworks and Dwell­Studio offer crib/changer/dresser combos that are sleek, practical and space-saving. Bedding sets run the gamut from charming, Swedish-influenced animal graphics (Dwellbaby, Amenity) to bold tangerine plaid and hot-pink graffiti (dukduk).

Even Babies R Us, long a source for moderately priced kids' furniture, is introducing several new collections, including Skip Hop and Mod Pod bedding, that wouldn't look out of place in a swanky hotel.

”We expect the new modern nursery to be simpler and more refined,“ says James Fernandez, merchandising director for DesignPublic, which carries whimsical mobiles and Salvor Fauna's photo-printed animal pillows.

Andrew Thornton and Jenny Argie of Argington recently collaborated with OAD, Office for Architecture and Design, on the Hagia bassinet, a versatile, mobile piece that converts to a co-sleeper and later a toddler rocking horse. Argington is among the small, modern companies that have taken off in the last few years.

”People say they'd like to have kids again just to take a consumer role in today's market, given the multitude of modern styles currently available,“ Thornton says.