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Giving our all for our kids: the nursery decor survey

Revealed: what we spend on nurseries and kids' rooms

It’s generally accepted that raising a family comes with a couple of extra costs. But few of us actually keep count – especially when it comes to things like interior design. In the excitement of preparing a nursery for a new arrival it’s easy to get carried away with baby furniture, miniature cushions and the precise difference between “lemon” and “pale sunlight” paints.

A new survey, conducted by retailer Next, sought to find out just what goes into decorating nurseries and children’s rooms.

Nursery décor is important – to parents and for little ones

Two-thirds of parents (68%) agreed that design and décor in a nursery is important, and they mean it! A parent spends an average of 20 hours and £853 on decorating the baby’s room, from the first decisions on furniture to the final touches.

This isn’t just a one-time investment, either – parents redecorate a child’s room every two years, on average, spending another £900 every time. That’s a total of £5,300 before a child’s 10th birthday!

Many elements of a room’s décor, like colour choice, are important for babies too. “Babies are happier when surrounded by soothing pastel shades; following birth they have a lot of adjusting to do and thrive in a calming coloured environment for the first few months,” explains colour psychologist June McLeod. 

Our design decisions

When it comes to nurseries we’re quite happy to consider second hand, with 61% of parents furnishing the baby’s room through a mixture of new and pre-loved items.

And we don’t just spend money on the big things, like a cot – only 60% of parents said this was one of the most important items! Others prioritised things like storage space, lighting, and colourful wallpaper/wall art.

But in a shift away from traditional colour schemes, 57% of parents prefer greys, yellows or other neutral shades to decorate a child’s room – moving away from “pink for girls, blue for boys”.

Some of us want more than just colour, and imagine creating a whole world for our child’s bedroom. “Animals” and “Jungle/Forest” came out as the top dream themes among parents, though dads also had a soft spot for a “Superhero” design.

Building to last: quick tips for decorating a baby’s room

What does a good nursery need? Child psychologist Hannah Abrahams recommends “simplicity; a calm environment conducive to feeling safe, warm and protected –and conducive for sleep too.”

Our quick-fire top tips are:

  • Choose soft pastel colours for the walls – to create a calm atmosphere, but also because these are easy to go over when the time comes to update
  • Add bursts of colour with soft furnishings, like rugs and bedding. These are also easy to change (and cheaper than renovating a whole room)
  • Always consider second hand, especially furniture – some baby items are quickly outgrown, meaning they’ve only been in use for a year or so. Why not hold a “swap shop” party with friends to see what you can exchange? This is also an environmentally friendly approach
  • Try to think ahead to save time and money in the future. For example, table-top changing mats can sit atop a full-sized chest of drawers and then be removed once you no longer need them – you might not need a baby-sized chest of drawers for very long

Check out the full survey findings from Next here

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