How an interior designer curated a playful yet sophisticated nursery

As an interior designer, I have worked on all the rooms in the house, and I must say that the nurseries are particularly pleasant. It is the room in a house that evokes youth and hope; I love seeing the excitement of parents as they enter the space where their children will play and grow. When I started my own pregnancy journey, designing my son Quinn’s room was a highlight. I spent many afternoons sitting on the floor of the future nursery, imagining a whimsical and visually stimulating space that would eventually inspire some of his earliest memories.

I started the process by ordering over 20 wallpaper samples from Schumacher, Pierre Frey, Scalamandre and Rebel Walls because I knew this was going to really do the part. The nursery could have gone in many different directions – I considered a dizzying assortment of wallcoverings, from animal themes to spacescapes, playful repeating patterns and abstract color washes – but ultimately settled on a mural as the ideal way to maximize the viewing experience. The jungle wallpaper from Rebel Walls achieved a playful sophistication that I wanted. It reminded me of my time with UNICEF in the lush forest of Rwanda, and I wanted to bring the outdoors in, especially since we live in the concrete jungle that is New York.

Photo: Courtesy of Kirsten Francis Photography

Photo: Courtesy of Kirsten Francis Photography

When it comes to other design elements, I prioritized items that would inspire learning experiences. For art, I knew before I even finalized the wallpaper selection that we had to have a piece in the bedroom by my close friend Shantell Martin. His work is uplifting and always makes a fun pop. Whenever Quinn is tough, we bring him to Shantell’s room and, for sure, he’s transfixed. If you know me, you know I love anything black and white, and the combination is especially good for babies because the high contrast can help improve vision– not that I needed an excuse for a Shantell Martin moment!

Art by Shantell Martin.

Photo: Courtesy of Kirsten Francis Photography

Betty K. Park