Want to encourage learning right from the start? Here’s what to include in your baby’s nursery design—and what to keep out.

You can surround your baby with learning opportunities before he’s even born. It’s all in the nursery design. Here’s how to keep your plan smart.

Design Without Clutter

When considering nursery room ideas, is there such a thing as too much decor? Perhaps. If the room is too chaotic—too many posters, toys, decals—it could feel overwhelming. Too much stimulation may make it difficult for your little one to focus and learn effectively from his environment. Choose a main point of interest instead of busyness everywhere. Use baskets to hide toys and make sure that sight‐and‐sound toys can be turned off or put away for bedtime.

Choose Smart Colors

You may be tempted to bring in lots of pastel blues or pinks to your nursery room ideas, but keep in mind that research has shown that babies prefer to look at high‐contrast patterns. What is the highest possible contrast to the eye? Black and white. These shades are the most visible and most attractive to young infants. So if you’re going to do an animal-themed nursery, pick animals such as zebras, penguins, or cows to attract your baby’s attention. At about 4 months old, your baby begins to visually distinguish the full range of primary colors. (Blue and red seem to be favorites.)

Make Room for Music

Music is amazing support for so much development in your child. For example, research has shown that listening to music can promote calmness in premature babies. So what kind of music should you play in your child’s nursery? Music can be a unique way for a baby to connect to his roots—a Yiddish or Irish lullaby, or an African‐American folk song—which can ultimately result in him feeling safe and secure. Also, playing a specific song each night before bed teaches your infant to connect this song with bedtime and creates a routine. As your baby grows, songs can teach little ones letter and number sequences and explain how things work. 

Bring In Books

Research has shown that reading to infants supports language skills.  What kinds of books should you put in your child’s nursery? Picture books are great because looking at different images helps your child develop picture recognition, an important skill that leads to the understanding that pictures and words actually mean something. Another good option: Books showing different babies doing things—many infants like to look at other little ones.