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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Otte

Designing a Nursery, Gender Unknown

Updated: Jun 13, 2019

Those of you who follow any of The Modern Hive's social media outlets know that I had our first baby this November! What an exciting time AND on top of that my husband and I bought a new house and remodeled the main level (yes I still need to finish all my blog posts about our renovation!). How's that for a busy year?

As a designer I really wanted to know the gender of our unborn baby, so I could plan the nursery of course! But my husband felt really strongly about not finding out so I let him win that one. To be honest, I was too busy with Modern Hive client projects and our remodel to even put up much of a fight anyways.

Preparing sweet Riley's nursery without knowing her gender upfront was actually a lot more enjoyable and easier than what I thought it would be!


Here are my top 3 tips to designing a gender neutral nursery:

1: Start with the basics. Choose a base color or two that is neutral and flexible. I went with greys and whites. We used Sherwin Williams Moderne White for the wall paint, and Sherwin Williams Summit Grey for the trim paint. Furniture purchased is all white and upholstery is grey.

2: Add some color: I went with blue as our accent color, yes blue! Anymore blue can be persuaded to be either feminine or masculine depending on what other accent colors you incorporate with it. For me, I wanted to have touches in the room that said "Hey I'm a boy" or "Hey I'm a girl" so I selected tones of green and yellow accents if it was a boy and magenta and purples if it was a girl.

3: Get the nursery finished enough to bring baby home to. Have those accent color accessories, such as pillows, crib skirts, and drapery, selected ahead of time and ready to go so that all you have to do once you bring baby home is click the 'submit order' button and have it shipped straight to your front door. Trust me, for any first time mom's, the last thing you're going to want to do once baby is home is make shopping trips to Target and Homegoods.


We started out with a room that was painted entirely too yellow. No joke, it hurt the eyes to look at! That was the first thing we changed - goodbye yellow, hello Moderne White walls!

We also replaced the flooring with LVT, installed new trim, and built an accent wall to anchor the crib. If you look closely at the after pictures, you'll notice that the accent wall is wallpapered with a light grey geometric pattern.

I also had custom upholstered wall panels made to flank the accent wall - I get a lot of questions if the upholstered panels were made to absorb sound and while that was not my intent with creating them, they definitely do help with sound absorption.


I want to know! How many of you have waited to find out the gender of your baby, and what was the biggest challenge you faced preparing the nursery?


Yes.. I wrote this with the most adorable little baby strapped to me with my Wildbird Ring Sling.. for any mamas out there, I highly recommend it for hands free afternoons with a baby who just wants to be held all the time. And yes.. I didn't get ready until nearly noon today. EEK! We're still working on getting to a normal schedule around here before maternity leave is over! ;)

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