I'm a corporate interior designer by degree, so you would think that my house is designed and decorated perfectly, everything having a purpose and defined place. Unfortunately, that's not really the case at all. I have 4 kids, we live hard in every room, and function trumped form many kid-less years ago.
I frequently get asked about tips and tricks on how to decorate the baby's room, and while everyone's taste and budget is different, I do have a few nuggets of advice that can be applied regardless:
Blackout shades. I wish I would have done this right from the beginning, but blackout shades are a parents best friends. Blackout shades allow for a nice and soothing environment, no matter what time of day it is.
Test drive the rocking chair before you buy. My first rocking chair was a molded plastic Eames chair. I know, so interior designer of me. But despite it's good looks, it was a nightmare (no pun intended) to breastfeed in. My second (and current) chair is a very soft and comfy upholstered glider. I can breastfeed in that bad boy for hours on end.
There are no rules. Remember, it's a baby's room, which means you can take extra whimsy and liberties! In my opinion, the decor by all means does not need to match the rest of the house.
Add personality and fun through soft textiles. A fun and inexpensive way to customize a room is adding punches of color through side pillows, throw blankets, fabric lampshades, and even a cozy area rug. Additionally, these pieces are also easily changed when your child grows up, or his/her interest change.
Mood lighting is a must. Make sure to add a soft side table lamp somewhere in the nursery, preferably within arms reach of the rocker. You will need a touch of light for all those midnight feedings, but you'll want to avoid turning on the main overhead light.
Decorate the nursery, not the crib. Being personally affected by SIDS, skipping the crib bumper is probably my number one tip. Save your money and go for an adorable crib sheet instead.
Think long term. It's sad but true, babies turn into toddlers, and toddlers turn into big kids. Consider buying a full size dresser, a changing table with detachable pad, and remember, the nursing chair will someday be used for nightly bedtime stories.
White noise. You can buy a specific white noise maker, or you can just use a portable oscillating fan like I do. White noise helps tremendously to help the baby fall asleep, and more importantly keep the baby asleep.
Dreaming and designing your baby's nursery can be such a perplexing and daunting tasks, because it's oftentimes something you've never had to do! Remember, you can't screw it up, because there are no rules. Have fun, take liberties, and don't forget your sense of humor.