x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Create a neutral but natural nursery without knowing baby's gender

I am pregnant with my first baby. How can I create a nursery on a budget while keeping the design versatile enough to evolve with his or her age?

A classic crib, well designed and dressed is a good option.
A classic crib, well designed and dressed is a good option.

I am pregnant with my first baby and excited about creating a nursery. How can I do so on a budget while keeping the design versatile enough to evolve with his or her age (and no, I'm not finding out the sex beforehand!)

When decorating a nursery you may want to play it safe buying more expensive items such as the cot or furniture. Stick to lots of white, cream or wood as they are perfect for both boys and girls. They are also ideal for a country with a hot climate by ensuring the room looks fresh and cool. It's often underestimated how influential the aesthetic of a room is in creating something as simple but important as a calm, cool feel. However, this doesn't mean you can't experiment with design and colour. Once the important larger items have been bought you can add distinctive details and colourful accessories to personalise the room, easily adjusting them over time to suit the mood.

Cots and cribs are often the costliest pieces to buy so take the time to source something universally appealing. A wooden or white cot with co-ordinating furniture is a prudent choice and creates the ideal blank canvas for you to play with once your little one has arrived. Neutral furniture pieces are also often a sensible idea because they create an understated backdrop that will still work when your baby is a toddler and even beyond. Think about practicality and value for money before you make your decision.

A classically designed crib on wheels might seem frivolous but is an imaginative and practical option because you can move it into another room when needing to keep a watchful eye over your new arrival. A multi-functional cot that can become a bed suitable for a toddler is also a wise purchase. The upmarket Théophile & Patachou collection offers a whole range of cot and furniture options for sophisticated nurseries.

Alternatively, why not try a more environmentally friendly cardboard cot? Offering the same safety standards as a traditional cot, a cardboard model can be decorated once your baby has arrived and can be very cost-effective. Staying neutral doesn't mean you have to compromise on interesting design. The Cyrus collection includes beautifully designed cots and cribs, from a classic crib dressed with sweeping fabric to create a stunning effect, to a more contemporary cot with butterfly, star and heart cut-out details.

The Cyrus collection also includes a co-ordinating changing table and chest of drawers, which enables you to keep all of your baby related paraphernalia hidden from view and will be useful in the coming years. Storage is all-important in a nursery as a newborn baby comes with lots of extra bits and pieces. Add a shelving unit such as the Paulina, Clara or Denise model to add a touch of dramatic colour.

Once you have chosen your larger items, add an interesting, or masculine or feminine, edge with smaller colourful accessories, rugs and fabric, all of which can be switched around as you wish and updated later. Patterned duvets such as the Petit Pan collection come in a whole range of versatile colours and can be used to add individuality to your baby's room. The Mushkane collection has rectangular, circular and leaf-shaped rugs in bright colours, which are ideal for babies and still great in a young child's room.

New mums and dads may want to add extra light to the nursery to create a safe, protected environment. Night lights are a stylish but practical addition that are also cost-effective. Incorporate an animal or nature-inspired light to create a fun, focal point, perhaps a rabbit, duck or frog, or a design featuring detailing such as mushrooms, flowers, or butterflies.

Emily Davies was talking to Niloufar Bakhtiar-Clignet, an interior designer and the co-founder of bobo kids in London. A Dubai store will open later this year. All of the brands mentioned are stocked by bobo kids: www.bobokids.net or telephone + 44 207 838 1020