Planning your baby’s nursery, or decorating it for the holidays, is a perfect time to let your imagination take over! You’ll be spending hours rocking, changing, organizing, and playing in this room with your little one, and you want to create a place that feels uniquely yours.
But while you choose paint colors, crib sheets, and accessories, it’s important to keep one to-sleep-or-not-to-sleep factor in mind: color, and the way it affects your baby’s brain.
According to Stephen Westland, Chair of Colour Science at Leeds University, color affects the human brain in two significant ways: visually (how a color makes us feel when we see it) and through the hypothalamus (in simple terms, how the non-visual systems in our bodies respond to color and light changes, like waking up when the sun rises). Studies have shown that exposure to certain colors can increase or decrease heart rate, appetite, focus, or a sense of calm. The more we learn about the brain, the more it seems likely that the colors we see every day make a big impact on the way we feel and behave.
So what colors are the best choice for your nursery? Well, for starters, you may want to hold off on the red holiday decorations, unless you’re looking to party all night long with your newborn. Red (and most orange shades) has been shown to increase heart and breathing rates, which might increase energy, wakefulness, and strong emotions – in a red nursery, you might find your baby more likely to be up late and agitated.
For holiday décor, or for a restful choice for your year-round nursery wall color or accent, consider evergreen! Green is thought to be the most restful color in the rainbow – a timeless, natural tone that has a calming effect on both babies AND their tired, stressed-out parents. Deep greens that have a lot of blue in them, like evergreen or teal, may have the added benefit of blue’s relaxing vibes. Exposure to shades of blue is thought to lower blood pressure, reduce impulsiveness, and create a sense of calm and well-being.
Worried about your blue or green nursery feeling a little too cold? Warm things up with furniture in neutral wood tones, like our (Insert crib or dresser of choice here). Paired with sky blues or woodsy greens, natural wood is a great way to infuse any space with an earthy, but still distinctly modern, vibe. And because natural tones adapt easily to whatever colors you surround them with, their versatile to grown along with your child as their color sensibility and personal style changes!
However you choose to decorate for the holidays, or for the whole year, remember that your nursery should promote calm and rest for both you AND baby. You’ll both be learning, growing, and experiencing so much in your first months together – save the stimulating colors for playtime, and give yourself the gift of a nursery that lets you both rest.