How to Decorate a Nursery When the Sex of the Baby is Unknown


One of the reasons some parents are eager to learn the sex of their unborn baby as early as possible is so that they can decorate their baby’s nursery in a suitable aesthetic in time for the birth.  If you are old fashioned like myself however and would rather wait until the birth to learn whether you have a little girl or boy, this does not mean that you have to put your decorating plans on hold.

Photo credit: jamiesolorio, Flickr

From my own experiences, here is what I think parents should remember when designing a nursery for a baby whose sex is unknown…

Choose a Neutral Paint Color

Photo credit: Viktor Hertz, Flickr

There are some parents out there who would have absolutely no problem with their baby boy sleeping in a nursery that is painted in a princess pink hue but this does not detract from the fact that color-gender stereotypes are still in existence. Having to explain your color choice every time a friend or relative comes to visit your new born and their nursery could become quite frustrating and as such I would recommend choosing a neutral color that is not sex-specific.

Yellow makes for a nice option, as do apple shades of green. White is a color not often chosen for nurseries but it works equally well and does not have to be a boring choice – any room can be transformed by the furniture and accessories which are placed within it.

Choosing a Wallpaper Border

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There are plenty of wallpaper borders out there which comprise magical fairies or trucks and trains but these should obviously be avoided should you be designing a non gender-specific nursery. Borders which work for both boys and girls usually comprise designs involving the alphabet, animals, or Disney characters such as Winnie the Pooh.  Your choice of border will no doubt be dependent on the overall theme that you have applied to the room.

Choosing a border which comprises colours which compliment the rest of your decor is a stylish touch (for example, should you paint the nursery apple green, you should try to find a suitable border that contains at least specks of this hue).


Choosing Play Equipment

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This is probably the easiest task involved with decorating a nursery for a sex-secret baby due to the fact that gender rarely effects the aesthetics of play equipment for children that are under two or three years of age. Teething rings, cot mobiles and soft toys (etc.) tend to comprise a range of bright colours in order to stimulate the mind of your growing child. This rainbow aspect will make picking out these items for your nursery a doddle.

Your biggest concern will likely be regarding how well selected items will fit with the rest of your chosen decor and so you should be sure to shop around in order to find those which are perfect for your nursery and baby.


Leave the final touches until after the birth

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If you have followed all of the steps above but would prefer to change the nursery a little once the baby is born and the sex is revealed, this is not implausible. There are many little touches your can add without the need to whip out the paint, rollers and wallpaper paste once more.

Adding peelable wall stickers close to the crib, for example, really will only take a matter of minutes; choosing stars, butterflies or fairies will feminise the space and footballs or rocket ships will masculinise it. Posters can be used similarly to change the gender of a space.


The author of this guest post – Tania Matthews – has used her self-designed, sex-unspecific nursery for all three of her children. Her next project is to design and build a kids cubby house for her offspring.
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  1. Mary Beth Elderton says:

    I find this a little bit funny–when my son was born in the early 80’s. ultrasound machines were big, in the hospitals, and reserved for risky pregnancies. Most of us had no idea of our baby’s gender.

    • TheFabShoppingMom says:

      I know Mary Beth, it is actually funny how it’s now unusual NOT to know the sex of your baby before it’s born!