“We really like traditional colour schemes for boys and girls, but we’re worried the nursery will look a bit dated. How can we create a classic look that feels more modern?”

Blue for a boy and pink for a girl are still the go-to nursery colours for more than 30% of expectant parents, according to AkzoNobel research.

It’s only natural that parents feel comfortable using masculine and feminine colours to define their new baby’s space. But choosing a conventional colour scheme doesn’t mean your nursery has to feel old fashioned.

Here, we explain how to use traditional colour combinations in a fresh and modern way to create a contemporary nursery scheme the whole family will love.

Colours for baby boys

Forget the usual combination of blue, white and yellow; this colour scheme is all about blending different hues of blue to create a soothing blue-lagoon feeling.

1. Layer blues for a nautical look

Surround your baby boy with tranquil colours in a contemporary seaside-themed nursery.

Forget the usual combination of blue, white and yellow; this colour scheme is all about blending different hues of blue to create a soothing blue-lagoon feeling.

Think deep, soulful blues like cobalt, ultramarine, aqua and turquoise.

Choose one hue for the walls and a shade darker for the ceilings and trim to create an all-encompassing under-the-sea feel. Or, start with white or neutral walls and add pops of rich blue to create a simple but striking space.

Combine with soft, tactile fabrics, such as billowy curtains and a soft lambskin throw to elevate the soothing factor.

Which paints?

10BG 22/248
AMAZON BEAT 2
47BB 14/349

Electric blues make for fabulous feature walls, as well, particularly when paired with zingy orange, or keep it simple with crisp white.

2. Be daring with electric blue

At the other end of the blue colour spectrum are the bright, electric blues. Think cyan, sapphire and blueberry. Using just a touch of this bolder blue in a room will instantly add a feeling of energy and excitement to your space, helping to stimulate your child’s senses and spark their imagination.

Electric blues make for fabulous feature walls, as well, particularly when paired with zingy orange, or keep it simple with crisp white.

You could also introduce small touches of rich blue through accessories and soft furnishings, such as a turquoise feature lamp, or velvety-blue cushions to add depth and texture to the scheme.

Which paints?

47BB 14/349
ROYAL REGATTA 4

Colours for baby girls

If you have your heart set on pink but want to give it a modern edge, try pairing it with ochre

1. Make a statement with ochre and pink

If you have your heart set on pink but want to give it a modern edge, why not try pairing it with orange?

A vibrant yet soothing colour scheme that evokes carefree summer days, this combination works best in warm, muted shades, like sorbet pink and sherbet orange.

To create a look that will transition seamlessly from baby to toddler and beyond, choose one hue for the walls and offset it with a trim painted in the other colour. Or you may like to use the brighter hue – sherbet orange, for example – to create a feature wall or striking striped paint effect.

To enhance the summery vibe, choose accessories in similar hues, such as gold, burnt orange and dusky pink.

Which paints?

MOROCCAN VELVET 6
99RR 27/498
THAI MAGIC 3
NECTAR JEWELS 3

Warm and passionate, strong pink and lilacs are striking shades when teamed with cool neutrals, particularly when used together to create a vibrant stripe effect.

2. Create impact with bold pink

Warm and passionate, strong pink and lilac are striking shades when teamed with cool neutrals, particularly when used together to create a vibrant stripe effect.

If decorating an entire room in this vivid hue makes you nervous, however, try adding a few splashes to a white and grey scheme, or go for a feature wall against a neutral backdrop.

Another clever way to incorporate hot pink into your nursery is to use it in small, unexpected places. Painting inside an alcove, shelves or inside cabinetry is a great way to add drama without committing the walls to colour.

Alternatively, nervous decorators can get their fuchsia fix by adding colourful accessories to a neutral space. Think shimmery pink curtains against a white wall, or a soft magenta rug atop a timber floor.

Which paints?

HEATHER BLOOM 6 10RR 39/263 STARLIT NIGHT 4

Top tip

Don’t forget about illumination! How you light your baby’s nursery will have a big impact on how your colour scheme will look, and can have a big impact on the overall mood of the scheme.

Avoid harsh overhead pendant lights that can dazzle your baby, and go for a selection of pretty nightlights with a low-watt bulb for a gentle glow.

Featured colours