A sophisticated nursery might sound like a tall design order, but as designer Dina Bandman’s showstopper space for this year’s SF Decorator Showcase proves, it’s possible for a kid’s room to be more chic than cutesy. Deemed the “Lemondrop Lullaby,” Dina’s nursery is as Instagrammable as it is functional. It pairs sweet touches with tailored statement pieces to appeal to all ages. For those looking to achieve a similar look, Dina is giving us the insider scoop on how the room came together, including how you can design a nursery with a similar bit of sunny splendor.

transparent crib, baby blue dresser, and hanging lamp in nursery

The Inspiration

Given the nursery’s sunshine-y vibes, it’s fitting to learn that Dina culled inspiration from a recent trip to the Amalfi coast, on which she admits she “could not resist purchasing every lemon-shaped ceramic” she encountered. Later, when brainstorming a gender neutral palette for the nursery, she realized that lemons with their bold yellow and green hues provided just the neutral (and unexpected) backdrop that she was looking for.

The Layout

Dina notes that the nursery’s footprint was on the petite side, measuring just under 11’ x 11.’ While that meant layout options were limited, she emphasizes that “it’s just the right size for a nursery—nice and cozy!” Limited space meant being meticulous about the furniture arrangement. “My mother always stressed the importance of reading in natural light, so having the chair by the window was mandatory,” she says. “Since the crib couldn’t be by the window, the only other placement for it was the wall it’s currently on. We placed the dresser next to the crib so that functionally it made sense.”

Transparent crib, and baby blue dresser in nursery with lemon-tree wallpaper

The Wallpaper & Fabric

The wallpaper—a.k.a. the room’s indisputable statement maker—was created via a collaboration between Dina and the famed wallpaper company de Gournay. “I love de Gournay and I love their chinoiserie prints,” she says, “but I wanted something a bit more relatable and a bit more modern.” To achieve her vision, she swapped traditional chinoiserie elements (like birds and butterflies) for a lush lemon grove design. “I wanted the lemon trees to be oversized but also realistic. And when de Gournay offered the new treatment of hand embroidered sequin embellishments I could not resist!”

The Furniture

The acrylic crib came about by way of necessity. “I originally wanted a four poster canopy crib, but I didn’t want anything that would compete with the wallpaper,” Dina explains. A crib made of acrylic, custom designed by Plexi-Craft, fit the bill. As for the remaining furnishings, “I really wanted to marry the traditional designs in the wallpaper with the more modern crib,” she says. “For example, I chose a nursing chair with an elegant shape, but didn’t want to go over-the-top traditional with the fabric—instead, we kept it fresh and ethereal.”
Closet with white pull-out drawers with gold hardware filled with baby clothes

5 Tips for Mastering Nursery Design

“A baby’s nursery is less permanent than many other rooms in the home, so for someone who is nervous about committing to bold patterns, the nursery can be a fun place to experiment,” says Dina. She also notes that studies suggest “babies respond to stark contrast, which bold patterns can provide.”

If you favor a traditional baby color like yellow, try pairing it with a slightly less obvious option, like mint. You might also consider doing a twist on a color that’s typically gender-specific. “There’s a special place in my heart for blue and white,” Dina says. “It’s always right—for a girl or a boy!”

White floral printed armchair and ottoman, transparent crib, and stuffed animals in nursery

If there were ever a time to let loose with a theme, bébé’s room is the place to do it, but aiming for polish can help keep the kitsch at bay. Dina elected to extend her lemon grove theme with a chic lattice work ceiling, noting that it was the “perfect way to emphasize the fresh garden feeling” in the room without making it feel overly theme-y.

“I have always been a fan of nursery designs that can easily transition into other types of rooms as the baby grows,” says Dina. Look for pieces with subtle sophistication—think a chic armchair that could later be integrated into your master bedroom, or a muted Oriental rug that could have a second life in a living room.

Closet in nursery with mirrored doors and brown checkered shelf wallpaper

While lighting in a nursery needn’t be complex, it is worth giving it a bit of thought. Dina emphasizes the importance of layering. While overhead lighting is important for tasks such as changing—”just make sure not to place it directly above the crib or changing table to protect the baby’s eyes”—scones can be used for playtime, reading, and nursing. She also advocates for a dimmer. “Changing the intensity of lighting in a nursery is really important depending on the time of day (or night!), and whether you’re trying to soothe or wake baby.”

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 All photos by Christopher Stark


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June 12, 2018

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