Girl’s Nursery: Modern Meets Woodland

By Kate Riley August 26, 2011

I received an email from Christine last week mentioning she was expecting a baby girl, and hoping for a few suggestions for their guest room turned nursery.  Christine caught me at a weak moment because I’ve been thinking about designing a girl’s nursery lately.  No I’m not expecting, nor do I plan to have any more babies, I think it’s simply the fact that I just sent my baby boy off to Kindergarten and the oldest leaves again for college in September.  I declare it’s that emptier nest that has me thinking about nurseries!

Christine writes:

“We are having our first baby girl and I love the color gray, so I’ve already painted the room in Behr’s ‘Dolphin Fin’.  I really love owls and I’m looking for something pretty and whimsical with modern clean lines, nothing too babyish or cookie cutter.

I have a crib and dresser in white and the Serena & Lily bedding already. As you can see from my inspiration images, I have a modern style, love the feel of the woods, and don’t want any farm animals or butterflies.”

Then she sent me this picture of her blank canvas.  Christine has already removed the bed and the window panels, stained the floors dark, and painted the walls gray.  Amen sister, I’m liking this so far.  

christine room before


Christine sent along these inspiration images and a few comments about what she loves so much about these spaces.

inspiration  1 with comments


inspiration 2 with comments


Based on Christine’s inspiration images and also her preferred style, I pulled together a room for her in gray with touches of both pale and deep pink, apple green, and a few woodland accents to create a whimsical, pretty, and modern girl’s nursery.

Here’s what I came up with:

modern miss woodland whimsy

From top left:  I took a cue from the shape of the fixture in her favorite boy’s space and chose this Olio double cylinder pendant as the main ceiling fixture for her girl’s nursery.  A white frame gallery wall above the dresser (like in the last inspiration photo) would be perfect using both fabric swatches and prints like this modern woodland alphabet, the Pop Garden Peony fabric by Heather Bailey, and also Midwest Modern Honeycomb by Amy Butler.  Mixing in these sweet wood wall owls and this adorable happy acorn wall clock in wood (not shown) would both add that whimsical woodland touch.

Apple green enters the space with these lattice panels – they bring a modern vibe to the room and are a paler softer version of the panels in the first inspiration image of the favorite boy’s nursery.  I love the idea (also like in the first inspiration image) of adding this easy paint by numbers birch wall mural in white behind the crib to coordinate with the trim in the room and bring subtle contrast against the gray painted walls. 

Christine already bought this set of Kate linens from Serena & Lily, and also has a six drawer dresser like this one, ideal for both storage and it acts as a changing table.  I’d change out the plain white knobs with some blingy green glass Violette knobs from Anthropologie (not shown).

Situated on each side of the far window, I’d place two Expedit bookcases for storage for books and toys.  Natural baskets add texture while deep pink containers add pops of color.  

The Joya rocker with a white base and stone upholstery is from Monte Design (Land of Nod carries a few versions too). This floor lamp with a raspberry drum shade (not shown) works well for behind the rocker during reading time, and I’d be so tempted to splurge on (or ask grandma to buy) this apple herringbone throw (not shown) for those middle of the night feedings. 

The scroll platinum rug is feminine but also sophisticated enough to grow with the space for years to come.  The final rustic woodland touch comes from this natural stump side table, perfect for propping next to the rocker for setting down books or bottles. 

I feel better now having designed my imaginary dream oops I mean Christine’s sophisticated and ‘modern meets woodland’ baby girl’s nursery.  Glad I got that out of my system, and gave Christine such a great space too! 




  1. First of all, I love the whole idea of “modern meets woodland.” She had some really nice inspiration images, and you’ve given her some wonderful resources. Love those lattice panels. I think I know what you mean about the empty nest to some degree. Natalie’s going to kindergarten 1/2 days in Sept. and Michaela Byrd is starting preschool 2 days a week. Part of me is looking forward to it, and part of me is not sure what to do with myself!

  2. I like your ideas and choices, but where are the budget considerations? For a plan to be really workable, costs have to be a consideration unless it has been ruled not an issue by the client. A stump table for $199.00 ? Very cute, but this is a nursery which is short term by nature.

  3. curious as to what color Christine painted her nursery. she mentioned she had the same color as one of the inspiration photos, but I don’t see any info on that.
    Beautiful ideas and color choices in your “mood board”

  4. I love the theme! I’m not a mother but I work with baby products and I’m seriously obsessed with the Joya Rocker. I’m considering getting one just for myself! I am also a big friend of Skip Hop’s Treetop Friends. The colors are sweet and lots of lovely owls :)

  5. If you haven’t seen the stuffed gray owl (kind of a pillow, kind of a toy) at Pier 1 (store or website if you don’t have a store in your area), check it out. It is too cute and would go great in this room!

  6. The boy nursery is ours. So happy to see it featured. Mostly because it raped my wallet to create it. Word up baby lovers.

  7. Hi, do you happen to know the name of the wall color in the picture she provided “Our wall color”? It looks between a gray and taupe.

  8. I’m not lying. Last night I turned to my husband and said: “Gray, some limey-green and fuschia.” He looked at me and said: “WHAT are you talking about?” Out of the blue the same color combo that you illustrated in your post popped into my head last night, although in my mind it was supposed to be for a bathroom…but I like your nursery scheme better. If I ever have a baby girl, I might have to check back on this post for inspiration because I don’t think my husband liked the idea for gray bathroom with pink in it! :-)

  9. Are sources available fir the inspiration pics? I love one of the chairs featured and would to know where it’s from! Thanks! Great post!

  10. love these ideas! one thing i wish nursery idea boards included was extra ideas to turn them into siblings rooms

  11. Great job, Kate! I’ve yet to design a nursery but these inspiration pictures have my head whirling! :) I love so many of the choices you made and I’m sure your reader did too! xo

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