We recently had the pleasure of catching up with Jennifer Kelly and Rebecca Perren, the creators of Pehr Designs, to talk about decorating for a gender neutral space! Whether you’re waiting to find out what your having, or have siblings sharing a room, a gender neutral nursery or bedroom can be fun, playful, and colourful - and with the right choices, it will easily transition through the years!
DAT: Lots of parents choose not to find out whether they’re having a boy or girl. In this case, they will most likely opt for a nursery that will suit either gender. What are some tips you can offer on how to kick off the creative process of decorating a gender neutral space for baby?
PEHR: One of our cornerstones of decorating for kids is to always buy pieces that will live beyond a ‘stage’. So opt for pieces that you can imagine in their room five years down the road or to be used by a younger sibling. Which essentially means, don’t buy ‘sets’ of things or pieces that are gender specific. We can promise you that you will grow tired of it quickly if every thing in the room looks the same. Think of your bigger pieces as your main investment that need to be around for a long time.
Creating a space that is unique to you and your child is so important. The nursery, especially for your first child is such a special experience. It’s a place where you will spend a lot of time!! And that you’ll remember forever. Don’t feel like you need to get it all done at once. We can promise you that baby won’t notice, so choose things that you really love for the space and don’t worry about taking your time.
Mix vintage with new. It doesn’t mean having to find antiques or something retro, it just means that you are picking pieces that in the end create a look and story that is all yours. A vintage print hanging over a modern crib creates a look that is beautiful and a bit unexpected. Mixing is also what makes a room look thoughtful and curated and not precious or overly designed. It also means that if you don’t know if it’s a boy or girl you can be flexible with the decor.
Balance your prints - choose your bolder ‘anchor’ prints and make sure you have some basics and essentials, like dots and stripes. This is the formula we use to develop our collections! You always want to make sure that you can interchange items such as crib sheets, pillows, or pieces of art. It also means that you have more flexibility if you want to go more ‘girly’ or ‘boy’.
One color that you can’t go wrong with when you’re decorating a gender neutral nursery is grey. It is so transitional and works well with any style and is such a great neutral to layer, blues, pinks, citrons or yellows. And another favourite of ours which maybe isn’t considered a colour by most but is a staple in both our homes is a natural or ivory tone. Some of the most beautiful textured knit blankets and booties look best with no colour at all.
DAT: All of your designs will easily transition into big kids rooms too! Many parents choose to have their little ones share a room. How would you suggest creating a space that will be equally loved by baby & big kid, girl & boy siblings?
PEHR: We love mixing and matching prints (hence our name ‘pehr’). A lot of our collections allow for great mixing, while letting each child have their own unique look. Try to stay within a similar colour palette for a shared space. Even if they compliment each other, you can have a boy and girl share a space. Great palettes to choose are brights or greys. It’s important to allow the child (if they’re old enough) to weigh in, which is one of the reasons we made our Kids bedding reversible! Everyone can have their way.
DAT: As mothers yourselves, what was it like designing your own childrens’ nurseries? Did you have any favourite or cherished belongings in their rooms?
PEHR: We loved finding special pieces for them and making them feel a bit different then what we had seen. We framed prints from books, art cards, etc. We both had the same nursing chair for our nurseries (our first borns were just a few months apart) that were just upholstered swivel chairs. They looked much better than the regular nursing chairs you find and were half the cost! We also both incorporated toys and books from our own childhood into the rooms. You will receive so many gifts once the baby is born that you don’t need to fill the nursery before. You’ll be overwhelmed! Don’t feel like you have to fit within any formula or prescribed “look”. Make it an extension of your house and your style and you’ll be thankful in the long run.
DAT: Any final words of wisdom to mamas who getting ready to take on challenge of redoing their child’s room?
PEHR: Your child is going to spend many nights and days of play and rest in their room. It’s hard to imagine now but this is a place where one day they will hang out with their friends, play with their toys and spend countless hours. Make it a place where they can play without worry, will inspire their imagination and creativity and is a space that will be treasured in their memories.