Nursery design styles have truly evolved in recent years. Today’s most lauded baby and children’s rooms are sophisticated with a style that often reflects the vibe of the rest of the home. When it comes to chic nursery design, there isn’t an interior designer whose work has taken off quite like that of Naomi Coe, founder of Little Crown Interiors. The queen of swoon-worthy nurseries, her gorgeous designs are favorite among influencers including Jenna Kutcher and Sierra Dallas, as well as a list of celebrities.
A true pioneer of modern nursery design, Coe was raised in an artistic family and received a B.A. in Fine Art from Chapman University. However, when she realized she was attracted to creating a balance between aesthetics and function, she transitioned to her current career and earned another degree in Interior Design from Interior Designers Institute.
I recently spoke with Coe about how she ended up finding her business niche, to learn what the biggest nursery trends will be in 2023, her opinion of the ubiquitous neutral nursery and so much more.
Amanda Lauren: Why did you decide to specialize in nurseries and children’s rooms?
Naomi Coe: I fell into nursery design by accident. I graduated from design school in 2007 during the recession and design jobs were hard to come by at the time. I found a job at a very small interior design studio that specialized in nurseries and kid’s rooms (which was unheard of at the time). I loved it, but the company did not survive.
I met another designer there and we opened up our own design studio in 2008 with the same specialty. Nursery design is such a fantastic niche because it allows for a lot of creativity, but it’s formulaic as well since there are certain things every parent will need, safety considerations, etc.
Lauren: Can you tell me about your book which hit shelves in the middle of the pandemic?
Coe: Your Perfect Nursery: A Step-by-Step Approach to Creating the Nursery of Your Dreams was certainly a labor of love! When I got married, I noticed that there were tons of books that walked through every detail of planning a wedding—checklists, budget worksheets, how-to’s, etc. But that resource didn’t exist for nurseries. Some baby books have a small section on the nursery, but nothing specifically about design, what pieces to shop for, how to budget, etc. Most of my clients were coming to me completely overwhelmed and stressed because they didn’t know what to do. So I decided to write it all down in an organized way so every parent can have a resource to check for any aspect of their project.
Lauren: Why is it important to make these spaces beautiful and special when they’re temporary, especially nurseries?
Coe: I like to design spaces more for the parents than the baby. I know that seems counter-intuitive, but it’s the parent(s) who will be getting the most out of that room. So by designing the space for the parent’s taste, we can make sure that they feel calm and happy in that space, which is then imparted to the child. Most of the spaces we design are still pretty sophisticated, so babies don’t grow out of them as fast. There are so many stressors in life, not to mention when someone is expecting a baby, so it’s very important to make sure they feel happy and safe in that room if at all possible.
Lauren: What are the biggest nursery trends you’ve seen in recent years?
Coe: By far the biggest trend over the last few years has been layered neutral colors in nursery spaces. My personal belief is that this stemmed from the Covid-era. People were at home more and often dealing with extra anxiety from the pandemic, while also focusing on revamping their spaces to function better. So many people were leaning towards neutrals because they made them feel calm and cozy, and that naturally worked its way into nursery design as well. The other influencing factor has been that more and more parents are opting not to find out the sex of the baby—we’re doing way more gender-neutral nurseries now!
Lauren: Do you think beige-hued nurseries will fall out of favor at some point in the near future?
Coe: I don’t think this is going away anytime soon. I think this is going to be a long-haul trend that we’ll see for quite some time. I think vibrancy will definitely come back, but the neutrals will stay around as well.
Lauren: What nursery trends are you anticipating for 2023 and what colors do you think will be popular?
Coe: One thing I’ve been seeing slowly happening is a move away from gold as the main metallic. For years clients have been asking almost exclusively for gold accents, but now I’ve been seeing more requests for silver, bronze, and black. I think we’re also going to see more sophisticated traditional elements pop up, even in more modern homes—things like picture frame molding and furniture with some embellishment.
Lastly, I think we’re going to see more green—muted mossy greens in particular. Green is my favorite color and I can see it creeping into nursery design, which is very exciting.
Lauren: What are some of your favorite places to source baby furniture?
Coe: My first stop for cribs is always Babyletto or Nursery Works, depending on the client’s budget. I’ve actually been to their headquarters here in Southern California, and I love everything they do. Babyletto is fantastic for clients who want something stylish and affordable, and Nursery Works has the most beautiful cribs you’ll ever see.
When it comes to dressers, I usually like to mix and match. I’ll often use pieces from the design showrooms and add a changing tray on top, or shop online and stores like Anthropologie or Restoration Hardware.
Lauren: What are the essential pieces that every nursery needs?
Coe: Every nursery needs a place for the baby to sleep (bassinet or crib), a place for a parent to sit/sleep/feed/rock (usually a glider), and a place to change the baby (dresser or changing table). However, in the most bare-bones nursery, all you really need is a safe space for baby to sleep and a monitor.
Lauren: What elements truly make a difference when styling a nursery?
Coe: Lighting is something we always consider both for designing and styling. Nurseries tend to be on the smaller side and often don’t have great natural light. When we design a space, it’s important to consider that the room needs to have functional lighting, but also enough lighting to make the room look great. You don’t want to spend a ton of money on gorgeous pieces, and then light them with a single old yellow bulb. Multiple light sources are great, along with the right color bulb—it can make a huge difference in how a room looks.
The other item we use regularly is plants and/or flowers. Whether real or faux, greenery brings a space to life! We have some fantastic sources for faux plants and flowers (which are safer in nurseries), and use them in almost every design to bring it to the next level.
The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.