With Ashley’s due date getting closer, designing the perfect nursery is certainly on the brain. All of the mamas out there know how crucial it is to put together a nursery that is warm, welcoming, and just right for a new baby! We spoke to interior designer David Ko about how moms can design a unique nursery just in time for a little one’s arrival.
David, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in interior design?
I’m a California native and currently reside in Los Angeles, CA. Growing up I always had an interest in fashion and unbeknownst to me at the time — design. All I knew is that I enjoyed making spaces feel pretty and personable. I never knew an interior designer or had any exposure to that industry so the thought of it being a career path never crossed my mind.
Upon graduating from college, I moved to LA to pursue fashion. When applying for jobs, I had a friend who worked for an interior design firm reach out and said they were looking for help. She knew I had a good eye and sense of style and thought it would be a good idea to meet with the designers. I was hired and it was there that I learned the ins and outs of the industry, quickly realizing that I thoroughly enjoyed everything about design. I worked for one more design firm before I began to get my own clientele and decided to start my own company. Maison Ko was founded at the beginning of 2019 and I have been working for myself ever since.
What are the key things you take into account when helping a new mom design a nursery?
One thing to keep in mind when designing a nursery is that while yes, the room is for the newborn, it should also be a personal reflection of the parent/s. New parents end up spending so much time in the nursery that having the space feel relaxing and inviting for them just as much as the baby should be a no brainer.
Before the design and conceptualization process, I think deciding if you want to lean into having the room feel gender-specific or if you want to keep the space more neutral is an absolute must. While I don’t think having a girl’s room automatically means it should be an explosion of pink, I do think there are decisions that get made around what you end up having. Whether that’s the style of window coverings, a color palette, and even types of fabric. I’m currently working on a nursery that we knew from the start we wanted to keep neutral, but once we find out the gender of the newborn, the smaller details will be fleshed out. Another thing to keep in mind is how the room will eventually evolve as the baby gets older. Just like you buy clothes for newborns to eventually grow into, so should the nursery.
Nurseries are so personal. What are some ways that new moms can seek to make their nurseries unique and non-traditional from a design standpoint?
As previously mentioned, I do think nurseries should be just as much a room for the parent as it is for the newborn. If married, I think incorporating elements that are meaningful or special to the couple in unconventional ways is a great way to add a unique element. For example, a floral wallpaper that matches the flowers at your wedding or art inspired by/made by an artist from a city that is of importance. Lighting is another great way to make a space feel more special and different. Adding fun pendants or sconces can add ambiance to the room and act as a nightlight if you want a light on but don’t want to rely on solely overhead. There are so many wonderful vendors that carry lights in amazing finishes and cute glass colors that can add that pop of color in a more understated way.
What does every new mom absolutely need when designing a nursery?
A comfortable place to sit. You are in that room sitting down a lot more than you would think, so having a glider or even a banquette to nurse and rock your newborn is so important. A lot of furniture stores now sell design-forward gliders that won’t be an eye-sore.
Since non-toxic home pieces are on the rise, how can new moms look out for non-toxic items for their nursery?
For furniture, look to see if they are labeled as Greenguard Gold Certified. This means that the furniture has been independently tested and verified to meet the rigorous standards for chemical emissions and VOCs. If it’s not, then select pieces that say low or no VOC finishes, are made of solid wood or are upholstered with organic materials. There are also a ton of great organic sheeting and mattress options so you can avoid anything that has been treated with chemicals (another certification to look for is GOTS — Global Organic Textile Standard).
If you could give anyone one piece of design advice, what would that be?
When it comes to designing your nursery, I would definitely suggest thinking about how the room will change once they are no longer a baby and you need a bed instead of a crib. It could save you money and from a lot of headaches down the road if you can figure out where the other furniture pieces will eventually live, for example, if doing a custom built-in, how can you adapt it to your current needs as well as your future? Apart from the nursery, changing your mindset on your home and not feeling tied to a single piece for the rest of your life. Think of furniture more like clothing, if it goes out of style, it’s ok to switch it out (as long as you’re being conscious of how you’re getting rid of your furniture!). Also, always always always check your measurements and specs, especially if something is custom!