A jungle theme is appropriate for a baby’s nursery, but only if you consider tones, safety and suitable touches. An infant’s room should be peaceful; a place that calms and soothes rather than stimulates the senses. Use the walls, window treatments, furniture and accessories to design visually quiet yet playful balance.
The walls are a room’s largest canvas on which to create a theme-based design, and for a nursery, color is the key to a restful ambiance. Start by painting the lower quarter of the walls a sleepy, cool, barely green hue to mimic a jungle floor, and the remainder above very soft sky blue. If you have artistic talent, layer the sky with hand-painted leafy ground-to-sky-top vines, using the walls’ green hue. Speckle the bottom portion, or “ground,” with basic flowers, using the sky-blue paint. Incorporate a cheery, soft-tan monkey on a vine, if desired. By limiting the color combination to just a few delicate hues and keeping the mural's action to a minimum, your design be muted instead of “roaring” with excitement. Use no-VOC paints for a chemical-free space. If artistry isn’t your forte, use light-colored wall decals or a wallpaper mural instead.
More important than the window treatment’s fabric and style in a baby’s nursery is curtain or blind safety factors. Fabric is a suffocation hazard, and blind and shade cords are a strangulation risk. Choose only child-safe window treatments, and keep them well out of your baby’s reach from the floor and crib. With safety at the forefront, consider draperies in one of the mural's soft colors with silk, vine-like ivy as a valance; outdoorsy, pale bamboo or light-colored wood blinds; or off-white curtains with leaf-pattern stitching as muted jungle-like effects, each of which would cast a more natural glow throughout the space during the day than dark-colored materials.
Furniture can take your little one from diapers to journals, so rather than opting for theme-related pieces she will outgrow, consider a crib that converts to a bed, and a stable, long-and-low dresser that’s age neutral. To a toddler, a dresser can resemble playground equipment, and to a baby just learning to walk, it’s something to grab hold of for steadiness, so tall, tipsy furnishings of any kind are nursery no-nos. Well-built wood furniture can be painted, and can handle sandpaper and more than a couple of paint coats, making it ideal for jungle-green paint now, and a coat of white or black paint later. A wood crib, dresser and changing table finished with eco-safe, natural stain or varnish suits a rainforest theme, as does distressed antique replicas in off-white.
Too many accessories can create sensory overload, so rein in the urge to over-decorate. Use a few key pieces to tell a jungle story, such as a softly colored piece of rainforest art, a leaf-motif chandelier and a toucan mobile. With just the right balance, your baby’s nursery will be a restful space for him -- and, in turn, for you.