Maybe you’re like some of us and it’s been years since you’ve dabbled in decorating. Sure you’ve rearranged the living room to accommodate your new sectional or finally finished that gallery wall, but now you have a whole new person coming into the mix who deserves a sweet designated spot in your home. Creating a stylish space for your baby boy or baby girl can be both exciting and overwhelming. If screenshotting pics of room decor on Etsy is more your thing than picking up Sherwin-Williams swatches, you’re not alone.
Luckily there are online resources to help you execute the balance between fun and functionality. Even if the biggest change you’re planning to make is a new coat of paint or small diy project, you can virtually plan out your choices so that the end result is just what you envisioned for your baby’s nursery. (And super helpful for an expecting mama with a limited lifting capacity.) It’s kind of like playing with a dollhouse, but in an elevated big-girl way!
Here are some of the coolest (and free!) tools we’ve found for planning your nursery design.
Friendly warning: Chances are high you’ll spend more time on Design With Friends than on your daily Instagram scrolls. This 3D-rendering tool lets you customize furniture, doors, wall coverings, floors, windows, trim and paint color to create an instant arrangement. You can adjust the 360-degree room view with ease and it’s borderline addictive to play around in—reposition doors to fit a dresser, shiplap a wall, angle the rug just so … You could end up redesigning your whole house! Unsure of how all that furniture will fit in your small space? You can drag and delete to your heart’s content. And we found it really helpful to see certain products (like that ottoman that lives in our cart) scaled to other pieces of furniture—it was great (and a bummer) to see what worked and what didn’t. Products are sourced from a variety of places and everything you choose—there is a nice base level of options—links to a retailer for purchase. Click, click, buy. Could be dangerous, but it’s definitely awesome.
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At first glance, the grid layout (like a blueprint) looks intimidating, and it takes a little imagination to build out everything in the overhead view. You can choose your room’s layout from a template and tailor the shape based on your own measurements. Add doors, windows, a fireplace, even plants! If you love Pottery Barn, West Elm or any of the Williams-Sonoma brands, you have them at your search-entry fingertips to build your plan. We enjoy the numerous options and ability to even customize the direction of lighting in the room. You can keep track of everything you’re plotting and how much it costs with a tidy running tab ready to take you to purchase. This feels a little more professional than playful, and we’re really impressed with being able to meticulously plan our room down to the inch.
OK, we know it’s not groundbreaking, but we still have to give a shoutout to this tried-(and tried)-and-true inspo board. You won’t land here to design the layout of your nursery, but it’s a great launching pad to see existing visuals if you have no clue where to start. Thinking of bohemian with wicker accents, but not quite sure what that even means? Clock a little recon time on Pinterest to get reference points. Once you’ve seen examples and found inspiration, you’ll be able to harness your likes and be more deliberate with your choices. Did you like the idea of a bar cart as a diaper caddy station? Find one in the furniture section of your design tool and build it into your nursery. We love pieces that serve different functions and Pinterest has those aplenty.
Whichever tool you choose to design your favorite new room, have fun with it! You’re presented with a wealth of options as a new mom and now is the time to try out that grass green wall color before you actually have to commit to it. Through the instant gratification (and options!) of these tools, you have the freedom to test out options like never before. We can’t stress enough how easy these programs are to use and you should definitely take advantage of them. So congratulations, mama—enjoy these design tools and your dip in the interior design world!