I am so very excited to be sharing this post, about Rowan’s FINISHED moody nursery. It’s been a long time in the making and today’s the day (yay!) that I’m finally revealing the baby’s dark green nursery, which is full of dark nursery ideas. And how appropriate to be writing this on Mother’s Day of all days!
Baby’s Room On Her Birthday
The basic elements of the dark nursery were finished just before Rowan’s arrival in February 2017. Things like the nursery furniture including a crib, chair, rug, dresser, and changing pad were ready to go by day one. Here’s what the room looked like upon her arrival.
The details and organization of the space weren’t finished until recently. We waited mostly because we were new parents. I didn’t know what we would really need for a newborn, and with such a small space (the room is only 7’4″ x 8’9″ with two doors) I wanted to make the room work efficiently for us. Nailing the layout of this small nursery was definitely a challenge!
Her room wasn’t officially complete until this past September when she was seven months old, but I’ve had the overall look and all my dark nursery ideas in my head since we found out we were expecting.
Baby’s Dark And Moody Nursery Today
The goal was to create a moody nursery with dark green, almost black walls, rustic touches, and just a hint of girly bright colors. Here is what Rowan’s black nursery looks like now:
I absolutely adore how her nursery turned out! Over time, we added a few things here and a few things there until it was the perfect nursery space for us.
Additions to the functionality of her room often were the result of late-night frustrations. Things like, “Ugh…why don’t I have a space for the diaper rash cream where I can grab it without taking my hand off Rowan on the changing pad”. This resulted in adding a basket behind the changing pad for diapering essentials.
Or my favorite, “My left arm is asleep, Rowan is asleep, I can’t stop rocking, my water is on the table to my left, can’t reach the water with the free right hand”. This resulted in making a tiny little water glass/books/bottles/whatever-else-one-must-grab-in-the-middle-of-the-night shelf to our right since we always rocked Rowan in our left arms.
The Dark Green Nursery Color Palette
When it came to choosing the color palette for the nursery, I knew I wanted to paint it the same dark green, almost a black paint color as we did in the craft room. The color is River Rock by Benjamin Moore.
I love the combination of the deep dark hunter green paired with the warm natural wood tones of the wide pine floorboards. The color combo in the craft room always felt right and I knew that it would be a great choice for this small nursery.
I also had a few neutral nursery ideas I wanted to incorporate into the space to contrast the dark color of the walls. Things like the light wood crib and dresser. These provide a great contrast to the wall color.
There was also a desire to pull in a bold color. Contrary to popular belief (ahem…Colby) I do love bright colors. I chose a bright pink rug to anchor the room, mostly because I love pink and could not fathom the idea of having a baby girl and not putting pink in her room. Rug it is! Technically, it’s two rugs that I taped together to make a larger, budget-friendly rug that fits our small, odd-shaped room perfectly. But shhh, don’t tell anyone. It’s our little secret!
Is Black A Neutral?
Let’s take a second and talk about neutral colors because this is something that I didn’t understand for a long time. Neutral shades are any color that appears to lack color, go well with primary color, and aren’t commonly found on the color wheel. Black is therefore considered a dark neutral.
While the black paint I chose is really a deep, dark, hunter-green color I don’t consider it a true neutral. But in our home, it does look like a true black nursery even with the green pigments in the color. Most of the time, the walls read black unless it’s evening and the sun is shining directly on them. Then you can see the green. Besides, when comparing it to an olive green, for example, I would consider this green-black neutral.
Small Spaces And Darker Colors
I used to think that dark color wall paint was only for big, expansive rooms and I’m here to challenge that idea. It’s an absolute myth that light colors are the only “correct” choice for a small room because darker colors make a room feel smaller. False false false. Dark walls can give off cozy vibes too and can often make a small room feel bigger. The black nursery color scheme we selected definitely supports this.
Rowan’s dark nursery is one of the tiniest rooms in the house and is also the coziest. It’s not uncommon to find all four members of our family, Merle the dog included, cozied up together in here. Daddy and Rowan snuggled up rocking in the chair, Mama seated on the footstool blowing raspberries on Rowan’s belly, and Merle trying to lick the baby (or snuggle the baby, or bark at the baby, or just stare at the baby…dogs).
We had family photos taken last fall, around the time Rowan’s nursery was finished, and our photographer even commented on how cozy the room felt. While most of our photos were taken outside we made sure to take a few of Rowan in her nursery. I will forever treasure these photos!
Photo by Kristy Burrell Photography. For anyone in Vermont, we highly recommend Kristy and her work. Top-notch photography! This reminds me, we need to give her a call and schedule this year’s family photos.
I am so thankful we took this photo of Rowan in the crib of her moody nursery. It is one of my all-time favorite photos. Hmmm…perhaps it’s time to update the nursery walls with some family photos? Never not tweaking a room.
Contrast With Art
Art is such a great way to bring personality and different colors to a dark room. Which I suppose would also hold true if you were working with a white color scheme. I found myself regularly switching up the art in this space, and will likely continue to do so. Especially once Rowan is older and she can reach the art near her crib.
One of my favorite items in the baby’s nursery is a pink ultrasound picture of Rowan.
We had a lot of ultrasounds with Rowan. Like ALOT a lot. We’re talking every other week and sometimes more often ultrasounds. Between the pair of relatively large subchorionic hemorrhages and a velamentous cord insertion, a hole in the heart they thought she had (but didn’t…thank goodness!), and breach positioning, we were tight with the ultrasound techs.
But even with ALL of those ultrasounds, we only got one picture that remotely looked like a baby. I turned the only non-blob ultrasound into wall art by Photoshopping a scan of the ultrasound pink and framing it. It was a super easy and super cheap project that I adore. We hung it just above a set of shaker-style wall hooks that Colby made out of scrap barn boards.
Whimsical And Colorful Art
I had a colorful pair of flamingo prints stored in the attic that was a perfect nursery addition. They were originally purchased for a gallery wall in our first home. I still hadn’t found their next resting place in our home but felt like the nursery was a perfect choice location-wise for them. The prints are from the Allisons Ark Etsy shop and I love their whimsical vibe.
Adding fun art like these watercolor prints is another great idea for bringing color into neutral nurseries and contrasting dark walls. Also, as someone who rages against nursery themes, it’s an easy way to bring a kid feel without going full bore Disney character or baby elephant themed. No offense if that’s your vibe. You do you. It’s just not my style. I wanted the overall look to appeal to my tastes while also still feeling like a baby’s room.
Wall Hanging With Texture
My FAVORITE of all the styling dark nursery ideas is to bring in texture for contrast. Contrast isn’t attained solely with color but also with the texture of the materials you use. Some easy baby nursery decor ideas to add texture include adding cozy elements with a pillow or throw blanket on the glider.
One of the last DIY projects I tackled for Rowan’s nursery was the wall hanging just above the changing pad. That spot on the wall begged for something to fill it.
I had an old piece of driftwood that I’d been carting around with me since my college days. Horder perhaps? Or just sentimental? You decide. The driftwood was found on my first day of college, on the beach just down the road from my dorm. I have never really known what to do with it but couldn’t get rid of it.
It took about an hour of cutting pieces of yarn that I had leftover from other projects and looping them around the wood to come up with a custom wall hanging. Not only does it fill the empty wall space but it doubles as a source of baby entertainment during diaper changes.
Contrast With Natural Wood
Natural wood in a lighter shade, using stains in neutral colors also brings contrast into the dark nursery. While neutral shades include both light and dark neutrals, the combination of light wood paired with the dark hunter-green color provides visual contrast to the room. It’s a bold look and I’m here for it.
One of the natural woods is the dresser. I love this dresser-turned-changing table. It belonged to Colby’s grandma Barb and was an old dresser that she and her late husband refinished just after they got married. I love the family history of this piece in Rowan’s nursery. We ended up building a shelf behind the dresser so it would sit flush against the wall, wrapping around a beam in the corner of the room.
The crib is another piece of furniture in a light wood tone that also provides contrast with the dark neutral paint color. With such a small space I didn’t want the crib to take up too much room physically AND visually.
The simple shapes and style of the Ikea Sniglar crib were the right light tone, size, and design. My family second-guessed my desire for the cheapest, most basic crib out there (their viewpoint, not mine). But once the room was fully put together, they came around!
Open Shelf Wood Tones
The rustic nursery shelves are built out of the old bookcases we removed from the downstairs bedroom of our house. I was nervous that I would hate their color but vowed to work with what we had. I didn’t want to buy materials when we had scrap wood around because have you seen how much it costs to have a baby?! Panic attack-inducing levels of cash money!
The shelves hold all the necessities: extra swaddle blankets on the top shelf next to a small basket of shoes, a pair of boxes containing meds/thermometers/snot suckers topped with a hedgehog nightlight, a framed quilled notecard made by Colby’s grandma Dot, a thrifted piece of milk glass filled with hair bows, Rowan’s most used shoes sitting on the shelf, and the rattle she plays with during diaper changes.
The shelves also provide fun ways to bring in small tchotchkes or baby accessories to up the personality factor. While I do want to limit the number of things in this nursery design because of its size, objects that aren’t necessities like the cute felted deer head that was gifted to us have made the cut.
It’s a nod to Colby who worried his baby girl’s nursery would end up overly pink and frilly. Worry no more Colby, I think we’ve landed on the perfect mix of girly (hello pink flamingo art and vibrant pink rug) and rustic (old wood and felted deer head).
Pulling In Bright Colors
I feel like the popular choice in designing a nursery is to use bright or pastel colors on the walls and bring in more neutrals with the accessories. I like it the other way around and use a more neutral wall color while pulling in more vibrant colors in art, accessories, and other home decor items.
Our most colorful accents to the dark green nursery walls include the pink rugs, pink flamingo art, and the blue rocker. Other nursery decor ideas for bringing in more color include wall hangings, mobiles, side tables, stuffed animals, pillows, and throws.
Adding Blackout Shades In Natural Materials
The one thing that we didn’t do and have since rectified, is hanging some blackout curtains or shades in this room. For a long time, we hung an extra blanket or two over the window to keep the afternoon light out of the room during naps. Lately, tornado Rowan (aka the “ro-nado”) has been tearing down said blankets. We’ve since ordered a blackout shade (which came yesterday…woot woot) and cannot wait to hang it!
We opted for a woven shade with a blackout panel to bring more texture into the room, while also serving the need of darkening the nursery. Here’s hoping nap time starts getting easier because Mama needs a nap too!
How I Love Thee Dark Green Nursery
Looking back, I am so glad we took our sweet time finishing Rowan’s dark green nursery. It feels like the rooms that take the most time are the ones that we love the most. They often have the most character and work the hardest since every detail is well thought out. Besides, good rooms take time. I never think a quick makeover is the best choice for how to tackle a room.
While I love the slowness of putting together Rowan’s nursery, it somewhat pains me that it took so long because now we are starting to think about turning our guest room into a big girl’s room for her. Cue the my-baby-is-growing-up tears.
She plays in the guest room just about every night after her bath so it would be nice to turn it into her very own space complete with some of her favorite toys. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve already started collecting a few things here and there for her new room! But until that time comes, I’m enjoying rocking away in her moody nursery and savoring every moment of her littleness.
Dark Nursery Ideas Source List
Below is the entire source list for everything in our dark nursery ideas for our baby girl. If I missed anything or if you have questions about the things we used, please leave me a comment and I will get back to you.
- Crib: Ikea Snigler Crib
- Crib Sheets: Crate & Kids
- Pillows: Target
- Throws: HomeGoods
- Llama: Target
- Curtains: Anthropologie
- Mobile: Pottery Barn
- Glider: West Elm Graham Glider
- Foot Stool: Vintage
- Rug: Rugs USA Chery Pink Color Washed Floral Area Rug
- Table: HomeGoods
- Half Moon Shelf: DIY
- Shaker Pegs: DIY
- Hangers: Anthropologie
- Flamingo Art: Allison’s Ark Etsy Shop
- Mirror: Target
- Lamp: Vintage
- Light Fixtures: Lowes
- Dresser: Vintage
- Shelves: DIY
- Small Shelf Basket: Pottery Barn
- Swaddle Blankets: Little Unicorn
- Faux Succulent: Pottery Barn Faux Tillandsia Succulent Stem
- Plant Vase: Vintage
- Storage Boxes: Target and HomeGoods
- Night Light: The Rock Art Shop
- Quilling Art: Vintage
- Rattle: Crate & Kids
- Baby Shoes: Gap Baby
- Milk Glass: Vintage
I love all these dark nursery ideas, designs, and the dark color palette. It might just be the room I am most proud of so far in our home…although it’s only one of two rooms that is remotely done so the competition is low!
But I love spending time in here, rocking our baby, with my mind racing while Rowan nods off. Scheming all kinds of creative ideas for other house projects. It’s the perfect place to dream and scheme while holding someone I love.