Crystal Sinclar has decorated her share of kids’ rooms and family-friendly homes. After designing the nursery for her own newborn, we asked her for tips on creating the perfect kid-friendly spot.
Photos courtesy of Crystal Sinclair
We’ve long adored revitalization of a Brooklyn townhouse or a globally inspired Brooklyn Heights space. But we’ve always been especially smitten with the way she handles a child’s room. So when it came time to design a space for her own daughter, we had to ask her about the process and for her tips to create the perfect space for a pint-sized tenant.’s ability to boldly mix tradition with today—whether it be in a stunning
Consider the life of each piece
Crystal recommends by starting with a real eye towards what pieces are worth the investment and which ones are temporary.
“Especially in today’s world things are pretty durable—or affordable where if things got ruined in two years and you need to replace it, there won’t be a whole lot of tears,” she admits.
Her advice is to think about pieces that offer a dual purpose, and using those as your chances to splurge. For example, instead of a specific changing station, opt for a table you can add a changing partition to the top of and remove once your child is old.
“Spend money on something that will transition well,” Crystal cautions. “Items that might get ruined just expect you are probably going to be replacing them.”
Of course, that means deciding to you what point something becomes worth of replacing and at what point it’s just collecting patina. Choose pieces that will will age gracefully whenever possible.
Don’t automatically go grey
While your inclination might lead you to opt for grey as a forgiving neutral, Crystal wants folks to know they have options.
“In any space, white is almost as durable as a light grey,” Crystal explains. “You’re going to see a stain as much, and with white you almost a better chance of you getting rid of it. The only time a color is safer is if it’s fairly darker. Light pink or light grey have a risk of discoloring when you treat the stain, unlike white. But texture definitely hides spills and what not.”
For accident-prone pieces like gliders, rugs, and such, opt for materials with weaves or patterns that can help disguise stains then consider color.
Start your kid’s style young, with a room that breaks all the rules. Crystal urges you to take risks in this space, more than any other in the house.
“I think a nursery can really be bold—break all those barriers,” she explains. “It’s supposed to be a fun room, and it can be a little wild without appearing garish because it is a kids’ room. Everyone does pastel pinks or soft greys, instead, do something that isn’t kid. You can have adult-decor in a kids’ room, it’ll actually grow with them, unlike if you put Winnie the Pooh everywhere.”
Designers know the importance of lighting a space, and a nursery is no different.
“Have a lot of different points of light, and make sure nothing is too harsh,” Crystal explains. “Sometimes my daughter does not like the bright light, so we have small light by the changing table to give me some illumination without flooding the room with lights. Make sure each area has its own task light.”
Give yourself options, from a floor lamp near the glider for bedtime reading, to something you can flip on quickly for a midnight (if you’re lucky) change.
One of our favorite trends gets even trendier when it comes to kids’ rooms. If the idea of wallpapering an entire space seems overwhelming, Crystal encourages you to pick the ceiling.
“Your child will be looking up at the ceiling all the time, so it makes a whole lot of sense in the kids’ room,” she explains.
Babies are drawn to graphic patterns and rich contrast—so black and white is an especially strong combo. Pick patterns with a dynamic repeat to maximize baby’s enjoyment.
In the end, Crystal is more than pleased with how her daughter’s space turned out.
“I give myself a big pat on the back,” she gushes. “I don’t think I could have designed the nursery any better than we did. The rocker is in the perfect spot. The black and white wallpaper, she will sit and look at the ceiling on and on. I had no idea that that was going to have that effect on her—I just thought it would look really great! The only thing I need more small containers in the drawers for socks and little things like that.”
But you what they say—don’t sweat the small stuff, even if it’s really cute small stuff.