We're Swooning Over This Whitewashed Nursery Filled with Color

Plus, the lessons learned in making an all-white space pop.

Photography by Bo Powell and JULIE HOLDER for Julie Holder Photography

When it comes to decorating a nursery, there are a handful of elements that remain constant regardless of aesthetics: The crib and a changing table being two of the more fundamental pieces. From there, we can look beyond, utilizing colors and textures to instill a warm and inviting detail, which will visually nurture the little ones. Creating a calming environment is key when settling on a decorative scheme for a nursery. Whether your personal style skews towards the whitewashed minimalist or the boho maximalist, it's all about finding common ground. 

When it came to designing her daughter Marigold's (Goldie, for short) nursery, Austin-based photographer Julie Holder opted to take a different approach to the decor. In lieu of the traditional wallpaper or bright wall paint, she went with a minimalist scheme—well, relatively. Looking to the wide array of colors found in art and books for inspiration, Holder brought in a major dose of personality sans the use of a single paint brush. 

"I’m a photographer and so is my husband, so we love images on the walls and artwork throughout our home," says Holder. And said decorative preference certainly doesn't go unnoticed in the nursery. 

Photography by Bo Powell and JULIE HOLDER for Julie Holder Photography

Natural light undoubtedly plays a major role in the decorative direction of a room. "“As a photographer, I’m always chasing the light. Same thing in a room. I want to walk in and immediately feel its openness, especially in this nursery," notes Holder of the space. 
 
A room that lacks windows will benefit from wall paint of a lighter palette, while a room with broad access to the outdoors can be privy to a more saturated or bold hue. And while Marigold's room does indeed feature multiple windows, Holder still opted to keep the walls whitewashed. 
 
"I love the modern, clean back drop of white. It’s the equivalent of a great pair of jeans or a little black dress. The perfect starting point. Once you layer in art and textiles, toys and books, it takes on a whole new dynamic," she notes.

By filling the room with a dynamic array of colorful art and books, Holder was able to offset the sterility that can often result from such a monochromatic backdrop. Though, avoiding a cluttered space is also key. As a former New Yorker, Holder learned a few tricks of the trade in making the most of a space count. "In a small NYC apartment, you can’t live with a single thing that isn’t right for you," she says. "Become a good editor with your home, it will simplify everything.”

Photography by Bo Powell and JULIE HOLDER for Julie Holder Photography

And this she did. A set of floating shelves house Marigold's colorful titles, neatly on display, they double as wall decor and a streamlined storage solution. A woven basket with a hint of color stands directly below the shelves, as a catch-all for random odds and ends. 
 
To implement a warmer and more welcoming element within the design, Holder filled the room with decorative pieces that held sentimental value, all the while remaining totally functional. "We decorated with quilts handmade by our loved ones, books that she dives into every day and I keep her toys out in baskets. White keeps everything looking neat and clean.”

Photography by Bo Powell and JULIE HOLDER for Julie Holder Photography

The beautifully pink settee, which was a lucky find thanks to a mega sale in NYC's abc Carpet and Home, stands in as the spot most favored by Holder and her daughter. Aside from the fact that it fits perfectly within the nook by the window, it's one area that can uphold a versatile scope of activities. The sweet spot. 
 
As for the art? That's all Goldie. Holder paired natural food coloring with yogurt and let Goldie's artistic direction take its course. After, a little fixative sprayed atop the dried yogurt allows the painting to seal and set. How's that for a DIY gallery wall?

Photography by Bo Powell and JULIE HOLDER for Julie Holder Photography

On the advice she would give to moms-to-be, Holder suggests that when designing a nursery, it's important to consider the fact that it will be a space just as much for you as it is for them. 
 
"You’re going to spend a lot of time in this space. So design it for you both. A good chair, a comfy floor cushion to sit on, a cozy nook to cuddle up in and read," suggests Holder. "Build a space that makes you feel something other than exhausted at the 4am feeding.”


Read on for more nursery decorating ideas:
Eight Nurseries Where Wallpaper Steals the Show
9 Nursery Accessories You Didn't Know You Needed
Yes, There is Such a Thing as a Grownup Nursery


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Published on December 18, 2017 - 5:00am EST

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