Of all the decisions new parents have to make, color is rarely ever one of them. There's pink for girls and blue for boys, and yellow if you're interested in something a little less stereotypical. At least that's what society tells us. It might be hard to imagine as you're looking through a catalog for your own children (or nieces, nephews and the like), but there was a time when the girls' department wasn't filled with pink merchandise ... but the boys' department was. And this wasn't so long ago: Think sixty-something years or so.
Before World War II ended in 1945, color rules operated in reverse, with boys donning pink gowns and blue being considered a "much more delicate and dainty tone," for girls, a departure from the gender norms we've come to know that's currently on display in an exhibit called "Think Pink" at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.
Pink was recommended for boys as far back as the 1700s, "because it's a stronger and more passionate color, and because it's actually derived from red," curator Michelle Finamore told NPR.
Granted, a pink suit is one thing, but outfitting your baby boy's room in the rosy hue? We understand that might take a little more time (and a lot more shifting of our cultural norms). In the meantime, we're venturing over to other parts of the color wheel with these 9 rooms that do just that, along with decorating tricks that easily bridge the gender divide.
Blue For Girls
Blogger Joni Lay found her "baby blue" room paint on the more aqua end of the spectrum, a shade that could easily suit either a boy or a girl, especially since it's anchored by black and white. An arrangement of family photos above the changing table stand in for overly babyish art and double as a "family tree" of sorts.
Nadia Drapos Photography
Chocolate brown stands in perfectly for the more predictable pink in this twin girls' room by designer Natalie D'Urso of Milka Interiors
. D'Urso brought in feminine flourishes by way of polka dot wall decals, pastel bedding and a set of pink suitcases instead, which means there's no repainting required if the room ever assumes another use.
Sleek surroundings (like the New York City skyline) call for equally streamlined sleeping quarters for one Manhattan-based baby. Design firm Lily Z.
brought the traditional boy blue into more neutral territory, pairing navy with gray and yellow, throwing in some more grown-up nods to new life, including a Womb chair and an Egg lamp from Hive Modern.
A James Rosenquist screenprint titled "for the young artist" was the inspiration for Tilton Fenwick
designer Anne Maxwell Foster's daughter's room. "People are often scared to buy real art for kids' bedrooms," Foster's design partner Suysel dePedro Cunningham says. But "it is impossible for a room to be too babyish when you have amazing art to anchor the room," she adds. To balance it all out, the duo added less expensive whimsical elements like a custom mobile from Etsy made of leftover fabrics from the room.
Black & White
Black and white are the ultimate equalizers, especially when layered over a gray backdrop as they were in this little lady's room. Patterns like polka dots and trellis keep the space from feeling too stark, while the wall decal from Urbanwalls
pretty much sums up how we feel about the space.
A Mini Man Cave
Men's suiting served as the inspiration for this "mini man cave" designed with items that could easily transition from one space to another. "If it can't be used in any room in my house, I don't want it," Project Nursery
user Krob wrote.
For her son's animal-themed nursery
, designer Erica Loesing scoured Craig's List and thrift stores for the perfect sideboard-turned-changing-table and a collection of creatures, which she painted all the same hue. Other found objects include a mid-century ottoman that she had reupholstered and a vintage metal basket that holds baby blankets now, but could easily stow toys later on.
Kelly green and white stripes are a dead giveaway to the inspiration for this room -- the original Kate Spade shopping bag. To create the look, Project Nursery
user awightwick recommends buying a laser level for the painting job and using a credit card to seal painter's tape before painting stripes. It will make for a clean rip when you're done.
Save The Sex For Last
Not only was fashion editor Violet Gaynor too busy writing a book
throughout her pregnancy to decorate her baby-to-be's nursery, but she also left the baby's sex a surprise until birth. That means she was forced to keep the tiny office-turned-nursery neutral, which was a far cry from the lavender wall-to-wall carpeting that covered the space when it served as her own bedroom back in high school. Check out the adorable little person who occupies the room
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