nursery design: elephants with yellow, white & gray

Designing your baby’s nursery can be both exciting and overwhelming.  There are so many options out there and everything has a price tag so it can all add up very quickly.  When we were planning Jai’s nursery, Hitesh and I both agreed that we did not want to go overboard yet we wanted it to be something unique and not just the traditional “blue is for boy” theme and color scheme.  Here’s a run down of how I put together his playful, bright room that didn’t break the bank either.

Color Choice:

I chose to mainly stick with a palette of yellow, light gray and white with splashes of other bright colors like orange, aqua and green intermixed.   Yellow is a vibrant color, which can evoke feelings of optimism, happiness and warmth.  I love that about yellow.  In doing my research, I came across articles that stated yellow is a no-no for baby rooms.  The thought is that the color can be too stimulating.  I decided to go with it anyways and am glad I did, because Jai loves spending time in his nursery the most and the shades of yellow we chose do not seem to interfere with getting him to sleep or focusing when it’s time for a particular activity, like story time or tummy time.  The light gray walls and linen curtain panels plus white furniture brings balance to the bright yellow too.  I think it works well together.


We purchased the furniture for Jai’s room mainly from three places: Target, Walmart and Ikea.  I like change so I knew that whenever we decided to grow our family, there would be a chance that I would want to switch out some of the furniture too.  In any case, I still wanted pieces that were durable (and that had pretty good reviews) but ones that wouldn’t kill me to part with.

I also wasn’t into the idea of buying an entire crib, dresser, changing table set either.  My general design preference is to mix and match and kind of make my own “set” with pieces from various stores.  I think the end result makes for a more unique space, no matter which room you’re furnishing in the house. Doing it this way can also be more cost efficient too.

Crib: Walmart/ Manufacturer: Baby Mod / $200 (crib sheets and skirt from Dwell Studio – purchased on sale for $29/each)

I have to take a moment and talk about the mobiles for Jai’s crib.  Originally, I found a unique mobile made of origami stars on  I love this mobile…it’s so different and Jai loved looking at it as he drifted into dreamland.  I have to admit, I loved looking at it too.

But now, we have moved onto a mobile that not only plays music but it actually projects beautiful stars onto the ceiling…and Jai really digs it.  If you’re looking for a mobile, check this one out from Fisher Price.  Jai got it as a gift from his friend, Lilli…thanks, Lilli!!

Dresser: Ikea / Style: Hemnes / $300 (knobs originally black were spray painted gray)

The gray shaded lamp is also from Ikea…Style: Alang ($20). One day, I found the changing pad cover cover in the clearance section at Babies R’ Us for an unbeatable $10!  I love how it’s yet another element that pulls in yellow and white, but in an abstract way.  Confession…we’ve never even used it.

Side Table:  Target / $50

Not the best picture but it’s white with a large pull out drawer and is so helpful to have right next to the rocker.

Rocker w/ ottoman (not pictured):  Buy Buy Baby / $700

I found a perfect pillow (yellow, white and gray circles!!) from Target for $15.

Shelving: Ikea / Style: Lack / $50

Bookcase: Ikea / $200

The bookcase is definitely in my opinion, the standout piece in the room.  It’s functional and brings the biggest pop of yellow into the space.  When I saw it in Ikea, I knew I had to have it.  It’s sad that they don’t sell it any longer.  They even had it in a really bright, Kelly green that was soooo striking.

The bookshelves are home to Jai’s books and music, along with some of our books too.  Most of the books that we read to Jai on a daily basis are in bins that we keep in his closet for easy access.  I kept some of the same colorful storage bins in the bookshelf too…they are from Target / $6.99 each.  They are perfect for storing little toys and books too.  And gotta love the design and color they bring.

Obviously, there are elephants everywhere throughout the room and the bookshelf is no different.  Jai reeived two elephant piggy banks – one from his cousins Aria and Naiya…the gray Pottery Barn Kids one below with his name on it.  Adorable.  The two smaller elephants below are Christmas ornaments that I found in the clearance section at World Market for less than a quarter each.

The other bank is the white Jonathan Adler collection item.  It was a gift from my fashionista cousin, Kamal.  I paired it with the little yellow guy below, which I also picked up at World Market for around $10.

I have to also mention Jai’s favorite stuffed animal sits on the top shelf – his UVA teddy bear that he got from his buddy Xavi.  See it there with the big ‘V’ on it’s sweatshirt?  Go Cavaliers!

Art Wall:

The artwork in Jai’s room is a mixture of poster prints, fine papers and some of my own 2 minute or less art.  Framing different pieces of art in different sized frames is all it takes to create a fun art wall.

I got two alphabet prints…one hangs above the rocker which has animals for every letter…

and the other is above the dresser.  Both are from  I think Hitesh was originally a little shocked that I spent so much on just one of the ABC prints (I think it was around $40!).  In all honesty, I thought it was going to come framed. Oops.

But it turns out it was an invaluable purchase since this is Jai’s absolute.most.favorite.thing.ever to stare at, period.  Just look at that face…it says it all.

The “e is for elephant” and “you are my only sunshine” prints were purchased from  This print brings a big fat smile to my face every time I walk into the nursery.  The words are perfection.

And the orange colored paper which is framed in yellow, I got from Paper Source. This place is seriously insane with the most gorgeous papers everywhere.  Love it there.  When I saw that paper, I just had to have it for my art wall.  I simply cut a piece and framed it.  Then, I cut an elephant out of some blue cardstock and added an ear made of the same paper.  So simple.

This tied the two pieces together and I think brought overall cohesion to the wall.  All the frames for the art were purchased at Ikea and Michael’s.  The yellow ones were originally white and spray painted.  Again, so easy.

Picture Frames:

These were purchased at Target ($5/each):

I registered for these from Buy Buy Baby and ended up painting the giraffe, yellow and the elephant, blue.  I like how they turned out.

These frames add more interest and color to the room, not to mention frame one cute little guy in them all.  What’s not to love??

Well, hope you enjoyed this ‘tour’ of Jai’s nursery.  And when you’re thinking of a nursery for your little one, don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to only blues and pinks and buying entire furniture sets from all the big name retailers.  Think outside the box and have fun with it so you can create a beautiful, whimsical space that both your little one and you will love to spend time in.


Share your nursery design ideas with us too.  Did you do anything unique or different?  Send us pictures!



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