Sweet dreams

Home + Garden

May 1, 2022

Traci Zeller designs a bright and modern nursery with room to grow.

by Cathy Martin | photographs by Dustin Peck

When Traci Zeller’s clients come to her for nursery design, she is always mindful of the fact that babies don’t stay little for long. 

“These precious babies are in cribs for such a short amount of time, and I always design a nursery with an eye towards how the room will transition into a big-boy or -girl room,” the interior designer says.

When creating this nursery design for a young couple’s first baby, a daughter, Zeller already had a good grasp of the parents’ taste: She had worked with the couple over the previous year designing the rest of the home. 

“Their aesthetic leans modern and fresh, while still embracing the Southern vernacular, and we wanted the nursery to embody the same feel,” Zeller says.


“The mom was born and raised in Huntsville, Ala., and grew up as a University of Alabama fan,” Zeller says. “The elephant mural was our nod to her ’Bama roots in a much more sophisticated way than a ‘theme’ room.” The designer scaled the mural so the elephant would be appropriately positioned relative to the crib. 


When designing a nursery, Zeller suggests investing in a few enduring pieces that the baby won’t outgrow quickly. “The investment pieces should grow with the child. I want to see those pieces, whatever they are — it could be window treatments or artwork or a dresser — last for at least eight to 10 years. That way, you aren’t starting over with an entirely new design in the toddler years.” Here, the designer chose lighting, including the chandelier from Visual Comfort, and an upholstered swivel glider from Vanguard, that she says will “work beautifully for years to come.”

A wallpapered mural that features an elephant with palm trees on a wall facing a white crib with a yellow blanket draped over the side on top of a gray patterned carpet with a white furry ottoman and black-trimmed white chair in front of an overhead lamp next to a gold side table and blush pink curtains.
The Babyletto crib is outfitted with bedding from Crate & Kids. The swivel glider from Vanguard is upholstered in a durable indoor-outdoor fabric. The whimsical fur stool was custom-made by an Etsy vendor.


While the variety of nursery décor and furnishings has expanded widely in recent years, Zeller says you don’t have to use furniture specifically designed for babies. “You can use a changing topper on an ordinary dresser, for example, as long as the dresser is an appropriate height, and the dresser will transition beautifully to a big-boy or -girl room.”  SP

Intel of Your Wildest Dreams!


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