The sweet anticipation of a nursery

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Story highlights

Nurseries, even one fit for a prince, are the result of love and anticipation

Decorators enjoy the freedom to go all out in a nursery

Got a gorgeous bathroom? Contribute to next week's Open House iReport assignment!

CNN  — 

Since the world caught its first glimpse of Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, the royal family has surely headed back to a gorgeous, well-stocked nursery.

But what makes a beautiful room for baby – and parents?

Kelly Marzka from Atlanta knows what makes a nursery a special room. She chose an interactive wall of pinwheels and a teal, beaded chandelier to adorn her daughter’s nursery, but that’s not the secret ingredient.

Nurseries, she said, are the result of love and anticipation, and that’s what their darling decoration communicates, she said.

“Nurseries hold such promise and are so special because you create them for someone you’ve never met,” she said.

The parents who submitted images of their child’s nursery for this week’s Open House project said they wanted them to be perfect – of course. But they also confessed to enjoying the decoration, rather than stressing over it. Often seen as the easiest room to decorate in the house, a nursery can be a place where decorators take risks with whimsical patterns and happy colors.

“If I had to spend the rest of my days decorating one room and one room only,” said blogger Corrie Moore, “it would be nurseries.” She had absolutely no stress when it came to decorating her daughter’s nursery with a tree branch mobile of butterflies, flowers and pearls.

While the fantasy decor of a nursery is great fodder for Pinterest and decor blogs, it’s also a fact that these rooms are not just for babies. The have to work for the parents who will log many hours rocking their infant in a glider or changing diapers. Comfort is important, and spending that much time in the same room means you’d better like what you see in there.

Moore said she decorated her daughter’s nursery with her baby in mind, but mostly for herself. She chose neutral tones to create a soothing and relaxing space.

“Babies aren’t going to say, ‘Terrible color choice, Mom, should have gone with pink’,” she said.

Bold, striped curtains and a forest of painted birch trees serve as the backdrop for the nursery Dave Krajewski and his wife decorated for their daughter. As they walk her around the room, the artwork they hung – a large version of their pregnancy announcement, vine sculptures, animal pictures and a pink deer head – has become the inspiration for stories they tell their daughter, Krajewski said. When his daughter transitioned to a crib, she handled it better than her parents did, he said.

Kelly Boeckman and her husband decorated their son’s nursery based on a painting that tells a story: An elephant painted it on their honeymoon, at an elephant camp in Thailand. Now that her son is learning about animals, he is able to point them out around the nursery.

“He’s realized the painting in the corner was drawn by an elephant, not a human,” Boeckman said.

Dierdre Zahl, of Charleston, South Carolina, discovered she was pregnant after she began to decorate her office. Transitioning the half-decorated room to a nursery was easy for her, she said, thanks to the love that went into it and the inevitable deadline of her daughter’s birth. She ended up with a cozy, chic nursery full of graphic details and a lot of black and white, including striped Roman shades.

“I read that babies really respond to black and white,” Zahl said. “She would stare for hours at the shades.”

Babies’ mental and physical development are part of the process of decorating a nursery. For example, Zahl used a thick, plush, ocelot print rug that her daughter enjoyed rolling on as a baby. Now a little older, she sits on the carpet to read books.

Marzka chose a front-facing bookshelf for her daughter’s nursery, so she could see the books’ covers, even if she can’t quite read the spines yet.

“She loves that she can reach them and pull them down herself. She’s 15 months old now, and she goes in her room, takes down a book and sits by the bookshelf ‘reading’ it to herself,” Marzka said. “Cutest thing ever.”

Laurie Jones, a decorator and blogger in Indianapolis, Indiana, and her husband picked a planet mobile hung over her son’s crib especially to help him focus, she said.

“He’s been looking up at it since birth and now that he is older he loves to touch it before being laid down and touch it when he wakes up,” she said.

Ashley Pettitte, a for-now retired architect and stay-at-home mother decided on crystals for her daughter’s nursery mobile.

“I made it!” she said. “I hung it directly in front of the arch window to catch the afternoon light and I loved watching her smile and coo at it when she woke from her evening naps in her crib.”

Are you obsessed with decorating your house? Show us your skills at CNN’s Open House and your photo could be featured in next week’s story. Our next focus: Bathrooms.