When my 8-year-old daughter told me that her gymnastics teacher, who is pregnant with her first child and due in the summer, was thinking of painting the baby’s nursery cherry red, my first thought was hm…cherry red isn’t a very restful color. In fact, it’s stimulating. And since babies need a lot of sleep, something pastel might be better.
Still, babies can snooze through anything. That’s because infants spend 50 percent of their sleep time in slow-wave sleep, which is the deepest stage of sleep, says Judith Owens, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island. (That gradually diminishes, dropping to just 15 percent of the night by young adulthood.)
So a cherry red room isn’t apt to keep most babies awake. And painting your baby’s room red, or some other non-traditional baby color such as lime or Kelly green, navy, yellow, or lavender might even stretch your decorating dollar. Your baby is less apt to outgrow those colors as quickly as say, babyish pastel pink or blue. All you’ll need to do is change the accessories, such as the artwork, as your little one becomes a toddler, then a big boy or girl, rather than re-do the entire room.
So I’ve changed my mind about nursery colors, especially in this econony. I still like more muted colors in general, but I say go ahead and paint the nursery cherry red, if you want to, and save yourself the time and expense of a room do-over later.