How to Use a Nautical Theme to Decorate Your Baby's Nursery

The popular nautical baby nursery theme is both trendy and attractive. These tips will help you set your baby’s room up for high seas adventure.

By Jessi Minneci


As you prepare to welcome your new baby into your home and life, you must also start to think about preparing the nursery. The decision making that comes along with raising a tiny human is endless, but décor within the nursery doesn’t have to be. In fact, it can actually be quite fun.


Set sail into the whimsical world of nautical nursery décor. Appropriate for any gender, adorning the walls with the rustic sentiments from the ocean and a color palette from the high seas will open your baby’s eyes to a world of adventure and wonder. With all of these fun nautical bedroom décor ideas for the baby’s room, you may just get lost at sea (and never want to come back!).


Why a Nautical Nursery Theme?

The anchor-themed baby room Pinterest boards are onto something. Aside from being a trendy theme for the newborns, the nautical color palette is also very conducive to a baby’s calm and wellbeing. Color affects us. And while your baby may not perceive colors correctly right from the get-go, they will as they mature, and we will want to set up a room that will both calm and soothe them.




  • Blue is both cooling and calming. In the nursery, use warm or bright blues, and pair navy with lighter colors on the nautical palette (such as tans and creams) to avoid a setting that's too dark.
  • White is pure, clean, and innocent, but I suggest using splashes of the hue as an accent as opposed to covering entire walls in white. After all, white is most prone to stains.
  • Gray inspires you to contemplate and is great for a baby’s cognitive learning, but be careful. Its advantages are that it promotes thought and emotion, but that includes sadness and loneliness. Mix gray tones with splashes of brighter color in your nautical palette.
  • Tan/brown is the color of our earth, which makes it a great choice for a nursery. When it comes to the nautical nursery, opt for tan and beige shades. Avoid mid-level browns that can come across as dirty.
  • Red is a wonderfully bright accent color in the nautical palette. It’s bold, attracts a lot of attention, and pairs great with blue (a cooling color) because it is "hot."


Bring a Deep-Sea Adventure to the Walls

The simplest yet most visual way to bring nautical bedroom decorating ideas into the baby’s nursery is through the walls. An ocean mural like the one below will bring your baby’s room to the next level and emerge them right into the adventurous ocean. For a baby girl, opt to paint the whales pink, or replace the whales altogether with pink dolphins or mermaids.




If a mural seems a bit too advanced for you, consider navy and white stripes (stripes are a huge asset of the nautical theme) or some type of nautical wallpaper adorned with sailboats, seahorses, starfish, or something similar.


Put the Focus on the Crib

In your baby’s nursery, the crib should be the investment piece. After all, your baby may sleep in the crib well up to two or three years, and, if you plan to have more children, it is something that could be passed down in time.




In any sense when it comes to the nautical nursery, dark cherry or espresso-colored wood are appropriate options that pair well with the nautical color palette (think navy, cream, and dark mahogany), and they're gender-neutral.


Focusing more on an anchor themed room specifically for your baby boy? I still suggest sticking with the dark wood crib and pairing that with white and navy anchor crib bedding. For girls, there is a little more leeway.


Consider blue walls for the baby girl’s nautical nursery, an off-white or cream-colored crib, and navy and pink nautical crib bedding. No, I really wasn't joking when I suggested blue walls in a baby girl’s room. Just add some pink nautical accents (say a pink whale or mermaid mural) around the room to make it "girl-friendly" and tie in to the theme!


The Secret is in the Accents

Décor and accent pieces go a long way in a baby’s bedroom. Stick to the maritime theme with some of these ideas:




  • Shadow boxing sailors’ knots as wall art.
  • Enlist a red and white life preserver as wall décor. The bright colors will contrast well with navy walls.
  • A nautical baby mobile (say with shells, fish, etc.) will set the scene for fish and other marine creatures floating in the vast ocean.
  • Consider nautical storage like a boat-shaped toy boy or baby book holder, for starters.


Décor Goes to the Floor

Adding a rug in the baby’s bedroom, especially if the nursery is not carpeted, is almost a necessity for safety reasons. But, beyond safety, a rug in the nursery will also help tie in the theme. In the nautical nursery, opt to go with either a beige (sandy) color shag rug that represents the ocean floor, or a wavy blue rug to represent the ocean itself.




The same goes for the curtains, which are also very important to the nursery. Since your baby will most likely sleep at some point throughout the daylight hours, it is important to enlist either a blackout shade (usually tan and not off-kilter in terms of the theme!) or opaque curtains. Keep the nautical feel strong with navy curtains, or another dark color – perhaps printed with tiny anchors!


Ahoy, mates! Follow these fun nautical bedroom décor ideas and in no time, your baby’s nursery will be drifting out into the open ocean of fun. Remember, it’s your home. This room is for your new baby. If it makes you want to smile and set sail, then it’s perfect. Happy decorating!


Images used with permission, courtesy of

Next: Nursery Decorating Hacks: Everything Mothers Wish They Had Known