The Modern Baby: Part Two
By Olivia Martin / Published by Dwell
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When we first started talking, you mentioned "the modern baby trend" and how its evolved since you had your baby. Can you elaborate on that? 

The modern baby movement started in 2005, meeting the desire of modern-minded parents unwilling to compromise their aesthetics with overly ornate, matchy-matchy nursery furniture, and plastic baby gear. With design, function, and longevity in mind, brands such as Oeuf and DwellStudio emerged as forerunners with thoughtfully composed furniture featuring clean lines and bold, yet basic nursery decor. Today, buying a modern nursery is as easy as walking into Target. Parents are now taking the established modern nursery aesthetic and blending it with their personal tastes in a way that resonates with the rest of the home.

What is the most important piece of furniture parents should focus on for the nursery?

The centerpiece of the nursery is most often the crib; it sets the tone for the space. What I love about modern cribs is that the design is inherently simple. They don't need much. You can often skip the crib skirt and bumper, add in a few nice crib sheets, and you're set. The crib should also grow with the child, converting into a toddler bed, which extends the life of the investment. Functionally (or selfishly) speaking, a comfortable, well-designed rocker or glider is essential. Parents will be spending endless amounts of time feeding and holding baby, so they should have the most perfect spot to relax.

What is worth the splurge and what is not?

Parents should definitely put the money into an organic crib mattress. Standard crib mattress are extremely toxic, filled with flame retardants and nasty chemicals. Babies spend an atrocious amount of time sleeping in the crib, so having a baby inhaling chemical fumes while sleeping is a horrible idea. A basic organic crib mattress by Naturepedic starts at $259.

Parents can save on a changing table. A simple changing pad can safely be placed on top of a dresser and instantly becomes a changing station. Plus, most seasoned parents end up changing diapers on the floor!

How can parents maintain their aesthetic with a baby in tow?

Edit! It's inevitable that parents will wind up with a bunch of baby stuff with the first child. As you go along, it becomes apparent what is necessary and enjoyable and what is annoying clutter. I think parents will find that not a whole lot is truly needed. With the mindset of constant editing, parents can maintain a modern, uncluttered aesthetic as their child grows. Aesthetically pleasing baby products are quite accessible, so it becomes less of an issue of ugly baby stuff and more of an issue of too much baby stuff cluttering a well-designed home.

What construction qualities should parents look for when buying pieces for the nursery? 

Longevity. Sound quality is something modern furniture companies take pride in, it's in the foundation of their design. With that in mind, parents should consider what they want out of these big-ticket item purchases. After the baby, will the rocker or glider look good in other rooms of the home? What does the crib to toddler bed conversion look like? Will the piece grow with our family for future children? Is it enjoyable to look at?

Click through the slideshow to see Summer's top seven picks for the modern nursery!

"Oeuf has remained a leader in the industry, producing solid, quality furniture. Plus they are a great company. (I don't mean to give too much "Oeuf love" but this company in their design process, production, and in their foundation epitomizes "modern nursery.")"—Summer Robertson

"Oeuf has remained a leader in the industry, producing solid, quality furniture. Plus they are a great company. (I don't mean to give too much "Oeuf love" but this company in their design process, production, and in their foundation epitomizes "modern nursery.")"—Summer Robertson

Naturepedic was one of the first organic crib mattress companies to open the door for organic infant sleep. They are spectacular.

The Monte Joya rocker is made-to-order in Canada with amazing construction and design quality

Ferm Living is a Danish design company that designs quality (and luxurious!) baby and home products at a reasonable price.

The DwellStudio Draper Stripe rug is bsic enough to grow with the child and can later be used in other areas of the house.

A mobile in the nursery is essential and depends on your style. Frazier & Wing mobiles are available in a broad array of colors and can later be hung elsewhere in the home.

Wall Stickers are a modern nursery invention, adding simple, fun non-permanent decor that makes a big impact. LittleLion Studios has great focus wall designs while the smaller accent decals from Mae are also fun. ABC House (shown) is by Ferm Living.

Olivia Martin


Olivia Martin is the managing editor at Dwell. Growing up in a 1905 Victorian fostered her love of architecture, design, and unpredictable floorboards. Aside from organizing articles flying around the Dwell office, she can be found wandering in vintage clothing stores or coercing her roommate into various decorating schemes for their apartment.

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