Among numerous decisions that need to be made by expectant parents in advance of their baby’s birth is the color scheme of their newborn’s nursery. Those parents who know the sex of their child before birth often opt for paint colors considered appropriate for the gender, while those who don’t know are more likely to seek out neutral color schemes. All in all, most parents want to be sure that their newborn’s nursery will be a warm, nurturing space that makes the baby comfortable while offering stimulation for mental growth.
Some parents also try to factor in the inevitable changes that occur through the course of childhood in an effort to pick a color scheme that will be equally appropriate for a middle-schooler as it was for the newborn. Neutral hues work best in this regard, and also make it easier to repaint should the child’s evolving tastes call for such later on in childhood.
Consider the Sight Perception of Babies
When beginning the search for the perfect color scheme for their newborns, expectant parents should first understand exactly what a baby can see, and when. A newborn’s eyes are physically capable of functioning like an adults; however, the newborn’s brain cannot process all that visual information. In fact, it generally takes from six to eight months for the baby’s brain to catch up and be able to perceive all of that visual information. When first born, that baby can only focus on objects that are closer than a foot away, and only detect fuzzy images of light, shapes and movement beyond that. The ability to process colors is also limited, which means that newborns can really only process black, white and grey.
Color processing kicks in starting at about two months of age, with red hues being among the first they begin to process. For this reason many childcare experts recommend against painting nursery walls red, as it may overwhelm or otherwise confuse the fast growing newborn. These same experts are likely to suggest softer shades of blues, greens or pinks as more appropriate wall color choices. Not only do newborns perceive these colors soon after the reds, but they are believed to be more soothing and calming.
Depth perception kicks in starting at four months, and by five months the baby has gotten much better at seeing small objects, tracking movement and spotting things that are afar. Color perception by this time has also advanced to the point at which the baby can likely differentiate between bold shades of the same color and perhaps even perceive differences in pastels.
All of these developmental changes are why some parents opt to paint murals or children’s story scenes on nursery walls, as such visual stimulation may help in the sensory development.
Psychology of Nursery Paint Colors
Color psychology has been studied in depth for a variety of reasons, including its influence on shopping, academic performance, athletic performance, and how colors may affect babies and children. Thus, when you’re picking potential nursery color schemes, consider how psychologists have determined how these colors may influence babies and children:
- Green—With its association with nature, green is believed to be soothing and calm. Psychologists believe it can enhance concentration and studies suggest that it may improve reading comprehension.
- Blue—The color blue is considered calming and psychologists believe the color stimulates sleep and can ease feelings of anxiety and aggression. Blue is also believed to stimulate the physical feeling of cooling in the face of hot temperatures.
- Pink—Associated with femininity circa the 1940s, pink is also believed to offer a calming feel. However, over time some people (and children) tend to get annoyed with brighter shades of it as a constant presence.
- Yellow—This color is believed to brighten moods and improve happiness, with some shades believed to promote concentration. Brighter tints probably should be avoided in nurseries though, as they can prove over stimulating to babies.
- Orange—Also considered warm and nurturing, though, like yellow, brighter shades may prove over-stimulating to babies.
- Red—as previously mentioned, this color may be too stimulating for newborns. It has also been associated with increased aggression and linked to difficulty in maintaining focus.
- Purple—This color can act like either a red or blue depending upon the shade, so choose accordingly.
Naturally, all of these colors come in a vast variety of shades and tints, and can be toned either up or down as needed. Neutral colors can also serve as primary wall colors that are then accented by bolder trim work colors.
Consult With an Experienced Interior Residential Painting Company
Other considerations, such as furniture colors and artwork, may also influence paint color choices in your nursery. Whatever the case, if you are feeling overwhelmed by this aspect of preparing for your newborn, an experienced residential painting company can help you create the perfect nursery in your southwest Florida home.
FCI Painting has extensive experience painting home interiors, including nurseries, in the Naples, Florida area. FCI painting is adept at helping homeowners find the perfect colors to meet the needs of every room in the house, and in successfully bringing those colors to life. To learn more about how FCI Painting can help you with all of your residential painting needs, contact us today, or give us a call at (239) 435-1001.