IKEA baby nursery ideas – 12 inspirational whimsical tricks that also make the space work hard

These IKEA baby nursery ideas offer clever ways to utilize and upgrade basic pieces to create pretty and practical

Ikea baby nursery with a snigler changing table
(Image credit: IKEA)

Clever IKEA baby nursery ideas can offer a host of affordable and stylish solutions to what can be a tricky time to navigate.

Having a nursery that's an inviting, welcoming space to spend time in is as important as having practical ideas set up throughout the room to support the newborn experience.

IKEA hacks and ideas can cover both form and function – all while keeping a keen eye on budget.

From Scandi-chic changing tables to stylish chests of drawers updates and ultra-handy wall storage, we've rounded up a host of IKEA baby nursery ideas below to help you enjoy the journey in comfort.

IKEA baby nursery ideas and hacks for an ultra-cute and functional space

1. Make simple handle swaps for a chic addition to your storage 

Ikea baby nursery ideas Hemnes drawers and Osternas handles @thefeelingsneutral_

(Image credit: @thefeelingsneutral_)

'IKEA is the stuff dreams are made of for new parents,' says Brit @thefeelingsneutral_ (opens in new tab), adding: 'It's affordable, simple and easy to assemble.'

Brit's nursery is full of great ideas to optimize IKEA products in a stylish and functional way, including this IKEA dresser hack

'We used the IKEA Hemnes chest of eight draws, it comes with black iron handles, which we swapped out for leather pulls (IKEA Osternas 65mm),' she explains. 

'Organised with IKEA Skubb separators it makes for easy access to everything we could possibly need in a nursery, and enough storage for clothing, bedding and accessories.'

2. Use an IKEA cot to future-proof the nursery

Ikea baby nursery ideas Gulliver cot @thefeelingsneutral_

(Image credit: @thefeelingsneutral_)

Sometimes a basic piece can work as a brilliant IKEA baby nursery idea without the need for hacking. The Gulliver cot is so minimal design-wise that it can seamlessly slip into an otherwise chic and cute nursery scheme.

Brit @thefeelingsneutral_ (opens in new tab) says: 'Another IKEA staple is the Gulliver cot in white. It’s minimalist, simple, safe and allows the fun stuff like bedlinen and toys to shine. 

'Added bonus? It’s adjustable for height and has a removal side to convert to a toddler bed, which makes it a future-proof investment too.'

She adds: 'My frames and shelving are also from IKEA because I’ve never once shopped at IKEA without coming home with at least one of those things.'

3. Elevate your IKEA cot with a chic canopy curtain

ikea nursery canopy curtain on cot @styleandsugar

(Image credit: @styleandsugar)

Of course, you can always 'pimp' your IKEA cot and take it to a design-led level with chic additions like a canopy curtain.

Greet @styleandsugar did just that in her beautiful pared-back baby's nursery.

She says: 'I just used the white IKEA Gulliver crib, but I wanted to create a luxury feeling and decorate it more in my own style with the canopy and organizer.'

She adds: 'This bed is perfect if you love a Scandi boho vibe in the nursery. I think IKEA is great for nurseries and kids' room ideas because of the simplicity of it. I love the minimal designs that they have.'

4. Fashion wall shelves from the IKEA Bekvam spice racks

ikea nursery Bekvam spice racks @alanaraee_

(Image credit: @alanaraee_)

The IKEA Bekvam spice racks are a universally acknowledged to be fantastic all-rounders - and prime fodder for an IKEA shelving hack glow up.

You can choose to paint your Bekvam spice racks to suit your scheme or keep them Scandi minimalist. They're versatility also extends to how you hang them. 

Alana @alanaraee_ (opens in new tab) used hers in the nursery to store and showcase books, but also hung them upside down to use as a shelf as well as a hanging rack for babygrows and clothes.

She says: 'Bekvam spice racks are a go-to: they add a personal touch by making the perfect aesthetic book shelf to display favorite books, and to hang favorite outfits on display.'

5. Hack an IKEA baby play gym

Ikea baby play gym hack almostmakesperfect

(Image credit: almostmakesperfect.com)

You can actually use a mix of IKEA products to create an IKEA hack, turning standard pieces into unique pieces of furniture for your home.

Molly, of almostmakesperfect.com (opens in new tab), turned the IKEA Leka and IKEA Himmelsk mobile into a cute play gym with white paint, spray fixative, yarn and needles.

She says: 'I wanted something cute for Arlo, but wasn’t going to spend a lot considering I'm assuming he won’t even be using this kind of thing for that much longer.

'When I saw the bones and price of the IKEA Leka one (opens in new tab), I thought it would make the perfect one with a little finessing.'

Molly took the brightly-colored Leka and painted it a chic white, and then took apart the Himmelsk mobile and added the characters to the Leka instead. And the result is fun as well as seriously cute.

6. Turn an IKEA Besta into a stylish storage cabinet

Ikea besta hack semihandmade

(Image credit: Semihandmade/Maggie Sciara @eme.interiors)

IKEA Besta hacks are a popular DIY project thanks to the unit's basic form and versatile storage components. 

Designer Maggie Sciara’s was keen to maintain her personal aesthetic when it came to her children's nursery.

She chose Semihandmade’s Quarterline doors  (opens in new tab)to enhance an IKEA Besta unit and finished it with minimalist hardware. 

Speaking to Semihandmade (opens in new tab), she said: 'My design style is the epitome of modern farmhouse, emphasis on modern. I think the Semihandmade Quarterline epitomizes that: a combination of traditional Shaker cabinets with a Bauhaus-like slim frame look. Perfection.'

7. Transform the IKEA Ivar into a large chest of drawers

IKEA Ivar hack by Pretty Pegs

(Image credit: Pretty Pegs/@wohn.kultur)

The Ivar is a super-simple wall unit that is extremely popular for IKEA Ivar hacks as it's so basic and versatile in its raw form.

Carolin Antonie of @wohn.kultur (opens in new tab) needed a visually appealing storage solution for her daughter's nursery - but didn't want to spend a fortune. Cue this chic IKEA Ivar hack, which simply saw the addition of new legs and knobs.

She chose the stylish trestle-style Hillevi 170 legs by Pretty Pegs (opens in new tab) to give the units some height, and then added the brand's Bill 40 door knobs to create the affordable, and cool, dresser.

8. Give the IKEA Ekorre an elevated makeover

ikea nursery rocking sheep Sarah Sherman Samuel

(Image credit: Sarah Sherman Samuel)

If a super-cute IKEA product doesn't match your color scheme, take a leaf out of Sarah Sherman Samuel's designer IKEA hacks and elevate it with a chic glow up.

The interiors guru transformed the IKEA Ekorre rocking moose into an ultra-cute rocking sheep, that matched her decor scheme. It's a lovely idea for a cute touch in a baby's nursery that can also be enjoyed by your child in toddlerhood.

'I am no stranger to an IKEA hack and when I saw the IKEA Ekorre (opens in new tab) (which is pretty cute on its own), I got to thinking… the red doesn’t match my color scheme and I wasn’t a fan of the piercing, but what if… And this furry rocking sheep was the result,' Sarah says. See full details on the hack at sssedit.com (opens in new tab).

9. Change up an IKEA Tarva for a design-led finish

IKEA Tarva hack by Sarah Sherman Samuel

(Image credit: Sarah Sherman Samuel)

Another beautiful designer IKEA hack carried out by Sarah Sherman Samuel for a nursery in her own home is this elevated IKEA Tarva hack. The key to creating a design-led look? The angled legs.

'First thing we did was fully assemble the dresser, then we sanded down the piece and primed it,' explains Sarah. 'Secondly, with the legs on, I marked with a pencil where I wanted the cut lines and put an X on the side that will be waste (this reduces confusion once the legs are loose and they all look the same). 

'After the lines were marked I took the legs off, cut them down with a chop saw and then put them back on.'

She continues: 'Before painting, we had to fill the holes in the drawer fronts that come pre-drilled for the handles, as our bar pulls didn’t fit the same measurements. We used filler and then sanded it smooth when it was dry.'

The dresser was then spray painted with Theresa's Green by Farrow & Ball - a beautiful minty green that's ideal for adding a splash of stylish colour to a nursery.

See the full details on how Sarah carried out the hack at sssedit.com (opens in new tab).

10. Work with IKEA wall shelves and succulents

ikea nursery wall shelves and succulents by @nicole.marshall

(Image credit: @nicole.marshall)

IKEA's wall shelves are super-handy and come in a pale blond Scandi-style wood that's ideal for painting - or leaving as is. 

Over @nicole.marshall (opens in new tab), the wall shelves are used for hanging cloths or clothes, and prettying up the room with IKEA succulents.

Nicole says: 'Our nursery features IKEA's Flisat wall storage units and Fejka artificial succulent plants. I chose the Flisat wall storage shelves because they are so versatile! 

'I love that they can be hung either upwards or downwards and can be decorated in so many ways. The Fejka artificial succulents add a calming touch of greenery.'

ikea nursery wall shelves and Fejka

(Image credit: @alanaraee_)

Alana @alanaraee_ (opens in new tab) loves the iKEA Bergshult/Sandshult wall shelves, explaining that they're 'perfect to display decorative or keepsake items out of reach as baby gets older.'

She's also a Fejka fan, adding: 'The IKEA Fejka artificial potted plant is perfect for adding a touch of greenery without having to maintain a live plant.'

Spot that Alana has also swapped out the knobs on her Hemnes dresser for IKEA Osternas leather pulls, and used an IKEA Sinnerlig pendant lamp to add 'softness and a warm welcoming feeling to the room'.

11. Invest in an IKEA changing table for the ultimate practical nursery station

ikea nursery snigler changing table

(Image credit: IKEA)

Having a baby is a wonderful yet often stressful time that can be made easier with practical storage solutions.

Investing in an affordable changing table means you have a dedicated nappy-swapping station where you have all the essentials you need ready and waiting in one place.

An option like the Sniglar changing table is purse-friendly and stylish, and means everything has a dedicated place - clothes, diapers, bottles and blankets - so you can spend less time stressing, and more time enjoying life’s little adventures.

12. Make the most of wall storage

ikea nursery Trofast wall storage

(Image credit: IKEA)

Wall storage is an excellent small bedroom idea as well as being a great way to keep clutter off the floor.

The IKEA Trofast wall storage offers versatile solutions that can last for years.

nursery Trofast wall storage

(Image credit: IKEA)

Storage prevents you from a desperate hunt and saves time during late-night changings. Bins and baskets on the wall above the changing table are out of baby’s reach but easily within yours. Later, you can mount the storage at a child-friendly floor level for toys and fun!

It's also a good idea to pop an armchair next to low-level wall storage so you can use it as a side table to pop bottles and your drinks on during feeds.

Ruth Doherty is a lifestyle journalist based in London. An experienced freelance digital writer and editor, she is known for covering everything from travel and interiors to fashion and beauty. She regularly contributes to Livingetc, Ideal Home and Homes & Gardens, as well as titles like Prima and Red. Outside of work, her biggest loves are endless cups of tea, almond croissants, shopping for clothes she doesn’t need, and booking holidays she does.