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5 high-contrast paint ideas to help with your little one's development

Create a nursery that stimulates your baby’s senses with these punchy pattern ideas.


“We’ve heard that babies respond well to high-contrast pattern when they’re young. How can we create a nursery that stimulates our baby’s senses that isn’t too overwhelming?”

The first few months of your baby’s life is an exciting period of rapid development, particularly when it comes to their vision. It will be fuzzy at first, but they’ll soon be able to see in black and white and eventually different colours.

As their vision improves, babies tend to respond well to vivid colours, patterns and shapes, so incorporating these into your nursery scheme can help focus your little one’s attention, and is guaranteed to look stylish, too.

Here, we’ve come up with five high-contrast colour ideas that will capture your baby’s imagination, and still look cosy and comfortable.

Go dotty

Circular patterns tend to feel uplifting, making it perfect choice for your baby’s nursery. Use a water glass to stencil brightly coloured dots on the upper part of one wall so your baby will be able to see them from the cot.

Bright, acidic yellows like lemon and chartreuse are great for livening up a neutral scheme, or for a more dramatic look, layer over a charcoal grey feature wall – the yellow spots will look like moons in the evening sky.

Which paints?
Buttercup Fool 4
Pretty Pink
Gipsy Bloom 3

Be complementary

Also known as complementary colours, contrasting colours are directly opposite each other on the colour wheel. Think orange and teal, yellow and blue, green and magenta.

The key to success is to create balance in the nursery by combining muted hues with colourful brights. Paint on separate walls, or draw a horizontal line in the middle and use a different colour on the top and bottom for a stylish look.

If you’re not sure which colours to pair, download the Dulux Visualizer to your Smartphone or iPhone to see and instant impression of how your finished room could look. Simply hold up the app to the wall you want to paint, choose a colour and tap the screen.

Which paints?
Golden Rambler 4
Blue Diamond 3
Crystal Surprise 3
Moroccan Sands 5

Building blocks

Another way to create a fascinating space for your baby is by painting large blocks of bright colour next to each other, otherwise known as colour blocking.

If you’re not sure where to start, try picking two hues from the same colour family and one or two contrasting shades. For example, you might like to combine warm copper orange and bright coral orange with a crisp turquoise blue or a smoky lilac, or a deep purple with forest green.

Which paints?
Bongo Jazz 1
Mango Melody 1

A little goes a long way

You don’t need to cover an entire wall with pattern in order to make an impact. Unexpected pops of pattern - such as striped table legs in blue and grey, or diamond shapes inside a cupboard or draw – will add a designer-style feel to your scheme.

Which paints?
Niagara Blues 1
Steel Symphony 4
Adobe Pink 3

Strike a balance

Balancing a bold hue, such as neon pink with a more subdued colour, such as grey, is a great way to play around with colour without overwhelming your nursery scheme. Add a dash of clashing orange to complete the pretty, yet stimulating, look.

Which paints?
Berry Smoothie
Night Jewels 5

Top tip

As well as stimulating your baby’s vision, enhance their sense of touch by contrasting different textures. Pair soft, brushed cotton bedding with a chunky knit blanket, and go for velvet or silky cushions.

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