A Gender-Neutral DIY Travel Nursery

When I was pregnant, Andres and I discussed how we wanted to create a gender-neutral haven that Baby G could grow into (Read: We have no plans of redecorating in the near future or having another child). We had so many ideas, but we settled on the easiest and most convenient. . . an Around the World theme. Andres is really sexy handy. He used to do cabinetry and construction and loves building things. I, on the other hand, am amazing at finding bargains and unique items on the internet (I SWEAR, this is a gender-neutral room).

Growing up, neither Andres nor I had one of these “theme” bedrooms that look like they come from a magazine. Andres shared a room with his brother in their Queens apartment. I had a no frills room where I taped things to the wall. So admittedly, we were both giddy and totally wanted to create something that we never had. The room that we envisioned together turned out to be one that both of us would have equally adored growing up.

We already had a surf blue accent wall with shelves from The Container Store that Andres had painted and built a few years prior. So we knew we would build off of that. After scouring the internet for hours, I finally found IT. Customizable world map wallpaper (we added our parents hometowns in India and Cuba). It worked perfectly with the surf blue “ocean”! The wallpaper and paint became the base of the room and the rest just quickly fell into place (thanks to our very generous family and friends for buying everything off of our registry).


Before rearranging the room this past December, I took iPhone pictures of the original nursery, in all of its glory (I don’t have a fancy blogger camera (yet)). I’m excited to share some of my favorite shots. PLEASE ignore the messy crib, I didn’t take these shots with the idea of sharing them publicly.

We live in ~1,000 sq. ft two bedroom apartment. Our kid is not nor was not getting the whole room to himself. So we still use the shelves in his room for our files (and half of his closet). Thankfully we color coded the file boxes, based on our favorite colors, years ago (can you guess what my favorite color is?). The rest of his shelves are filled with books, buddhas and a basketball.

I had SO much fun configuring his gallery wall. I have to give a shout out to my friend Faizah who advised me to get a mobile for the crib and changing table. Sage advice! I already had a Shah Jahan print of fairies that I wanted to hang (You may know him as the Shah who commissioned a love mausoleum and mosque for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is better known as the “jewel of Muslim art in India”, aka, the Taj Mahal). Additionally, I had an Allat frame that I bought in Dubai that I wanted to incorporate.

Andres, on the other hand had a bunch of maps that his Abuela drew in grade school in Habana (she is currently 97). She also gave him a canvas depicting Cuban rumba that her friend painted for her. Everything else was just a compilation of doodads that we had around the house. We really didn’t want to buy new prints.

I think the maps that Abuela drew are my favorite part of the room. Look at the map of Africa. The post-colonial borders from then and now are so drastically different. Then look at the map of India. It was clearly drawn before the 1947 Partition. Geopolitics makes much more sense when viewing these illustrations of history.


We wanted to put these maps up to teach our son about colonialism, borders, war, etc… I can’t WAIT for the day when he asks us why the maps in the frames don’t comport with the world map on his wallpaper.


Thanks for reading and I hope this inspires someone who is putting together a nursery.

What are some of your gender-neutral nursery themes?