The fine-art photographer releases his new children's book Be Our Guest! next month

By Melody Chiu
April 25, 2018 06:33 PM
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Fine-art photographer Gray Malin‘s stunning prints transport his admirers (including celebs like Reese Witherspoon and Whitney Port) to Sydney, Bora Bora, the Amalfi Coast and more — but now his pint-sized fans can get in on the fun too.

Over the last three years, Malin has released several exotic animal-themed collections shot at the Parker Palm Springs hotel in California. “The hotel and its playful grounds were my biggest source of inspiration,” he says. “The vibe is very unique, much like a playground or summer camp for adults. You truly feel like a giddy child roaming around the property.”

Gray Malin's tips for nursery decoratingCredit: Courtesy Gray Malin
Credit: Courtesy Gray Malin

The New York Times bestseller (he previously released Beaches and Escape) is currently gearing up for the release of Be Our Guest!, a children’s book (available for pre-order here) he describes as a “modern-day Eloise.”A special collector’s edition is also available on Malin’s website and comes with a stuffed animal of Maurice the monkey, who narrates the book and is the main character.

Gray Malin's tips for nursery decorating Credit: Courtesy Gray Malin
Credit: Courtesy Gray Malin
Gray Malin's tips for nursery decorating Credit: Courtesy Gray Malin
Credit: Courtesy Gray Malin

Below, Malin shares his best tips for creating the perfect nursery exclusively with PEOPLE:

Choose a specific theme or color story.

More so than most rooms, the nursery is one where the parent-to-be can really get creative and have a lot of fun planning! Whether it is a sailor theme with a lot of nautical accessories or a magical safari, the nursery decor can really run the gamut when it comes to all of the directions one can go in.

Gray Malin's tips for nursery decorating

Determine the focal point.

This is probably an obvious one coming from me, but I like to start with a piece of artwork, then plan around it. In the case of a nursery, though, it’s fair to say that the crib might be the first big purchase and thus set the tone for the rest of the decor decisions.

Gray Malin's tips for nursery decorating

Whatever the chosen focal point may be, once it’s identified it will then serve as the anchor to the rest of the design choices.

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Paint last!

This is a tip that goes for every room. Always select the soft furnishings before landing on your paint color. It’s definitely easier to shop for those perfect curtains with a color swatch or wallpaper sample than the other way around. Speaking of wallpaper, I love the idea of a wallpaper accent wall!

Gray Malin's tips for nursery decorating Credit: Rob Fitch
Credit: Rob Fitch

Create the perfect shelfie.

Aside from the perfect crib, the nursery will also need some shelf space to keep the baby’s ever-growing children’s book collection organized as well as double as another way to display smaller-scare pieces of art and decor.

Gray Malin's tips for nursery decorating Credit: Courtesy Gray Malin
Credit: Courtesy Gray Malin

Select art that will grow with the baby.

Believe it or not, art is not just for adults! In fact, quite a few of my prints have made their way into nursery decor, especially when it comes to my series “Gray Malin at the Parker.” In fact, seeing how this particular series became so popular for nursery decor, I was inspired to write a children’s book based on all of the magical characters that fill the series.

Credit: Nicole Gerulat for Joss and Main

It seems to me that “kids’ art” is something that would eventually be dispersed of, as the child will inevitably grow out of it. However, when you decorate with something a bit more elevated, the art becomes something that will grow and mature with the child.