Setting Thesaurus Entry: Nursery

crib, changing table, diaper pail, dresser, clothes hamper, lamp, nightlight, rocking chair, baby swing, mobile, artwork, name plaque on the door, walls painted in soft colors (pink, blue, yellow, green), stuffed animals, picture frames, knick-knacks, CD player, baby…

the crank of a mobile, music from a mobile, classical music from a CD player, static from a white noise machine, crib mattress rustling, toys rattling/squeaking/banging, click of a diaper pail opening and closing, rip of diaper tabs being pulled, rustling diapers, snaps…

baby powder, baby lotion, medicinal smell of diaper rash ointment, urine, poop, spit-up, sour milk, air fresheners, disinfectant

formula, milk, dry air

fuzzy blankets, soft crib sheets, cuddly stuffed animals, damp/sweaty hair, silky hair, warm bodies, smooth skin, slobbery baby kisses, damp/wet/soaked diapers and clothes, plush changing pad cover, cold wipes, heated wipes from a wipes warmer machine, warm…

Helpful hints:

–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1: The room was finally finished. Framed prints of cartoon dump trucks and tractors hung on the cornflower-blue walls. Soothing rain forest sounds whispered from the white noise machine. Margaret pushed the tiny choo-choo train on the dresser, rolling it back and forth. She breathed in the smells of fresh paint and new furniture and sighed, rubbing her bulging belly. Whenever you’re ready, little man…

–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Metaphor) She said it would be pink. This wasn’t pink. This was a cotton candy explosion…

Think beyond what a character sees, and provide a sensory feast for readers

Logo-OneStop-For-Writers-25-smallSetting is much more than just a backdrop, which is why choosing the right one and describing it well is so important. To help with this, we have expanded and integrated this thesaurus into our online library at One Stop For Writers. Each entry has been enhanced to include possible sources of conflict, people commonly found in these locales, and setting-specific notes and tips, and the collection itself has been augmented to include a whopping 230 entries—all of which have been cross-referenced with our other thesauruses for easy searchability. So if you’re interested in seeing a free sample of this powerful Setting Thesaurus, head on over and register at One Stop.

The Setting Thesaurus DuoOn the other hand, if you prefer your references in book form, we’ve got you covered, too, because both books are now available for purchase in digital and print copies. In addition to the entries, each book contains instructional front matter to help you maximize your settings. With advice on topics like making your setting do double duty and using figurative language to bring them to life, these books offer ample information to help you maximize your settings and write them effectively.


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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17 Responses to Setting Thesaurus Entry: Nursery

  1. AubrieAnne says:

    I really enjoyed the examples. For the book I am writing right now mood and tone is extremely important so they were very helpful.

    AubrieAnne @

  2. Oh, what a great list! This brings back some wonderful memories of when my son was a baby.

  3. Shannon says:

    Aww, that is such a cuuuuute set of descriptors.

  4. It’s also interesting to me how a scene can evoke such polarizing emotions from different people. One person’s nursery memories may be cozy and warm while someone else remembers sleep deprivation, insecurities, or even emotional trauma.

  5. Excellent post! Thanks for all the time you put into these. You are a blessing.


  6. Mary Witzl says:

    Ah, sour milk and baby powder — the nostalgia! I’ll always remember the smell of camomile tea, which I drank by the bucketful in a vain hope to get some sleep. Your second example made me shiver just a little — I remember that time all too clearly.

  7. Jemi Fraser says:

    It’s so great how a list of words can create a mood, a feeling, an entire scene – love it! 🙂

  8. I saw crib and had a flashback my son broke 3 bars in his crib when he was 11 months.

  9. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love your blog and I’m sorry I don’t comment on every post. Can I make a suggestion? I would love it if you could made a blog button. I would love to feature your blog on my site. Just a suggestion.

  10. Matthew Rush says:

    It’s hard to come up with something new to say about these amazing posts each time, but this is another amazingly well done tool for writers. And I love your examples, there is nothing like a little diction to set the mood!

  11. lotusgirl says:

    This is such a great resource. Great job and thanks.

  12. Most of this was taken right out of my son’s nursery. If only we had such easy access to all the settings we use, lol.

  13. Julie Musil says:

    Oh, this post was a stroll down memory lane when my boys were little guys. Such great images, and I loved the different examples at the end. Thanks for the memories, and the great tips.

  14. Lenny Lee* says:

    hi miss becca! i gotta tell you i didnt ever write something about a nursery stuff or babies. ha ha you sure got a lot of neat ways you could write about it.
    …smiles from lenny

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