Expecting parents have often looked to celebrity nurseries for inspiration and one thing that many have in common are chairs from Oilo Studio. From recliners to classic gliders and ottomans, Oilo Studio has become a must-have brand for celebrities and ordinary parents alike. While many nursery recliners and gliders look like a slightly more modern or colorful version of what your uncle has had in the corner of his living room for 25 years—Oilo’s are quite the opposite. Fresh, contemporary, and available in a variety of sleek upholstery choices, it’s easy to understand why Khloe Kardashian, Christina Haack, Halle Berry, Sienna Miller, and Amber Fillerup among other recognizable names have Oilo Gliders in their nurseries. Designers including famed nursery designer Naomi Coe are also fans of this line.
While an investment piece for many parents, these gliders weren’t designed to stay in nurseries forever but can easily blend into any design scheme in a living room, home office, or bedroom. The brand currently offers seven gliders and recliners in a choice of 24 fabrics designed to coordinate with most style nurseries. There’s also a choice of manual or motorized movement and a wood or metal base.
Founded in 2007 and launched in 2009—in addition to being sold on the brand’s website, it’s also been picked up by other retailers including Kathy Kuo and Neiman Marcus.
I recently spoke with Thomas about nursery furniture trends, being a working mom, and why it’s important to design for adults.
Amanda Lauren: What was it like to start a company shortly after having your first child?
Annalisa Thomas: I knew I wanted to start a business but didn’t know what I would do until I was pregnant with my first baby. The problem with starting a business is that it’s super exciting, but after all that the grind sets in, it’s a ton of work and you don’t get paid for your efforts.
With a new baby, it was extremely overwhelming. I had heard somewhere that you can get a lot done in fifteen minutes if you set your timer. So I started doing that. Some days I would get in a handful of fifteen-minute sessions. On other days I would only get one in. But I did it. Every single day.
No matter how difficult that day was with a newborn—taking one small step forward every day eventually made all the difference. I officially launched the business in 2009 and am proud to see how far we have come. To this day, I still use the fifteen-minute approach when I feel overwhelmed.
Lauren: What products did Oilo launch with?
Thomas: We launched nursery items to make those first months with a little one that much easier. Bumpers, lighting, gliders, and blankets. At the time bumpers were all the rage but soon experts realized their potential danger and they quickly fell out of favor.
Crib sheets took center stage in place of baby bumpers, but parents also wanted something for themselves—somewhere comfy to rest after being up late tending to their newborn’s needs.
Lauren: When did gliders become more popular than rocking chairs?
Thomas: Gliders have been around for a while now—since the 1880s. But it was only recently that designers stepped up their game, introducing truly beautiful reclining pieces. And we can thank modern technology because motorized reclines are even smoother and more effortless to operate than ever before—making them ideal for new moms who may be recovering from cesarian sections or dealing with sleeping babies that may wake with the slightest movement. You can also charge your phone on most of our models too.
Lauren: What is your process for designing the chairs?
Thomas: To ensure total comfort, we always begin with three must-haves which are arm height for complete relaxation when holding a baby, back support to cushion your head, and seat elevation because leg sustainability matters too. With these needs in mind, then it’s time to get creative.
Lauren: What makes Oilo Studio gliders so special?
Thomas: With great pride, we ensure our gliders are made in the United States with nothing but the highest quality craftsmanship. Each piece is crafted using only superior-grade wood to enhance durability and comfort. Our craftsmen have been skilled for many years, ensuring every aspect of the chair meets impeccable standards from neck support to armrests. Our mission is for you to have a lasting, versatile piece of furniture that can be used in the nursery today, but also moved into your living or primary room as needed down the line.
Lauren: How would you describe the Oilo Studio aesthetic?
Thomas: When I set out to choose furniture for my nursery I did so knowing that I wanted something beautiful, meaningful, and practical all at once. I knew this was the time to invest in quality pieces that would last me well beyond my family’s stage of infancy.
Quality and design are the key criteria for Oilo. So much care, attention, and love are put into creating a cozy, calm haven for the baby—one that serves not only the newborn, but also gives parents a place to relax and bond.
Quality design not only adds an aesthetically pleasing touch to the room, but it can also provide a soothing atmosphere as well as peace of mind, knowing that you have chosen something safe and long-lasting for your family.
Lauren: What celebrities have you worked with and why do you think there are so many love your brand?
Thomas: We’ve been so lucky to have worked with some fabulous celebrities since Oilo started. Rachel Zoe was the one who kicked it all off, she had an incredible nursery that featured one of Oilo’s very first designs. Her nursery got a lot of attention from magazines and shortly after that, Nick Lachey, Vince Vaughn, Halle Berry, and Christina Applegate as well.
Then Khloe Kardashian put our products in her nursery as well. Each one gives their own contribution towards helping build up Oilo into what it is today.
Lauren: What are the biggest trends in nursery design right now?
Thomas: When Oilo first launched, nurseries were filled with bright primary colors and cartoons. We on the other hand saw the nursery as an oasis, a comforting and inviting retreat for parents away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And it’s wonderful to say that today nurseries have achieved this. Many parents are curating tranquil havens where both themselves (and their little ones) can relax in peace and harmony.
Lauren: Do you think social media can create pressure to design a prettier or more upscale nursery?
Thomas: We’ve seen so much change in the nursery space. When Oilo began social media was not even a thing. It’s amazing how people can express and showcase their love for nurseries with friends all over the world now! While there are negative sides, one awesome effect of this digital age is that creativity flows more easily between new parents who may not know where to start when designing a beautiful room –all thanks to Pinterest-worthy inspiration shared online.
The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.