Reese Witherspoon

Unique baby names for boys: 5 ways to pick the perfect one

Oct. 18, 2013 at 12:45 PM ET

Unique Baby Names for Boys
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Victoria Beckham and Brooklyn -- Unique Baby Names for Boys

Many people think coming up with baby names for boys is easier than it is for girls—there just seems to be a smaller universe of names, since many parents of boys opt for a traditional moniker. But that focus on classic names means it’s extra hard to come up with unique baby names for boys—to pick one that’s creative but not off-the wall and has just the right level of cool. These five tips can help you pick a name that feels original:

Use a last name as first name

For a name that’s a little formal but still fun, look to popular last names. This is also a nice way to revive a family name that fell off the family tree through marriage. Just be sure it pairs well with your actual last name so it’s not too much of a mouthful. Examples of surnames that also work as given names: Fletcher, Anderson, Beckett, Lewis, Kennedy and Miller.

Draw inspiration from special places

Location names have been a big trend for years, kicked off when David and Victoria Beckham named their son Brooklyn. Gwen Stefani kept it going by naming her son Kingston. More recently, Reese Witherspoon gave a nod to her Southern roots by naming her son Tennessee. Look to places that mean something to you, and try them out with your last name. Other cool place names: Austin, Phoenix, Sydney, Kent and Aspen.

Look to the past

Everything old is new again, and that includes baby names. If you’re looking for unique baby names for boys that have a retro-cool feel, browse popular choices from decades ago. Frank, for instance, was popular in the early 1900s but not so much today. Albert is a forgotten gem from the 1880s. If you want to browse the most popular names by decade, check out the Social Security Administration web site.

Add an X

We’re not sure why, but when you add an X to a name—maybe the fact that it’s a letter so rarely used?—you score cool points. Xavier, Fox, Jax, Knox and Felix are all boy names that cash in on the X factor.

Go exotic

Research names that are trending in other countries but aren’t over-used in the US to see if a name with international appeal might suit your little jet-setter. Some ideas we love: Davi (Brazil), Lachlan (Australia), Maxim (Russia), Diego (Spain) or Yanis (France).

Mom of two Sasha Emmons is a writer and editor. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.

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