Preparing for a new baby is stressful enough, decorating the nursery shouldn’t add to the stress. Here are some helpful tips on how to put together a cozy, functional room that will make you and your baby feel right at home.
Step 1: Choose your crib bedding. The bedding is a great starting point, it can really inform the color palette of your nursery. Have fun with it, this is a baby’s room after all. But be sure you find a set that meets all of the safety standards and is machine washable. You’ll be washing it A LOT, trust me! Oh, and don’t forget to buy lots and lots of fitted sheets. You’ll be amazed at how many a newborn can go through, and unless you want to spend the first three months of motherhood in your laundry room, you might want some extras on hand.
Step 2: Pick a crib. The crib will be the centerpiece of your nursery, and more importantly the one place you’ll leave your little bundle unattended. Look for one with adjustable mattress heights and sturdy, durable construction. I know it’s hard to imagine now, but soon that tiny baby will be a toddler and toddlers are rough on their cribs (and parents!). This needs to be a serious piece of furniture that can stand up to their abuse. Also, if you plan to have more kids, it’s one that will hopefully get abused multiple times. Be careful about hand-me-downs and second-hand cribs, as they may not meet current standards or be in full working order.
We’re obsessed with safety here, as we’re sure you are too. I have our Straight Up Crib and every time I have to pull it away from the wall to retrieve a stray binky, I’m shocked at the shear weight of it. But when my oldest was 2 and jumping around in there I was grateful for it’s strength.
Step 3: Be prepared for all the change(s). You’ve probably heard about all the diapers, and it’s no exaggeration. So, be sure you make a place where you have everything close at hand because before you know it, baby will be rolling over. Adding a changing tray to an existing dresser is a great cost-saver. If you do purchase a changing table, be sure it’s something that has a life beyond the nursery. You’ll need a place for the diapers, wipes, lotions, etc. And, keep some entertainment close at hand. In my daughter’s nursery, I hung her mobile over the changing table, it provides enough distraction so I can get her diaper changed before she tries to squirm away.
Step 4: Create a cozy nook for cuddling. It’s essential to invest in a comfy seat, you’ll be spending a lot of hours sitting in your nursery feeding, reading and just enjoying your baby. For best results, choose a chair that can live on in your home. Choose a style that will fit into another room. In my son’s nursery I had our American Rocker, and it’s now hanging out in our family room/playroom. Also, be sure you have the essentials at hand. You’ll need a lamp that you can reach from the chair. A place to set a glass of water or reading material for you, and some books for the little one. When my niece was a baby she’d only sleep while being held perfectly still. So, if that Kindle was just out of reach, you were out of luck. It would be hours spent reading yourself Goodnight Moon.
Step 5: Storage, storage and more storage. If you haven’t already noticed, babies need A LOT of stuff. And you’ll want a place to keep it all. Invest in a larger bookcase or toy box that can grow with your child. Then be sure to supplement with plenty of bins and baskets. You can fill them with diapers now, then legos, then put ‘em in your pantry and fill them with snacks. Once kids move into your house, you can never have enough places to chuck all the “stuff” when you want to get reacquainted with your floor! I literally have dozens of our strapping baskets in all sizes and colors, filled with socks, diapers, onesies, superheros, stuffed animals, dirty laundry (sometimes clean laundry), potato chips, I could go on and on.
Step 6: Add a rug. If you have hardwood floors, you’ll definitely need a rug for the kiddo to play on. Since they’ll just be learning to roll over, sit up, crawl, walk, you’ll want one that’s thick and plush to cushion the inevitable spills. And, speaking of spills, be sure it’s pretty easy to spot clean. In terms of size, I’d opt for one that can cover the most floor in front of your crib. Leave a lot of floor space when you setup the furniture, you’ll spend most of the time playing on the floor, so you’ll want as much room as possible to move around.
Step 7: Cover up the windows, the baby needs to sleep! When it comes to curtains, just be sure you have either heavy fabric or a black-out shade. You’ll want the baby to nap during the day, and a dark quiet room will definitely help. In terms of length, I’d opt for a shorter length. Inquisitive toddlers tend to pull on everything, so floor length may not be the way to go.
Step 8: Lights! You’ll want a nightlight for those midnight feedings and diaper changes. And a table or ceiling pendant lamp to light up the room in the evening. Lamps are a great way to add some color and personality into the nursery.
Sounds like a lot, I know. But it doesn’t have to be difficult or break the bank. In my son’s nursery I mixed items I already had in the house, with vintage finds, items I made myself and some special brand new items I splurged on. I also added in some items that were mine as a child, which gave his nursery a sense of history. Then I let the room evolve over time, adding items as I found them and as he developed tastes of his own. Be sure to have the functional items, and beyond that, just have fun….it is a baby’s room after all.
By Danielle Kurtz
Danielle is the Creative Director at Nod and an over-protective mother of two. She’s also completely obsessed with Pinterest, Twitter and her Kindle, but not necessarily in that order. Danielle loves to craft, sew and crochet, but all her supplies have a layer of dust on them about 4 ½-years-thick, wonder if it's just a coincidence that her oldest kiddo is 4 1/2 years old?