Nothing generates excitement for the imminent arrival of your little one quite like the nursery! Here you have the opportunity to plan, buy for and decorate the room that will house your new baby. With imagination and step-by-step organisation, you get to surround your child with comfy and functional furniture, stimulating design, lovely music, pleasant lighting and a calm, safe environment. Use this guide to help you create the nursery of your dreams.
Commit to a theme
Nurseries no longer have to be traditional blue for boys and pink for girls. There are so many design options available to you, so feel free to go nursery wild. Love modern design? Choose laminate furniture and stars and stripes on the wall. Fancy a nautical theme? Paint a mural of the ocean with a seashell rug and starfish art. In a white mood? Get your white shades on and accessorise to your heart's content. Whatever you choose, fully commit to your theme, and use theme elements on the floor, on the wall, even on the ceiling. Making this decision is your first step to knowing what you'll buy and how it will look.
Keep these fundamentals in mind as your plan your nursery, to ensure ultimate safety and functionality for your new baby.
Choose washable fabrics and floor coverings that clean easily.
Buy furniture that can evolve as your baby grows.
Be baby-proof. As your baby starts to move around, you want your room baby safe: protect the wall outlets, keep the crib away from cords and curtains and place valuables and anything breakable on high shelves.
Clear out the clutter so you can hold your baby unfettered and undisturbed.
Make sure there's plenty of open floor space so your baby can have floor playtime.
Be creative and choose favourite colours that will both soothe and stimulate your child. Classic solids of white, yellow, blue, pink and cool green always look great and can be accessorised with interesting textures and patterns on cushions, linens and curtains.
Grey is a modern favourite, with shade variations that look sleek and create a sense of calm. Grey works with hints of pink, black, silver or white and adds a contemporary and classy touch to a nursery.
Love bold? You're in luck. Parenting experts agree that using bold colour combinations on nursery walls and floors is a great way to stimulate your baby's vision. Black and white stripes, contrasting dark and light colours and graphic patterns send powerful signals to a child's brain. Add print to the wallpaper, paint a wild mural, or throw a dazzling rainbow rug on the floor.
And don't forget the ceiling. Babies are looking up much of the time, so add colour, contrast, mobiles, stars, flowers or singlekling lights.
Choose the right furniture
It's easy to design a nursery that will grow and evolve as your baby grows. Most baby's furniture can be used well beyond your child's first year. Many modern cribs convert easily into toddler and children’s beds, and today's changing tables are ingeniously designed as ordinary dressers, with detachable dressing tables that fit right on top.
There are wonderful crib designs to choose from, in different shapes including square, round or oval. Wood and laminate colours blend in with your chosen design decor and anchor the space.
Changing tables come in neutral colours that work anywhere. Find them in raw wood, just ready for painting a bold colour. Most look like regular dressers, with drawers to house clothes and towels and a topper that holds the changing pads firmly in place. Once your diaper-changing days are over, you've got a lovely dresser for use in your child's room or guest room.
Changing pads are vital for your baby's comfort, so look for one that is gently-curved, with a non-slip bottom and strap to keep your baby safely in place. Blended waterproof cotton covers keep inner pads protected, without PBDE flame retardants, mercury, lead and other heavy metals.
Rocking your baby to sleep is a beautiful thing, and nursery chairs or gliders are perfect for the job. Rockers use an arc motion to tilt backwards and forwards, while gliders slide backwards and forwards and sometimes swivel. Find them in natural or painted wood, as well as upholstered in different fabrics to blend in with your furnishings.
If you care about sustainability, choose furniture made in a Fair Trade Certified facility from eco-friendly sourced wood that's kiln-dried and made with water-based, child-safe finishes. Check for a GREENGUARD Gold Certification, adhering to stringent chemical and VOC emissions standards.
Bonus tips to consider:
Don't forget storage.
How does such a small human generate so much stuff? You'll need some combination of cabinets, shelves, baskets and drawers to store your baby's clutter and keep it out of harm's way. An open storage area like a leaning bookcase displays books, photos and toys.
Display your baby's name.
Do add a comfortable nook for adults.
Babysitters and parents need love, too. Be sure to create some comfy sitting areas with a sofa, rocker or daybed so adults can rest, relax and yes, even nap on occasion.
Decorating a nursery for your newborn is a wonderful labour of love. It's the space where your baby gets to experience the world using all their senses. With imagination and good planning, you can create a nursery that is beautiful, comfortable, stimulating and functional for your child.