The business of baby’s nursery can separate mums-to-be into two camps - crazed interior designer wanna-bes and those who make room for a cot in the spare room by shifting the junk to one side.
Most women hover somewhere in-between - embracing the exciting task but unlikely to agonise over fabric swatches.
Whichever camp you belong to, here are a few ideas to get you started.
The Essentials - Function Before Frill
Okay, so you have a room/area chosen. There are a million things that could go in there. Many nurseries have the following basics;
- A bed for baby - a cot that converts to toddler bed is a nifty idea. If you want baby sleeping beside your bed in the beginning, bassinettes can be a space-saver.
- A firm mattress - check out the [link to SIDS guidelines [link to here].
- linen - be aware of which season your baby will be born in when choosing fabrics. Look for natural, breathable materials which can be especially helpful if your baby has eczema.
- NOTE: many cot sets are sold with bumpers, quilts and pillows. Yes, they’re gorgeous but not safe for small babies. Invest in quality sheets and some Grobags instead.
- A wardrobe or chest of drawers for bub’s clothes - yes, they’re teensy weensy but you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll fill those drawers!
The Non-Essentials You’ll Love
During my first pregnancy, I read extensively about what I’d really need and when to save my pennies. Every list was different and often comes down to personal preference but these non-essentials made my life easier;
- A change table - yes, a towel on the floor will suffice but consider doing that up to a dozen times a day. Now consider doing it after having a caesarean. Change tables can save your back and they often have handy spaces for storing stuff - nappies, wipes, creams etc. - babies have a LOT of stuff!
- Rocking chair - I made do with an Ikea chair with wooden arms and wasn’t comfy. When baby number two arrived, feeding took place in a plush rocking chair with a matching rocking stool - awesome.
- TIP: A reclining chair is best. Mine doesn’t and I wish it did.
To Theme or Not To Theme
If you know bub’s gender ahead of time, choosing a theme is fun. It was one of my favourite things to do. Often, you can buy an entire room’s worth of decor from one brand. I tended to avoid doing this because
1. It’s usually VERY expensive
I didn’t want everything completely matchy matchy
3. By picking up individual bits and pieces based around a central theme, the room felt more individual and creative
Another idea is to keep the decor very simple so that the design of the room evolves as the individual tastes and interests of your child develop.
Don’t know baby’s flavour? You’ll want to go gender neutral. Keeping things simple allows you to add touches to the room once your bundle is earth side.
Must-haves sorted? Indulge in a few key pieces to really bring the room together and give it your own unique flair.
- A mobile - some argue they’re a distraction, others swear they put bub to sleep. I just like hanging stuff from the roof.
- Artwork - one or two pieces is often enough
- A toy basket
- A book shelf
- Curtains - particularly handy if the room doesn’t get very dark during the day
- A lamp - consider one with a dimmer for night time feeds
- A rug - they look great AND they’re excellent for tummy time!
- Personalised letters for baby’s door
NOTE: Some nurseries are choking with ‘stuff’ but before you go mad with decor, consider the purpose of the room - a place for baby to sleep. Aim to create a safe and peaceful haven. 11ft moons as featured in Christina Aguilera’s son’s nursery are not necessary (Google it - and tell me you wouldn’t be terrified waking up to that thing staring down at you!)
Small room? Tight budget? There are clever ideas for every design challenge, bargains to be found and simple DIYs. And researching is seriously addictive!
Possible goldmines include:
- Pinterest - search ‘baby nursery’ for 1001 ideas.
- eBay - excellent for second-hand stuff that’s going for a steal and might just need a lick of paint.
- Etsy or Made It - beautiful handmade linen, soft toys, artwork and more. A treasure trove of unique finds.
- Friends and Family - know anyone handy with a sewing machine? Why not enlist them to make cot sheets as a gift? Or an artist? Commission a special piece for baby’s wall.
- Local markets can be a great place to find one-off pieces made from vintage fabrics or pieces of art at low prices.
Remember, your baby only cares about one thing - being loved to bits by you. The rest is just icing. Don’t get caught up in decorating a cake you can’t afford. Whatever your budget, setting up the nursery for your impending bundle should be FUN. Enjoy!
This article was written for Birth by Angie Maddison, mum to two boys with a baby girl to come.
Follow Angie's pregnancy diary here
Last revised: Tuesday, 10 September 2013
This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.