From clever decor that can grow with your child, to the best arrangement of furniture, we’ve got all you need to know about how to create the perfect room for your little one.
Trust your style
Rule one: a nursery doesn’t have to be all polka dots and teddy-bear wallpaper. Just as the rest of your home is a reflection of your style and taste, so too is your baby’s nursery. So, choose a scheme that makes you feel relaxed and happy – after all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in there!
Paint the walls in a soothing color that you like (and don’t mind staring at during those long night feeds …), and choose some fun wall stickers. Unlike patterned wallpapers, these can be easily changed as your baby gets older, without having to redecorate the whole room.
However, if you do want to go down the wallpaper route, don’t get stuck on the ‘children’s’ section in the wallpaper books. There are some fun, stylish patterns for ‘grown ups’ – such as geometric prints or flamboyant flamingos – that work just as well, and won’t look babyish in years to come.
Position your cot
The cot will most likely be your biggest investment in the nursery, so think carefully about where you’ll put it, and then plan the rest of the room around it.
Don’t place it underneath a window – not only can they be draughty, but as soon as your baby is able to stand, the curtains or blinds will become fair game. Curtains are safer, but if you’re using blinds, make sure they don’t have a cord. If they do have cords, make sure they are short and kept out of reach, even if the cot is positioned away from them.
Similarly, don’t put the cot in front of a radiator, which can cause your baby to overheat. It’s a good idea to have a thermometer in the room to make sure it’s at the right temperature – some baby monitors also indicate the temperature of the room.
Remember, poo happens
The other thing your baby (and you!) will spend a LOT of time doing in this room is nappy changing, so it pays to put in some thought about this. If you have the space, a designated changing station will save your back from bending over all those nappies.
But if not, then a cot-top changer can be a great space-saver (just remember to move it before your baby goes to sleep in the cot). In no time at all, your baby will be rolling over, so make sure you have all your changing gear to hand, either in drawers beneath or beside, or on handy storage hangers within reach.
A colorful mobile placed above the changing area can keep your little one entertained during the clean-up operations. And, for obvious reasons, a cheap and cheerful (and washable!) rug is very useful underneath the changing area …
Choose a chair
The most important piece of furniture, as far you’re concerned, will be a lovely chair. This is where you’ll sit and feed your newborn, and then sing, read and cuddle them as they get older. So choose your chair wisely!
You’ll need something that’s comfortable for night feeds, and big enough for bedtime stories with your child snuggled on your lap in the months and years to come. Nursing chairs are ideal, but can be expensive, whereas an old wooden rocking chair from a charity shop can be just as good – and can also become a family heirloom to pass down the generations.
Don’t clutter the room
Even if you’re lucky enough to have a lovely big room for your baby, don’t be tempted to fill every square inch.
It’s important to keep as much floor space free as possible, so your baby has room to stretch out on a play mat, crawl around, or play with toys as they get older. Clever storage is your best friend.
While it can be tempting to opt for a cute mini wardrobe, a big chest of drawers and/or wardrobe will hold more gear, and your little one won’t grow out of it. Just make sure any furniture is secured to a wall or can’t be toppled over when inevitably used as a climbing frame …
Most importantly of all, make sure you keep a clear line of passage between the cot and the door. If you’ve just spent hours getting your baby to sleep, the last thing you want to do is wake them up again by crashing into something as you creep out!