While it’s certainly exciting, starting a family can be nerve-wracking. There’s just so much to plan for and think about! Creating the perfect nursery for your tiny person is only one of the many important tasks ahead of you, but it’s also one of the most fun. And we’re here with some “been-there advice” to help get you started.
Plan for the Future
Obviously, you’re in the right mindset — you’re looking up ideas and tips already. But remember that the nursery you build isn’t just for the needs of your happy newborn, you’re also probably going to be using the same space as they continue to grow and their needs change.
That is, as much as you will come to wish otherwise, your little bundle of joy is going to start to grow up sooner than you’d think. You need to be thinking not just in terms of baby-proofing tiny furniture sets and changing stations; you need to be thinking of the storage and furniture that will be in your nursery when your two-month-old bundle of joy turns into a two-year-old furniture spelunker. The nursery of today will become the bedroom of tomorrow. This doesn’t even touch on the idea of what they’ll need as teenagers — that’s a whole other blogosphere. But the point is that you, and the space you set aside for your child, will need to be adaptable to the wonderful roller coaster you’ve embarked upon.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Make sure your new nursery is adequately child-proofed before the baby comes home. This includes the basics like edge and corner guards for furniture, covering electrical sockets, hiding and securing any dangling wires or pull strings, and the use of child gates to prevent the inevitable escape attempts. Doors, drawers, and windows should be secured against being opened and rummaged through.
Make sure that the crib is away from the window to prevent your baby getting a chill from drafts, nor should you place it against the radiator either so as to prevent overheating. Use paint and wallpaper instead of hung pictures or other decorations — while a well-secured mobile over the crib is not likely to be a safety risk, hung pictures can have a tendency to fall just as soon as a tiny hand can reach them.
Decorate the Nursery Brightly
Choose decorations that are bright, cheerful, and colorful. Traditional patterns include clouds, balloons, animals and plants, or geometric shapes. Colors should be softer shades of primaries and basic secondary colors. While you may want to use characters from popular children’s cartoons, such as Disney or Dora the Explorer, such decorations tend to be a little expensive when buying complete sets. You can get just as much mileage out of designs you’ve made yourself.
If you’re not feeling very confident with the paintbrush, you can get stencils and transfers at any good home-ware store. Those feeling up to a challenge should feel free to turn the nursery room into their own canvas!
Get the Most Out of It
We’ve talked about changing needs and adaptability — keep this in mind when you’re looking at furniture. While the crib and mattress should be chosen for safety, breath-ability, and comfort, the best furniture for the rest of the room is going to be utilitarian and multipurpose. It’s not just about saving money; it’s about being ready for the day that they changing station needs to turn into a wardrobe or even a desk for school work.
When you take this approach to your nursery furniture, it also pays to buy quality. You’re setting yourself up with stuff that can adapt, so you need to make sure that it’s been built to last. The cheapest furniture will certainly hit your wallet more gently, but this only ends up being true in the short-term — you may find you’ll actually spend more to replace or fix cheap furniture in the long run than had you invested in something a little more expensive but more functional and durable. While hand-made furnishings certainly carry a premium, multipurpose and convertible furniture is becoming more and more popular. Look for fully-washable bedding, like the breathable crib mattress, for a cleaner and longer-lasting sleep environment. Keep a long-term perspective, and use it to your advantage as you plan for your growing family.