You might not be ready to let your little one sleep alone, but at some point, you’ll all need some space! A proper nursery layout can be a space just for you and your baby to bond, so it should be a space you both want to be in.
What’s really special about preparing a baby’s room is thinking about how it will change and grow over time, just like your little one. There’ll be so many stories, memories and time to put their personality into it too.
While you’re just starting out on this journey, let us take you through the essentials.
What To Put In A Nursery
Let’s start at the beginning – what a great place to start! Before we talk about how and where we put stuff, let’s get going on what you’ll need.
Here are the essentials:
Perhaps the number one item. After all, a nursery is mainly where your little one will sleep. To see them through to toddlerhood, a high-sided crib is ideal for safety while they get used to sleeping alone.
Make sure your model complies with safety standards – the bars should be 2–3⅛ inches apart. Be very careful if you’re looking at getting a hand-me-down. The technology has evolved even in the last decade. It’s maybe the one item worth really investing in when you’re preparing a baby’s room, as it’s the one time you’ll be leaving your baby on their own so you want them to be safe.
Add a mobile to keep baby entertained and soothed, especially while you’re not in the room. This clip-on model has multiple tunes and can run uninterrupted for 40 minutes. It will also grow with the baby as it can become a standalone toy for older toddlers.
When the baby’s really young, a bassinet is perfect as they’re smaller and provide more shelter. This one is great as it has a retractable, all-over cover.
In terms of bedding, avoid pillows, duvets and toys for the first year or so. These can become dangerous items as the baby moves around. A fitted sheet made of 100% cotton and warm romper will be fine.
Tip: when we say “a fitted sheet”, we mean lots of fitted sheets! Have five or six and always have a clean one to hand as they’ll see a lot of spillages, spit-ups and the rest – you know!
If you’ve got other kids or want the crib to grow with them, consider a convertible model like this one.
When baby is ready for a mattress, go for something hypoallergenic and waterproof. Air a new mattress out for at least a day before using.
Now we’re starting to plan more about what to put in a nursery. It’s a great place to have a changing table as, newsflash, you’ll be doing a lot of diaper changing before, during and after sleep!
This changing table is a great option as it’s wipeable and has easy-access, open shelf storage.
While we’re talking storage, you’re going to need a lot of that too. Choose a dresser with lots of draws of different sizes. Again, washable or wipeable fabric or material is essential.
It might not be somewhere you imagine hanging out, but a comfortable nursing chair will be a godsend. Whether or not you choose to nurse, you’ll be cuddling, reading, soothing and bonding in that chair.
This chair has an ottoman for extra comfort – and it comes in 17 color options!
As baby gets older, and if you have space, another helpful sleep and soothing aid can be a rocker. Models like this one have mobiles, self-rock and are bright and stimulating.
How To Set Up A Nursery Room
Now you know what you need, we’re well on the way to preparing your baby’s room. It’s at this point it’s important not to get overwhelmed. We’ve covered the basics of the furniture, and you can make it work no matter what the size of your space.
Here are some key points to consider. A baby’s room should ideally be:
- In a calm part of the house
- Able to be aired out. Do this daily and don’t let the room overheat – 65–68°F is perfect
- Big enough for a crib but don’t fill it with clutter if the room is small
- Have access to sun and indirect sources of light.
Tip: if you can, get some blackout drapes or shades. Very young babies will sleep anywhere, but as they get older, you don’t need light interfering. You can make nighttime anytime – regardless of the weather.
Which leads us on to some safety features. Before you do anything, ensure that:
- Sockets are or can be covered and that the wires are hidden or out of reach
- Windows can be fitted with safety devices to prevent unwanted opening
- There is space to move around without tripping.
The Baby Nursery Layout
We know what we need and we’ve laid the groundwork, so we’re ready to go with layouts. If you organize it right, preparing a baby’s room can be easy.
You don’t need tons of space. Just to think about what you really need and what will work for you.
Number one on this list is convenience. Sure, baby sleeps in there, but you’ll be changing, soothing, tidying and feeding there. Make sure what you need is to hand.
- Keep toys, books, blankets, pacifiers and anything else you might need when getting baby to sleep to hand near your chair or rocker. That way you won’t disturb your little one when you reach for them.
- As well as shelves below the changing table or draws in the dresser, having wall shelves above the changing table is great for reaching for that diaper or wipe without having to bend or go somewhere else in the room.
- Keep a small, easily movable laundry basket next to the changing table. There’ll be a lot of dirty clothes coming off there! This one with an open lid is such a simple idea but invaluable when you need to throw things in without fumbling.
Tip: If you are limited on space, a dresser with a changing pad can double as a changing table. Afterward, you’re left with a dresser for the baby as they get older!
Keep your dresser organized with interchangeable storage boxes. Sort clothes into size and type and switch up the boxes as your baby’s clothes change.
Baby Room Ideas
You’ve got the essentials, the safety and the organization for preparing a baby’s room, now comes the fun part – decorating!
You might already have an idea in mind, or been building up a collection over those long nine months waiting! If not, we’re here to help.
Especially when thinking about baby girl nursery decorating ideas, it’s tempting to go with a theme. Unicorns, rainbows, jungle, dinosaurs or a dream castle – the possibilities are endless!
Here is our advice:
- Find one object of inspiration you like and work from there. It could be a toy, a lamp or a picture.
- The focal point to work from can be a window or a dresser – it doesn’t have to be the crib.
- Think about the ceiling! Your baby will spend a lot of time looking at it. Could you work that into your theme? Clouds are peaceful, stimulating and fairly easy to paint.
Tip: choose textiles and other pieces before the paint, as it’s easier to match paint than find objects to match the room you’ve already painted that shade of pink.
When it comes to decorating a newborn baby’s room, think about soft or light colors. There shouldn’t be anything too stimulating to distract them when you need the baby to sleep.
White is tempting but also the enemy of stains! A light grey wears better and still goes with most other colors. Most cribs are white, but here’s a convertible grey model.
If you do like bright colors, you can add these touches in smaller pieces of furniture, sheets and toys. Even better, these are interchangeable as baby grows, but you’ve still got a versatile, neutral base.
TIP: as always, consider a wipeable or washable wall treatment for those inevitable accidents!
Other Decorating Ideas
If you keep the same room as the baby grows, there are lots of touches you can add. You could add a bookcase toddlers can reach to choose their own books. Or why not add pieces from other family members such as artwork or memorabilia?
For some final notes on safety, think about:
- Hardwood floors. Rugs can be allergenic. Add a hypoallergenic rug with a short pile to prevent choking for safety when the baby starts crawling.
- Paints that comply with NF paint standards for toxicity. There are more ideas for a natural nursery here.
- Furniture should comply to fire safety standards, have rounded corners and be fixed to the walls where necessary.
Ready To Start Preparing Baby’s Room?
It’s a lot to take in, but don’t be intimidated. Your baby’s room can be a safe, happy and calm place whatever your space or budget. If you get the necessities right, you can always add more later.
After all, babies don’t mind. As long as they are safe and comfortable, that’s all they need.
Take some time to plan what you need, what you’d like to do with the space, and consider our top safety and organization tips. Sleep tight!
Feeling inspired about preparing your baby’s room?
Tell us your ideas in the comments below!