Congratulations! What an exciting time it must be for you to be arranging your precious baby’s nursery. In this post, I will be walking you through everything you need to know about marrying great design and function to arrange the perfect nursery.
A well-thought-out nursery not only provides a place for your baby to sleep but houses all the systems that make caring for her so much easier.
I am currently in the process of designing my son’s nursery at seven months. We didn’t get a chance to set one up for him because we were going through a long and drawn-out renovation process.
We are finally safe at home and the first room we are tackling is his nursery. Now that my son is older, my husband and I are making wiser financial and decor decisions and I hope I can pass some of that wisdom to you.
Whether you have a small room or a big room, a new baby or a slightly older baby like mine. These tips will really transform your nursery arrangement or at the very least, get you thinking of things beyond just the design.
So many parents (especially first-time parents) stress over the nursery but I have come to realise that babies don’t need that much. They simply need a lot of love and a place to sleep. Perfect nurseries don’t produce happy babies…love does.
Arranging your perfect nursery should be fun so please don’t stress out about it!
How To Start Planning Your Nursery Design
Let’s start with the fun stuff- how you want her room to look. This is as important for you as it is for her. You want a room that is functional but also provides a peaceful and comfy place that your baby can sleep in (or take naps in till before she turns 6 months).
When it comes to the overall design of the room, ask yourself, ‘What will make you feel good in the space?’. Babies do not really care what colour their room at a young age so this needs to be a space where YOU feel relaxed in.
In the first 6 months of her life, baby will be sleeping in your room and taking naps in the nursery to get her familiar with the room.
You are designing the nursery for yourself much more than her at the beginning. So your most important focus should be a relatively neutral design that isn’t overstimulating for sleep.
I don’t mean to ruin your design dreams, this doesn’t mean you can’t have colourful designs or wallpaper, you simply have to honour the primary purpose of the room – sleep – by choosing colours and an overall design that makes it easier to achieve that.
Some of the best colours for baby’s nursery are earth tones or neutrals, whites, blues, greens, greys, and subtle pinks. Read more about colour psychology in Interior design here.
Even if you want a themed baby nursery, keep it in the decor, bedding or things you can change easily. The bulk of your budget should be spent on more classic items. Thi sis because as your baby grows and has a better sense of what she like, you might find that she doesn’t like the castle shaped nursery you spent so much money on.
Here I created a Pinterest board filled with great ideas for nursery rooms that are both beautiful and excellent for sleep. You can check it out here.
The Best Way To Layout A Nursery
There are other important considerations beyond just the look of the room. Things like the positioning of your cot, storage options for baby stuff if you don’t have much space and most importantly, creating a safe nursery that gives you peace of mind.
I see so many gorgeous nursery inspiration ideas online that I know are certainly a hazard for any baby or worse would be awful to sleep in. The best way to layout a nursery is to start with the floor plan. Your floor plan needs to work not just aesthetically it also needs to be safe. So be sure to put some safety considerations in your plan.
Your teeny tiny baby is going to grow into a toddler and there’s nothing toddlers love more than a good climbing challenge. Here are some rules to follow when creating your floor plan.
Golden Rules For The Best and Safest Nursery Layout
- Where should the cot go in the nursery? My advice is to place the cot where you can see it from the doorway. You want to be able to see it when you open the door without waking her up.
- Make sure that the position of your cot is against a wall with at least the three sides exposed. Do not place the cot too close to curtains, electrical cables or furniture within arm’s reach.
- Try not to hang anything above the bed like a cot mobile as they can be choking hazards. The better place for them would be over the changing table to distract them whilst you change. Even if you do get a mobile, don’t let it dangle into the cot.
- Don’t put a cot near a window or radiators. This is so they don’t try to jump out when they are much older and also to avoid any draughts or excessive heat from the radiators.
- Place the cot in a location where it’s easy to swap it for a single bed. Remember that your baby is going to grow and won’t be in a cot forever.
If you would like to do more research on setting up a safe nursery, you can search for some trustworthy safety resources like the Lullaby Trust and JPMA for safe sleep advice.
Nursery Room Layout Planner
In order to help you fully visualise the finished nursery you can use several free room layout planners like:
My favourite of all the planners is Design With Friends as it is extremely easy to use.
When choosing the lamps and lighting that go in your baby’s nursery, you want to make sure it has dimmers so that you can adjust the brightness and not wake baby up.
You also want to make sure your nightlight is not a bright white light. Choose nightlights that have warm tones such as orange, yellow or red as these colours don’t interfere with melatonin production.
Cool colours like blue, green or white light have been shown to interfere with melantonin and this could drastically affect your baby’s sleep. I got this advice from my sleep consultant and I absolutely trust her because she knows her stuff plus she helped my son sleep through the night for the first time.
Now that you know how to pick out the lamps and lights that go in the room, a good idea is to also consider how to block out the light that comes into the room. If you have large windows, you could opt for layered window treatment like roman shades and curtains.
You could also opt for simple blackout roller blinds and to prevent light peeking through, you can use light gap blockers. The tiniest light that comes through a room can overstimulate a baby and prevent her from going back to sleep in the middle of the night. Light is such a big consideration so make a plan for your lighting.
Your nursery changing station needs to have storage either underneath it or beside it to house things like nappies, diaper cream and a change of clothes – hello poonami. This is so there is no temptation to leave her at any point.
The bin or nappy disposal system also needs to be near the changing area for easy disposing of dirty diapers.
When deciding on nursery furniture, you want to think of items that are double duty so if you can get a changing table that is on top of the dresser that is more than ideal.
You can choose a traditional nursery dresser with a changing table or just a chest of drawers with a changing pad or mat placed on top.
The top drawer of the dresser should house your diaper cream, diaper wipes and extra diapers. You can use some drawer dividers to separate a few clothes and burp cloths on the bottom layer.
If you do not have the space for a dresser or changing table, use a few wire baskets in her wardrobe to house these items.
If the layout permits, have your sitting area close to a window so that you can look out the window when putting her to sleep. Choose a small side table or even a small nightstand. This is really useful for placing your phone to access timer apps, bedtime books or even to place empty feeding bottles
Nursery Organisation Tips
Babies have a lot of stuff as you can probably tell by now so make a plan for additional storage. Clothes, nappies, toys, gifts and books all need a place to be housed.
A great way to store all of these items is a traditional wardrobe. You can use the wardrobe to store and hang backstock, baby clothes, sheets, baby blankets and the likes.
Take advantage of drawer organisers, storage baskets and shelf dividers to create zones for all the things you need. You can also incorporate these ideas to keep baby’s room clutter-free.
Organisational Tips For A Clutter-Free Nursery
- Use labels for everything. If you are using storage bins, labels keep them organised and it’s so much easier to find what you are looking for. It also makes it easy for someone else like a nanny or family member to find what they are looking for.
- Keep a laundry basket or hamper. If you have one, you won’t be tempted to put her dirty clothes where they don’t belong.
- Use clothing rack dividers to separate her hanging clothes by month. It saves so much time finding clothes and you can also shop in advance knowing they won’t get mixed up with her other clothes.
Nursery Set Up Checklist
Now that you know exactly what you need to arrange the absolute best nursery for your little one. Here is a handy list of essential and not-so-essential items you need.
Essential Nursery Items
- Cot Furniture, Mattress, and Sheets
- Rocking chair/ Glider and Footstool
- Blackout curtains or blinds
- Changing pad and cover
- Baby Monitor
- Side table
- Storage bins, baskets, and organisers
- Laundry Basket
- Night Light
Not-so-Essential Nursery Items
- Sound Machine
- Diaper bin
- Rug/ Playmat
- Wall decor/ Nursery art
Remember to follow your heart and your budget. There is no need to splurge on items that won’t really matter to your baby. Most of all, remember to have fun!
Let me know on Instagram if you use any of these tips.
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