6 Tips for Setting Up Your First Nursery

6 Tips for Setting Up Your First Nursery

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​​Decorating the nursery is a great way to unleash your nesting instincts as you count down to your due date. Whether you’re on a strict budget, tight on space, or the sky’s the limit, we’ve got six tips to help you design your baby’s room that’s functional, soothing, and as cute as your new arrival is sure to be. 

1. Choose a Color Palette and Theme to Create a Room That’s Playful, Practical, and Soothing

You can always go for something traditional if that’s your preference, like pink or blue with bunnies or airplanes, but what’s trending is a more neutral color palette. Designing a space that’s comforting for babies, AND appealing to the parents is a win-win. You’ll be looking at those four walls more than others in your home, so if you’re comfy and feeling zen, your newborn will pick up on the vibe and feel calm, safe, and secure too.

One of the more popular nursery design trends incorporates natural materials, like wood, cane, and rattan which give that cozy, relaxed look to your baby’s room. As long as you make it your mission to create a space that has a sense of calmness with patterns that are playful but soft and simple, you’ll set a scene that inspires tranquility. Perfect for your little one’s resting spot.

2. Personalize the Room with DIY Style

When it comes to adding nursery appropriate decor, keeping it simple makes it easier on you and the budget (and easier on the eye). You can dress it up with wall art you find at a favorite store, or get crafty and make your own DIY decorations. Here are a few suggestions to get your creative juices flowing: 

  • Buy inexpensive picture frames from a discount store and insert pages from illustrated children’s books, patterned scrapbook paper, or your own photos that relate to the theme. If you have older children, ask them to draw pictures for the baby’s room and frame those.
  • Transform plain walls with stencils or decals (which are also cheap and easy to remove when you want to change the look as your kiddo develops their own style).
  • Choose some of baby’s new toys, and use them as displays on an empty shelf. Functional + fun = another win-win.

3. Maximize the Space

No matter what size room you have for your bundle of joy, it doesn’t need to be cluttered with furniture. In fact, the more floor space for baby, the better. And this keeps you from tripping over stuff when you’re bleary-eyed, shuffling in for one of the endless middle-of-the-night feedings. What parents are often short on is storage for LO’s stuff. Even though everything looks miniature, there are never enough places to stash it. So, a nursery that works as hard as you do will make your job easier, plus save space. 

  • If the room is on the smaller side, you can put the dresser inside the closet, and still have space to hang the tiny wardrobe on the rod above. All outfits are at your disposal. 
  • Streamline your diaper station by turning the dresser into the changing table too. Boom - one big piece of furniture doing double duty, so you can take care of your little boss’ doody efficiently. Stow diapers or extra burp cloths in the drawer, so they’re out of sight but quick to grab. And fill a caddy with wipes and creams to have handy right on top.
  • To make more space in the closet, install a second rod a few feet below the top one. If there isn’t a shelf above the top rod, install one there to stash baskets or bins with linens or older aged clothes and toys you don’t need access to yet.
  • Hang clothes by the size they look, not by what they’re labeled. Brands vary in how they size their apparel, and a growth spurt may send your LO right past that cute 6-9 month old outfit you were waiting to show them off in. The bottom line, your baby’s age and size may not correspond to what’s on the label. So hanging everything from smallest to biggest, will keep outfits ready for you to try as your tiny grows, and you won’t miss out on using it because the numbers didn’t match up.

4. Get the Most Important Furniture Right Away

Of course, the baby’s bedroom needs a bed. That’s Nursery Decor 101. But there are a few other key furniture items to get sooner than later, so that you’re ready when baby is.

  • Start with the crib or bassinet. You may even decide to get both. Just make sure they meet the current safety standards (especially if you’re being gifted a family heirloom or wonderful secondhand piece). As you prepare for baby #1, you might already have plans for baby #2 in the near future, which will influence what you choose for sleeping arrangements. Whatever your family sitch, a crib can be short-term or long-term, since there are those that convert into a toddler bed. Some even transition to a daybed for when your mini-me has officially hit big-kid status. If you’re in need of storage, some cribs have drawers built-in as well.
  • From one parent to another: get a comfortable chair. (This one’s for you, and it’s important.) There are gliders, which are more popular than rockers, but you may like the look and feel you get from the traditional rocking chair. Just keep in mind that functionality and practicality should trump style when it comes to this nursery must-have. YOUR comfort is key here because this will be where the two of you spend A LOT of your time, bonding, feeding, rocking, reading, and snoozing.
  • Get a table to place next to your chair. When you’re feeding the baby, you’ll need a place to put a glass of water or snack (for you), your cell phone, or anything else that needs to be within reach, especially when you’re one-handed. You don’t want to have to get up in the middle of nursing to grab something.
  • Get a good lamp that also goes next to that comfy chair. (Yep, we keep mentioning that comfy chair – for good reason.) This can either be a floor lamp or a table lamp and while you don’t want harsh light in the baby’s room, it needs to be easy to turn on and off and help you see what you’re doing when you’re sitting with the LO.

5. Go to Bed with the Sun (or not)

Even though you want the room to feel light and airy, be sure you can make it dark. Those daytime naps are important. So having window blinds or room darkening curtains will help to set the right mood for sleep.

6. Get All the Must-Have Tech

Although nothing can replace the human touch, there are some amazing electronics on the market designed to make parenting easier and keep your little one happy and healthy. Your mom will be wishing she had this stuff when you were a kid. Between the equipment and the apps available, you could set up a completely automated command center for the nursery. But these three devices will get you going from the minute you bring home your new addition, and you can add more tech as time goes on.

  • Baby monitor: because as much as you love holding and obsessively watching your tiny treasure, you will need to put them down and even (gasp) leave the room. The monitor will help you stay connected, and let you check in on your sleeping angel without waking them.
  • Humidifier: because baby’s skin is perfect when they’re born and you want to keep it that way as much as possible by creating a space that has the optimum moisture in the air for better breathing and healthier skin.
  • Soothing machine: because white noise, lullabies, or pleasant sounds create a calm and peaceful vibe.

One final step (even though it isn’t officially on the list): Once you have your nursery set up, take a few minutes to admire the space you’ve created and imagine the day you get to welcome home your bundle of joy. All the prep is worth those moments to come.