Designing a Playful and Practical Nursery: Tips for New Parents

You and your new baby are going to spend a lot of time in your nursery, so it’s important for everyone that you get it right. Luckily, it’s not that difficult to design a comforting, calming nursery if you follow a few basic design principles and adhere to some expert recommendations.

There are also other benefits to adding a nursery to your home. A beautiful, adaptable nursery adds a lot of appeal to a home and can make it easier to sell in the future. If your home has other factors that appeal to families, such as a location in a great school district, your home may be desirable enough for you to sell without an agent, enabling you to pocket the money you would’ve spent on commission.

Get creative with your funding

Many new parents wonder how to pay for their new nursery. Money can be tight with a baby on the way, but it can be done. Comparison shop to find the best rates, just as you would for real estate agents to find the lowest commission fee. If you’ve got some home equity built up, you can access that through a home equity loan or line of credit, even if you have a suboptimal credit score because of youthful overspending or cosigning another person’s loan.

Reuse, recycle, repurpose

Another way to keep costs down is to repurpose items from the rest of the house. You may find you don’t need to buy too much stuff to furnish your nursery. Other than a crib, you’re only going to need some basic furniture, such as a chair, a lamp, a rug, and wall decor to add warmth. If you have an old chair and ottoman, consider getting them reupholstered in a style that matches the nursery.

Cover the basics

Experts say you’ll need these four items at minimum: a crib, a dresser, a chair, and a changing table.

When buying a crib, look for something that’s well built, safe, and secure. Make sure the sides are high enough to prevent falls and to keep the baby from climbing out when he or she becomes mobile. Also ensure there is proper spacing between slats. Secondary to that, look for something that will fit with the nursery’s design motif.

For the dresser, get something with large drawers because you’ll be storing clothes, blankets, diapers, and other bulky items. You might consider buying a combination dresser-changing table if you’re working with a small space.

You’ll definitely need a chair for feeding and soothing sessions. A chair with a matching ottoman or a recliner with an extendable footrest can add a lot of comfort. A rocking chair can also help soothe a baby.

Keep some open space

Your child will likely be using the nursery well into their toddler years, so you don’t want it to be too crowded or cluttered when they start mobilizing. Try to preserve as much open space as possible, for safety reasons as well as aesthetic ones. Studies have shown that clutter can cause anxiety, and that’s the last thing any new parent needs.

Make the space flexible

The nursery will have to evolve as your child grows, so design it with evolution in mind. Look for storage that can eventually work for toys, portable or modular shelving, a crib that can be converted into a bunk bed, and other multipurpose items.

Get the lighting right

Make sure your overhead lighting isn’t too harsh. If possible, install a dimmer switch so you can adjust it as needed. You’ll need lamps in the room for late night diaper changes, feedings, and general soothing. These should also be warm, soft, and dimmable. Look for a lampshade that will diffuse the light. Finally, you’ll need a small nightlight to comfort the baby and to help you avoid stubbed toes in the middle of the night.

Make it cozy

One of the primary functions of a nursery is to comfort you and your baby. Make it as cozy and comfortable as possible. Plush rugs will dampen noise and warm floors. Opt for natural materials, such as cotton and wool. Furnish the room with plenty of blankets and pillows, but make sure any you put in the crib are safe for babies. Install a mobile to give the baby visual and auditory stimulation, and hang a few favorites pieces of art to personalize the room for yourself.

Color is important

Many parents opt for traditional blue or pink, which is fine. Pink might actually be the ideal color for a nursery, regardless of whether your baby is a boy or girl because it’s been proven to have a calming effect. Avoid bright, stimulating colors — such as orange or red — which can increase heart rate. Consider soothing, soft colors, such as light blues, light gray, beige, or “greige.”

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