Room to grow: ideas for decorating your nursery
Creating a nursery is a wonderful journey. Kerry Hayes explores how to plan nursery décor that can evolve as your baby grows.
Setting up your baby’s nursery is one of the most wonderful and rewarding experiences of parenthood – paging through magazine spreads or Pinterest posts, choosing colours, wall treatments and lighting, and adding those small, but precious personal touches that say, “Just for you, baby.”
As excited as you might be, with your imagination running wildly into soft cloud themes, teddy bear prints, or five colour-coded nightlights, it is important to remember that the cuteness of a nursery is only applicable for a certain amount of time, and then it will need to evolve as your baby grows and matures.
We’ve put together some top – and practical – tips for designing and putting together your baby’s nursery-cum-bedroom.
Be practical and consistent
Start by considering the function of the room. The nursery should be close enough to yours so that you don’t have to walk miles at 2am to do a feed. Next, take a look around – is there lots of natural light? If so, you might need to consider blackout curtains to ensure your baby gets enough sleep. If the room is cold, ensure something is in place to warm it up to a comfortable temperature. Babies can get cold quickly.
A rule of thumb when including a nursery into your home, is to keep the décor theme consistent. If you use calm, muted colours throughout your home, or prefer a splash of colour through a feature wall or in your soft furnishings, apply this to your baby’sroom too.
Soft and gentle colours
There’s nothing wrong with the odd pop of colour here and there, but as a rule of thumb, try to keep your baby’s room in soft and gentle colours.
Colour has been proven to affect our moods, with softer pastels like baby blue, blush pink and muted yellows having a calming effect on your little one. You can even consider keeping things in a neutral beige and simply brightening the décor with wall decals, which can easily be removed or upgraded later, when your baby is older. Lighting also needs to be soft and muted – choose soft yellow lighting rather than harsh white light. Lamps are preferable to strong overhead lighting, as they work with your baby’s circadian rhythms and can help to signal to the brain that it’s time to sleep. Remember, your baby is coming from the darkness of the womb, so softer light, especially in the beginning, is a gentle introduction to this bright and colourful world.
Thinking about themes
Of course choosing furnishings and décor items can send a parent into fizzles of delight as they pick all the cutest, most interesting, all-pink or all-blue décor items, go full Disney or Barney, or create a Rapunzel wonderland like none other.
But remember that your little one will grow, along with her tastes and preferences in décor, and redoing an entire theme can be quite costly. The trick here is to keep your big purchases simple and neutral, and then add theme elements through soft furnishings – linens, cushions, new covers, or the addition of a different rug.
And don’t overfill the room – keep it to a few key pieces like a cot, compactum, bedside table, set of drawers and a rocking chair for feeding if there’s space.
If you have quite a large nursery, fitting a small single bed in is also very practical – for mom or dad to catch a power nap while baby sleeps, and also to get your baby used to having a bed in the room to migrate to when the time is right.
Safety is always a priority
When your baby is little, in-cot safety will be your priority. Ensure there isn’t an overabundance of heavy blankets that can get twisted around your baby as she sleeps, or a pillow that could dislodge and end up on top of her. A smooth, flat surface for sleeping with a light blanket (baby can be dressed warmly in a babygro or onesie for primary warmth) is ideal.
As your baby gets older and starts exploring the boundaries of the cot, parents will need to broaden their security periscope. Sharp corners on a bedside table near the cot, with picture frames on it, or easily reachable plugs, should all be taken into account when your baby starts reaching out of the cot.
The cot should be kept away from windows and heaters, curtain ties and wall decorations, which could be reached and pulled off by curious little hands.
We’ve put together a little checklist for your baby’s nursery, to help you get started on the exciting journey of creating a special space for your little one. This is just a basic list, so it can be expanded or modified to meet your baby and family’s specific needs and tastes.
- Crib, cradle or bassinet
- Mattress, along with pad and waterproof cover
- Baby monitor
- Smoke and carbon
- monoxide detector
- Dresser for storing your baby’s clothes
- Covers for electric outlets
- Changing station or table-top changer
- Wall stickers or decals
- Storage baskets
- A radio or Bluetooth speaker to play soothing music
- Room thermometer
- Toys – although baby can’t play with them in the beginning, they create a child-happy environment from the start (and will be used soon enough).