Creating the perfect space for your baby-to-be is one of the most enjoyable activities of pregnancy. While you are designing and decorating the nursery, you are dreaming of the little one who will soon occupy it and fantasizing about who that person will be.
These days, for both value and versatility, it’s a good idea not to go too “baby” when designing the nursery. Since your little one will only be a baby for a short while, why not think long-term and create a room that will grow with your child? You won't have too much added cost or effort with items that do double-duty now and later.
Designing your nursery can be a process that helps you get accustomed to preparing for the future,” says Patricia Davis Brown, a professional interior designer from Vero Beach, FL, who blogs at www.DigThisDesign.net. Almost any parent will tell you that your baby will grow up faster than you ever thought possible. By planning ahead, you can purchase items that can transition to a toddler or beyond, enabling you to make easy and inexpensive changes to the nursery decor as it morphs into a fun bedroom that reflects your growing child development and the emergence of his or her personality.
Here are some tips for creating a practical nursery:
Instead of expensive wallpaper or hand-painted murals, choose from the wide array of removable wall decals and borders that can change with the season or your child's interests. Does your little boy love Disney one day and become fascinated with dinosaurs the next? No problem! Simply peel and stick and you'll have a whole new theme for the room.
Instead of painting a room pink or blue, consider a neutral color on the walls and add splashes of color throughout with throw rugs, matching picture frames, coordinated art prints, chair pillows and curtains. You can always switch those details out at a later date and get a whole new look without a major investment or a big paint job. Don’t forget doorknobs, light fixtures and storage containers in the color scheme.
Or choose colors you love.
Thankfully, stores are filled with children's furniture and décor in a wide palette of colors, way beyond the traditional nursery colors of days past. Love black and white? Perfect for babies who see those colors first. Or consider colors in the green, turquoise, melon or primary color family.
Multi-functionality is key.
Choose “grow with me” furniture,“ says Brown. “One function is wasteful.” Ditch the changing table and opt for a dresser topped with a changing tray (make sure it is the right height before purchasing). Buy a convertible crib that turns into a toddler bed and then becomes the foot and headboards for a full-sized bed that can last until your child heads to college. Instead of white, choose a wood finish that won’t be too juvenile later on.
Since your infant will soon be crawling, make sure everything you buy will pass the baby-proof test. Safety first.
Can the adorable toy chest decorated with bears and rabbits be easily painted to give it a new life later on? Can you switch out the pastel cloth storage baskets on the shelves for something sturdier when baby is crawling?
Who says a nursery has to be “cute.”
Feel free to let the nursery reflect the style you use elsewhere in your home, whether you favor traditional, classic designs or a minimalist, modern look. Furniture and accessories that aren’t meant for a baby’s room can work just fine.
Of course, there are some nursery essentials that only work for baby – a mobile, crib sheets, etc.– so have fun choosing those, too. You can always save them for your next baby or pass them along to a friend or relative when baby grows up.