Advice on creating the perfect nursery for your baby with tips on decoration, choosing furniture and selecting curtains and bedding.
One of the most exciting preparations you get to make for your baby's arrival is decorating and preparing the nursery. Transforming an ordinary room in your home into a haven for your little one to grow and flourish in is definitely a monumental occasion. However, while it can be tempting (and incredibly fun!) to go overboard with a whole coordinated baby theme, the key to creating the perfect nursery is finding a balance between adorable decor and versatility. We explain how....
There is an amazing range of nursery wallpaper available detailing everything from cartoon characters to cute animals, racing cars to sea creatures so you're really spoilt for choice. However if you're not a big fan of papering there are other options which actually make it much simpler to update your baby's nursery as they grow and develop their own tastes and ideas.
By painting your baby's nursery a neutral colour and adding a decorative boarder you can still achieve a coordinated look but one that is easily updated or changed. Alternatively, if you've fallen in love with a cute nursery wallpaper why not go for the 'feature wall' look and adorn only one of the walls, its much simpler, easier to change and always looks fantastic. Try papering the 'focus' wall in front of which you plan to place your baby's cot and painting the other walls either in a complimentary or contrasting colour for the best effect.
Another option you have for your nursery walls is to paint them a 'background colour' and then either go mad with one of the many stenciling sets available or purchasing piece-by-piece nursery murals that literally stick on your wall until you (or your little one) get bored of them. Murals are especially great if you're renting your home as most are completely removable (always worth checking first though).
Whatever you decide make sure that you enlist someone to help you (its much better to oversee rather than do all the hard work!), use non-toxic paint, air the room well and are incredibly careful about any old paint that you suspect may be a relic from pre-1965 as it could be harmful to you and baby.
Ideally you want to be able to make your baby's nursery a really dark place to be as this will make it much easier to convince him or her that it is nighttime when you lay them down for a nap. This doesn't mean that your window decoration options are restricted though. There are hundreds of different styles of nursery curtains and blinds but even if you choose a light colour to go in with the rest of the room its definitely wise to invest in a blackout blind too. These are usually simple blinds that fit close to the window and block out a lot of light which means that you can go as flimsy as you like on curtains without compromising your ideal nursery theme.
A word of warning though; make sure any blinds or curtains that you fit in your baby's nursery (or in the rest of the house for that matter) don't have any cords, tassels or beads that could be a potential hazard when your baby starts to move around solo. You should avoid putting cots, changing tables or any other 'climbable furniture in front of the window too.
The key pieces of furniture you'll need in your baby's nursery are a cot, a chest of drawers or wardrobe and a comfortable chair. When choosing a cot you should always make sure it conforms to the latest safety standards especially if it is second hand - there should be no more than 3" between bars, no gap between the mattress and side bars, no decorative cutouts that your baby could get caught on or in and no obvious sharp parts. Ideally you should go for a cot that has a drop side as this will make it much easier to lay your baby down to sleep and will place less strain on your back. If you get a second hand cot, always get a new mattress to go with it.
A waist height chest of drawers will help keep all of your baby's clothes dust free and to hand and can also be doubled up as a changing table if you don't want to splash out (make sure you never leave your baby on top unaided though as this has the potential to be incredibly dangerous). Good quality wooden versions look stylish and should serve your child though infancy and beyond.
A comfortable chair placed near the cot and by night light will come in incredibly handy for night feeds. Wicker chairs piled with cushions are very economically priced and fit in with a nursery theme quite well, alternatively you could go for a larger arm chair if you have the room.
After you've got the basics sorted its decorations that really help to transform your baby's nursery. Adorn the walls with colourful pictures to help to brighten up the room - blank canvases are very reasonably priced so why not get arty yourself or if you have other children why not get them to create their own picture for their new brother or sister, this can help them to feel involved however old they are.
Colourful mobiles placed above your baby's cot or hung from the ceiling will give your little one something to focus on while they're in their cot and can really help to stimulate development. Why not decorate the ceiling of the nursery with colourful shapes or glow in the dark stickers to take this even further.
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