Looking back now, after five children, it’s so clear to me exactly what you need in your nursery…and what you don’t. But with my first baby, I didn’t have a clue! Setting up your baby’s room is such a special thing, so have fun with it and be creative when it comes to decorating (head over to our nursery board on Pinterest for inspiration! When it comes to the basics, you can certainly purchase a complete nursery furniture set, but if you don’t have a lot of space there are really only a few items that are essential.
Creating a Stylish, Practical Room for Your New Baby:
The number one priority if you plan to breastfeed, and maybe even if you don’t, is a nursing chair or glider. You really need something that will support your back and arms while you cradle your baby. I say go for one that comes with a foot stool, because propping up those possibly still swollen feet in the early days is a real plus! You can also put the chair in another room if you don’t have space in the nursery. I have a Dutalier which has been fantastic and good quality, considering the hundreds if not thousands of hours I have spent in that thing! We still use it for reading to my little ones. It might not be your top pick design-wise, but let that one go because the priority is you feeling comfortable and taking care of your back! Also, ask about fabric options because this makes a big difference of course.
- Dutailier Round Back Cushion Design Modern Glider and Ottoman Combo($472.14)
- Stork Craft Tuscany Glider and Ottoman ($179.99)
Crib and Bedding
I do think buying a crib is important, but it’s second on my list because I don’t think it’s an essential purchase to make before your baby is born. In my view (definitely check with your doctor on this!) , if you need to, you really can get by with a Pack `N Play for a bit. I often have my baby in that for naps and even for the night. These days, most Pack N’ Plays come with a bassinet top and many of my friends use it instead of a bassinet if they want baby in their bedroom to start. (Click here for more on the Pack ‘N Play and a link to purchase).
Along with car seats, a crib is something you might not want to buy second-hand. Safety standards have changed and there have been a number of recalls, so the most prudent choice is to buy a new crib. All cribs must meet federal safety standards.
When it comes to buying a crib, go classic. This is a piece of furniture you might have for a number of years, and your tastes might change. That being said, I’ve put here my top picks for simple, a bit more classic, and contemporary – all of which I think will stand the test of time.
- Ikea Gulliver Crib ($129) One side can be removed when child is big enough to get in and out of bed.
- Graco Sarah Classic 4 in 1 Convertible Crib, Cherry ($151.99) Recommended as a top pick at an affordable price by the bestselling baby gear book, “Baby Bargains.”
- Babyletto Mercer 3 in 1 Convertible Crib ($399)
- Room and Board Nest Crib ($699)
You will also need to buy a firm crib mattress. There are two options here; foam or coil spring. I personally recommend foam because it’s much lighter and you’ll be changing the sheets a lot!
- Colgate Classica I Foam Crib Mattress ($149.99)
You also need sheets for your crib. I recommend a jersey cotton, which is easier to fit on the crib and doesn’t shrink as much in the wash. The Kids Line Jersey sheets come in a fabulous array of colors (also check them out for sheets for your Pack ‘N Play!)
- Crib Critters Crib Critters Organic Knitted Fitted Crib Sheets ($18.95) These come in lots of bright colors. They also sell pack ‘n play and bassinet sheets, and they’re made in the USA!
- Kids Line Jersey Knit Crib Sheets ($11.99)
I think a changing table is a good investment. It’s the proper height for changing the baby, which you will be doing a lot, and provides lots of space for creams, diapers, medicines and more. It really is a good place to organize everything you will need to care for the baby. I have a show on this, and believe it’s worth the investment especially if you’re planning on trying to have more than one child.
Ikea, Graco, and Babyletto make these basic changing tables that match the cribs listed above – I like the Ikea one a lot, nice and simple. The Graco is a bit more classic, and the Babyletto is more contemporary. But all are simple and you can jazz things up with your sheets!
- Ikea Gulliver Changing Table ($69.99)
- Graco Sarah Dressing Table ($90.99)
- Babyletto Modo 3 Drawer Changer ($379)
You’ll probably get a lot of books and toys, especially for your first baby, and if you’re anything like me you will want to have things in their proper place and put away. You’ll be surprised what ends up all over your home in every room.
Built-in shelves or stackable storage are both great solutions for books and toys. Even a toy chest where you can literally throw the toys– amazing how indestructible they are — is really helpful. And they’re certainly a big investment, but California Closets – although pricey – are miraculous organizers.
- Badger Basket 3 Pack Polka Dot Nesting Trapezoid Shape Folding Baskets, Sage ($19.99)
- Badger Basket Three Bin Storage Cubby ($69.99)
- California Closets
Room Darkening Shades and Curtains
This is a great way to make sure that your baby doesn’t wake up with the sun. I recommend a room darkening shade in the window, and curtains with black out liners to block the sun coming around the edges of the shade. You can roll the shade up during the day so that you barely see it. With the liner, get one that fits your window best, I’ve got long and short options here, and if by chance you can afford this, put the liner directly onto your drape.
When you travel you can use these exact blackout liners and attach them with non-damaging industrial tape (I like blue tape).
- Redmon Nighttime Nursery Blackout Drapery Liner, White($26.49)
- Eclipse Thermaliner Blackout Panel Pair($19.99)
- Pure White Window Roller Shades(Price varies by size)
Good luck decorating your nursery!
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