How to prepare your baby’s nursery
Inspiration and advice on nursery preparation for your baby.
At a glance
Choose a quiet room close to yours and keep it at the recommended temperature of 18°C
Making a mood board beforehand can help inspire you with design and colour ideas
Want an eco-friendly nursery? There are plenty of alternative ways to do it
Do a safety check list for things like lead paint, loose blind cords and exposed sockets
Prepping your baby’s nursery can be fun, exciting and yes, maybe even a tad stressful at times. You might have lots of questions such as where do you put the nursery cot? Do you need a changing area? Or maybe you’re wondering how to baby-proof a room? If you’re not sure where to begin, here’s a list of nursery tips to give you a few ideas on setting up your nursery exactly as you want it. The current HSE advice is to have your baby in a cot in your room with you until they’re six months old so there’s no rush, take your time and enjoy the fun bits.
Which room is best for the nursery?
If you have a choice, consider which room is suitable for your baby’s nursery. Think about possible distractions that might disturb the peace: too much light or traffic and other noises. Check it’s well ventilated and close enough to your bedroom that you can hear baby if they cry. It’s also common to set up a nursery in your room, so baby is nice and close. Make sure that you use a thermometer to ensure the room temperature is around 18°C. You can even get designer thermometers that double up as night lights.
Off with the old and on with the new
If you’re turning an old room into a nursery, there’s a few things to consider.
Many old houses are painted with lead paints so it’s worth removing the old paint completely and then giving the room a brand-new lick of paint. It might be best to strip the room completely and give it a deep clean because lead dust from the paint can be harmful. Old floorboards can be quite creaky too, so how about putting down a nice deep-pile rug? It’ll muffle footsteps so there’s less chance of waking your sleepy little person. It’ll also add a splash of colour, texture and warmth.
How to choose a style for baby’s nursery
Most parents will do a fair bit of research for inspiration and ideas before decorating baby’s room. Browse design sites and social media, flip through magazines, and gather ideas and inspiration from places like Pinterest where you can create your own mood boards online.
Here’s a few thought starters to help you work out what your ‘look’ will be:
- Do you want the nursery style to fit in with the rest of your home?
- Will your child sleep in this room when they get older? You may want to use removable decals or stickers.
- Do you want a neutral theme that will still work when they’re older? A minimal base allows for accessorising with colourful furniture, toys and books. And lets you swap pieces in and out as they grow.
- Will you need the room to be flexible as a spare room for guests? Could you factor in a futon armchair as part of the furniture?
- Should it feel like a calm place to help with sleeping, or a room that’s bright and fun?
- Do you know if you’re having a girl or a boy and will this make a difference to your styling?
- Perhaps you want the nursery to be gender neutral? With so many colour combos to play with, who says you have to go for princess pink or blatant-boy blue?
What nursery furniture does baby need?
Choose the big pieces of furniture before paint or wallpaper. If you’re short of space, think multifunctional or folding furniture. Storage benches that double as toy chests and seats are great. If possible make room for a changing area and a rocking chair so that any long nights are a bit more comfortable. A baby cot top changer is a great space saver too.
If you’re buying a new nursery cot, make sure it conforms to BS EN 716-1. This standard ensures that the cot is deep enough to be safe for your baby, and that the slats are the correct width apart.
How to accessorise your nursery
Accessories can transform a simple room into a beautiful, themed haven.
The trick is to stay focused and not go overboard – accessories can soon become clutter. Here’s a few baby room décor ideas:
Night lights. You’ll be surprised how many great options are out there - some can transform a room into a magical galaxy. If you have a favourite lamp it can easily become a night light by swapping the bulb for a night-time bulb.
Get arty. Framed prints can really make a difference, and they don’t have to be babyish. Something with a whimsical or magical feel can work for everyone. Or why not make your own art by framing material or wallpaper swatches?
Key pieces. Think about one focus piece: an unusual armchair to feed in, a bold patterned rug or a shaped lampshade. Always bear in mind the mood you want to create when you choose your colours.
Get personal. There are so many companies offering personalised accessories for the nursery, like mobiles, door signs, name banners and even lighting. Think of a name first though! And why not get even more personal with photos or keepsakes from grandma, granddad and other family members?
Pink, blue or… green?
If girly pink or boyish blue aren’t for you, how about a green nursery? If you want to go eco, here’s a few things to think about.
- Choose non-toxic paints. Paint is full of VOCs, which are fume-emitting chemicals: not great for the planet or for baby. Look on labels for VOC-free or low-VOC versions.
- Plastic is not fantastic. Plastic toys are cheap but they don’t last and aren’t easily recycled because they can contain chemicals like BPAs which are bad for the environment. Go for stylish wooden alternatives and look out for organic or eco-friendly brands – they’re popping up everywhere.
- Upcycle furniture. Mass produced furniture made from plywood contains formaldehyde which is linked to headaches, asthma and skin irritation. Buying used furniture or upcycling your old furniture is a great way to save money and the planet too. A bit of paint can turn an old trunk into a brightly coloured toy box or an old chest of drawers into a nappy changing station. Just make sure you’ve thought about safety first - no splinters or sharp edges. It’s also best to avoid buying used cribs and used crib mattresses, which tend to deteriorate with time.
Baby-proofing the nursery
First and foremost, have a certified electrician check that sockets and wiring are safe. Create a safe zone around the cot by positioning it away from windows, blind cords, heaters, lamps, wall decorations and wires. Keep furniture that your baby could clamber on away from the cot too. If you have blinds in the room at all, make sure they are ‘Safe by Design’ or have built-in safety devices.
While you’ve got your toolbox out and your hands are free, you might decide it’s a good time to plan ahead and toddler-proof your home. Once baby comes along life could become a blur and before you know it, they’ll be propelling themselves around and poking their noses, and fingers, into everything.