How to design a nursery

Whether a nursery is a room in its own right or a corner of your master bedroom, adapting the space for your newborn is fun, rewarding and relatively easy if you follow a few key tips …

Beautiful baby nursery in greys and navy

Here are 8 key styling tips to help you design a nursery that perfectly suits your space, style and budget.

1. Plan ahead

This may seem like a simple tip but not leaving enough time to buy what you need is the number one mistake many new moms make when designing a nursery. Even if you have an idea of what you want, many store-bought products can take weeks to get in stock and there is delivery time on top of that. Also, peak periods around Christmas and end of season sales can make furniture harder to get. You don’t want to bring your newborn home to no bed, so start preparing out your nursery at the five month mark – that should allow for any delivery delays and early babies!

2. Select one key piece

“I was having a lot of trouble buying anything for my son’s nursery because I didn’t know where to start,” admits working mom of one, Justine, 30. “There were so many things I liked and I had lots of fun ideas that I tied myself in knots trying to make a decision. It wasn’t until I purchased a blue and cream Aztec rug that I had something to bounce off. Once I purchased that key piece, the rest was easy.” Once you select that one key piece, make sure that all the additional items you select fit with the same theme.

3. Measure like you mean it

You know what they say … “assumption if the mother of all mess ups.” There is nothing more annoying than setting up your gorgeous, new, crib only to realize it doesn’t fit in the room along with your matching change table, feeding chair and bookshelf.

4. Remember storage is your savior

Think you have enough room for all your Tot’s paraphernalia? Think again. You will be astounded at the amount of clothes kind family and friends gift you, plus the number of bouncers, bags, bibs and books your little one needs. Whatever storage space you think is enough, double it.

5. Think child-friendly, not childish

Kids grow up fast which means tailoring a room to suit an age is a mistake unless you want to repaint every other year. Wall stickers and wallpaper are easy, trendy alternatives for decorating that can be removed as your child gets older. “My daughter has wall stickers of squirrels in cars above her change table and she loves them,” says Jess, 32, mom of Isabella, 4 months. “We make up all kinds of stories about where the squirrels are going while I change her diaper and she loves it.” Crib mobiles, cute cushion covers, shelves that display favorite toys and fun lamp shades are all relatively affordable ways to express imagination and suit your child’s age without ruining an entire room with “Frozen” figurines.

6. Be careful with color

Babies first respond to color, then shape. Choose clear, bright colors and strong patterns to attract their attention and create focal points for them above their changing and feeding areas. Have an older child make something for the room like a finger painting and frame it.

“Mixing too many colors together makes the space look busy and frantic,” says interior decorator Nicole Rosenberg, founder of children’s decorating company, Little Liberty, and mom of three. “I would stick to two to three colors for nursery spaces and include in those colors a neutral tone such as a grey or white.”

7. Know that practical is perfect

Curtains or block-out blinds are a must as are soft, toned lighting and lamps. Finding your way in the middle of the night in the dark to soothe your restless baby is a recipe for a bruised knee and cranky mommy. Similarly, a soft, white cotton rug or cream changing mat might seem like a nice idea when baby is in your stomach, but when they are on the outside, you will curse the stain gods if you get any of your Tot’s bodily fluids anywhere near them!

“Keeping the nursery simple and uncluttered is best,” says Nicole. “I often think that parents feel they need to over decorate the space and it just ends up looking busy – you want to create a calming feel.”

8. Above all, be safe

Create a safe zone around the crib by positioning it away from windows, heaters, lamps, shelves and cords. Keep furniture that your baby could pull over away from the crib too and make sure you always purchase furniture that adheres to U.S. safety regulations.