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The Ultimate Guide to Setting up and Decorating Your Nursery

Getting your home ready for your new baby to arrive can be a little overwhelming. There’s so much to do, a lot to buy, and when you’re a new parent, it’s hard to feel totally prepared.

But decorating your nursery is one of the fun parts of the process. You get to transform that room into a peaceful, beautiful space that you’ll love making memories in. So, we think it should be a stress-free process setting up and decorating your nursery.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed about where to get started, this complete guide will give you everything you need to know to plan and decorate the perfect nursery ready for your new arrival.

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Planning Your Nursery

When you get started on decorating your nursery, focus on the theme. Once that is nailed down, it’ll be much easier to plan everything else around it.

Head to Pinterest and create a nursery board to add inspiration to. What speaks to you? What colours or styles would you love to create in your home?

Maybe you want a cute animal theme or love the idea of a monochromatic room. This is a personal choice, so make sure it’s something you love, not something that’s just a trend right now.

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Before you go any further, make sure you know:

  • Your theme
  • Your colour palette

Furniture Essentials for Your Nursery

There are a few essential pieces of furniture every nursery needs. If your budget is limited, put these items at the top of your list and invest in good quality where possible.

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1. Choosing a crib

There are four different styles of crib to consider for your new nursery:

a. Standard crib

A standard crib is rectangular and usually 58 inches long and 28 inches wide. Some come with a side that lowers, and you can get them in a range of materials. Solid wood is a quality option that is sturdy and will last.

b. Convertible crib

A convertible crib is a good option for budget nurseries. It will function as a normal, full-size crib for your newborn and then convert into a bed once they’re a little older. These are incredibly versatile and can be used for years, saving you money on replacing furniture as your baby grows up.

c. Mini crib

Also known as a portable crib, a mini crib is smaller than a traditional crib and is a great space-saving idea for newborns. They’re also good if you like to have your baby in your room with you when they’re very young and can easily be moved around the house or taken in the car for visits.

d. Round crib

A round crib is considered safer by many parents because it doesn’t have any corners, and they are another space-saving option for small nurseries. However, just like a mini crib, your baby will outgrow this quicker than a traditional crib, so it will need to be replaced much faster.

2. Changing table

Not all parents decide to buy a changing table and are happy using other surfaces for changing time. However, if you do decide to add one to your nursery, make sure it has a strong safety strap that affixes the top changing pad to the table. It should also have barriers on all four sides if it has a flat changing surface.

One with storage is also a great idea to keep spare diapers, wipes, and creams close by for changing.

The height will be a personal preference. Lean over it in the store and see if it’s the right one for you before buying.

3. Bedding

Babies shouldn’t have any loose bedding in their cribs, so don’t add blankets, pillows, comforters, or stuffed animals. All of this is a suffocation hazard when the baby is sleeping.

However, you will want to invest in one or two good-quality mattresses and baby sleepers to make sure they’re comfy and their temperature is regulated throughout the night.

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4. Choosing a rocker or a chair

A rocking chair is the perfect place to feed and bond with your new baby. You’ll spend a lot of time throughout the night sitting in this chair, so make sure you take your time picking the right one.

It should be comfortable but with enough support to easily stand up after some time sitting down. It’s best to head to furniture stores and try out chairs so you can find one you like.

How to Position the Furniture

The layout of your new nursery is another important factor to take into consideration. There are basic layout tips that will make your nursery much more comfortable for your baby and more functional for you as a new parent.

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1. Keep the crib away from windows

Position the crib as far away from the windows as you can. This will stop unwanted drafts and keep it nice and dark for the baby to sleep, even during the day.

2. Put the changing table near the crib

Your new baby will wake up unhappy and wet a lot, and it’ll make life easier to have a quick transition from the crib to the changing table. If you can, put the changing area next to the crib and keep all the necessary changing supplies either in your changing table drawers or as close by as you can.

3. Arrange toys in baby’s eye line

Your newborn’s eyes and brain are still developing, so position toys and sensory things within the crib’s eye line. This will give them something fun to look at if they’re awake but in their crib. This might be a mobile or stuffed toys - just make sure not to put any shelving in a place where there is the risk it will fall on the baby.

A fun wall mural behind the crib is a great idea to theme the room and add fun and contrast for your new baby to look at.

4. Keep shelves low

When your baby begins to explore, they will start to pull themselves up and climb on anything they can. Anything tall is going to look like something fun to climb and be potentially dangerous.

Keep shelves low where you can and fix any furniture to the wall that has the potential to fall.

Take Sound and Light into Consideration

It’s not just the furniture and layout that are crucial to creating a calming, comfortable nursery - sound and light are equally important.

1. The best lighting for nurseries

When it comes to modern interiors, natural light is king. But when it comes to newborns? Natural light is the enemy. The last thing you want is bright morning light giving your baby an early wake-up call.

Keeping your nursery dark and cool will help your baby sleep longer and stop overheating (which is a contributing factor to SIDS).

Add blackout blinds or curtains and add a soft glow using a dimmer light for a calming ambiance.

2. How to improve the sound in your nursery

Keeping nurseries quiet is key when you have a newborn trying to sleep. Hardwood floors can make a room echo, so add a large, thick rug to muffle sound - this will also muffle footsteps as you tiptoe around.

Baby Proofing Your Nursery

It can be stressful thinking about all the ways a baby could get hurt in their nursery. But with some quick and easy changes, you’ll keep them safe and happy in their new room:

  • Don’t use sleep positioners - there’s no firm evidence to support the use of these and they are a suffocation risk.
  • Don’t hang anything above the crib. If you have a mobile, make sure the strings are less than 7 inches in length.
  • Keep all cords 3 feet from the crib (baby monitors are the main ones).
  • Keep the crib away from windows to avoid overheating.
  • Cover sharp furniture corners with protectors to avoid bumps.

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Don’t Forget the Storage

You’ll have a lot of stuff to store in your nursery. From diapers and wipes to baby grows and bottles, there is a lot that needs to fit in. Here are some tips for maximizing storage, even in a small nursery.

1. Changing table storage

A taller changing table with drawers or a cupboard underneath is a great way to add more storage. This is the perfect place to keep all your changing products and doesn’t take up any extra space.

2. Drawer organizers

You’ll get much more use out of drawers if you add drawer organizers. Baby clothes, diapers, and products are all so tiny, they end up getting dumped in drawers and cluttered. A few organizers are cheap, versatile, and will let you fit more in the same amount of space.

3. Add a shelving unit to the closet

If you have a closet in your nursery, add a shelving unit on the floor. Baby clothes take up no hanging space, so this is a good way to make better use of the space. It’s also a great place to keep toys and books at baby eye level when they’re old enough to start exploring.

4. Storage bins

Whether it’s on open shelving, under the crib, or just on the floor in a corner, storage bins take up very little space and can be used to hide items away. They’re an easy way to keep the nursery clean and can be moved around as needed.

Keep the Design Flexible

The more built-in furniture you use in your nursery, the harder it is to redesign as your baby grows. It won’t be long until you need to get them a proper bed, then they’ll grow and need more storage, so your design needs to be flexible.

The easiest way to make your nursery flexible is to use standalone furniture pieces. These are easy to swap out and move around as your needs change.

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Before adding any built-in or permanent features, think about the longevity and if you’ll still need it in a few years’ time.

This doesn’t mean you can’t add your own unique style to the nursery though. Remember, you want this to be a beautiful room you love spending time in and making memories with your new little one.

Tips for Designing a Small Nursery

We don’t all have the luxury of having a large nursery, but even the smallest space can be made beautiful with some strategic design tips.

1. Choose timeliness, simple furniture

Stick with furniture that is simple, modern, and plain. Although this might feel a little boring, it’s an easy trick to make a space feel bigger, and you can focus on making other design elements (like the colour of the wall and the soft furnishing) more to your style.

2. Utilize vertical space

When designing a small room, think about vertical space as well as floor space. Is there somewhere you can safely add shelving to give more storage? Can you use hanging baskets safely in a corner?

Every inch of space is prime real estate when working in a small nursery, so be creative with what you have.

3. Add a mural

An easy but fun way to make a small nursery feel bigger is with a wall mural. Whether you want adorable cartoon animals, a beautiful world map, or a jungle scene, the room will feel bigger with a wall covered in a pretty scene.

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And if a mural is a little too bold, a pretty wallpaper with animals or geometric shapes is another great option.

This tricks the eye into moving around and adds a fun feature that your baby will love to look at.

4. Keep colours light

If you do go for a mural or wallpapered feature wall, keep the rest of the room light with white paint, a white ceiling, and light floors. This will make the room feel light, bright, and airy and give a wonderful canvas for your nursery theme.

How to Design and Decorate a Nursery on a Budget

Designing a nursery can get expensive fast. From all the new furniture to the supplies, there’s a lot you need to buy. Here are some ideas for designing your new nursery on a DIY budget.

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1. Get a convertible crib

These are usually slightly more expensive but they’ll save you money in the long run. You won’t need to buy a new bed for years to come and with a few adjustments, they can become a toddler-friendly bed. If you can get this as a registry gift, it’s a great one to opt for.

2. Skip the changing table

Changing tables are an expensive addition to a nursery and when you don’t have the cash, you might be fine without one. Many new parents say they rarely use their changing table, instead, using a changing mat on the floor, their own bed, or sofa - depending on where they are.

Once your baby can roll and move around, you’ll probably be more comfortable on the floor anyway. Plus, not having a changing table will save tons of space if you have a small nursery.

3. Get creative with paint and wallpaper

Paint and wallpaper aren’t expensive but can totally transform a nursery with minimal effort. You might decide to add a pretty wallpaper feature wall, a coat of paint to the ceiling, or add your own stencils or artwork to give a personal touch.

This is a great way to make your nursery look stylized and personal, without breaking the bank. You can also make a custom wallpaper with your own images at Everwallpaper.

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A Checklist to Create the Perfect Nursery

There’s a lot to remember when you’re decorating your nursery, so here’s a quick final checklist so you can be sure you have everything you need:

  • Paint and wallpaper
  • Crib
  • Mattress
  • 1 to 3 washable crib mattress pads
  • 2 to 4 fitted crib sheets
  • Rocking or armchair
  • Nightlight
  • Changing table
  • Diaper pail
  • Dresser
  • Bookshelf
  • Baskets for storage
  • Crib mobile
  • Soft rug
  • Playmat
  • Toys

Make Your Nursery Extra Special

Decorating your nursery ready for your new baby is an exciting experience and we know you want to get it just right. With so many themes and colour schemes to choose from, it’s important to take your time and figure out a style that you love.

At EverWallpaper, we have a beautiful collection of nursery wallpapers to transform your nursery into a pretty, relaxing retreat for you and baby. From sleepy sloths to tea parties on the moon, we know you’ll find a unique wallpaper your baby will love.