Congratulations! You’re having a baby. While some people love being elbow-deep in diapers, we think the real fun starts well before the little bundle of joy makes an appearance. Decorating the nursery is a great way for you and your partner to prepare — physically and emotionally — for baby’s arrival and to create a space where you’ll all want to spend (lots and lots and lots of) time. Just keep these tips in mind:
Do Get an Early Start
You might think you’ve got all the time in the world, but those nine months have a funny way of flying by, so start planning the nursery sooner rather than later. With countless styles and themes from which to choose, settling on one decor scheme can feel overwhelming. Narrow your focus by putting together an inspiration folder, gathering images from Pinterest, decor blogs and magazines to get a better idea of what you love — and what will work in the room.
Don’t Spend a Fortune
Make a list of all the items you’ll need for the nursery, including a bassinet, crib, comfortable nursing chair and changing table, and see what you can borrow from friends or family; you’d be surprised by what people have stowed away in their basements. Don’t be afraid to get creative: an old chest of drawers can easily be converted into a handy changing station with a coat of paint and a DIY or store-bought wooden changing pad tray.
Do Venture Beyond Blue and Pink
The fact that you’re having a girl doesn’t mean your decor options are limited to princessy pink and lavender frills (ditto for boys and blue and red trucks and such). Your baby’s nursery can be any colour you like, or even non-colours, too — nothing says chic like a black-and-white palette. For a truly fashion-forward vibe, take your cues from the spring runways and mix pretty pastels like mint, lemon and peach with bright neon accents, like a hot pink lamp or an electric blue pillow.
Don’t Forget Storage
Babies themselves don’t take up a lot of space, but baby accessories are a different story. Between clothing, toys, diapers, linens and other infant accoutrements, it’s amazing how one tiny person can spawn so much baggage. Make the most of closet space by installing a second rail and back-of-the-door shelving. Baskets can be stored on bookshelves to keep smaller items organized and accessible, while cute hampers can hold everything from dirty clothes to extra bedding to the 400 stuffed animals you received at your baby shower.
Do Plan a Lighting Scheme
Harsh lighting is a no-no in the nursery — you’ll discover this the first time you stumble in, bleary-eyed, for a 3am feeding. Install a dimmer switch for overhead lights in order to create a soft, comforting glow, and consider floor or table lamps near the nursing chair and changing station. A nightlight is invaluable for checking in on your baby without waking up the little one, as are heavy blinds or blackout curtains, which will block out bright sunlight for daytime naps and help keep the room from getting too hot.
Don’t Think Short-Term
As adorable as infants can be, they don’t stay that small forever, so it’s important to keep the future in mind by creating a nursery your baby can grow into. Many cribs convert into toddler beds, while some gliders can be transformed into traditional chairs by replacing the rocking component with stationary feet. Not everything needs to scream “baby,” so feel free to incorporate elements — such as wall art — that will work for an older child, too.