One of the most exciting times for any parents-to-be is designing their little one’s nursery. Whether you are choosing fabrics, lighting, cribs, or changing tables, nursery design not only appeals to our inner interior decorators (those of us who binge-watch HGTV, anyway) but it also happily reminds us that a tiny human is making her way to the nest! It’s easy in the midst of “cuteness overload” to take things too far. We are tempted to choose just one more pillow as long as it has the sweetest little giraffe print on it or take a theme to an extreme by painting little giraffes on the insides of the dresser drawers. (Put the brush down, Mama.)
Nursery décor and design have come a long way since the days of choosing between pink or blue. Some minimalists prefer sleek, modern nurseries with neutral colors and clean lines while others opt for sophisticated touches like chandeliers or showstopping art. Here, we will give you some tips for the perfect nursery setup, starting with your crib and accessories.
Just as everyone has an opinion on your potential baby names, you’re bound to hear lots of advice on cribs, too! But bear in mind the main things you will need to consider are safety, space, your budget, and your existing home décor and style.
On the topic of safety, you need to keep one number in mind: 2011. And while that may feel like the number of monthly diapers changed by some new parents, we are actually referring to the year. Cribs manufactured after 2011 are required to meet the standards of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission so any crib you purchase should have been manufactured after that date. You may be tempted to accept your aunt’s generous offer to pass along the family heirloom crib but to ensure the safest nest for your little bundle of joy, opt for a safer, newly manufactured crib instead. If the crib has wheels, make sure they can lock in place and look for crib slats that are no wider than 2 3/8 inches. Be sure the crib has no sharp edges, pointy objects, or places for your little one to get pinched. The crib mattress should be firm and fit the space neatly with no cracks or open spaces.
Cribs come in every style and price point imaginable and you should read consumer reviews to ensure other parents found them easy to assemble. The Davinci Jenny Lind crib is a popular choice—it converts to a toddler or day bed so it can last for years and it works well in almost any style of nursery. Plus, it’s available in nine beautiful (and non-toxic) paint finishes.
We know, we know. The temptation! There are just so many cute accessories out there. But your crib should be the simplest part of the room. You can consider overdoing the accessories elsewhere—with great art on the walls, stunning light fixtures, custom window treatments, and more.
Quick tip: That stunning art and those custom panel drapes should NOT be within reach of the crib. Place the crib away from any choking hazards like blinds or curtains or any artwork that can be knocked off the wall. Before you know it, that tiny newborn will be a small and curious toddler exploring his surroundings when you desperately wish he would nap. Keep everything hazardous well out of reach.
Once you have chosen your crib, select your bedding. This can be a great starting point for a nursery theme or color palette. A crib bed skirt, whether purchased from a bulk discount store or made by a local seamstress, can add a real “wow” factor to the room without presenting any safety issues. The main bed itself should be simply dressed with a fitted sheet, one that is safe for baby’s delicate skin.
To bumper or not, that is the question. Most research advises against the use of traditional padded crib bumpers as a potential suffocation hazard. A great alternative that’s popular with new parents is breathable mesh crib liners which are available in a variety of colors and patterns.
Though you may be tempted to add your vintage teddy bear to the crib or that oh-so-cute throw pillow that perfectly ties the look together, don’t. Nothing should be added to the top of the crib mattress at all—no blankets, no pillows, no extras. Everything you add to the crib is a potential suffocation or choking hazard for your little one, no matter how cute and soft and fluffy it looks.
Where you can add a little pizzazz safely—and have something that’s not only cute but also functional—is with the mobile.
These popular crib accessories have been beloved by new parents for years not just because they are cute and colorful or tie a nursery theme together but also because they can work to soothe a fussy baby.
Look for a mobile with soothing music. (A variety of tunes is ideal. One melody repeated over and over may drive you nuts, even if your little one likes it). Mobile attachments should be visually stimulating but not scary. You don’t see many clown mobiles for cribs…and for good reason.
The Fisher Price Precious Planet 2-in-1 projection mobile soothes babies with classic lullabies as well as heartbeat and womb sounds. It also converts to a crib side music box with ceiling projection once your baby’s little hands start to grab for it.
The Shiloh mobile will keep your future musical prodigy entertained with a whopping 60 songs. It comes in a variety of styles to match your nursery décor.
The Tiny Love Classic Mobile plays 20 minutes of continuous music. The music box can also be detached later to continue to use once your little one outgrows the mobile stage. Remember, once babies start to push UP, it’s time for the mobile to come DOWN. For most infants, this will be around the four-to-five month mark so a mobile with a detachable music box will definitely get you more bang for your buck.
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