Designing Your Baby Nursery - Chapter 1 – Everything You Need to Know
This informative and comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know when setting up your nursery – from A to Z! Includes recommendations, timeline, design suggestions, and links to top rated products.
Believe it or not, there is a logical sequence to designing the nursery. If you break your decisions down into 4 different steps and tackle them one by one, you’ll find it’s much less stressful! Here are the four simple steps (in order) and the recommended timeline for each decision.
Step 1: Select Your Crib Furniture
Even if you choose to have baby sleep in a bassinet during the first few months, you’ll want to select and purchase a crib early. It’s a great, safe place to lay baby down, and he or she will get comfortable with the space when it’s time to make the nighttime move. The crib should be your investment piece in the room. You may be tempted to skip the expense, but many babies sleep in their cribs for three or more years. And, if it is a convertible crib, they’ll have it ‘til they leave home.
Select your crib furniture first. The crib and nursery furniture guide both the wall colors for your nursery and your selection of crib bedding. You want to pick out your crib and matching furniture, including the glider, changing table, and any other furniture pieces first. There are many furniture companies that you can buy online that include free shipping.
HINT: Ask for a sample paint chip of the wood color so you can coordinate bedding and paint colors.
WHEN: 7 months from due date. Many companies order with a 6 to 12-week window for delivery, and many companies experience delays in delivery, especially if the furniture is made outside the USA. Covid has impacted deliveries significantly.
Step 2: Select Your Crib Bedding
Once your crib and furniture are selected, the next step is to start thinking about the vision you have for your nursery. Do you have a particular theme you like? Examples may include Nautical, Floral, Boho, Farmhouse (Joanna Gaines and her Magnolia Home have made this theme wildly popular), and Solids.
Look to Pinterest for creative ideas in nursery design, fabrics, themes, and accessories. There are many fabric companies online where you can shop for ideas. Fabric.com is probably one of the biggest. Use this to spark ideas or to find a specific pattern you want.
This is the time to express your creativity for your new baby. Have fun with it! Select a favorite theme or look you want to achieve. Then start looking online (shopping online saves so much time) or go to your local baby bedding boutique. When looking at crib bedding (be sure to read our recommendations in Chapter 4, Crib Bedding, and ask about quality and guarantees. What happens if the sheet shrinks or the crib rail cover doesn’t fit your particular crib style? Will they allow returns? Will they offer replacements?
Consider adding curtains. Does the bedding company offer matching curtains with their bedding? Can they make your curtains to fit your particular window size?
Give consideration to personalizing something in the nursery. Having your baby’s name or initials monogrammed on a sweet baby pillow adds a special touch to the nursery design.
HINT: Order fabric samples to take home (or have shipped to you at home) so you can use to match the wall colors. In addition, if possible, it is always good to feel the fabric and see the colors in person, because colors on a mobile phone can be deceiving.
Check out our Blush Watercolor Bedding Set for a beautiful, bright, addition to your nursery!
WHEN: 6 months from due date. Anything custom you want to be made can take up to 6 weeks. You’ll want your nursery ready to go at least two months before your due date. Just in case.
Step 3: Select Your Wall Colors
In Step 3, it’s time to select the wall paint or wall covering. Coordinate with the color(s) of the fabrics you’ve chosen and your crib and furniture.
HINT: It’s way easier to match up a paint color to a fabric swatch rather than the other way around.
OUR FAVORITE: Benjamin Moore Paints. This is one of the top rated paints for indoor: Benjamin Moore Regal Select. It’s paint that “goes on easy and combines coverage, durability, and cleanability.”
Bottom line: Don’t paint your nursery before you find your bedding and curtain fabrics! Your nursery design can include accenting a wall in a different color or in bold stripes, painting the inside/back of bookshelves a different color, or painting an angled wall a different color. Peel and Stick wallpaper is popular, reasonably priced, and easy to remove when it is time to change up the room down the road.
You can paint your own nursery, even if it’s the first time you’ve ever put a brush in your hand. We love this tutorial by Beth at Unskinny Boppy called My Lazy Girl’s Guide to Painting Striped Walls.
An alternative to paint is the newish “peel and stick” wallpaper options. Our favorite is Wallpaperie, not only because her designs are fantastic, but she will custom design wallpaper to match your nursery!
FUN FACTS: Colors and Your Nursery. What Impact Can They Have?
Different colors have varying effects on our emotions, energy levels, and ability to relax (among other things) and can also affect our mind and physical well-being. These aspects are important when selecting color palettes for your baby’s room decor, particularly in the nursery where they will spend most of their time sleeping. We’ve researched colors and their impact on baby (see below) which may help you decide which nursery color to select. Once you do, check out Benjamin Moore’s Color Your Nursery tool, which lets you play with paint colors online!
Colors such as orange, red and yellow are energizing and stimulating and perfect for use in larger rooms. Because of this, they’re not often used in smaller ‘sleeping’ rooms such as a nursery. Some children are more affected by colors than others, just like some children have a higher level of energy than others. It doesn’t take much for high energy children to become over-stimulated!
Cooler colors include blue, green, purple and white. Darker shades of cooler colors are often used as secondary colors, for example, painting only one wall in a dark color can be very effective.
Gray – which is a very popular color now in nursery decor – inspires calm and relaxation. Gray is a fabulous color because you can accessorize with virtually any other color.
HINT: Dark paint makes a room look and feel smaller. But, you can use a dark color on an accent wall or back of a bookshelf.
WHEN: 5 months out. You don’t want to be painting the nursery at the 11th hour. Nor do you want to stand on a ladder at that point!
Once you have your crib in place, walls painted or wallpapered, and your crib bedding has arrived and is dressed in the crib, the really fun part begins. When you have everything in place it is so much easier to bring something home to try out (think wall objects that fit your nursery theme).
Step 4: Accessorize The Nursery
We find Hobby Lobby is a great resource for wall accessories and nursery décor. They have themed areas that include nautical, woodland, floral, and more.
Check Etsy for downloads of printable art. Some are free. Consider buying a large wood initial or initials (or spell out the name) and painting it yourself. It’s such a warm, personal feeling to see your baby’s name on the wall.
The last month or so of your pregnancy is a time to rest. Accessorizing is fun, low stress, and really brings the overall nursery design to a close.
HINT: If you think you can’t DIY, think again. There’s a wide array of tutorials online, complete with step by step videos.
WHEN: Any time after walls, colors, and fabrics are completed, but especially fun in the last 4 to 6 weeks as the excitement grows!