I was elated when it was finally time to decorate my son’s nursery. I sifted through image after image online, looking for inspiration and unique touches for our son’s room. At the time, we were still renting our home, so there were some limitations to my creativity (like the green 1970s carpet and lack of lighting), but I wanted to be able to pick up our nursery easily if we moved. Sure enough, we purchased our first home the day after our son’s first birthday, so I was recreating the room we had so carefully planned. Thankfully, I was still in love with our son’s nursery and it was well suited to grow with our son and last more than just another year, which was a great help to our limited budget.
Here are some tips for creating a nursery that will work for years to come:
1. Avoid Pastels
It’s tempting to let a can of baby blue paint explode all over your son’s nursery, but the problem is that he will quickly outgrow that color. Imagine trying to re-paint the room two years from now, with a curious toddler inspecting the paint can, a task to which I say “no thanks!” Instead, choose a kid-friendly color scheme that would suit a newborn or a preschooler just as easily.
2. Check Out a Convertible Crib
The convertible crib is one of the niftiest developments in baby furniture. A convertible crib transitions into a toddler bed and then becomes a full bed with a headboard and footboard—for around the same cost as a traditional crib. You will have to buy a new crib if you have a second baby, but then you can buy another convertible crib and might never have to buy another bed.
3. Pick Furniture That Will Last
Consider a recliner that can be used in more than just the nursery instead of the traditional glider with a footrest. The living room or rec room can inherit an additional piece when baby outgrows the rocking stage. Consider buying a dresser that can be used as a changing table also. Then, once your potty training days are over, you will not have to rearrange the whole room.
4. Use Practical Storage Options
Storage solutions are something your child’s room will never outgrow. You will always need shelf space, whether storing toys, books, clothes, or treasured collections. My dad created a shelving unit that stores all of my son’s toys and books. Later in life those cubbies will store more than stuffed animals and blocks. He will always have the space to neatly stow away whatever his current interests are.
Use boxes with lids to optimize hidden spaces like storage under the bed and the top shelf of the closet. Invest in quality containers now and they will not need to be replaced later.
5. Create an Adjustable Closet
Resist the Pinterest craze to turn a bookshelf into a baby clothes closet, because a year from now you will have to re-work everything to accommodate bigger clothes. Instead, select modular closet options, with shelves and racks that are easy to move. Drawers are my favorite solutions because although you may have to learn to fold things differently, the clothes will still fit inside when you send your daughter to high school.
6.Create a Nursery You Can Mix and Match
We painted our nursery bright green and filled in some navy blue and khaki accents through curtains, a chair, and baskets. We have white shelves on a tree mural that display mementos from his parents’ childhoods. While everything on the shelves now are precious treasures to us, they will eventually go back into storage to make way for little league trophies, our son’s artwork, and souvenirs that are meaningful to him. The tree mural and shelves created a feature wall that can be completely customized by our son’s interests in the future, and the color scheme works no matter what sports team he wants to represent.
7. Include an Heirloom Piece
I have two custom pieces that I will forever keep for my son. My cousin surprised me with a beautiful painting inspired by the classic children’s book, Guess How Much I Love You, that instantly became a favorite in our nursery. My dad also made custom letters above my son’s crib. These letters are wrapped in meaning because my dad made them from an end table he built in high school shop class. While these two pieces of wall décor may not grace my son’s walls when he is a teenager, they are both something special we will keep to remember his childhood room, and maybe someday they will make their way into my son’s den, or even his child’s nursery.
Use these tips to create the perfect nursery for your little one—a nursery you will love for years to come.