If you are expecting and getting a plan together for a nursery, here are some ideas I loved and things that worked really well for us:
1. A dresser is a better buy than a changing table. The dresser will grow with your child, so you don’t have to ditch it later and spend more money on a dresser. Some people just get a pad and use that on top of a regular dresser, but you will change diapers everywhere, so you might be surprised at how little you use a changing table at all if you have one.
2. Put pictures of you and your spouse as babies in the room. I also hunted down pictures of the grandparents as babies and all these pictures are still in my child’s room today.
If you are handy, making shelves out of rain gutters is also really cute.
3. Get a book shelf and put some baskets in it. We have a two-shelf bookshelf that has been great. One shelf is for books and the other shelf holds three little baskets with canvas liners. This has been great for little toys, and it also provides an easy way for kids to clean up after themselves as they grow because putting toys in baskets is easy for them.
4. Find an artist and have pictures created that go with your decor. I made the bedding (below) that both my kids used.
I really liked little animals on it, so I found a caricature artist who lived near me and had her draw four images that match the fabric. She charged me only $10 each.
5. You can make your artwork look special by enhancing inexpensive store-bought products.
These are $5 or $6-dollar frames from Michael’s. I bought basic mats and used spray glue to attach leftover fabric from the bedding to them. This is a really inexpensive and easy way to create custom artwork for your child’s room.
6. Windows. Get whatever drapes/window treatments work for you, but get room-darkening roller shades to go underneath them. You can get these at a home improvement store and they are not expensive. The Home Depot will even cut them to a custom width right in the store, so take your measurements with you. I actually had to do this twice because I measured wrong and there was a gap on both sides. Live and learn. And measure correctly.
If you don’t like the look of the shades, know that when you mount them on the inside of your window and they are up, you really don’t notice them at all. Your other drapes are what will stand out.
7. Get a chair. I recommend a rocker/swivel chair. I did not get a glider, I got a piece of furniture (chair and ottoman) and I have never regretted it. If this is a budget challenge, consider finding one on Craigslist and having it recovered. If you get something that grows with you and your child, it will eventually graduate from a rock-the-baby-to-sleep chair to the story-time chair.
8. You need at least one, preferably two, ultimate crib sheets. Never heard of that? This is one of the things I cover in my book. It’s a top sheet that goes over your regular crib sheet. Its soft on top and waterproof on the bottom. It’s great if there’s a blowout during the night. You just rip that sucker off and BOOM, a nice clean baby bed ready to go.
If you are expecting your first child, Congratulations! There’s a lot more to know, so please share this post with others. And I hope you will check out my book, Secrets of the Mommyhood. It’s everything I wish someone had told me before I had kids. It’s good information.