So the news you are going to be a Mummy or Daddy is slowly sinking in and now’s the time to start planning for the new arrival. If you don’t feel ready to start decorating then why not just start planning the baby’s space and working out costs. You need to face facts that the baby is coming so you need to be organised and not leave everything until the due date – you will gradually get more tired and jobs will become more difficult to do!
Choosing the colour scheme for the nursery depends on whether you know the sex of your baby in advance. Most prospective parents can find out at the 20-week scan the sex of the baby, so you can then opt for the traditional blue or pink paint.
If you don’t know or don’t want to know the sex, then a neutral colour scheme or theme is a sensible choice. Warm colours such as creams and browns are very popular as they don’t seem to date and look clean and fresh. Yellows and greens are also popular giving a bright, fresh feel to a room.
A friend chose white paint which gave a lovely crisp fresh feel to the nursery. The furniture and accessories were also white which looked lovely but the baby struggled to focus on anything. By adding splashes of colour, with wall motifs and ceiling mobiles the baby will have points of reference which will help in their special awareness and visual development. If you are unsure of colours then get some tester paint pots from retailers like B&Q, Homebase to see what goes well in the room. The paint colour can often be darker than on the colour chart so it is best to test a few before doing the whole room!
Once you have decided on the wall colourings then you can decide on what else you need to put in the room. Whilst we all want the room to have all the latest gadgets and items of furniture there isn’t really a need for many of them.
The basic pieces are a cot or cotbed, wardrobe and chest of drawers. Deciding whether to go for a cot or cotbed is a personal choice, the cot tends to be a bit smaller so if you have a small room then this could be your best option. Most cots sides go up and down making it easier to get the little one out whereas the sides on the cotbed are fixed. A cotbed will cost more initially, but saves you from having to buy a toddler bed as soon as the little one has either outgrown the cot or learnt how to climb out of it – this can happen anytime from about 9 months!
As soon as the little one can climb out you need to get them into a bed ASAP otherwise they could do themselves serious injury falling out of bed from such a height!
If you have a cotbed it is simply a case of removing the sides and putting a smaller end on. We only took one of the sides off of ours as the other side was against the wall – again it’s personal preference.
Retailers such as Mothercare, Mamas & Papas and Kiddicare.com sell items such as changing tables and pretty chest of drawers that have baskets underneath, and small wardrobes. These are great if you have the money and space but from a practical point of you they aren’t worth it.
If you buy a good size chest of drawers you can put a changing mat on top of it and use the top couple of drawers for storing the items associated with nappy/clothe changing.
Another friend bought a changing table that goes across the cot. This was great while the baby was very little but as soon as he got a bit bigger and began sitting up she was constantly taking it on and off the cot, making additional work for herself.
If you buy decent furniture now you won’t be looking at changing it in a year or so’s time. I would suggest you invest in a decent sized wardrobe as this will last and if you go for a white or pine colour then they look great regardless of the colour scheme you use in the future. Going for neutral colours for both paint and furniture is very cost effective, especially if you are planning on having more than one child.
Now is the time to have some fun. If you’ve gone for neutral colours then why not add a bit of colour or wait until the little one arrives to start decking the room out.
The room should be calm and relaxing for the baby so there is not too much for him/her to look at. There are great ranges of bed linen available from key retailers such as Mothercare and Mamas & Papas, as well as Next, BHS, Tesco and the other supermarkets.
I recommend you invest in a good mattress as baby spends most of their time asleep in the first few months. Some matresses now come with a detachable top layer specifically designed to go into the washing machine making it easy to clear up any little accidents and keeping it nice and fresh.
Buy a minimum of 3 bottom sheets, one for use, one in the wash and one spare as there will be times you need as many as you can get your hands on!
Next, consider the number of blankets you might need. Be careful not to overheat the baby – they will wake you up if they are cold but not if they are too hot!
Seek professional advice on the most suitable room temperature and what to use at night. Nigh-time room temperature can be a contributory factor in SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – more commonly known as cot death).
Mothercare and Mamas & Papa are great for this kind of advice. Also, consider a sleeping bag for baby. These are specially designed for them once they are over 10lb in weight (some are less but I would seek professional advice first). Sleeping bags are great and we have used them with both of ours, they keep them covered and with different togs (level of thickness) they can be used all year round.
A ceiling or cot mobile can be a good to send them off to sleep but sometimes they are a distraction and can wake them up or keep them awake. Whilst they look nice, I would suggest they are removed when your little one can sit or stand on their own as they will grab hold of it which could cause harm.
A nappy holder to go on the back of the door or near the changing mat is a good idea but not essential. A rocking chair is a great asset to any nursery especially for those night feeds but if you don’t have room then don’t worry, they are more of a luxury than a necessity!
Decorating your nursery, especially for the first time, can be very exciting but our advice is don’t go overboard, save your money, as you will need it later once the baby arrives. Whilst we recommend you get things sorted before the arrival, you can leave some purchases until afterwards as the first few weeks/months they will most likely be in your room. Remember though, nearer the arrival date you won’t have the time or energy to be thinking about or doing the decorating!
Enjoy your baby – it’s hard work but very rewarding!
Written By: Emily Taplow