Why do we go overboard with nurseries when most children don’t even remember what their nurseries looked like when they were in the crib?
Let’s face it, nursery design is basically for the parents. And if you don’t have a “playroom” in your house where kids can rummage through their toy boxes, toss their sippy cups on the floor, or throw their snacks around – you might be investing in something that is going to get snack-stained, smell like dirty diapers and might have crusty puke left in the corner somewhere.
There are too many froo-froo designers that spend a fortune on making something pretty but impractical for the parents, and even nannies, to maintain.
So be smart about it! Invest in a good crib. One that the baby can’t crawl out of when they can stand up, roomy so the baby doesn’t bump into its sides, comfy but firm padding and a rotating carousel with light music to lull them to sleep. Many invest in cribs that can be converted into beds with side rails for when they get a bit older. They are going to grow out of both fast!
This doesn’t mean the nursery has to look bad. Choose 2 or 3 colors, preferably tranquil colors such as sage green, light blue, vintage yellow or blush pink – then stick with them.
As far as flooring, get a giant area rug you can toss eventually when the time comes. It is going to get stained and dirty. Wood and tile floors can be slippery, babies and toddlers don’t watch their feet so a non-slip rug is a good investment. Truly practical designers would even recommend a rubber, non-slip area rug. Don’t bother with fluffy or shaggy rugs for the first 1 to 6 years.
As far as furniture is concerned, don’t even bother with drawers because you are going to have to baby-proof all of them. Kids are going to open them up and start pulling out clothes, throwing them all over the floor by the time their little fingers can start grabbing things. Find dressers with top open compartments, easy for you to grab but tall enough for them to not get into. Don’t bother folding baby and toddler clothes either!
Invest in a comfortable rocking chair for yourself to comfort your baby to sleep when they are being fussy. And it is very, very helpful to have a bed for yourself in the nursery for the first 1 – 2 years and for the nights after when you have to sleep next to the crib. Some bedrooms aren’t big enough for both a bed and a crib. Some nurseries aren’t big enough for a full to king size bed either. A daybed works wonders for at least one person to sleep in. If you live in a 2 or more person household, parents and caretakers can switch off as needed.
Adjustable table lamps, floor lamps and lights with dimmers work wonders in nurseries. If your kid is ever afraid of the dark or you need a light to bottle and breastfeed without too much stimulus, adjustable lights that dim can create a soothing and peaceful ambience in the nursery.
It is not helpful for children to have too many toys. Even the famed 1990s children’s show Barney, with the helpful “Clean-Up Song” couldn’t teach kids under the age of 4 years old how to clean up after themselves.
You’re going to be picking up mess-after-mess. Again, be wise about it. If they have tons of toys, you can keep most of the toys hidden away in a closet or in high shelves, out of their sight!
Toy boxes and kids size book shelves small enough for them to grab on their own will work perfectly. As they get older and begin to form full words and phrases, they will be able to ask for the toys and books they want and you can also make an educated observation about which ones are their favorites. Switching them out for new ones and rotating them as needed.
Diapers stink. Those “diaper genies” can break easily. They are supposedly good for keeping the funky smell away. Just invest in a regular sized garbage with a top to keep in the nursery. One that is about the size of a medium to large kitchen waste basket. Small ones are pointless! They can barely fit 1 – 2 dirty diapers. Try an air purifier or essential oil diffuser to curb the smell, if needed.
Changing tables are necessary. Find one with a space or compartment to easily grab clean diapers out from. Keep that dirty diaper garbage can directly next to it.
Although a dark truth for our interior design enthusiasts, nursery design should be and can be more practical in their approach!
We are just excited as you are about your new bundle of joy, but don’t waste valuable money and resources on unnecessary items. Is it more important to have a visually perfect nursery with all the latest gadgets? Or is it more important to have more time to enjoy your children because the practical tasks are easier to take care of?
We hope this helped new parents and interior designers gain a new perspective on the practical side of nursery design!