Parenting 101

How to organize a beautiful, functional nursery

NOTE: Today I am happy to introduce a new parenting voice for FertileBrains readers – that of Dinah from PartSelect Blog. Dinah is here with us sharing some valuable tips on nursery organization and decoration. I wish I had read a few of these when our son was a newborn. We had way too many uncoordinated pieces which added to the clutter of his room instead of being functional and as Dinah puts it “double-duty”. Please give it a read and don’t forget to share your views in the comments section below.

When storage meets design

Although newborns are quite adorable and tiny, they come with a lot of “stuff”. From the moment you bring home your little bundle of joy, you are swamped with tiny clothes, diapers, wipes, toiletries, and baby furniture. There is a lot to think about when decorating, arranging, and organizing a nursery. Naturally, you want to make sure the nursery looks just as cute as your baby. Here are a few tips for a functional, well-organized, and beautiful nursery to get you started:

Arrange the furniture for function

Many soon-to-be moms and dads have the walls painted and pick out bedding and mobiles and perfect outfits before they even think about buying and arranging the furniture. Cribs, changing tables, dressers, and gliders take up a lot of space. You want them to look great but it is even more important to place them in practical spots in the room.

To help create flow in the room, functionality should be considered a top priority in a nursery. You must think about all the activities that you will be doing in that room like putting your baby to sleep, feeding her, playing with her, changing her diapers and clothes, and so on. Ask yourself what will be the most frequent among these activities. If you think you will lack organizing space, consider placing furniture not only against the walls but also in the corners as well.

Optimal spacing and safety are important considerations when placing key pieces of furniture in the nursery. 

One of the focal pieces (and most used of all) is the crib.

  1. After rocking or feeding your baby, the transition to the crib should be as smooth as possible.
  2. Keeping a small nightstand or side table near the rocker and placing a dim lamp on it should help during nighttime transitions.
  3. The stand can be ideal for bedtime books as well (when the baby is a few months older) or for keeping empty bottles after feedings.
  4. A small drawer in the nightstand can hold easy-to-reach medications, baby grooming kit or burp cloths when needed.
  5. You also want to keep the crib away from the door so that when you peek in to check on the baby, you don’t accidentally wake her up.
  6. Lastly, the crib should be located away from a draft window and away from curtains and draperies where the baby can easily reach, to avoid serious mishaps like suffocation or choking.
  7. The glider/rocking chair can be placed near the window so mom or dad can look out while feeding the baby.

Another key piece of furniture is the changing table.

  1. When changing the baby, diapers, wipes, and a fresh clean outfit should be easily accessible without needing to walk away and leave the baby unattended.
  2. The changing table should be close to the dresser so that you can easily and quickly grab an outfit.
  3. Keeping the diaper pail and hamper near the changing table is important too. This way you can discard the diaper and dirty clothes without leaving your baby’s side.

Organize the dresser and changing station

There never seems to be enough storage for all the baby’s necessities, and traditional closets with just a standard bar to hang clothes are often not cut out for efficient use. Get creative by placing a small shelf inside a regular closet. Place a tension rod in the middle of a bookshelf and remove lower shelves for hanging clothes.

Lack closet drawers?

You can use baskets or crates for accessories, extra diapers, or books and toys. You can also use a shoe organizer on the back of a closet door for hats and other accessories. If you are a first-time parent, chances are that you have already purchased clothing that the baby doesn’t quite fit into yet. Organize these clothes by month with clothing dividers.

Do you still need more storage?

Cubed shelving with bins is a great solution. A large cubed shelving unit creates extra storage and shelving, while a small unit provides a table top for baby’s things. Bins can hold everything from extra diapers to toys and keep them out of sight. They are also transitional and versatile for when the baby becomes a toddler. Bins can be removed and cubes can be used as shelves for books, piggy banks, and decorative items.

Use double-duty decorating wherever feasible

Now that the furniture is placed properly, it’s time to decorate.

Framing favorite nursery books or pages with illustrations make simple DIY artwork. Including baby’s name or monogram adds a personal touch. You can also add your own style with a personalized rug and wall decals.

But decorating with double-duty in mind is a great way to combine fashion and function. Use picture ledges on a wall to hold and display books. A row of fabric-lined wicker or wire baskets can be hung on a wall vertically or horizontally for attractive toy storage. A vintage ladder against a wall can display baby blankets and quilts.

Don’t forget the shades and curtains. Not only should they reflect your style and color scheme, they should also be easy to draw for naptime and bedtime. Black-out shades, liners, or Roman shades work well in a nursery. You can anchor them with decorative curtains, satisfying both beauty and function.

Over to you

There is a lot to think about when preparing a nursery for your little one. From proper furniture placement and drawer organization, closet set-up to double-duty decorating, the best thing to keep in mind is that you can always change the setup if it doesn’t work for you as long as you remember to include versatile and functional pieces in your design which can evolve with time as your baby grows.

And don’t worry if everything isn’t perfect from the very beginning. After about a dozen diaper changes or so, you will know what works best for both you and your baby. Good luck!

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NOTE: Reproduced (with permission) from the Original Article at PartSelect’s Blog written by Dinah Wolf

About Author

Dinah is an expert in all things DIY.

She runs a successful home décor, crafting, and DIY blog that covers everything from growing garlic to refurbishing vintage furniture.

She has a Masters of Arts in Speech Communications from California State University Fullerton.

Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed in this post are solely attributed to the guest post author. Unless explicitly stated in the post itself (with a FertileBrains stamp), the images used in the post are provided by the post author and have been used as such. Again, please note that although PartSelect is a US Company selling parts to do-it-yourselfers for their home improvement projects, this is not a sponsored post. I simply think that this post is quite helpful for new parents in the FertileBrains community. 


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