Posted on January 21, 2013
Read our tips for designing the perfect baby nursery, in Hello! online.
Designing the Perfect Nursery for Your Baby
Decorating your baby’s nursery ranks highly amongst the top most memorable project a parent will get involved in. Your little one gives you gentle reminders of their existence with nudges and kicks yet you can only imagine what their personality would be like.
When designing your nursery, start with the end in mind. Your nursery has to be functional as well as beautiful, so before purchasing furniture think about safety and function but also style, think about the purpose, the activities that will take place in there.
Besides the obvious sleeping and feeding, consider storage and your lifestyle too. Start by measuring your space as it gives you an informed platform to build on. You will find that nursery furniture comes in different shapes and sizes so you need to take a lot into consideration like alcoves and awkward spaces.
Nursery furniture is available in many styles, designs, finishes and even themes, but careful to pick one that adheres to the latest British Safety Standards. Cots in the UK come in 2 main sizes of 60 x 120cm and 70 x 140cm, 131 x 75cm (Boori cots) and 122 x 68cm (Stokke ® Sleepi cot). Cots imported from other countries like the USA are of yet another size. Your choices range from wood or iron, antique, traditional or modern to Natural finish, painted or eco-friendly. Painted furniture with hand painted motifs or themes are also an option. The choice is simply endless. To prevent being overwhelmed with the plethora of cot styles, look at your home to determine your personal taste. Are you a city slicker or country-loving? Do you love nature and would prefer natural woods or even eco-friendly furniture? These questions help to narrow down your preferences as it isn’t always as straightforward as choosing wood or iron cots. Traditional homes tend to be the right setting for curvy designs like sleigh cots or antique-style iron cots with scrolls and scallops, while contemporary homes will almost certainly go for straight lines and fuss-free designs. The cot tends to carry the bulk of the design so choose that first. Most retailers sell nursery furniture as a collection. This means that you can purchase coordinating pieces like the changing unit, wardrobe, shelving etc. Some companies even supply single and double beds as part of the range so you only need to purchase one item 3 or 4 years later and you’ll still have a coordinating bedroom. If space is limited consider purchasing dual purpose furniture, like changing units that have a removable changing top set atop a chest of drawers. This gives its use longevity and it carries on being used long after baby outgrows the nursery.
Baby Bed linen pretty much sets the style or theme of your nursery. This is also what you and of course baby will see a lot of. Even if you don’t purchase a luxury cot you can splurge on the cot linens as that is a great avenue to introduce style and colour to your nursery. Nursery bed linen again comes in many shapes, styles and sizes and the same principle applies that we use to choose furniture. Traditional bed linen are quite easily identified, frills, checks, florals, etc. while contemporary baby bedding will be again rather fuss-free and simple. Think neutrals, geometric patterns and crisp predictable styles. For a true luxe design, go for bespoke bedding. This is where you or the designer choose suitable fabrics in your chosen theme or colour a unique set is created.
Notice we haven’t talked about wall colours yet. This is because it is easier to match paint to bedding than the other way round. It is safer to choose your bed linen first because you wouldn’t choose one in a colour you don’t love. Once this is safely done, pick a colour from the bed linen. Go for a soft colour as you’re creating a serene space that you’ll be walking into at 2am in the morning! Plus of course baby needs a relaxing space.
If your favourite colour is a deep colour and your space is small, tone it down to a softer shade in the same colour palette. Bold colours pull the walls in and make a small space feel smaller. The reverse is also true; lighter colours make the walls recede.
Nothing beats feeding your baby in an upholstered glider. Memories are formed as you feed and rock your newborn in your comfortable chair. The gliders give a gentle gliding motion with minimal effort as opposed to a rocking motion. Some of them swivel too, making reaching out for the box of tissues just that bit easier. The best part is that they are custom made to coordinate with your nursery. You can even have the glider made in the same fabric as your soft furnishings. Nursery gliders come in different sizes, so you it will be helpful to find out both the internal and external dimensions. Remember to take your partner’s size into consideration too as he’ll no doubt spend some time in the chair. A personalised stool next to your chair is a handy addition for bits and bobs needed while feeding or relaxing.
Now that the mainframe of your nursery is formed, add the finishing touches to your design. Decorative accessories like a rug, beautiful lighting, artwork, decals, clocks, etc all place a stamp on your baby’s space. Why not personalise it with a favourite item? An old picture of you growing up in a pretty antique or modern frame, seashells collected from family holidays, heirloom items like your own baby comb all make the space unique and beautiful.