Hanging art, layering rugs, applying wall decals, and all the rest is great, but when it comes planning for a nursery, you've got to start with a simple list. What do you need in a nursery? Here's our four point plan.
1. Somewhere for baby to sleep
Whether in a bassinet or crib, baby will need to sleep somewhere. You'll also need a mattress and sheets, a mattress protector for accidents, and something to bundle baby up in when cold. Crib skirts aren't necessary, crib bumpers are unsafe to use, and cuddly toys and blankets should stay out of the bed until baby is older. And don't forget curtains or blinds—you'll want to be able to make the room dark for nice, long naps.
2. Somewhere to change the baby
If you're absolutely desperate, you can change the baby on the floor, but immediately after labor it's better to not have to bend down so much. You'll need a wipeable change mat and possibly a cover if you want it to look pretty. Add a trash can or laundry bucket with a lid depending on if you're a disposables or washables parent, though you might prefer not to keep it in the nursery. No need to buy a changing table: any flat surface at a good height for you with a changing mat on top works. Many parents use a dresser for this purpose because you'll also need...
3. Somewhere to store all of baby's stuff
Having a baby is like pushing a snowball down a mountain: they accumulate a lot of stuff... and more and more stuff. You'll need somewhere to store baby's clothes, changing bits and pieces, and toys. A dresser plus some storage bins—in a bookshelf, if you like—will usually suffice.
Of course you can feed baby anywhere, but having a dedicated space in the nursery gives you a place to go that's private and quiet, apart from the rest of the sleeping/raucous house (depending on the time of day). You'll need a comfy chair—whatever's comfortable for you. Make sure the chair is next to a flat place where you can rest a glass of water and possibly a nightlight/lamp so that you don't have to be blinded by a bright overhead light in the middle of the night.
All right, got all that? Here's a list you can copy to your phone for your next nursery shopping excursion or gift registry:
Apartment Therapy's Nursery Essentials
- Crib or bassinet
- Mattress protectors (2)
- Sheets (at least 2)
- Wraps or bundles (at least 2)
- Thick curtains or blinds
- Changing table or other suitable furniture piece
- Wipeable changing mat
- Changing mat cover (2)
- Trash can or laundry bucket, depending on your diapering plan
- Clothes storage
- Toy/book/other baby item storage
For feeding (if you plan to do it in the nursery):
- Armchair or rocking chair, and a footstool, if you like
- Side table
- Lamp or nightlight
Anything else on your list of nursery essentials?