When you’re preparing a room for a new baby, it’s important to think long term. Since your child will quickly outgrow a baby-centric space, it’s more economical both in terms of time and money to design a nursery that will easily transition into a kid’s room. Andrea Davis, editor at HomeAdvisor, suggests keeping some important factors in mind when setting up these three distinct areas of the nursery for your new arrival:
The crib. Invest in a crib that converts into a toddler bed, and find a place for it in the room that will work well for both iterations. If you choose a wooden crib, make sure that it’s sealed with a water-based sealer or treated with a natural oil finish, which will last longer than the alternatives. If you’re going for secondhand, keep in mind that some older cribs may be covered in lead paint; pick up a lead testing kit to ensure the safety of any potential picks.
As for palette, gender-neutral colors work, not only if you’re planning to leave the boy/girl question unanswered until the last minute, but also because they don’t assume your little princess will forever love lavender.
Safety tip: Avoid placing a crib/bed over a vent or near a window, as temperatures can fluctuate greatly. Also, make sure any other furniture in the room is placed far away enough from your child's crib that he can't use it to climb out of it and possibly take a tumble.
The changing table. A changing table with a storage compartment will allow you to easily reach the diapers and creams you have stashed in there without taking your eyes or hands off your infant. But it’s also a great investment for the future, especially if you choose a table that has open shelves that can hold removable baskets. This will ensure that when your child grows out of diapers, you can use this otherwise limited piece of furniture to store things other than diapers, like toys and games and books, thereby extending its usefulness.
Safety tip: Of course, you should never leave a child unattended on a changing table. But also be sure to keep all diapering supplies out of his reach. Even a seemingly innocuous bottle of baby powder has its dangers—if inhaled, talc can enter your child's lungs and lead to injury.
The play area. Place a large organic cotton area rug in your child’s room so that she’ll have a safe, soft surface on which to roll and play—both in infancy and beyond. Durability is key, and so is easy clean- ability; check the manufacturer’s specifications to see if you can toss it right into the washing machine when spills and crafting mishaps inevitably occur.
Choose a cheerful but somewhat neutral rug that your child won’t easily outgrow or think is too babyish as she ages. Instead of going for ducks or butterflies or shades of pink and light blue, for example, opt for bold, graphic patterns in primary colors. With a little luck, one rug will see you through to the teen years!
Safety tip: Have any pre-existing carpets in your house cleaned before your baby arrives, to eliminate dust, mold, and pet hair, which are all allergens; and schedule regular cleanings for all carpets and rugs.