Setting Up A Baby Nursery For The First Time

I’m rubbish at DIY.

There I said it.

My friend told me some years ago how easy it was to set up a nursery for his baby boy.

He talked about his experience and his words filled me with optimism.

I mean, if he could do it, surely I could create a masterpiece first time?

At the time it hadn’t crossed my mind that he had probably gone through the process more than once.

I mean, he had three children and so I would hardly call him a ‘nursery decorating novice’.

I remember Sasha was 5 months pregnant at the time, and we faced the daunting project of transforming our second bedroom into a nursery.

With a rough idea of what we wanted, we set about measuring, painting and choosing furniture.

A couple of weeks later, after many lengthy, but slightly heated discussions over the dinner table, we had finally completed the task.

We moved in the last piece of furniture, paused, looked at each other and faced one of those awkward silences when you are waiting for the other person to say something…

Did that mural really work?

Should the walls be a different colour?

What about the lighting?

Our first attempt, although a reasonable and credible effort, left us with more questions than we had in the beginning.

Although we had a rough plan of what we wanted, it was nowhere near enough…

..and yes, we had made some rookie mistakes.

We’ve all seen those grand nursery designs in catalogues and online.

But, like any form of DIY, you need to think about things very carefully in order to create the perfect nursery for your baby. This holds true for simple designs, to more complex ones made by professionals.

Here are 7 important aspects to consider before you start decorating your baby’s room.

1) Research

Do your homework.

This may seem obvious, but if you look at plenty of designs, and seek advice from experts as well as friends who have gone through this before, you are bound to create a better nursery in the end.

You don’t want the same result as that Simpsons episode when Homer tries to create a BBQ without reading the instructions properly!

2) Think long term

Having another child in the future may seem way off, but if you design your nursery with gender neutral colours then this can save you time in the future. You can always use some brighter colours for rugs, pillow cases and similar items.

Also, you may wish to change the nursery theme once your baby becomes a toddler. Is there a way you can design your nursery now to avoid doing it again later on? A lot may depend on whether you already know the sex of your baby.

3) When to start? When to buy nursery furniture?

There may seem a million and one things to sort out before the due date, but decorating a nursery is one which should be started way in advance for two reasons.

Firstly, you need to allow time for each stage; measuring, painting, buying furniture, wall decor, etc.

Secondly, you want to leave enough time for any paint fumes to disperse. If you plan on using the nursery straight away, you don’t want your baby to breathe these in. Pregnant women should also avoid inhaling these fumes.

4) Buy one stage at a time

If you start early then you can afford to buy things one stage at a time. This can save you money by avoiding things you don’t necessarily need.  

5) Keep it simple

Don’t go overboard with planning your nursery. No one’s expecting you to paint a replica of the The Sistine Chapel.

Keep things simple, especially if this is your first attempt. If you are planning on more children some day, you will have further opportunities to experiment.

Although this could be the last thing on your mind at this stage!

6) Think about electric sockets and wires

Examine the room carefully for all sockets and wiring when planning the layout of the nursery. You may wish to purchase a baby monitor, night light and other electrical items. Try to avoid using excessive wiring and long cables everywhere as this can become a hazard for your baby once they start crawling.

7) Storage space

Where will you store all the baby clothing, bed linen, diapers and other accessories?  Storage is one aspect couples overlook when planning a nursery. Some changing tables have storage, or you might want to install another cupboard or cabinet.

Following these suggestions really helped me out when my husband and I re-decorated our nursery before the arrival of my second child. Planning in such a diligent manner, before decorating and furnishing, should help you create a better nursery.

As well as decorating your baby’s room, in the months and weeks leading up to the due date, you will also have to learn how to care for your newborn. 

setting up a nursery for the first time


I’m pleased to say Mia’s room looks a lot better now. As we only live in a 2 bedroom flat, space is at a premium, so her room serves as 3 functions:

1) A place for her to sleep

2) A place to store her toys and clothes

3) A place to store Sasha’s sizable clothing collection!

It looks fine. Nice and simple, and we’ve modified it quite a bit over the past couple of years as she’s grown.

What are you thinking of doing for your nursery?

Author: Dad Racket

Graham runs the place around here. He likes making a "little noise" about all things to do with tennis and parenting. Check out his about page to learn more.

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