Crucial decorating considerations for baby’s nursery

When you’re expecting, along with antenatal appointments, scans and childbirth classes on top of your usual work and home routine, you somehow have to fit in an awful lot of baby preparation – and I mean A LOT.

Shopping and planning can of course be lots of fun, as long as you don’t leave it too late, but when you’re feeling more tired than usual and struggling with the weight of carrying an extra person around, just the thought of doing DIY can be daunting and you definitely shouldn’t be stepping up any ladders!

Having said that, I know I wouldn’t want decorators around late on in pregnancy, so it’s a case of the earlier the better with nursery decorating if you’re getting on with it yourself. With four weeks to go and our nursery looking like a bomb hit it, I’m speaking from experience! If you’re starting to think about what your nursery should look like, here are some useful points we came across before reaching for the paintbrush.

Create a safe spot

Before getting carried away planning colour schemes, your first priority when planning a baby’s room should always be safety. The NCT website provides some good information on choosing a cot for your little one but the key thing to remember is that it should meet BSEN716 safety standards. If you’re buying second hand you’ll need to check everything is fully functioning and that the cot is free of peeling paint and things like stickers. You should always buy a new mattress.

Along with making sure wires are out of the way so you don’t trip and crawling babies don’t come into contact with them, you also need to think about room temperature and preventing hazards by fixing things like rugs to the floor. Take the time to measure your room – and your car if you’re buying flatpack – before you buy furniture, so you can be sure there is plenty of space to move around easily when carrying your tiny little person.

We have the Ikea Hensvik cot, which has a nice shaped top and adjustable height
We have the Ikea Hensvik cot, which has a nice shaped top and adjustable height

Decorate from a neutral base

Even though I keep thinking it would help, knowing the sex of your child is in no way essential for nursery decorating. Traditional pink rooms for girls and blue for boys have fallen out of favour for many – us included – and there are definite advantages to decorating a nursery from a neutral base.

A baby is only small for a short space of time, and before you know it will have tastes and interests of their own as a little person. To avoid having to redecorate constantly – trust me, we seem to have a never-ending rota of rooms to paint – it’s more economically efficient to paint a room one colour and use little decorations, blankets and cushions to bring a theme together.

Starting with one thing that you love – like a baby mobile or piece of wall art – can help the room take shape. Have a look at places like Vanilla Art, where you can find inexpensive prints of everything from colourful animal art to fantasy treehouses. Working backwards, you can pick a paint colour to tie in with your overall theme but that hopefully won’t need changed if you decide to update the room in a couple of years.  

Santi's nursery had a pale green base, which we built on with accessories
Santi’s nursery had a pale green base, which we built on with accessories

Consider your own comfort

Baby will need to sleep in your room for the first six months, but after that you’ll be spending almost as much time in their nursery as in anywhere else in the home combined – especially during the dreaded teething stage when you might as well just move in with them. When this time comes you’ll be glad you bought a comfy seat and finishing touches like a drop side cot to save your back, or a changing table that fits onto your set of drawers.

Bending, lifting and general juggling of baby kit is exhausting, so it’s best to have a think about what you’ll need to do in the nursery to make tasks as easy as possible for yourself. Keeping nappy changing bits together and having a blanket nearby to keep you warm during night feeds are two good ideas.

Make it sleep ready

All babies have different sleeping patterns, which you’ll be at the mercy of for a little while, but you can give your little night owl a gentle nudge in the right direction by making the room as sleep ready as possible. A good blackout blind or thick curtains are essential for helping baby learn to distinguish between day and night. I’d love a dimmer switches to help match baby’s mood, and you might want to look at calming colours when picking out your paint – then test it to make sure primrose yellow is more pastel than blindingly bright before splashing it all over the walls!

This was my favourite little corner of Santi's nursery - I made the mobile, and there were enough letters left for a banner in the playroom too
This was my favourite little corner of Santi’s nursery – I made the mobile, and there were enough letters left for a banner in the playroom too

*Are you preparing to decorate a bedroom? Do you have a theme in mind or are you overwhelmed with creative possibilities? Are you keeping things gender neutral or will you be keeping things traditional once you know whether you are having a boy or a girl? Share your nursery ideas below.

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