Last Updated on April 2, 2021 by Creative Parenting
There’s a funny meme about 1st kids that’s circulating the internet…
I saw it the other day.
It’s a tale of two different little ones.
The oldest. And the youngest.
And it sorta applies whether you’re outfitting a baby boy nursery OR a baby girl nursery.
Ok so picture this…
One picture is of the “1st Born Kids Nursery.”
And it’s immaculately decorated. All of the colors are perfectly coordinated.
Everything is decked out.
Brand new furniture. The crib is nice and white with thick slats with matching white furniture. There’s cute hand-drawn photos Everything’s just so…
And the photo of the “nursery” for the younger kid?
Well, that’s a different story!
An empty room. Hardwood floors. Dated wallpaper. And in the middle of the room: a single twin mattress.
No sheet on the mattress though.
But laying on the mattress is the key figure of the whole room:
The child himself.
But it’s not just any ordinary child (or at least in terms of how his parents dressed him).
This kiddo’s arms are tucked inside his pants.
His parents did it to restrain him… LOL.
Why do I tell this story?
Because there’s a BIG difference in nursery style between the first kid and the second.
And that’s OK.
It’s completely understandable why parents go all out decorating the nursery.
The good news is if you’re having your second kid and decorating with a minimalist style – you needn’t do much to prepare.
But if you are having your 1st (or Just LOVE nursery decorating) then this guide will help you decorate the nursery in Less Than 1 Month so it will match your DREAM.
I lay it all out below.
Pick A Vision
What’s your inspiration?
What are you all about as a family?
…Use that as a starting point for finding your nursery vision.
For some that might be a more traditional boy or girl theme, like animals or pink.
Others might take a more eclectic approach.
Either way think about these questions as a starting point:
- What types of activities will you do with your kid
- Do you want a unifying theme to her style
- What message and values are you trying to instill
That’s just a start. Think of course of your own. Write down your answers to these questions. Then do some brainstorming to unpack those ideas.
Maybe you love animals and visiting the zoo?
Or maybe you have certain values you’d like to pass on to your child?
Favorite bible quotes? Inspirational thoughts?
Or maybe you have a favorite color… I think you get the idea.
Whatever you do, DO pick a unifying theme. Something that ties it all together.
You can have art on the walls, sheets that match, and cute baby clothes that tie into the broader theme.
Take the time to do this and it’ll come in handy later on (see more below)
Which leads me to the next section:
But don’t just pick ANY color, there’s a few things you’ll want to think about (that you might not have) that I’d never would have thought of before our baby was born…
Coordinate Furniture And Wall Colors
It sounds so obvious at first, but it’s something a lot of parents don’t think about.
Especially when picking both furniture AND colors for the room.
Maybe because they think it will cost a lot of money?
It doesn’t have to!
Here’s a strategy that works great:
Use Pinterest to put together your dream look.
Then, research and figure out all of your favorite things in your ideal nursery based on your Pinterest vision.
Next, go on Amazon and do market research for those products.
Or use Google. It doesn’t matter which.
What matters is this:
Some simple market research into what products are out there will give you TONS of ideas.
For changing stations. Rocking Chairs. Cribs. Etc.
A few minutes of research upfront can give you the peace of mind of having made your ideal nursery without ruining your bank account.
After doing your market research on your different products you can start to see how it will all look together.
Maybe you’ll want one or two designer pieces.
Chances are, that fancy beautiful crib with the wide slats and sturdy construction, that’s so well featured in your favorite luxury furniture company’s catalog:
Will have a counterpart available at your local Target! (or as I like to say it Tar-jey).
With a simple switch like this (on big ticket items), you can save $100, $200 or more!
Take this approach on ALL your big ticket purchases and you’ll easily position yourself to save thousands of dollars during your baby’s first year.
But I digress…
Anyway here’s the main point:
You can get the LOOK you want, through research, swapping out overpriced big ticket items for the local Target equivalent, finding deals on Craigslist (it still exists), all without….
Breaking the bank.
And there’s just a few items that are key to do this on and tend to be the most expensive:
- The crib
- rocking chair
- diaper changing station
A lot of folks think about the sturdiness and safety of the crib. And of course the comfort of the rocking chair.
But how many thing about the diaper changing station?
Because you’re gonna spend a lot of time hovering over that table.
There’s MANY things you’ll want in a diaper change station.
So let’s get started talking about what to look for.
Keep Your Baby Secure With A Sturdy Diaper Station
You’re going to be spending hours and hours (in total) standing with your little bundle of joy at the diaper change station.
It’s gonna be a LOT of time:
Late Nights. Early Mornings. Wee hours on weekends. When you’re grumpy. Tired. Frustrated. Or just HAPPY. There’s going to be a lot of memories there, so that’s why you want to avoid these PITFALLS:
You wanna have a change table that is big ENOUGH, but not TOO Big.
Exactly what size of course will all depend on the size of your nursery.
So factor in the room size when you’re shopping!
Do some thinking about where you want your diaper station to go.
And think about these questions (especially if you’re disinclined to visualize things spatially like me)
– Will it fit there?
– How far will stick out?
– How much storage space does it have?
– Does it have a ledge?
That last one is particularly key.
For one main reason and I’ll ask you to think about it with one key question:
When you think about you and your baby in your nursery, what age child do you imagine?
Think about it for a minute. Visualize.
Now the answer? Say it aloud.
Of course you’re reading this and I can’t actually hear you, but I’d be willing to bet it was a baby under 1 year old. And probably less than even 6 months old!
And THAT’s my point:
Your little one isn’t going to stay a baby forever.
Someday you’re going to be using that nursery to care for a toddler.
And what do toddlers do? More than anything else?
That brings me back to my point about the piece of furniture for the diaper station.
You’re gonna want something that doesn’t wobble. Because the last thing you want to worry about when you’re up to your eyeballs wiping up poop one handed (and holding two little legs with the other hand) is whether baby will be secure on the table.
So it’s worth it to do your research.
And find one that’s got a stable foundation. A ledge. And a way to secure the matt and strap.
Also, think about your strategy when the kid is older. Is it wide enough on top to keep them in place if they try to roll of? And what’s the backup plan if they do start rolling off?
All things to think about.
Because they grow fast. One minute the diaper change table surface will seem big in comparison. And soon enough they’ll not only outgrow the diaper station, but they’ll grow out of their clothes.
And suddenly you’ll have a ton of baby clothes to store, which leads me to why you should:
Get Inspired To Organize
Now with everything that’s on your mind to get ready for the baby, being organized might not be at the top of your list….
But that’s even more of a reason to get organized.
Because as soon as that little one is here, you’re going to be BUSY.
And I don’t mean that you are going to be leaving the house and going places.
It’ll probably be the opposite of that.
And that’s ok too.
Because you’re gonna be so sleep deprived you’re not going to have a lot of energy otherwise LOL.
But I can tell you this:
You’re going to be busy RUNNING around the house. Ok, maybe not quite running. But you get the idea.
Anyway, the wee ones are going to enter your life. And life is going to get so crazy (in a good way) that you’ll be running around taking care of them, you’re going to have LESS time to get organized. Eventually you’ll start to find a few minutes here and there to tidy up, but that’s different from having the systems in place!
So start getting your systems in place TODAY.
Here’s a few ideas on how to get started.
Ok the first thing you need to do is figure out the layout of the room (trust me) because this is going to affect the next thing you’ll need to do (keep reading)…
So that diaper station we talked about? Figure out what side of the room it’s gonna be on. And then I recommend putting the crib in an opposite wall (personal opinion). Although, this may actually depend on the shape and size of your nursery room. If it’s super big, you may want the two closer together.
Those are your two biggest items, plus a rocking chair if you get one (why wouldn’t you?).
So if you figure out where those are going to go first, then you can start to figure out where everything else going to go.
Start with the big stuff first. Then the small stuff.
Not the other way around.
Once you’ve got your layout of all the furniture, you can start thinking about WHERE you’re going to store stuff.
Now, if you have a ton of extra space or big closets then maybe you’re not worried about this?
But! If you are limited for space, you might be trying to figure out some creative ideas…
When baby is born it’s not gonna be as much of an issue because their stuff is so small! You can fit probably ALL of their clothes in 1 dresser drawer.
But as they get bigger…
You’re going to need more space.
Where to look?
Well, one place you may not have thought about is UNDER the crib.
This isn’t ideal though.
But it can work if you really need extra space in a pinch. Just go to the container store (or next time you’re there) pick up a wide as the crib but very flat plastic container. And voila! This can be great for storing extra baby clothes. Especially the newborn outfits that you’ll get a lot of (either from purchasing or as a gift), because they are small and you’ll go through them quickly.
But I can hear you ask, what to do about small closet space?
With kids, it seems like you can never have enough closet space!
My experience was: At first it’s not a big problem because their stuff is small. But over time it becomes a bigger and bigger problem. The reason? The wee one’s stuff gets bigger!
Plus we also had to upgrade the stroller. So we needed to store the old stroller.
There’s a good chance you’ll acquire some other big things that’ll take up some space too. For example, our little guy got a bouncer that held him upright so he could bounce around.
The good news here is that you have options. You can invest in some nice storage pieces from places like Wayfair.
Another option if you’re crunched for space is maximizing your coset space throughout the house. Maybe the issue isn’t with your storage for the nursery, but the junk in all your other closests that you need to go through and clean out?
Something to consider.
Last but not least! This may have crossed your mind, but if you’re running out of space, then it’s time to get strategic about it…
SELLING. THE. STUFF. YOU. DON’T. NEED.
End of story. This a MUST. And it’s win win. Why?
Because it gets all the stuff out of your house. AND you make a bit of side $$$ in the process.
Now before you object…
I can’t just hear it: (And I’ve thought this myself) you may be thinking…. But we’ll need that again! And that may be true. Especially if you’re thinking about having another one very soon. Or if the item in hand was a rather expensive item (i.e. a car seat or stroller).
But I’d say just about anything else? Unless it’s clothes or something small that doesn’t take up a ton of space, I’d say say sell it.
And here’s why: if it’s a couple of years from now, there’s a very good chance you’re going to want the latest stuff. Yes some stuff doesn’t go out of style, (I’m not talking about timeless pieces), I’m talking about stuff that you just don’t want to get rid of just because.
Or because you’re emotionally attached to it.
Want to know how to get rid of them fovere?
Just snap a picture. And then sell it.
Yes, put it up on Craigslist. And if you can’t get $5 for it there?
Throw it away!
Because are you really going to want to give the used pacifier to a 2nd newborn bundle of love?
So why spend years having that stuff take up useless space?
Try selling it. And thank me later.
Now speaking of decluttering, that brings me to my next topic. One you might not have thought about. If you have – that’s great!
If not, then that’s why I’m gonna talk about it. Because the next step after decluttering is to:
Think About Future Photo Shoots
Chances are you’ve seen the Pinterest pins of the picture perfect family at their baby shoot…
And it looks flawless. But it almost wasn’t. In fact, there was something that derailed the original plan. At least it was in our experience. Here’s what happened:
We had planned to do the typical newborn baby photoshoot. But as it turned out, nature had some other plans.
We had scheduled the photoshoot when he was about a month old. But about 10 days before his photoshoot, his head started to look a little scaling. Wha in the world?! We though. On top of that – his hair started falling out!
This was my first experience of feeling like I was losing something with my child. I know, it’s still something small. But still. I couldn’t believe it was happening.
This was about 4 weeks into being a parent. Things were pretty new.
It turned out to be Cradle Cap. What a mess! Poor little guy lost all his hair AND his head turned all scaly.
… And as a result we had to reschedule the photoshoot and push it back about a month and a half.
In retrospect that made me realize I hadn’t thought about the aesthetics of a photoshoot that much.
Was cradle cap a major life crisis?
But it did put a damper on the mood. But we turned it around, and had an EPIC photo shoot.
Things to think about ahead of your photoshoot with baby:
- Do you want to rearrange the furniture?
- What’s the light source
- Do you need to declutter
- What time of day will you be taking pictures
… That last one is especially key.
Because if there’s one thing that’s TRUE about pictures, it’s that good lighting can make or break ‘em.
So let’s talk about lighting.
Go For Zen Lighting Options
I’m sure you’ve heard it elsewhere, but it bears repeating here: Good lighting can make or break a photoshoot (and really, nursery overall.
Natural lighting is really the best. Your future self will thank you for making sure you had it in your pictures.
Plus, it’s not just about the pictures.
It’s about the space, and the feeling you’ll have when you’re in it.
And if there’s one thing that’s going to be a bummer it’s this:
A dark room.
To lighten things up a bit, go for brighter light bulbs and quality lamps that really liven up the space.
Because you’re going to be spending a lot of time there.
Especially if you do a baby photoshoot…
You’re gonna want some natural light. Or at least something that looks gives the feeling of natural light.
When we did our baby photoshoot, we had the photographer there on a day that turned out to be very sunny. And i was glad for it, because it really took the pictures to next level cuteness.
And capturing those cute moments it’s really what it’s all about.
Because even though the early days and months with baby might feel like they last forever, after a year I looked by and realized how quickly the time went.
Once the early years fly by, you’ll start to realize more and more how much you need to:
Think About Future Years
Imagine your future 20 years from now…
Retired. Sipping a nice drink. Relaxing at your dream home, where you built a family and raised your children. The little ones are grown now. But they’re coming home for the holidays soon. As you get excited, you start to look through some old baby pictures…
And you find the newborn baby shoot.
–which dream scenario then would you rather have —
The disappointing pictures that don’t really capture the smiles and memories, that’s dark and slightly off…
Or the bright one that evokes space, warmth, cuddle times, giggles and sweet memories of the baby smells and coos.
If it was me, I’d choose the 2nd.
And bet you’d probably too!
That’s why it PAYS today to think about the future when you’re thinking about your nursery.
I don’t hear anybody talking about this.
I think that’s understandable.
There’s so much that goes into preparing for a baby’s arrival, it can be overwhelming to think beyond the next three or six months.
Much less what you’re life is going to look like 30 years from now.
But trust me on this, the more you think about this now, you’ll thank me later.
Speaking of your future years ahead, and thinking about what you want for them, that leads me to my last topic that’s important when getting your nursery ready.
It’s about time. And how it rushes by the sooner you get to the baby’s arrival.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time (1 Month At Least)
Now, this may sound obvious at first. Like, who wouldn’t take the time to plan in advance?
It sounds like a no-brainer. But not everybody does this.
Just imagine this scenario: You get started on the nursery project. It’s shortly after you moved into your house. You jump in full speed ahead.
Something happens with your house.
Maybe it’s a broken appliance?
Or just a renoe project you need done…
And suddenly THAT becomes all consuming. Because it’s urgent. And frankly, more pressing than hanging nursery wall art.
Something like a plumbing problem. Or needing to get a new washer and dryer.
That at least was our experience…
Anyway, here’ my main comment: You NEED to give yourself TIME. That’s because you never know when something is going to POP up out of the blue and derail your plans.
So start early. And FINISH quickly.