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the baby room

nursery buyers guide

the baby room

You may have planned what your baby's room will look like years before you actually decided to have a baby, or you may be putting it together for the first time now that you have discovered you are pregnant. Either way, it's exciting to plan and create your baby's room and to add a bit of your own flair to it. It's also a great way to get your partner involved in choosing things for your baby.

For the first six months, your tiny baby will sleep near you in a Moses basket or crib. As night merges with day and your life together is a sleeping, feeding, nappy-changing frenzy, it can be hard to imagine the ordered sanctity of your baby snuggled up in his own room for the night. But sooner or later, he'll need a room of his own.

A few well-chosen pieces of furniture quickly transform that boxroom into a welcoming space for your baby. The most vital piece of equipment is the cot as you'll need somewhere for your baby to sleep, but after that it's really up to you. Most parents opt for storage solutions; somewhere to keep all those little baby clothes is handy but also somewhere to keep toys and books is great once your baby gets a bit older. A changing station (for change mat, nappies and fragrance-free wipes) is really useful in the early days when you'll be changing a fair few nappies, but it really depends on space. If space is tight, nappies can be changed using a change mat on the floor or a cot-top changer.

Many cots are part of a furniture set, allowing you to co-ordinate dressers, wardrobes, even peg rails, and either theme the room, or merely ensure it remains in keeping with the rest of your home.

Get creative...

When choosing a colour scheme, buy the bed linen before choosing paint colours - it's easier to match walls to sheets than the other way around. Don't be afraid to use more than one colour. Strong shades and contrasts are stimulating for babies and are unisex too - so there's no excuse to wait until the baby arrives before you start decorating! It's also a good idea to decorate in advance of your baby arriving so that it's all finished when you bring your baby home, but paint smells and fumes are long gone. Consider using an eco-paint that's free of chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for your baby's room. Or paint well in advance of your baby arriving and open windows to let the fresh air in and the paint fumes out!

The easiest way to bring together several shades is by using a co-ordinated wallpaper border. Apply at waist height (your baby will interact with it more than near the ceiling) and paint your lighter colour above and darker shade below. Alternatively, run a waist-height peg rail along one wall.

Create your own matching accessories by painting picture frames with leftover emulsion from the walls and use the frames to display your baby's hand-prints (use non-toxic paint on coloured paper) or newborn baby photos.

Framing your baby's ultra-scan images is great way to decorate the nursery walls, or why not find pictures or stickers of your favourite books or nursery characters from your childhood to decorate your baby's room?

Neutral colours

Many parents opt to wait until their baby is born before they find out the sex and whilst this is exciting, it's tricky when it comes to decorating the nursery. One option is to paint the nursery white, or an off-white colour like white/grey or white/blue. Then when your baby arrives and all is revealed you can accessorize the nursery with decorations in whatever colour you like.

Snuggle up...

Choose sheets and blankets from a rainbow selection of colours to complement your theme (don't use pillows and duvets for babies under one). For a co-ordinated look, go for bedding from a nursery set, then add matching accessories.

If you don't know if you're having a boy or a girl and want something unisex, why not have a look at our Loved So Much range? If you'd prefer brights to neutrals, try the Little Circus selection full of playful colours.

Storage...

Make the most of small spaces by utilising the back of the door, or any wall space for storage. Invest in a nappy stacker to hide nappies away and add hooks for bags and clothes.

Babies amass lots of tiny bits and pieces from wrist rattles to finger puppets. They get lost in the bottom of a toy box, so small storage ideas are essential.

For larger items like soft toys or building bricks, choose a traditional wooden box or add a modern splash of zingy colour with a large storage tub. These will keep toys tidy but easily accessible.

Are they sleeping comfortably?

Whether you buy a new cot or choose to borrow, there's little doubt that every new baby deserves a new mattress.

Why?

Old mattresses become compressed with use, making them less comfortable and less effective for your baby.

So what do I choose?

Most important is fit. Limbs get caught in gaps over 4cm, so take measurements for a perfect fit.