Whilst we have picked up a lot of great advice over the years when it comes to updating our home, I’m not sure any of it has been quite as useful as the decorating hints we got for the nursery.
It’s a funny old thing, decorating a room.
For the most part, you have a really good idea as to what you’ll use the space for. Dining? Ok, you’ll probably want a table and chairs and space around it for people to get in there. Hallway? You may want features that can be used for hanging all those keys or coats you’ll expect to see there. You get the jist! You got a room, and you know full well what’s going down in there.
But a nursery…
Well we didn’t have a clue.
What do babies do all day? What do they need? Will we be in there much? Babies look after themselves soon enough, RIGHT?
They were questions we didn’t have the answer to. But now we do. Apart from the obvious stuff like a cot and a chair for feeding (some people find a chair totally useless, but for me it’s been essential), there are elements that you may not have considered.
Below are some of the greatest bits of advice I received (or have discovered myself – there’s no learning curve steeper than parenthood!) when it comes to practically decorating your nursery as a first time parent. And if you want to see exactly how we decorated Luna’s room you can view our nursery tour.
Kids are messy. Our little lady hasn’t got to the sticky fingers on the wall stage just yet, but there are certain bodily functions (c’mon you guys, I don’t need to spell it out!) that happen and you can’t control which direction they go. We used Dulux Trade paint which is easy to clean. Basically, you want a paint which won’t come off when you wipe it. Don’t go for a designer wallpaper in your nursery, seriously.
Get a dimmer
We have had our baby girl sleeping through the night since she was about 7 weeks old. I’ve been told not to brag about that, and I’m sure it’s largely down to luck and won’t last long once she’s started teething. HOWEVER, I’m convinced it’s because we always keep the room incredibly dim between 9pm and 9am to show her it’s night time and this is a time for quiet and sleep. The Gro-Light does something similar if you don’t want to faf around with electrics or switches. I haven’t used one myself but hear they are ah-may-ZING.
Invest in blackout blinds
Same idea here as with the dim lighting. Babies tend to be confused as to the concept of day and night at first. It was almost always dark for us because we have a Winter baby, but if you’re expecting in the summer, or just struggling to get your kid down for a daytime nap, blackout blinds should help. Don’t let this deter you from getting some badass curtains as well though. Go on, treat yourself.
Try a scented candle
Okay this doesn’t sound like a necessity when you have nursery furniture to buy but hear me out. We have the most beautiful smelling candle (watermelon *droool*) next to Luna’s cotbed. Not only is it a pink and chevron pattern so it miraculously matches her bedding and looks as awesome as it smells (actually a total coincidence), but it covers up any odours from the overflowing nappy bin and can also help your baby to associate the sweet comforting smell with bedtime, helping to establish your night time routine. We got this one from Tesco. You don’t have to splurge to do this step. Even Primark do seriously good smelling candles for less than £3.
Storage, storage, storage.
Get drawers. Get organisers for those drawers. Get cupboards. Add floating shelves. Get storage bins for under the cotbed. Kids need SO much stuff. We buy in bulk to save cash and it’s all got to go somewhere! Don’t forget that you’ll need surface space too, whether it’s a shelf for your baby monitor or a table for you to place bottles or your 3am coffee. One thing I personally would avoid (and have done) is baby wardrobes. They’re more expensive than standard wardrobes and yet they’re smaller. Rip-off much? We’ve found that I simply don’t have time to muck about hanging ALL of her clothes up. Instead, if Luna has some lovely outfits or coats, they go on the spare rail in my wardrobe to keep them from creasing. Everything else folded into drawers by her changing table.
The quieter the flooring, the better
I know that it’s trendy to have white-washed wooden flooring for nurseries. I’ve seen it in the magazines and it was shoved down my throat on Pinterest when I was looking for decorating ideas, but if you have a baby who is a light sleeper, you will regret it. If you’re opting for hardwood or laminate, try adding an area rug to soften the noise. We made sure all floorboards were locked down and used a lovely thick underlay, before adding a luscious carpet. Not only does it make the room cosy but Luna doesn’t hear us in the room if we need to pop in when she’s napping.
Don’t write off a clock from your list
Get one. I wasn’t sure if it would be necessary but you’ll definitely want to know what times you’re getting up to do those night time feeds. I know you’ll want to use the clock on your phone, but that light can disturb baby’s sleep, so leave it elsewhere. Pick a clock for the wall so you’re not taking up valuable surface space which you’ll need for easy access nappies and wipes and all that other glamourous stuff. Also, I’ve been told that the noise of a ticking clock can help a baby to regulate their breathing patterns when not in the same room as their parents. Can’t hurt to try, can it?
Decorate for you and not the baby
At least a little bit anyway. Let’s face it, the baby wouldn’t know if you covered the room in designer paint or in your own faeces. Not that you would do that. Right? Please tell me you wouldn’t. Anyway, babies can get overstimulated by too much going on, and you will be the ones really staring around the room during those early months, so make it somewhere you love to be. Rather than create a childish room for a baby who doesn’t even know where their nose is yet, aim for a child-friendly room which can be easily adapted as they grow and find a decorating style of their own.
I hope that helps anyone looking to decorate their first nursery! If you have any other tips to add, share them below 🙂