Three Key Elements of A Fabulous, Functional Space to Welcome Baby

Whether you are well into the nesting process or have just birthed a Pinterest board in anticipation of a little bundle a few years down the road, it’s never too soon to start stockpiling ideas to make your baby’s nursery a soothing space that works for all of its many functions.  After all, your little one will spend more time in her room than in any other space during that first year, and you’ll be there quite a bit, too.

So given its heavy use and precious occupant, to us a fabulous nursery means a space that is chic, tranquil, and organized ~ after all, those cute little ones are a *ton* of work, especially in the beginning, and crafting a space that works for mama and baby will be well worth a little extra effort on the front end. And we have a soft spot in our heart for a nursery that keeps baby happy while making mama’s life a little easier. So let’s dish about three unsung heroes of a working nursery.

Mama’s Rocking Chair
The main thing that you’ll wish for your little one ~ and for yourself ~ in those early days is likely to be sleep.  And good baby sleep hopefully ends in a bassinet or crib, but it is likely to begin in mama’s arms.  So treat yourself to a really great chair to do your baby-feeding-baby-burping-baby-holding-baby-rocking in. To us, that meant an old fashioned wooden rocker with a plush chair pad.  For you it could be a glider, or even the holy grail of nursery furniture ~ a glider with a storage ottoman.  But whatever your taste in wood, fabric, and style, it needs to be a comfortable chair for a couple of hours at a stretch. So test drive and be a little picky. You’ll thank us.

We think that this one is a really good candidate for chair of the year.

And we wouldn’t mind if this one suddenly appeared at our house, either. Especially if that is (sigh) an ottoman with storage. (Note to Santa: It even matches our nursery.)

Baby’s Changing Table
Is it surprising to you that the crib didn’t even make #2 on our list? (Actually, it doesn’t make this list.) That may say a little something about our babies and their sleep habits, but it also says something about how *not* picky a newborn baby is about types of cribs. As long as yours is safe and clean, we think that your baby will like it (and like to sleep in it). Or she won’t. But the crib itself will have little influence on the baby’s decision to sleep or not to sleep.

Whereas your choice of, say, a changing table can really make quite a difference in how easy it is to get and stay organized with all of the little creams, gadgets, and what-nots that a tiny baby needs. We really like the trend toward repurposed furniture for changing tables. Dressers, sideboards, and buffets make great changing tables, as they tend to have generous storage and to be a little longer than the average changing table. We like them in traditional wood, in bright colors, distressed… Basically, they just work, and choosing a finish to match your nursery is half of the fun.

Here is an adorable dresser repurposed as a changing table with tons of storage. The mismatched knobs add a quirky touch, and the neutral color will transition well to another life in a big boy or guest room down the road. Room for a lamp that will provide light without shining in baby’s eyes is also key.

This shabby chic dresser is another adorable, functional changing table with plenty of room for baby’s accessories and clothes. We love the candlestick lamp, too ~ a soft light to changing midnight diapers by, with a few beads thrown in for good measure.

This bright, fun painted dresser is a functional statement piece, with plenty of character and a ton of room to store baby’s necessities. We can see this one growing up with your child, maybe getting a new coat of paint once in a while as your child’s tastes evolve and change.

And the awesome use of a small space goes to this amazingly organized closet, complete with a dresser-turned-changing-table inside. We love the little hanging bottles and the horizontal mirror that’s sure to keep baby happy during many a diaper change.

Fun Stuff To Look At
Finally, as your baby gets just a little past the newborn stage (think weeks, not months), we think that adding some visual elements that are interesting to her is key to creating a space that will be inviting to your little one as she grows. We’re always on the look out for budget-minded, design-conscious, baby-friendly ideas for nursery decor, and we have a few tricks up our sleeve that work in almost any nursery.

Possibly the easiest mobile that you’ll ever DIY is one made of tissue poms. They’re available in pretty much any color that you can imagine, they hold up well, they can be cut to different sizes and edged with craft scissors for a variety of textures… And babies *love* them. Suspend them with fishing line at different heights, let a little breeze give them an occasional jostle, and your little one will be endlessly amused.

And did we mention that they look really pretty?

We love the asymmetrical arrangement of blues and greens in this otherwise neutral nursery.

And you can see the impact from just three poms in this feminine room (with a bed for mom ~ genius!)…

Similar to tissue poms (and also very visually appealing on a budget), paper lanterns are easy to install and captivating to little eyes.

Just a few white and orange lanterns against an aqua wall make an adorable statement above this unique crib.

The repeating color blocks in this room (even on the ceiling fan ~ fab) are easily carried through the paper lanterns for a simple mobile that is sure to amuse baby.

And paper lanterns in soft colors against a darker wall soften the look of the room so well while giving your little one something to focus on while she’s drifting off to sleep.

And there you have it, folks ~ three unsung heroes of nursery decor. In our opinion, these are the things that make life easier for you and better for baby. They don’t say, “new baby!” quite the same way that a new crib and matching bedding do, but we think that they’re unrivaled for their ability to maximize your nursery’s comfort for you and that precious bundle. Whether she exists in utero, in a bassinet, or in Pinterest-fueled dreams at the moment.





Katie Henderson

Written By: Katie

Posted: 2013-09-08
Last modified: 2013-09-09

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