New mums can get a little too excited when it’s time to start preparing and decorating a nursery. I should know. I, too, wanted all things cute and adorable squeezed into this room. Not to be a party pooper, but you might be missing out on the things that matter the most. This to-do list should help keep you and your budget on track while creating the perfect nursery for your baby!

1. Find Inspiration for Direction

Before making a trip to the baby store, I recommend checking out baby room ideas first. You can get lots of these online and even on apps like Pinterest. Pick out the theme or colour palette that you want. Search for furniture or accessories that you wish to add to the room. Then make a mood board if you need help visualising your concept.

The goal here is to keep you organised come nursery decorating time. Lack of direction will only result in a messy, incomplete baby room. More importantly, this step helps you narrow down your choices and avoid splurging on unnecessary things. These money-saving tips for mums might help, too.

2. Choose Gender-Neutral Styles and Colours

Not all baby girls like pink and boys don’t always want a zoo for a room. So, think long-term when decorating a nursery. Your little one will grow up in a few short years, and they’ll soon insist on arranging their room the way they want it.

And with that, I suggest going for muted tones like brown, grey and beige. Gender-neutral colours like yellow or green are ideal, too. Once you turn it into a kid’s room, you can keep the nursery walls and forget about the costly and time-consuming renovation.

A neutral background also matches most nursery furniture. And if you want pops of colour, you can always use rugs, toys and similarly less permanent room décor.

3. Divide Your Nursery into Stations

Now that you know how your baby room should look, it’s time to assign its sections. This step helps you plan where your large furniture should be. Imagine yourself attending to your baby’s needs, so you can efficiently arrange each section. For instance, you wouldn’t want the changing area to be too far away from the crib or your storage cabinets.

Here are some nursery stations that you can include in your floor plan:

  • Sleeping area. This station is where the crib should go. It is also the focal point of the entire nursery. So, make sure other sections are quickly accessible from this zone. As your baby will stay here most of the time, choose a sleeping spot that’s free from distractions, discomfort and danger.
  • Nursing area. A rocking chair or glider is an excellent piece of furniture to add. But any comfy couch you can sit on while feeding will do. Also, if the nursery is too far from the kitchen, you can set up a pantry with a bottle steriliser, warmer, breast pump and mini-fridge in this area, too.
  • Changing area. Here, everything must be within easy reach. The last thing you want is to leave your baby unattended when you need something from the storage cabinet. If you love DIY, I like the idea of refurbishing an old dresser into a changing table with drawers. You can put a small mattress on top to keep your baby comfy, while you can fill the drawers with nappies and wipes.

4. Make Room for Nursery Storage

No matter how well-designed your baby room is, it’s no use if it is messy. Accident due to clutter is not something you’d want here either. So, when decorating a nursery, make storage space one of your priorities. Allocate space for cleaning items, diapers, toys, clothes, blankets and other essentials.

If your nursery is small, opt for multipurpose furniture to save space. A storage ottoman, a toy box underneath your window seat and low-profile bins under the crib are some ingenious storage ideas.

5. Incorporate Measures for Safety and Comfort

Baby-proofing your home usually can wait until your little one starts to crawl and becomes more active. However, you can also use nursery decorating as your warm-up time. You can make the most of this phase by taking note of potential danger zones and how to address them later on. In the meantime, here are some crucial pointers to know to ensure your baby’s safety in the nursery:

  • Paint or install wallpaper in the nursery at least two months before your baby arrives.
  • Purchase a crib that passed the Australian Safety Standards, with slats that are not too far apart from each other.
  • Keep the crib free from stuffed toys, comforters and pillows that may cause suffocation.
  • Position the crib away from overhead lighting or direct sunlight. Do have a nightlight in place.
  • Consider getting light-filtering films on windows, dim-lighting options or blackout curtains to help your baby sleep better.
  • Choose washable floor rugs over wall-to-wall carpets. The former is easier to wash and clean.
  • Secure rugs with tape, keep things away from the crib and anchor heavy items.
  • Install a carbon monoxide and smoke detector. You can add a room thermometer, too.
  • Find the time to research other unsafe nursery items you need to know and avoid.

6. Shop for the Essentials First

Finally, after putting in all the necessary room fixtures, it’s time to shop for furniture and decorate! A baby nursery checklist can come in handy. You can start listing down the bulky furniture first. These include a crib, wooden chest, dresser, changing table, nursing chair and storage bins.

Once they’re in place, you can assess the remaining space and identify the other things you need. You may want to stock up on nursery essentials, too, but don’t go overboard. You have plenty of time to purchase more when things have settled down.

Decorating a nursery should be fun, after all. So, don’t be too hard on yourself. Your baby will be happy in any room with you in it!