We recently gave Project Nursery readers a chance to ask us their burning nursery design questions. Today, we’re breaking down two of the most commonly asked questions and sharing our advice to help make it easier for you to design a nursery.
How do I choose the right furniture?
Spending a large sum of money on nursery furniture is tough, and the potential for making a mistake makes it one of the most frequent nursery design questions we have come across in our careers. To simplify the process, we have two recommendations for this all-too-common issue.
First, figure out where the furniture will be placed in the room. It’s a really good idea to measure the nursery and sketch out a floor plan. Deciding in advance where each piece will fit will make it much easier to choose the items. Think first of the crib, and make sure it’s safely placed in the room (i.e. not under a window or near other furniture that a growing child could use to escape). Then consider the seating—if you want a chair that rocks or glides, you’ll want to place it in a corner. Next comes a changer/dresser. Be sure to figure out how long this piece can be—you really don’t want to end up with a large dresser that doesn’t fit in your space. Once these placements are made, you can see what other items you might be able to fit in the room (guest chair, bookcase, toy chest, etc.) and start a good shopping list to help you figure out what you can spend on each piece.
After you’ve decided what pieces of furniture you’d like to purchase for the room, think about how you’ll use them down the road. Will you be using them for future children? If so, consider pieces that are gender-neutral in both color and design. Perhaps you prefer that the pieces transition into a toddler and big-kid room. In that case, make sure you choose furniture that will work in future floor plans (i.e. will the dresser still fit when a bed replaces the crib). Seek out items in colors and designs you love but that can easily be worked into a variety of designs down the road. For example, this dresser from Newport Cottages has a changing tray attachment that can be removed as the child grows.
Now, you’re ready to go shopping!
How do I figure out how much things should cost?
There’s a huge range in the prices of nursery items. From inexpensive to over-the-top, it’s complicated to determine where your dollars will best be spent. Again, we have a few recommendations to help the savvy parent.
First, set aside any inclination to start shopping until you have chosen your one “must-have” item. This is really important because you want the nursery to feel amazing every time you enter the room. Whether it’s a fabulous crib bedding set, a piece of artwork you love, a specific crib you can’t live without or a family heirloom you want to include, make sure you have this item figured out and worked into your budget. This nursery is a great example of a very specific “must-have” item—it was designed on a budget, but our client fell in love with the wallpaper and made it her one special splurge item.
Work from the top down on your budget. Your major furniture items should cost the most, especially if you’re planning to make them last for a grow-with-me room or for a future nursery. We can’t say it emphatically enough: don’t skimp on cost for furniture that you want to keep for years. It’s far better to forgo the fancy bedding that will be outgrown in a few months (unless that’s your “must-have” item) than to purchase a cheap dresser with drawers that break, causing an additional expense down the road.
Finally, round out your design. With your remaining budget, you’ll want to prioritize the purchases. It really helps to create a checklist of items you need and want so you don’t forget anything. And if the budget is getting tight, consider some fun DIY projects for the remaining artwork and accessories.
Obviously, there were too many good questions for us to answer all in one blog post, and we want to thank Project Nursery readers for sending in your nursery design questions. If we didn’t get to yours, you can find a comprehensive nursery design checklist, a resource guide to help you shop and all of our best tips in our upcoming eBook on how to design a nursery.