Annie Mullens is the founder of WeePlan Baby Planners. She is a premier, certified Baby Planner and an Independent Maternity and Child Product Consultant. You can find out more about her and her and WeePlan Baby Planners at weeplanbabyplanners.com. (FG)
One of Tori Spelling's nurseries, featuring the Bloom Alma Papa crib.
Preparing for a new baby is both exciting and a little bit overwhelming. You get to choose the baby’s name, register for all of the fun items your baby will need, attend showers, and prepare your home for the arrival of your little bundle of joy…all while battling strange cravings and unsolicited advice from every stranger you encounter!
One of the most fun, yet slightly daunting tasks, you will have is designing your baby’s nursery. There are seemingly endless choices to make and a limited amount of time to complete them…tick tock, tick tock…that due date is looming. You may feel your blood pressure rising just thinking about it. But don’t stress, it’s not good for you or the baby! Instead, follow these helpful tips to design the nursery of your and your baby’s (sweet) dreams.
Start out by deciding the theme of the nursery. You can choose a theme that corresponds with the tastes of rest of your house, matches your hobbies, highlights a storybook character, letters or numbers, or idyllic scene. But one thing is for sure, it’s always best to design a nursery that can grow with your child. I like to use fun wall decals to add fun focal points on the walls (much less expensive and easier to change later than a painted mural).
I suggest choosing a neutral color for the basis of your room design and then adding great accent colors to get the effect you want. This lets you incorporate the trendiest colors, while still getting the most longevity out of your design.
So what is the color of trend for 2013, you ask? Each year the Pantone Institute determines which color will be hot for the upcoming year. Last year’s Color of the Year, “Tangerine Tango” is green with envy now that it’s been beaten out by Pantone’s “Emerald” (a vivid, verdant green) for the trending color of 2013. Keep your eyes peeled for companies using this color for everything from strollers to diaper pails! I love this color. It symbolizes life, nature, fertility, and well-being and is great for both boys and girls rooms.
When painting the nursery, I recommend that my clients use a low-odor, VOC-free interior paint. It is always optimal to finish all painting and wallpapering at least eight weeks before baby is expected, and leave windows open for aeration until the actual arrival. Airing out the room releases potentially harmful fumes, but finishing them early should eliminate any risk to baby. (Note: As a Certified Greenproofer, I recommend that my clients open all the products they purchase well in advance of the baby coming home for this same reason.)
Once you decide the theme and color, it’s time to start looking at furniture. Always start with the crib -- and start early! It's the focus point of most nurseries and it’s a necessity that you don’t want to gamble on ordering too late. You want to make sure to give yourself extra time for delivery, backorders, potential damage from shipping, and other problems that can set you back weeks. If you have to return, replace, or find a new crib you'll want to have plenty of time to get this done before your bundle of joy arrives.
When choosing your crib, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, make sure that the crib you are using complies with the new and improved Federal safety standards implemented in June of 2011. If you are purchasing a new crib, you don’t need to worry, but if you will be using an older crib, you’ll want to check for recalls to make sure that it is safe.
In addition, when buying your new crib, you’ll want to decide if you’d like to get more mileage out of it by getting one with an optional conversion kit that allows for it to transition to a toddler bed. I love this option and routinely suggest that parents purchase this accessory at the time that they order their crib. That way you have it and don’t need to worry about it being discontinued or a change in color options.
The bedding you choose for your crib can be another highlight of your baby’s room. The American Academy of Pediatrics has warned against the use of crib bumpers, stating that there’s no evidence that they protect against injury, and they’re a suffocation risk. However, the Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association says that traditional crib bumpers, when used properly, can help prevent limb entrapments and head injuries. Many parents choose to skip the risk and invest in cute fitted sheets. There are many on that market now that even imitate the look of bumpers.
See my earlier Blog about how to choose a mattress.
Lastly, when positioning the crib in the room, make sure that all cords from window coverings, electronic devices, or other items are safely out of baby’s reach to remove the risk of strangulation.
Often times the crib you choose will have a matching changing table or dresser. A table may be less expensive in the short term, but a dresser will have more longevity and has the added benefit of more storage (and there’s never enough storage!). Remember to ALWAYS tether your dresser (and other heavy furniture) to the wall in order to prevent tip-over injuries. Kiddos love to climb!
Annie continues Nursery Design 101 on Monday, December 17, focusing on extra items to include for baby’s fun and entertainment. Stay tuned!