When you’re planning your baby’s nursery decor, sleep probably isn’t the first thing you’re thinking about. Coordinating colors? Which brand of crib to purchase? Sure. How to plan your decor around your baby’s sleep? Not so much.
But maybe you should be thinking about sleep. After all, that’s what your baby will be doing in her nursery — sleeping (or so you hope, anyway!) And if there’s even a slight chance that your baby’s nursery decor will help her sleep peacefully, wouldn’t you want to take advantage of that?
I would. In a big, big way!
Designer Paige Rien knows a thing or two about good design, and she shared some tips with us about how to design a beautiful, functional nursery for your baby.
Good Design is Emotional
As adults, we know that the design of a room can have a powerful effect on our emotions. As Paige puts it, “Space has the power to transform us – it can relax, rejuvenate, inspire, stifle, frustrate, and sadden – babies included.”
Ever spent time in a bright, “school bus yellow” room? I have. NOT tranquil at all.
Colors impact our emotions, and they can impact our babies’, too. And that means decorating a nursery is about more than cute wall decals and coordinated bedding — it’s about creating a peaceful, relaxing space that’ll help your baby sleep.
Good Design Looks to the Future
When designing a nursery, it’s easy to get swept away and spend big bucks on a deluxe diaper organizer or designer crib bedding. Be careful about that. Things your child will use long-term are worth investing in; things they’ll be done with in a few years aren’t.
Paige also warns against indulging in “themed stuff” (most of which is insanely overpriced anyway.) As she says, “Have fun using that Thomas rug again after your kid is over trains.”
Good Design is Functional
A well-designed nursery isn’t just nice to look at; it’s functional, too. Remember, you’re going to be doing a lot of specific tasks in there (changing diapers, nursing or bottle feeding, rocking, etc.), so you want a design that makes those tasks easier and more comfortable.
Tips for Creating the Perfect Design
At The Baby Sleep Site, we believe strongly that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to baby sleep (or to anything baby-related, for that matter!) And that idea applies to your nursery design, too — there’s no formula to follow. Do what works best for you and your family.
There are, however, a few guiding principles to keep in mind as you work to create a lovely, functional space for your baby:
- Keep it dark, keep it quiet. Most babies sleep well in quiet, darkened rooms, so plan on investing in a few sleep-friendly products, like room darkening shades and white noise machines. Sure, these aren’t exactly “fun” purchases, but when it’s broad daylight, and your baby’s ready for his afternoon nap, you’ll be glad you bought those room darkening panels! And these items don’t have to be eyesores. For instance, many room darkening panels can be sewn onto the backs of prettier curtains.
- Consider the bum (yours, not your baby’s!) You are going to need an insanely comfortable place to sit in your baby’s nursery. Now, this doesn’t have to be one of those baby gliders. According to Paige, “I find them to be marginally better than hospital furniture in the looks department and completely useless past the rocking-babies stage in your house.” (Just take a gander at how many of these guys are being sold “like new!” on Craigslist.) Instead, Paige recommends you choose any comfy chair that cleans up easily (because spit-up happens!)
- More light when you need it, less light when you don’t. Cleaning up poop in the dark is hard, my friends. So make sure you have plenty of light where you need it, but that you can quickly and easily dim that light when you don’t (like during middle-of-the-night feedings). Paige advises, “Install both overhead and task lighting. The task lighting should illuminate the dirty business of the changing table and the mechanics of the nursing chair, which will likely transition into the reading chair over time. And don’t forget to put dimmers on everything. You can hire an electrician to do this, but Paige recommends IKEA’s plug-in options, including their DIMMA attachments that make any plug-in light a dimmer light.
- Organize, organize, organize. Your baby will use a lot of stuff, and she’ll use it fast. Paige points out, “You will never see stuff come in (diapers, clean laundry) and stuff go out (dirty laundry, soiled diapers) like this – babies need and produce stuff very quickly.” It’s key that you have a fantastic organizational system in place to keep track of all the essentials. It’ll work best if everything you need is at your arm’s-reach but out of your baby’s, so find an organizational system (shelves, bins, etc.) that’ll help you accomplish that. Paige prefers dressers over changing tables for this reason — the drawers provide tons of storage space and easy access, but once they’re closed, everything’s out of sight (pretty!) and out of your baby’s reach (safe!) And of course, a dresser will grow with your baby way better than a changing table will.
- Tread lightly! Old, distressed hardwood floors may be in vogue right now, but here’s something HGTV never tells you: they’re not baby-friendly. They creak and groan at the worst possible times, and I swear, they always creak loudest after midnight (not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything!) You don’t necessarily need to install wall-to-wall carpeting in your baby’s room; Paige suggests a different approach. “My favorite? The short-napped, easy-to-clean and replace in-piecemeal-fashion, FLOR tiles that come in a billion colors and textures. Plus, ding-ding-ding – you can use them again.”
This isn’t an exhaustive design manual by any means, but I hope it’s enough to get you started on thinking about a beautiful, functional design for your little one’s nursery!
Giveaway from The baby Sleep Site!
To help you succeed in getting your baby to sleep, The Baby Sleep Site would like to give one very lucky winner a prize pack that includes “The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep” ebook AND a $25 Amazon.com gift card, WooHoo!
The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (http://babysleepswell.com), is a judgment-free approach to getting your baby sleeping through the night.
In it, you learn the pros and cons of all of the available baby sleep methods as well as how to incorporate each one into your own routine. You get quick and easy information on the science behind baby and toddler sleep. You learn what you need to do – in a step-by-step format – to tackle all the “big” sleep questions.
- How much sleep does your baby really need?
- How do you get your newborn to settle into a routine?
- Is there an “ideal” bedtime?
- Why can’t my baby fall asleep without my help?
- Why can’t my baby stay asleep?
- How should you approach nap time?
- What are your options as far as crying-it-out or not crying-it-out go?
- How can you respect your child’s sleep?
- When and how should you start nighttime weaning?
- How can you handle an early riser?
The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep is geared toward babies under 12 months of age.
This ebooks are offered as a PDF to read on the computer or print out and as .epub and .mobi formats for reading on a Kindle, Nook, or iPad.
Entry is super easy using the Rafflecopter form below. Just complete the first mandatory entry to open up a bunch of optional extra entries! Giveaway is open to U.S. ages 18+ only and will end November 30, 2012 at 12:01am est. Please read the official rules at the bottom of the Rafflecopter form.
About the Baby Sleep Site: The Baby Sleep Site™ (http://babysleepsite.com) is owned and operated by Nicole Johnson, a baby and toddler sleep coach, wife, and the mother of two young boys. Parents from all over the world visit The Baby Sleep Site™ each month to find solutions for their children’s sleep problems, including personalized, one-on-one sleep consultations, comprehensive e-books on sleeping through the night, improving naps, and establishing routines and schedules, free articles on timely topics, and a strong community.
Guest article by the Baby Sleep Site with tips from Paige Rien. Paige is a mother of two young boys and an interior designer. She has been featured on HGTV’s “Hidden Potential” over fifty times and has her own design consulting practice where she provides “real-life house help” to people all over the world. Paige blogs at indoorsy (paigerien.blogspot.com) and can be found at twitter.com/paigerien.