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Thursday, April 15, 2010

How To Create A Functional Nursery

Setting up a nursery can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be if you do a bit of planning. Think about what purpose the room will serve. Most certainly, it will be a sleeping space, but beyond that, what are your goals? Will this room serve as a play room as well? Will this room be shared with another sibling or nanny? Once you determine the uses for the space, you create a frame for the work to begin.

There are a plethora of options today for creating a nursery that will meet all of your needs and your unique vision of style. Almost all nurseries, at least double as a bedroom and playroom, and with dual functions comes twice the stuff. So, you need to consider plenty of storage options and pieces that can serve double duty. For example, choose a changing table that doubles as a dresser instead of two bulky pieces of furniture. A great armoire can hide a myriad of sins, including dirty clothes, entertainment centers, clothes, shoes, books, and toys. It’s a great piece that will grow with your child and serve you well in the years to come. There are wall units that can serve as a display case, book shelf, and art gallery. There are a ton of toy boxes, but for safety’s sake choose one with no lid, or a lid with safety hinges to avoid pinched fingers. Also consider baskets, which can go anywhere, even under the crib, and are easy for a toddler to tote around and access. If floor space is an issue, consider the variety of wall shelves available. Several in a row can create a floating book case, and a great set of bookends guarantees all your books will stay in place.

When setting up a nursery, it’s also important to be safety minded. Often toddlers spend time alone in their rooms, so creating a safe space is essential. Floor length curtains can be a strangulation hazard for crawling babies and toddlers, so opt for cordless blinds, shades, or shorter curtains. Floor lamps can be pulled over, so use ceiling lights and table lamps, and take care that the cord is out of baby’s reach. Also, make sure all of your outlets are plugged. For larger case goods, make sure you’ve tethered them to the wall to avoid tipping. Many manufacturers provide anti tipping straps for this exact purpose.

As your baby grows, you will want to add a play space, but take heart, doing so doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take up a ton of space. Pick a corner, and pitch a colorful tent, (which could just be your mom’s old bedspread hung from a hook in the ceiling), add some throw pillows and a sleeping bag, and voila, you’ve got magic. If your child is more into building and creating, put a small child’s table in the corner, and add a bookshelf, filled with tantalizing colors, books, toys and shapes. It’s important to rotate the offerings often to keep their interest. Your nursery should be safe, functional, and fun.

This room will grow and change right along with your baby. No sooner you get the crib up, and it becomes a toddler bed. Before you know it, that changing tray is removed and a potty chair appears. The walker is replaced by a tricycle, and on and on it goes. The key is to match the contents of the room with the needs of your child and make sure it remains a place where they feel at home, intellectually and artistically challenged, and entertained.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Go Green In The Nursery

The biggest change I've noticed in the world over the last five years, would be the world wide awakening that has happened as far as our responsibility to this earth, and how we can evoke positive changes. I have to say, that I am thrilled with this new state of being. I am a nature lover, most peaceful in the mountains, and being half Lumbee Indian, I always felt a special connection to the earth, the forest, the rivers, the air . . . So, naturally I've tried to incorporate respect for the earth in all areas of my life, including my business. And, as more and more demand for eco friendly products emerge, so do the resources to create them. That is one of the reasons I love business, it will make available what we demand, and if our consciousness turns toward more responsible behavior, business will be right there to meet that desire. So many people ask me how they can make a "green" nursery, and the good news is, there's more choices now than ever before. Here is a list of a few easy things you can do to make the environment for your child even greener.

10 Great Tips for Going Green in the Nursery:

1. Buy furniture that will grow with your child, ensure the quality and the design will last. By keeping your furniture longer, you are decreasing waste and furniture turnover that eventually ends up in our land fills.

2. If purchasing wood products, ensure the wood has come from sustainable forests. What this means is the trees used in the wood products are harvested and then replanted which ensures a replenishments of the worlds trees.

3. Don't be afraid of "engineered" wood such as MDF. MDF is an environmentally responsible choice for production. Engineered wood products make far more efficient use of the available resource today than ever before and can be manufactured from fast growing, underutilized, and less expensive wood species grown in privately managed forests. That helps safeguard older forests that as a society we have chosen to preserve. Byproducts from other production processes—small chips or unusable bits of wood—can be recycled and reused in engineered wood products. Engineered wood also eliminates many of the defects found naturally in wood, thereby improving upon many of the material's inherent structural advantages. Simply put, manufacturing wood is energy efficient.

4. Consider wrought iron as a medium for your furnishings. Wrought iron is sustainable, long lasting and renewable by nature.

5. Consider organic and natural materials for your textiles: crib bedding, rugs, curtains.

6. Use only organic and natural/non toxic cleaning products. Babies mouths end up everywhere!

7. Cut down on plastic. Plastic is a major contributor of indoor air pollution. When available choose furnishings, fixtures and toys with little or no plastic.

8. Ensure only non toxic paint and finishes enters the room, weather its on furnishings, toys, or walls, it all needs to be non toxic. *Also, make sure room is painted well before baby arrives and has been completely ventilated to ensure all fumes are gone. Give mom a day at the spa when the room is being painted, she doesn't need the fumes when pregnant.

9. If you have wall to wall carpet, consider getting rid of it and opting for bare floors, wood, bamboo or even cork. Dangerous toxins are often found in new and old carpet alike, and no matter how much you clean your carpet, it can still be highly toxic and filled with germs.

10. Less is more. There's a tendency to fill up that nursery long before the baby arrives. Be conservative and thoughtful in your purchases cutting down on over consumption and waste.