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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.

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