The 5-Step Plan to Creating the *perfect* Baby Nursery
The CARI Guide to where to find beautiful nursery inspiration, the must-have essentials and the planning practicalities
This is the pinch-me moment when it all becomes a little more real: decorating the nursery is often the first time we begin to put a physical shape to all those future hopes, dreams and plans for your soon-to-be child.
Whether you’re planning a delivery-room gender surprise or are going to town with wall-to-wall pink or blue, you’ll no doubt have already been thinking and searching for nursery decorating ideas. Nesting and preparing your home for the next chapter can be really exciting, but with so much to organise and so many decisions to make in the run-up to the birth you may also be feeling a little overwhelmed by your To-Do List and where to start.
Keep scrolling for the ultimate guide to planning your nursery in 5 easy steps.
STEP ONE | PLANNING A FEELING & SETTING A BUDGET
Decorating your little one’s nursery is such an exciting milestone on the journey to finally meeting them. You’ll be spending an awful lot of time in there so it’s important that it reflects you and your growing family. Taking the time to sit down and plan out exactly how you want this room to feel is an often overlooked step when planning to decorate your nursery.
How to execute this?
It can be as simple as writing down a series of words that come to mind that encompass how you’d like the room to feel. Perhaps it’s ‘calm’, ‘minimal’, warm’ or ‘bright’ and ‘happy’. Whatever inspires you, add it to the list or Baby File as you’ll be needing it for step two.
When you’re brainstorming that feeling, a great way to focus your mind is to consider the purpose of the room - will it be just a cosy sleeping area, or will it also be a playroom during the day? If it’s the latter, is it where you want the main bulk of toy storage to be? Taking the time to consider these elements will save you *a lot* of time further down the line - trust us!
The slightly less starry-eyed part two to this first step is making sure you set a budget. *Massive understatement*: Babies are expensive. You don’t want to blow your maternity savings before you’ve even got off the starting block. It’s important to stay realistic and to also have a list of what are the big ticket and must-have items you need rather than needlessly spending your precious budget on electric neon baby signs (more on those later). Our top recommendations would be: a cot, a feeding chair, storage and of course black out blinds to ensure peaceful nights and later mornings (otherwise you may be rising with the sun in summer)!
STEP TWO | GATHER INSPIRATION
Now that you’ve got your list of adjectives to hand it’s time to pull together inspiration. You may already have your heart set on colour scheme or want to continue with the main décor theme of the house, and if that’s the case this is well worth doing regardless. You may think that you want a sleek grey-toned nursery but if you want the room to feel vibrant and happy that particular colour combination might not translate. Once you’ve considered this you can either make the choice to stick with your original palette or reconsider based on your true wants for the room.
If you’re still at the beginning of your nursery decorating journey then now's the time to turn to your visual platform of choice to gather together photos of what your dream nursery looks like based on your list. Pinterest is an amazing resource, where you can simply type into the search bar ‘bright nursery ideas’ and then start saving images to a board – and even better if the Pins are shoppable links. Instagram is also great for wonderful décor inspo too.
STEP THREE | REMEMBER PRACTICALITIES
Since you’ve been pinning or saving away to your heart's content, now's a great time to just pull back slightly and remember that this room has a primary function - a nursery.
Whilst that ‘it’ chair that’s all over your feed might be the most aesthetic choice, does it really work as a feeding chair? Will it clean up ok *when* things get spilt on it during the night feed or when your little one puts sticky fingers on it? Likewise, when searching for the perfect wallpaper, it’s wise to consider washable options…
Another current trend is for personalised everything. Whilst it can absolutely be cute to have some personalised bits for your little one, the key is to keep it to a few. If you are already planning to expand your family in the future (*universe willing*) then having nursery items personalised makes it a little trickier to repurpose or hand-on when they grow out of them. This goes for clothing, toys and those expensive toy storage boxes. Not to mention those neon baby name signs that are all over Instagram.
The most important decisions you’ll likely have to make are the practical ones: like where the cot and the baby monitor are positioned in relation to the powerpoint, radiator, window, is there a ensuite or bathroom next door and if so making sure not to line up the cot behind the loo! At the top of the practical decisions pile is to plan your storage wisely. Read that again.
You're likely clocking how much 'stuff' comes with a baby and this is before the gifts start arriving! Try not to underestimate the amount of things such a tiny person will accumulate – most of the lovely gifts you’ll receive will be intended for when they are older and often for the opposite season! Whatever storage you think you need, double it, and even then there always seems to be a random bag of outgrown clothes piled up somewhere… A great idea when compiling your pins and your ‘to-buy’ list is to ask the following question to each item: is it practical? Boring, sure, but it will save you a fortune. Once you’ve considered this then ask yourself: can I afford it? Remember the budget you set in step one? Stick to it!
STEP FOUR | CONSIDER YOUR TIMING
When it comes to *actually* decorating your nursery there can be wide ranging opinions on when is the best time to decorate your nursery. We’d usually recommend starting two months before your due date but there really are no limits - your nursery, your rules!
Something important to consider if you are planning on painting the room or ordering those all important black out blinds or curtains, is to leave sufficient time for any paint fumes to have completely dissipated and for those curtains to actually be made. Lead times can be surprisingly long for these crucial elements.
STEP FIVE | GET STARTED!
When you’re comfortable with your ideas and your timing then the final thing to do is…get started! Decide if you’re capable of taking on the nursey as a DIY project yourself, or if you would rather hand over to a capable professionals to deliver the picture-perfect room.For those with more heightened anxiety during pregnancy, knowing the nursery is newborn-ready can bring a wonderful sense of relief and calmness. Especially when you consider that due dates are just a rough guide, it can be beneficial to get the practical stage of the decorating done as early as possible and add in the furniture and other soft-furnishings nearer to d-day! So there you have it, our tried-and-tested 5 Step Plans for how to decorate your nursery!
If you’re planning your nursery tag us in your inspo photos or even the finished article - we’d love to see what you come up with! If you want to become part of our supportive community, our doors are always open. Simply subscribe to our newsletter for all things motherhood and style - and be the first to hear about our new arrivals & secret sales.
Until next time…