Between the furniture, decor, safety gear and mountains of clothing you’ll need to store, the cost of a nursery adds up quickly. The high associated prices leave many parents wondering if they’ll use their nursery enough to warrant devoting a whole room and a significant budget to setting one up.
How Often Will You Use A Nursery?
How much you’ll use your nursery varies from person to person. To know if you’ll use your nursery enough, you need to ask yourself this critical starting question — what do you currently plan to use it for? Professionals recommend that your child stay in your bedroom for at least six months, preferably a year. However, you might decide to have your baby take daytime naps in their nursery.
Will you use the nursery as diaper changing central? Do you have a mountain of baby supplies you have nowhere else to store? Maybe you want to keep the nursery as a quiet place to breastfeed and relax your little one. Before you can move any further, reflect on your intentions for a nursery.
Do I Even Need One?
Your preferences for using the space will determine whether you really need to have one in the first place. If you only intend to use it for storage or the occasional nap, you can probably skip it altogether. You certainly don’t need a nursery just to keep up with a Pinterest ideal or your family’s expectations.
However, if you can think of many reasons you’d want a nursery — and they’re more than a desire to keep up with the Joneses — it would probably get enough use to be worth the cost. Go for it!
How Can I Make a Functional Nursery?
To make the most of your budget, you should prioritize functionality. Decor is a fun bonus, but it won’t make the room more useful.
Who said the basics had to be basic? Look for multi-purpose nursery furniture to save space and money. For example, a low dresser can double as a changing table with the addition of a changing pad.
Another common option is to purchase a convertible crib. These money savers usually cost the same as a standard crib but can grow with your child, becoming a toddler bed and full-size bed when they’re ready.
So Much Storage
Honestly, you can never have too much storage in a nursery. Even if you plan to have a more minimalist registry, you’d be surprised at how much room the “essentials” take up. Plus, you’ll need space to hold your stockpile of diapers and wipes, clothes they’ve outgrown and the massive pile of homemade blankets from a well-intentioned family.
Maximize the storage in even the smallest rooms by choosing furniture with hidden elements like drawers under the crib. You should also think vertically by adding shelves to walls or organization systems to create a better functioning closet.
Blackout curtains will give your little one the best sleep possible, blocking out all the excess light to mimic the darkness of night. At first, your baby will probably sleep in your room, so you could hang these handy accents in there.
However, they’ll eventually need to move to their crib. Starting daytime naps in the nursery can make that transition easier. Blackout curtains are especially helpful for blocking those annoying rays and extending your child’s rest throughout the day.
Setting up a baby monitor in the nursery will give you peace of mind once you start putting the baby down for short rests in their crib. It will feel daunting at first to leave them out of sight for so long, but that little window into their world will help assuage your feelings. You’ll be far more likely to continue using the nursery for naps when you can still keep an eye on them.
Comfortable Nursing Spot
When your baby is still brand new, their life revolves around pooping, sleeping and eating. If you’re their favorite food, you should create a comfortable nursing oasis for yourself. Pick out a comfy chair and nursing pillow. Set up a soft light source nearby. Finally, add a basket with goodies for your nourishment and entertainment.
Air Purifier and Humidifier
You want the best for your baby, including keeping them healthy. With all the other safety measures you’ve taken to guard your little one, don’t forget to improve their air quality too. Indoor spaces can have a concentration of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) two to a thousand times higher than outside — and babies are especially susceptible to breathing problems associated with VOCs.
The best way to improve indoor air quality is with an air purifier and a humidifier. A purifier will remove contaminants like mold, dust, VOCs and other common allergens. Including a humidifier as well will introduce more moisture into the air, which is especially important if you live in a home with forced hot air or in a dry climate.
Carpeting has lost popularity over the last couple of decades. However, as beautiful as hardwoods and vinyl flooring can be, you won’t have as many comfy places for your baby to roll around. A soft rug in the nursery gives you a gentle place to lay them down for a diaper change or tummy time. You’ll also be thankful for the extra warmth on your feet when you go in for nighttime feedings.
What Can I Skip?
These items are non-essential. You’re all good to skip them to save space and money.
A Dedicated Changing Table
Most new parents think of a changing table as a nursery essential, so you might be surprised to hear you can go entirely without one. Your baby will need so many diaper changes a day that it’s doubtful you’ll trudge back to the nursery each time. You’ll find a mat on the floor does the trick. Just keep some diapers and wipes on each floor of your home so they’re nearby when necessary.
The only caveat to the changing table would be if you already have a dresser you plan to use in the room. You can lay a pad on the dresser so it can do double duty. You absolutely do not need a dedicated changing table.
Fancy Crib Bedding
Full crib sheet sets with a comforter and cute accessories cost upwards of $200. Save your money for a few good fitted sheets and a waterproof mattress protector. Babies don’t need all the extra stuff. Besides, anything in the crib with your child is a potential suffocation risk. Placing them in an empty bed is much safer and can help you feel more at ease letting them sleep in their nursery.
Overload of Themed Decor
A cute potted plant, curtains and a rug are all you really need to improve the look of your nursery. Decor is not worth blowing your budget on when you have other expenses. Consider how much you need to add to the room to want to use it — make that your limit. After all, your baby won’t care if you nail the perfect theme for their space. They may not even enjoy what you’ve chosen as they age and all that money will go to waste.
Do What Feels Right for You
Only you can decide how often you’d actually use a nursery and if you’ll use it enough to make it worth the cost. Some parents choose to keep all the baby essentials in their room, others spread things around the house and some decide to go ahead with an official nursery.
If you want to set up a nursery, you can use this list to help you decide what additions will make the room more functional and what you can pass on.
About The Author:
Rose Morrison is a home living writer with over five years experience. She is the managing editor of Renovated.com, a home living site where she loves to cover home renovations and decor to inspire everyone to live their best DIY life. When she isn't writing, you'll find her baking something to satisfy her never-ending sweet tooth.