Baby Room Ideas: Stick to the Basics
Sleeping: The central element is a safe, comfortable place to sleep, assuming the child won't sleep entirely in a family bed. Good cribs are available in an incredibly wide range of prices. For super-stylish cribs, interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn loves ducduc and nurseryworks. Both companies offer gorgeous designs (clean lines, bursts of bold color), but they generally come with four-figure price tags.
At the other end of the spectrum, Ikea's Leksvik crib is a great choice for about $150 -- simple, sturdy and easily mixed with almost any decor. A used crib from a second-hand store or passed along by a relative is also an option. But be sure to check for wear-and-tear, and get all the manufacturing information to confirm that the crib hasn't been recalled. Some cribs convert into junior beds, easing the transition for toddlers.
Cleaning and dressing: Babies need a safe, comfortable place for diaper and clothing changes, with storage space underneath or within easy reach. Make sure the height of the changing area is comfortable for you -- you'll spend hours standing in front of it. Some parents prefer buying a piece of furniture designed to be a changing table, while others use a dresser or sideboard with a padded surface added on top.
Stowing gear: You'll need space for clothing, toys and books, diapering gear and whatever other items become essential to your parenting. Before buying any furniture for storage, consider your habits and the items you'll be storing. Open bins can be convenient, allowing you to toss things in easily for quick clean-up and to keep everything clearly sorted. Closed storage, such as a basic three-drawer dresser, can be great for stashing things out of sight. Many parents opt for a mix of both.
Other details to consider: On the floor, you may want to place a soft rug or a padded area to provide a clean, comfortable space for tummy time, playing and early crawling. And you may want a rocker or overstuffed chair for bedtime or late-night feedings.
Lighting also can be important. An overhead light with a dimmer allows you to easily control the room's brightness, segueing smoothly from full light to a soft glow as bedtime approaches.
One last consideration: Some parents opt for furniture that will look appropriate in an older child's bedroom, so they won't have to buy new pieces once the child reaches school age. Others prefer nursery furniture that is clearly meant for a baby's room.
Related: Nursery decorating tips on a budget
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.