Nursery planning is one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy. It helps fulfill the “nesting” instinct and increases your excitement about the arrival of your new little bundle. Picking out furnishings and decor is fun for Mom, but with a few considerations, you can have a nursery that is not only beautiful and functional, but even helps promote your baby’s development. Today, I’m sharing my top 5 tips to help you create a gorgeous yet educational nursery.
Nursery planning tip #1: Create a reading nook
It’s no secret that reading to your baby or toddler is one of the best ways to stimulate his intellectual development. Research shows that the more words your baby is exposed to, the better prepared he is to eventually read on his own. Studies also show that reading to your newborn is correlated with a larger vocabulary and more advanced mathematical skills in childhood. Best of all, reading to your baby fosters a love of the written word and teaches her that reading is fun and important.
Picture books are wonderful for visual development as well. As your baby starts focusing on pictures, words, and patterns, he will begin to recognize more and more of them. Choose a soft activity book that uses bright colours, high contrast, and texture to stimulate your baby’s neurological development. Soft activity books promote vocabulary development and offer tactile stimulation too. My little guy loves to feel the different textures in soft books.
Use a book shelf to display your little one’s books. Displaying books instead of placing them on a shelf will make them more accessible and easier to put away. It’s also more visually appealing for your child. With her books on display, she’ll be more likely to grab one when she’s looking for something to do. This will allow her to start picking out her own bedtime story from a very young age too!
Of course, you can’t have a reading nook without something comfy to sit on. Can you picture yourself curled up with your little one in a beautiful glider like this? This just looks so cozy and inviting. I love chairs like this one because they combine style, comfort, and functionality. Its wide design, plush cushions, padded armrests, and ability to swivel mean you and your little one will be comfortable while you read her bedtime story or nurse her to sleep. Plus, it doesn’t look like a glider, so when you’re done with it in the nursery, you can relocate it to the family room.
Nursery planning tip #2: Use colour and contrast
Babies are naturally attracted to bright colours and high contrast. In fact, for the first few months, they can’t see much at all unless it’s vivid or high contrast. Providing them with bright colours and bold patterns to look at will stimulate your baby’s sense of sight (not to mention that a little bit of colour and pattern are key for making any room look visually appealing).
A stylish lamp is such a cute way to add a pop of colour and contrast at the same time. There are so many cute ones that are perfect for the nursery! The navy blue and white in this lamp shade are neutral enough to match with pretty much any colour scheme. The gorgeous herringbone pattern is very visually appealing, and the elephant is perfect for a nursery. When she gets older, you can keep the shade and just switch out the base for something more “grown up”.
Making use of the walls is another great way to incorporate colour in the nursery. I’ve done accent walls in the past three houses I’ve lived in. You can either paint the wall a solid colour, use painter’s tape to create a pattern, or stick on some wallpaper. If you’re using a high-impact wallpaper like the one pictured, choose one wall in the nursery to wallpaper—more than that will probably be too much. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could even do the ceiling or a piece of furniture instead!
Nursery planning tip #3: Make it a sleep sanctuary
Growth and development occur while your baby is at rest, so it’s important that he has a good night’s sleep.
Sound machines help soothe your baby with shushing sounds that mimic the noisiness of the womb, a heartbeat sound, or white noise. If you choose one that’s small and compact, you can take it with you when you travel to ensure your baby has a good night’s sleep no matter where he is. You can also get a sound machine with a timer that preserves battery life, or one that plugs into the wall. I recommend selecting one that has a nightlight with a soft glow for late night nursing or bottle feeding. White noise has been key to helping my son sleep heavier and longer!
One of the most important (and largest) purchases you’ll make while decorating the nursery is the crib. You’ll want to find one that’s both beautiful and functional. If you really want to get the most bang for your buck, purchase a crib that converts to a toddler bed, day bed, and eventually a full size bed. It will last for years! A white crib is classic and will always look good. In my opinion, white never goes out of style. What I like best about a white crib is that it allows the crib to be a subtle focal point, without drawing too much attention or being the only thing that stands out in the room.
Nursery planning tip #4: Keep toys close by
Babies learn primarily through play. I can think of no better reason to shower them with lots of cool toys!
Puzzles are an awesome toy for promoting visual-spatial and motor skills. You can get all kinds of different engaging puzzles: barnyard animals, cars, alphabet, pets, zoo animals, etc. Wooden puzzles are classic and durable, and toddlers love to put them together.
Music is another essential element for stimulating your baby’s cognitive development. Playing music to your baby is linked to everything from creativity to memory and even emotional intelligence. Musical toys introduce your child to rhythm, melody, language, and often a wide variety of vocabulary. Many of them, like the one pictured, also promote visual-spatial and motor development.
Nursery planning tip #5: Include a variety of textures
Another way that babies learn and develop is through their sense of touch. Curtains, rugs, blankets, and stuffed animals can all provide a variety of textures for your baby to feel and observe.
Curtains can be made of many different fabrics that add texture to a room. The one pictured is polyester, which is a heavier, slightly rougher fabric. The print is just adorable, and woodland themed nurseries are on trend right now. I love this curtain so much that I’m debating switching out my son’s current panels for these ones!
In keeping with the woodland theme, a plush stuffed animal is the perfect toy for your baby to touch and cuddle. He’ll love running his hands (and mouth!) over the material. My little guy’s favourite plush toy is his bunny.
Adding a soft blanket to the nursery is great for snuggling at nap time and spreading on the floor for tummy time. Choose one that’s ultra soft (e.g. cotton percale). You can also look for one that’s a good size for the stroller too.
Before you know it, your baby will be here. Embrace your nesting instinct—let your creativity loose to design a nursery that you and your baby will love to spend time in.
For more stylish, fun, and educational items for your baby’s nursery, visit Best Buy.