Welcoming a little one into your family and your home is, arguably, one of the greatest joys in life. Of course you want your baby to have the most beautiful bedroom, but take care to renovate and decorate smartly in a way that will allow for an easy transition from baby to toddler and beyond, that will add value to your property, and won’t cost the equivalent of tertiary education.
“These days the trend is very much to design the nursery such that it is able to easily grow with your child. This means choosing furniture and finishings that are classic and durable, rather than hot fashion or baby-specific,” says Silvana Dos Reis Marques, Manager at Leapfrog Pretoria East.
Practically this means being more considerate of the overall aesthetic of your home, your budget, and your long-term plans for the property.
Think big picture
Whenever you choose to make any changes or improvements to a property, start by considering the bigger picture and your medium to long-term property goals.
“Before you spend large sums of money on bashing down walls, installing skylights, double- glazing the window, adding a mezzanine, or whatever ideas you might have, think about what the space needs to be in five years’ time,” warns Dos Reis Marques. She adds that for big investments that affect the structure and layout of the space it is important to think about whether it adds to the overall value of the property. “Ask yourself – or a trusted property advisor – whether you’ll be able to recoup what you spent when you decide to sell,” she suggests.
The safety of your little one is, rightly, every parent’s main concern, and a good place to start childproofing your home is in the nursery.
Dos Reis Marques suggests paying particular attention to the following safety and security interventions:
● Make sure the cords of the drapery or blinds are not within baby’s reach from the cot or changing table
● Place the cot, changing table and other large furniture pieces away from the window
● Make sure the burglar bars on the windows are tightly secured
● Consider installing a smoke detector in the nursery
● Place plug protectors in all the unused electrical outlets
Quality furniture is usually an investment so it makes sense to opt for pieces that aren’t nursery- specific but that can easily be used in other rooms of the house, or that would be as suitable to a nursery as to a teenager’s bedroom. “This may mean opting for a dresser rather than a changing table, as the former can be used indefinitely while the latter is specifically for a baby in nappies, though the two serve the same function. Something like a chest of drawers could also work if you simply put a soft changing mat on it,” Dos Reis Marques suggests. While you can’t get away from needing a cot, you could consider buying one secondhand.
Similarly, a feeding chair could simply be a comfortable occasional chair in a classic style that you can use elsewhere in your home when it is no longer needed in the nursery.
The nursery is definitely a great space for being playful with the decor, and experimenting with all the colours of the rainbow. But it is a good idea to be more restrained with the colours of the more durable pieces, like the carpets, curtains and furniture. Marshmallow pink curtains are cute when your little girl is in nappies, but by the time she is four she might be way more into purple! “The point is that it is far more efficient to keep the big-ticket items plain and neutral and to add accents with less inexpensive pieces like decorative scatter cushions, loose rugs, art prints or accessories,” Dos Reis Marques advises.
Create something you love
Advice and “rules” aside, the most important thing about a nursery is to make it a space you love and a space that you’re happy to have as part of your home. “Have fun decorating and designing it. If you’re happy using it, your baby is sure to be happy in it too!,” Dos Reis Marques believes.