Designing a nursery is a part of preparing for parenthood that parents invariably get really excited about: there’s just something so inherently special about bringing to life the nursery that you’ve been visualising for months. For many, as their bump grows so does their Pinterest board, and for plenty of parents completing their nursery represents the first moment they can truly imagine what it will be like to welcome their baby into their home. However as dreamy as it may be, creating a nursery from scratch isn’t without its challenges- that’s because designing the perfect nursery actually requires a fine balancing act, aligning your aesthetic vision with the practical features that make for a safe, comfortable, calming and functional nursery.
Which is exactly why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to designing your perfect nursery. This is our way of helping make sure your nursery ticks all the necessary boxes, bringing your creative vision to life in a way that’s easy, efficient and cost-effective, while still maintaining all the excitement. Follow our guide and not only will you create a baby room that you and your little one will love for years to come, you can really enjoy the process too. With insider hints and tips courtesy of our in-house nursery experts, this is your ultimate nursery guide, for all parents-to-be.
1. Find your personal nursery style
The most creative and influential part of the design process, so let your imagination loose! Take a look at your Pinterest board and see if an overall theme or colour scheme sticks out.
Would you describe your picture references as whimsical, bold, eclectic, minimalist, rustic, traditional, modern?
Would you prefer your nursery to harmonize with the rest of your home or would you like to create more of a statement room? If you’re struggling to visualise a concept, theme or colour scheme for your nursery, try finding one creative starting point: this could be a wallpaper you’ve fallen in love with or some wall art that’s caught your eye. From there you can develop a theme around it, that will determine everything from your choice of nursery furniture to your accessories.
The most creative and influential part of the design process, so let your imagination loose! Take a look at your Pinterest board and see if an overall theme or colour scheme sticks out. Would you describe your picture references as whimsical, bold, eclectic, minimalist, rustic, traditional, modern? Would you prefer your nursery to harmonize with the rest of your home or would you like to create more of a statement room? If you’re struggling to visualise a concept, theme or colour scheme for your nursery, try finding one creative starting point: this could be a wallpaper you’ve fallen in love with or some wall art that’s caught your eye. From there you can develop a theme around it, that will determine everything from your choice of nursery furniture to your accessories.
2. Choose your furniture
Next up, choose your furniture. When it comes to buying furniture, the brand and style you choose come down to style preference, your budget and the amount of space you have. However, there are a few essential items that you’ll definitely need to include- all babies need a cot and a changing table, as well as a dresser and a wardrobe. Should you choose a nursery furniture set or individual pieces?
A furniture set is probably an easier starting place. Nursery furniture sets include all your essential furniture items – so you can be sure you’ve not missed anything – and they usually work out more cost effective than buying the furniture items individually. If you’re sticking to a colour scheme or theme they will ensure the overall look is harmonious too. Quality is an important factor when choosing your nursery furniture.
Make sure you find pieces that are durable and will withstand anything that life throws at them (and with a little one, there’ll be a lot of throwing!). After all, you want a nursery that will last as your baby grows into a toddler and beyond. As nursery furniture will probably be your biggest investment when decorating your nursery, it makes sense to look for furniture with added features that really help you feel you’re getting more for your money. So, when it comes to drawers, look for extra-deep ones to house the never-ending supply of rompers, vests, blankets and bibs. Look for removable rails and shelves in wardrobes, to allow you to adapt your storage as your little one grows. Versatile space-saving features are another useful extra, if you’re limited on space. For example, the wardrobe in our Harwell range features a space-saving sliding door.
Deluxe touches, such as soft-close drawers and doors, so you don’t wake your baby as you put away their things, really elevate the functionality of your nursery and can be the difference between liking your nursery and really loving it. You’ll find these as standard in all our Mama’s & Papa’s nursery furniture. Lastly, don’t feel you need to go for a neutral colour palette when choosing furniture, if this doesn’t suit your taste or fit your style of home. Moving away from traditional neutral furniture shades of white and grey is a simple but striking way to make a style statement. Seek out coloured furniture in an on-trend shade – our Melfi range in this eye-catching shade of green is a stunning example - to create the blueprint of a truly modern nursery.
3. Do I need a nursing chair?
Nursing chairs aren’t an essential piece of furniture, but if you can afford to purchase one – or are generously gifted one - it’s unlikely you’ll regret it. Our nursing chairs feature an ergonomic design, cosy cushioning and supportive arm rests that are the perfect height for a parent to get comfortable before feeding or nursing their baby.
What’s great about a nursing chair is that while it’s primary function is to make feeding a newborn as comfortable as possible, as your baby gets older it makes for a gorgeous place to snuggle and enjoy a bedtime bottle. Even as a toddler they’ll enjoy sitting on your lap in the cosy confines of a nursing chair for a bedtime story. Forget old-fashioned styles and look at your nursery chair as a piece of furniture you can love in its own right, regardless of which room you decide to place it in.
Our Hilston range of chairs, for example, is the epitome of modern nursery styling, and available in a huge range of fabric choices. The plush velvet option- available in contemporary shades such as blush, emerald and mustard would look just as at home in a stylish living room as in a nursery. If you’re about to grow your family and are worrying about how you’ll split your evenings between your newborn and your little one, then our Cuddle chairs are a lovely thoughtful alternative to a nursing chair. The extra-large 'cuddle' seat design is big enough for a parent and a toddler, while still being the perfect shape to support you while you feed your baby.
4. Cot or cot bed?
As your baby gets older and becomes ready to sleep alone in their own room (usually advised around 6 months old, but this does vary from baby to baby so do check) both cots and cot beds can both be safely used. The main difference between a cot and a cot-bed is that a cot-bed can be adjusted as your baby grows, converting into a toddler bed and sometimes even into a day bed– meaning they’re suitable until your little one turns four years old, or thereabouts, and sometimes beyond.
Considering a key element of designing your nursery is to make sure it will grow with your child - after all, it is an investment – you should aim to choose pieces of furniture that you will use for years. Opting for a cot-bed, if you’re able to, is one way to do this. When choosing a cot or cotbed, always consider the three s’s: style – choosing one that suits your nursery and your taste; space – does it fit your nursery and does it have space-saving extras such as drawers; and most importantly, safety: look for safety features such as height-adjustments, to allow you to adjust the height of your cot as your baby grows and becomes more mobile. Finally, don’t forget you’ll also need to buy a safe and suitable mattress to fit your chosen cot or cotbed.
5. Use finishing touches to give a unique twist
If you’re looking for a non-committal way of introducing colour or add a little character to your nursery, particularly if you’d like a nursery that will evolve as your child grows, do it through nursery accessories. Soft furnishings, rugs, artwork, feature lighting, bookshelves, bean bags, mobiles, blankets, even plants can give a room a whole new flavour and can be easily switched up as your baby grows and your tastes change.
A fun way to create a unique setting is to add a feature ceiling. Similar to a feature wall, but designed to appeal to babies - who spend a lot of time on their backs - who can enjoy the stimulation of a fun ceiling decoration, without it impacting too much on the overall design and feel of your nursery. Finally, look for storage solutions that aren’t just functional but will enhance the overall look of your nursery.
This playful Harwell storage unit, for example, is perfect for storing everything – books, toys, outfits, clean bedding – while the fun design and clever reversible drawers add a gorgeous touch to a nursery.”
Infertility means so many things to so many different people. We always knew our fertility journey may be harder and different to those around us, but we wouldn’t change it for the world.
Myself and Zaynah have always wanted children, we have been dating for 16 years since secondary school. We knew having children would be difficult for us both being females, also with myself having polycystic ovarian syndrome we just didn’t know how much.
Our journey started back in 2016, we had just got married, and started to research our options. For funded IVF through the NHS you needed to be seen as “trying” being a same sex couple this is a little difficult. We chose to start with me Laura due to my PCOS, also as I couldn’t wait to be a mummy and carry our first child.
“The process was like picking a pair of shoes”
So first up was picking our sperm donor. The process was like picking a pair of shoes, you go online pick someone based on their height, skin colour, body type, it’s the strangest experience. But for us it’s one of the most important factors choosing someone to play such an important role in our future children. We wanted to pick someone with similar values like family, travelling, and hobbies as this is what really mattered. We picked our amazing donor from London Sperm Bank and off we went to start our fertility journey.
I had three rounds of IUI over the year at a private clinic all which were unsuccessful. So after a lot of discussion and what felt like a wasted year to us, disappointments, upset and what felt to me like failure. Our next step would be IVF through the NHS, with months worth of consultations, we were given a plan, we were put on the long protocol (there’s long and short). We had to take medication regularly, we were given a master class on the drugs we had to take, how much, set times, how to mix, where to inject, when you want a baby so much and you need fertility treatment the process can seem to take an eternity.
“After an amazing pregnancy… we had our little girl Winnie”
We would have regular ultrasounds and bloods to monitor my eggs and follicles, once they believed I was at my peak I was given a trigger shot which meant I would have my eggs retrieved the following day. Egg retrieval by far for me was the hardest part of the process it was so painful, plus waiting five days for them to turn to blastocysts was also a killer! We had two blastocysts, only two which were good enough. But like our DR told us you only need one good blastocyst to make a baby, due to this one was inseminated and the other discarded due to my age they wouldn’t put in both.
So we had one chance for it to work which was the most stressful part, but thankfully after the dreaded two week wait those lines on the test made our hearts bursts and after an amazing pregnancy, no symptoms, and my bump which I loved, we had our little girl Winnie.
“Naively thought getting pregnancy again would be straightforward”
But our journey didn’t end there, we always wanted a close age gap with our children so started again in 2019 with Zaynah this time so we could both experience such a miracle. We chose to go straight for IVF, using the same donor so our children would be biologically related and would experience life together. We wanted our children to be close in age, and naively thought getting pregnant again would be straightforward.
We hoped one round of IVF and we would be parents again, but we were so wrong. The process itself again was gruelling the egg retrieval the waiting, although hope helped get us through. We got 8 blastocysts the best news, this meant we had enough to use and freeze for future attempts. The first round of IVF went great, then it came time for the two week wait, unfortunately this led to a negative pregnancy test, we were devastated.
A few months passed and Zaynah then had a frozen transfer which resulted in a positive pregnancy, but unfortunately a short while later she suffered a miscarriage. We were heartbroken and Zaynah was so disheartened she felt like a failure. At this point Zaynah wanted to give up her mental health was struggling, we had no answers as to why it didn’t work other than unexplained infertility which was the hardest part as we couldn’t change anything to give us a better chance. Our relationship was strained the hope you build up to then be shattered is the hardest and financially we were spending thousands. After 6 months off due to COVID Zaynah agreed to one last frozen transfer, and after the longest two weeks, the stress, upset and fear Zaynah was pregnant. Zaynahs pregnancy was perfect no sickness, no symptoms, the neatest bump. We found out through a gender reveal we were having another girl, another daughter to be best friends with Winnie we couldn’t have been happier.
“Holding our daughters in our arms is worth every second”
Since having children our life has changed drastically I can’t even tell you how much. But the night feeds, the wake up calls, the toddler tantrums, the lack of social life is worth it ten times over. As the snuggles, the smiles, the feeling of love holding our daughters in our arms is worth every second. We tried five whole years to have our babies, we have spent a significant amount of money, but what is life without the love of your children? Our family is bonded by blood but most importantly love.
If we could give any advice it would be that every persons experience is different don’t compare, the journey will be full of highs and lows and can be so stressful but I promise the end result is worth every moment of heartache.
The two week wait is the longest, keep busy get a manicure, read magazines, go for walks on the beach, have date nights make the most of you time or time with your partner. It’s the hardest, and can feel the loneliest time but it’s the most rewarding experience in the world. Lastly look for local support groups or create them yourself as not many exist. Plus do some research as IVF attempts can be funded through the NHS but depending on your location it alters to how many attempts you get. We are sending you lots of baby dust, if you ever need a chat, a rant or a good old cry we will always be there to listen.
Follow Laura and her family Instagram for more stories - https://www.instagram.com/winniemaiya/
What I wish I had known
Baby Loss Awareness
Laura & Kelly's IUI Journey
Infertility Awareness Month