Nursery Design Tips for Central PA Parents
A Guide for Parents-To-Be
Planning a nursery is one of the most exciting parts of expecting a new baby. With a little ingenuity, Pennsylvania parents can create a beautiful, functional and safe space within any budget. Here are some guidelines for creating a space you and your child will love, today and tomorrow:
- Download The Safe Nursery, a free guide to planning a safe space for your baby from the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site, www.cpsc.gov.
- When selecting paints for a child’s room, look for low-VOC paints that are formulated with little odor. Complete your painting project a few weeks before your baby's anticipated arrival and open the windows to allow the room to air out.
- Soft carpet is an excellent choice for a child’s room. A patterned area rug can be placed over carpeting or a hard floor to add color, texture and extra padding to the floor plane. Be wary of fringe, though. A clever baby will pull it off and pop it into her mouth. Look for carpeting designated “CRI Green Label.” This means that the floor covering has been tested by the Carpet & Rug Institute and is certified as a low-emitting product. As with the paint, give the space a few weeks to breathe after installation.
- Safety and function should be your primary considerations when choosing window treatments. Roller blinds or pleated, cordless shades allow you to adjust the light levels in the room for naps and eliminate the dangers of blind cords. Floor length curtains are an invitation for disaster with a toddler.
- Lighting sets the mood in any room. Install a dimmer switch so you can easily adjust the light level.
- To unify a room filled with mismatched or hand-me-down pieces, paint them all one color. White is a clean, fresh option. Or, choose black or a deep, rich chocolate brown. You wouldn’t normally associate such dark colors with a baby’s room, but they coordinate wonderfully with “traditional” soft pastels like pink and blue.
- Choose pieces of furniture that can be repurposed for use after your child is no longer a baby. A sturdy dresser at a comfortable standing height can be fitted with a changing pad. A potting bench is another practical alternative to the traditional changing table and will be useful long after your child is out of diapers.
- Many parents find that incorporating a twin bed into their nursery plan is a lifesaver. In the early months, it is a comfortable place for mom or dad to rest during a difficult night.
- Consider an upholstered, rocking recliner rather than a glider. The seat is wider, allowing more room for positioning a nursing baby.
- Think about how you plan to store and organize your baby’s clothes. You will need drawers or baskets and some hanging space. An armoire can meet all of these needs and can later be repurposed.
- Give your nursery personality with artwork. Children’s books are great sources of beautiful, inexpensive illustrations to frame. Remember to hang all artwork out of baby’s reach.
- Last but definitely not least, complete your babyproofing throughout the house when you decorate the nursery. This includes installing outlet covers, anchoring furniture to the walls and providing one-piece nightlights. Remember to install cabinet and drawer latches at any locations the child may be able to reach.
Holly Williams Leppo is a mom, a registered architect and certified interior designer with SMB&R, Inc. in Camp Hill.